Start a new service project today!

By Chelsea Mertz and Rebecca Hirschfeld, Rotary Service staff

Does your club want to try a new type of service project or want to find a project in another region to partner on and are not sure where to start?

The Project Lifecycle Kit tools can help with all your service project needs. These online resources guide your project from inception to implementation while also facilitating connections with other Rotarians around the world. Rotary is unique in that service means more than just helping others. We’re also about forming valuable partnerships that make projects more sustainable and in turn help foster more peaceful communities. So which tools comprise the Project Lifecycle Kit?

Through Discussion Groups, Rotarians have access to a plethora of information from other Rotary members who provide valuable support during the planning phases of a project. Use these groups to pose questions to other members and tap into their expertise, experience, and advice. If you are starting a project in one of our areas of focus, you can take advantage of our Cadre of Technical Advisors moderated groups.

For example, the Water and Sanitation Group gives you the opportunity to receive advice from subject matter experts, as well as members of our Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag).

A few recent enhancements to Rotary Ideas makes finding a project partner easier than ever before! A Google Translate option is now available on each project page, expanding the options for partnering beyond the boundaries of language. You can now search for projects by filtering by contribution type (volunteers, partnerships, online contributions, and materials), making it easier to find the types of projects you want to support.

For example, the Water For Life Project in Egypt is looking for global grant partner to help provide safe and clean water to families living in poverty.

Remember to continue to share your success stories on Rotary Showcase, recently updated to allow you to tag Rotarian Action Groups and Rotary Community Corps as project partners. Identifying all of your Rotary project partners ensures that your good work is shared as accurately as possible within our communities and the world.

For example, through a global grant, the Rotary Club of San Pedro South in the Philippines installed a solar powered potable water treatment system at a local elementary school benefiting 1100 students. The project included a deep well with a submersible pump powered by a solar panel. The system can produce up to 2000 liters per hour when the solar panel is at its peak capacity. To manage project operations and maintenance, including how to share the potable water with the surrounding community, the Cuyab Rotary Community Corps (RCC) was formed with officers from the school faculty, the parent teacher association and local government. The RCC will decide how the water will be shared with the nearby community, its price, schedule and mechanics.

As always, if you have any questions regarding these tools, please feel free to contact social@rotary.org for assistance.

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Your favorite stories from 2016

As we head into the new year, we’re taking a look at back at 2016. Here are your five favorite stories from this past year (based on views):

  1. Rotary offers many programs that allow you to engage with fellow members and make new connections outside your club and district. Learn how to make the most of your Rotary membership.
  2. The Rotary Club of New York hosts monthly breakfast meetings at the United Nations with UN officials and representatives of its member states. Each meeting is broadcast live for Rotary members around the world.
  3. During September, Rotary Literacy Month, we encouraged members to take action to support basic education and literacy projects.
  4. July’s ethical dilemma encouraged a discussion regarding funding and sponsorships.
  5. When disaster strikes, Rotary’s project partner ShelterBox often works closely with Rotarians to evaluate local needs and devise a plan for immediate response. Members of the Rotary family assist response teams with disaster assessments, serve as housing response team volunteers, help coordinate relief logistics, and sponsor aid.

Tell your Rotary story: add completed projects to Rotary Showcase, share on Facebook and Twitter, and submit a blog post.

West Africa Project Fair exhibits the power of Rotary

By Dr. John Philips, Past District Governor of District 1040 and Chairman International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors

Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes bring the best out of Rotarians. We roll up our sleeves, rattle tins, raise money and deliver support, care and assistance.

When a Rotarian colleague recently told me he was disappointed with the outcome of his club’s emergency assistance efforts to another country some years ago, I was not surprised. “Our results were most unimpressive. The disaster relief help we had provided was a gut reaction, unplanned, disorganized, and driven by the international community” he told me.

Historically, developed countries have often tried to impose their own solutions for challenges faced by developing countries. We can stop this through Rotary.

A few years back, I saw a large wooden box in a hospital in Tanzania. The box contained an x-ray machine donated by a North American group. The box was never opened. The hospital did not have electricity and did not know what to do with the machine.

Through the Rotary network, we have opportunities to build sound international partnerships to work on service projects outside of our immediate communities. I was privileged to meet a group of West African Rotarians in Abidjan last month at the 10th annual West Africa Project Fair. The event was created in 2005 by Rotarians from 15 West African countries to facilitate international partnerships to help address the primary challenges in the region. This year, the Fair was hosted in Cote d’Ivoire by District 9101.

The West Africa Project Fair was a unique opportunity to build international partnerships while experiencing a new culture and creating life-long friendships. We met local Rotarians and Rotaractors to learn about their priorities and talk about club and district projects in need of assistance.  More than 30 West African projects were exhibited during the Fair– all well planned and well explained.

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I was part of a group of 34 international visitors from Canada, England, Guadalupe, Mauritius, Rwanda, Turkey and the United States. We met more than 100 participants from West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. We listened to presentations from The Rotary Foundation on the new grant model and sustainability, Rotary’s project resources, Rotary’s Areas of Focus, and stewardship. We met with each project exhibitor to learn about their initiative and discuss projects in hopes of working with each of our clubs and districts back home to partner on at least one of the exhibited projects.

We toured Abidjan with our hosts, visited with the U.S. Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire and Embassy staff, and attended a welcome reception with cultural shows.  We also participated in a Polio immunization day accompanied by Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Mines and Industry and the Country Director for the Center for Disease Control. We visited a Global Grant project site, met with the Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and attended a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Mines and Industry.

I came away proud to belong to the Rotary family and burning with a desire to do more, to make a difference. I want to say to my friend, who was “most unimpressed” by his efforts to help a developing country: it is time we rethink the way we do international projects.

We are an army of friends with bountiful expertise and experience that can be leveraged to help the community prosper. As international partners, it’s our turn to express our desire to help and then close our mouths, open our ears, and work in partnership to support our international friends.

The end result will be most thrilling.

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The 2016 West Africa Project Fair will be hosted 19-26 October in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. More information about the 2016-17 project fairs will be available here throughout the coming weeks.

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Bringing vocational service to life through club projects

By Beth Keck, member of the Rotary Club of Bentonville, AR, USA, and member of RI’s Vocational Service Committee

My club does not have a vocational service committee.  However, last year when I surveyed my colleagues, it became apparent that the concept of vocational service is deeply integrated into the fabric of our club.  My fellow club members knew that through their Rotary affiliation they were using their skills and expertise to do good in our community and the world.

For example, although at the time we did not consciously consider our club’s International Women’s Day event as a vocational service project, it is an example of an application of the concept by my club.

At the 2014 RI International Convention in Sydney, a local Women in Rotary group told my husband and me about their community International Women’s Day program.  We realized that while large employers in our area held internal celebrations, students and employees of small- and medium-sized businesses did not have access to such inspiring professional development events.  With women making up only 24 percent of our club membership, we were looking for a way to make Rotary more visible to the women in our community.  Organizing an International Women’s Day event seemed like a good approach.

Tapping the expertise of our members, and with support from area women leaders and Rotary International Directors Jennifer Jones and Mary Beth Growney-Selene, our club organized its first International Women’s Day professional development event last March.  More than 200 students, women and men from our community attended and heard five accomplished women speak about their careers and families.

This year we are hosting our second International Women’s Day event on 9 March and look forward to bringing more inspiring stories of achievement to an even larger audience in our community.

The concept of vocational service is rooted in the second Object of Rotary.  Every time my fellow club members and I say or apply the 4-Way Test, we reinforce our aspiration for high ethical standards.

By including men and women in our club from diverse professions and backgrounds, we recognize the worthiness of all useful occupations. Whether it is a lawyer from my club providing pro bono work, a financial adviser helping a low-income family get on a better financial footing, or a club committee organizing an International Women’s Day professional development event, we are using our skills, expertise and occupations to serve society.

January is Rotary’s Vocational Service Month, an ideal time to reflect on how the concept of vocational service is being woven into the fabric of each of our clubs around the world.  Post your club’s vocational service project and join the conversation in My Rotary’s discussion groups.

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How will you Be a Gift to the World this year?

T1516-ENBy Ellina Kushnir, RI Programs staff

RI President K.R. Ravindran challenges us to use our gifts – talents, knowledge, abilities, and efforts – to make a genuine impact through fellowship and service activities. Through our Rotary network, we have access to many resources to plan projects using our skills, expertise, and passions to improve communities near and far.

Showcase how your club or district supports communities:

  • Through a Rotary grant, the Rotary Club of Santa Maria, Philippines, is working with the Rotary Community Corps of Pulong Buhangin 2 and other partners to provide safe water and sanitation for a community within the Santa Maria Bulacan municipality.
  • BELThe Rotary Club of Udaipur Udai, India, partnered with a cooperating organization to provide computer literacy classes to older residents. The Rotaract Club of Aishwarya volunteered as teachers during the trainings which covered topics including scheduling appointments, making reservations, and paying bills online. The Rotary club members provide students with ongoing consultation after completing the courses.
  • The Rotary Club of Santurce, Puerto Rico, collaborated on a Rotary Friendship Exchange with the Rotary Club of Port of Spain West, Trinidad and Tobago, to build fellowship and friendship and explore international service opportunities. The visiting team from Puerto Rico visited several projects, engaged in fellowship, and met the club’s sponsored Interact Club and RCC. They will host their new friends from Trinidad and Tobago later this year.
  • VocServiceThe Rotary Club of Irvine, USA, teamed up with the Irvine Valley College to host an interview workshop and mock interviews with college students. Students were interviewed by a panel of three Rotarians and then received feedback to improve their interviewing skills.

Support club and district initiatives:

  • The Rotary Club of Benin Metropolitan, Nigeria, seeks an international partner to assist with their initiative to provide safe drinking water for the 5,000 residents of the Obazagbon and Ugieghudu communities.
  • IDEASThe Rotary Club of Kharkiv Multinational, Ukraine, is seeking partners to assist with a camp program for local youth. Children who are refugees from nearby conflict areas, part of military families or face tough life situation will participate in the program which includes fun outings and activities along with a targeted curriculum to help participants adapt and socialize given their backgrounds and traumatic experiences.
  • The Rotary Club of Sorocaba-Sul, Brazil, seeks partners to help build a playground for children with physical disabilities. The project will create safe place in the city for recreation, rehabilitation and physical education for children with disabilities. The park will also offer opportunities for children to socialize with their peers

Visit Rotary.org for many more resources to help you with your club or district project. Remember, the 2015-16 Presidential Citation will recognize clubs that achieve an array of accomplishments intended to make Rotary stronger, more effective at delivering service, and more widely known and respected by the general public. Encourage your clubs to focus on the Humanitarian Service goals listed in the Presidential Citation brochure.


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