By Dale Knight, Member of the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati, California, USA
Rotary project fairs are the best way for Rotarians to meet each other, develop long-term friendships and working relationships. During a fair, international visitors have the opportunity to learn about local projects while experiencing culture and fellowship.
My first time attending a fair was when my district hosted one in partnership with a district in Mexico, which ran for 18 years. I’ve also attended many Uniendo America, Ecuador, and West Africa fairs.
With these relationships my club and others in my district have been involved in many projects all over the world. We continue to work with Rotarians in these countries due to our strong relationships.
As a veteran of 31 project fairs enriching me with friends all over the world, I can state that the first East Africa Project Fair far exceeded all my experiences and expectations.
What did the Eastern African Rotarians do that made their first event so special? They planned a Fair based on assuring excellence in the projects that were exhibited. All project proposals were reviewed well in advance to ensure projects met the requirements of The Rotary Foundation, supported one of six areas of focus and included sound sustainability elements. Projects ranged in size from small to large scale.
The fair provided a full day of Rotary Foundation seminar sessions presented by Rotary staff and local leaders. The host district also presented their history in global grants and their requirements for clubs to develop grants. This information is critical for international partners to understand before committing to projects in a host country.
The fair also provided social and tradition-rich opportunities to facilitate our friendships and cultural understanding.
In my role as District 5130’s International Service Chair, I led a group of five Rotarians and a guest to this fair to introduce them to international service. Everyone on the trip expressed positive feedback as this was the first project fair for many.
For all Rotarians contemplating global grants or want to undertake a smaller scale international project, please attend a project fair and develop your relationships for success.
Find information about upcoming fairs, including dates, location, program, and registration online.