By Molly Friend, Rotary Programs for Young Leaders Staff
Rotaract clubs bring together people ages 18-30 to exchange ideas with leaders in the community, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun through service. In communities worldwide, Rotary and Rotaract members work side by side to take action through service.
Every year, Rotaract clubs around the world develop innovative solutions to community challenges. Rotary annually recognizes these high-impact, sustainable projects with the Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards.
So what makes a Rotaract project outstanding?
Last year’s Outstanding Project Awardee, the Rotaract Club of Bugolobi in Uganda, aimed to support a rural community with the highest impact possible. Working alongside local doctors and schools, they provided everything from school supplies to comprehensive medical screenings, dental exams, and HIV screenings and prevention education. Since access to clean drinking water is one of the primary reasons children miss school, the club also dug a borehole to bring clean water to the rural community.
2) A Cause
Rotary is dedicated to six causes that build a better world. Outstanding projects work towards one or more of these six areas of focus. For example, the Turkish Rotaract Club of Istanbul-Dolmabahçe’s outstanding project focused on Saving Mothers and Children. Their project, “Still Child”, took a stand against young women and girls who are forced into underage marriage. The Rotaract club organized conferences in rural areas where the practice is still common to break the silence on the issue and bring awareness to resulting consequences.
Look at old problems with new, unique ideas. By imagining possibilities and trying new things, great solutions emerge. The Rotaract Club of the Caduceus in India upgraded outdated disease-tracking systems by harnessing new mobile technologies. This innovative approach improved disease surveillance to study epidemiological trends in the region.
Rotary is about bringing people together to create change; we love to see Rotaractors and Rotarians working together in service. 12 Rotaract clubs from five districts across Turkey and Russia worked with the Down Syndrome Association to organize a communication and skills training for children and adults with Down Syndrome.
Dedicated Rotaractors are fundamental to creating outstanding projects. As part of the “Ready to Succeed” project, designed by the Rotaract Club of Brimingham, USA, high school juniors and seniors were paired with Rotaract mentors in aims of better preparing the students for college. The Rotaract mentors developed these relationships over a number of years, demonstrating their commitment to helping youth enroll in college.
Do you know of a Rotaract Outstanding Project? Submit a Outstanding Project Awards nomination by 1 February . To learn more about the projects referenced in this blog read about last year’s awardees.