Building Stronger Rotary Clubs

Rotary International News -- January 2012


RIPE Kalyan Banerjee shares advice for building stronger clubs with RIPN Sakuji Tanaka.

The best way for incoming district governors to build stronger clubs is to serve as role models and lead as equals, said RI President Kalyan Banerjee at the International Assembly.

Banerjee shared this and other advice during the second plenary session 16 January to help incoming district governors provide better support to Rotarians at the club level.

"We're here because we love Rotary," he said. "We're here because we love what we can do through Rotary, and we want to do more of it."

Banerjee explained that leadership in Rotary means giving support -- not giving orders.

The "gold standard of great leadership," he said, is "being the kind of leader about whom every Rotarian in your district says, `You know, if I am ever a district governor, I'd want to be a district governor just like him (or her)."

Trustworthiness is also an important quality, Banerjee said.

"A great leader is someone you can trust, not necessarily to have all the answers but to be able to find them," he explained. "And it's someone who will listen, who will not dismiss your concerns, who will take the time to take you seriously."

Maintaining the right balance between work and fun is also vital to encouraging strong clubs, he said.

"You do need the fun, of course -- that's part of what makes Rotary what it is -- but fun is secondary and work is first," Banerjee noted. "We all enjoy Rotary, but the primary thing, the point of why we're here, it has to be the work, it has to be the service, it has to be the difference we are making."

Banerjee concluded that district governors must look beyond their year in office. He emphasized that serving the district isn't about attaching their names to major accomplishments, but making changes in a short time that will make their district stronger.

"To really succeed, you have to look past yourself, past your year, and into the long term, at the health of your community and our organization," Banerjee said.

Rotary's areas of focus

The needs spanning Rotary's six areas of focus are vast, ranging from lack of access to clean water to the need for immunization that prevent deadly diseases. Learn more in the Rotary's Areas of Focus publication Rotary clubs serve communities around the world, each with unique concerns and needs. Rotarians have continually adapted and improved the way they respond to those needs, taking on a broad range of service projects. The most successful and sustainable Rotary service tends to fall within one of the following six areas:

•Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
•Disease prevention and treatment
•Water and sanitation
•Maternal and child health
•Basic education and literacy
•Economic and community development

Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation recognize these six areas of focus as organizational priorities, and there are countless ways that Rotarians can address these needs locally and internationally. For ideas, consult the publication Rotary’s Areas of Focus .

Clubs and districts participating in the Future Vision pilot can apply for Rotary Foundation Global Grant funding by targeting specific goals for one or more of the areas of focus. Learn more about these goals.

Areas of focus resources

•Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
•Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution
•Disease prevention and treatment
•Rotarian Action Groups specializing in this area
•Water and sanitation
•Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group
•RI/USAID International H20 Collaboration
•Maternal and child health
•Rotary's strategic partnership with Aga Khan University
•Rotary's partnership with the United Nations Population Fund
•Rotarian Action Group for Population Growth & Sustainable Development
•Basic education and literacy
•Rotary's partnership with the International Reading Association and the Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library
•Economic and community development
•Oikocredit International
•Rotary Community Corps program
•Rotarian Action Group for Microcredit

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