By Beth Keck, member of the Rotary Club of Bentonville, Arkansas, United States
As Rotarians, we don’t have to look far to see Vocational Service in action. In my club, the Rotary Club of Bentonville in the United States, we are gearing up for our fourth International Women’s Day. This year we are focusing on the power of mentoring. Successful women and their mentors will discuss the value of mentoring. We’re recruiting men and women from our club and the community to engage with those who may not have access to mentors in their workplace.
Every day, Rotarians offer their skills and expertise to make our world a better place. If you are working on a project in one of our six areas focus, you may be tapping into Rotary experts through our Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisors and Rotarian Action Groups. My club has benefitted from our robust networks of experts. Two years ago, we partnered with the Rotary Club of Jodhpur Padmini in India on a school water and sanitation project. The Jodhpur Padmini Rotarians had seen the poor sanitation conditions in their local schools and wanted to improve the situation.
The Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, a group of Rotarians with expertise in clean water, sanitation and hygiene, became our advisors. They pointed us to standards for the ratio of toilets to students and encouraged us to pay attention to the soft side – building handwashing habits among the faculty and students.
Members of the Jodhpur Padmini club brought another array of skills to the project. From their professional backgrounds, they provided top notch project management and financial oversight. Several members came from the health profession and they made sure we added another important component, menstrual education and reusable sanitary pads in partnership with Project Baala. When girls reach the age of menstruation they often drop out of school due to the lack of sanitary pads. From the Bentonville club, we provided the grant writing skills for our Global Grant.
By combining the vocational skills and expertise of our two clubs and augmenting with those of the Action Group, today some 2,000 students in Jodhpur have access to sanitary toilets. The students also can wash their hands before meals and drink clean water while at school.
From its beginning Rotary has brought together people from diverse professions. Today Vocational Service underpins our service to our communities and to the world.
For the past four years Beth Keck has served on the Rotary International Global Networking Groups Committee, ensuring Vocational Service continues to be represented in Rotary projects across the world.
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Students at Kishermoruak Primary school in the Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya wash their hands before the hot lunch they receive each school day using the Washing Station designed by the Water Commissioner in nearby Narok. Water from the school well assures clean hands