How Small Rotary Projects Can Influence Global Change
Once upon a time, in 1979, there was a small local Rotary club in the Philippines. They had a vision: they wished to immunize their community's children against polio, a devastating disease that cripples and often kills. This little club began to mobilize resources and soon accomplished their goal. Their success did not end there. Word of their achievements spread across the global Rotary network. This local effort inspired the launch of PolioPlus in 1985, which was the spark for a global initiative to eradicate polio. From that modest beginning in the Philippines, Rotary, along with its partners, has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide.
Clean Water Projects
In 2002, the Rotary Club of San Pedro South in the Philippines again set the stage for an impressive global endeavor. Their vision was clear: provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities for local schools. Starting with one project, the impact was undeniable. The health and school attendance of children improved drastically. Recognizing the opportunity, Rotary clubs around the world began replicating this project, creating a significant ripple effect. Today, the WASH in Schools Target Challenge is a global initiative reaching schools in more than 50 countries.
In 2000, a single Rotary club in India, the Rotary Club of Solapur launched a mission to combat illiteracy in their local community. Their literacy project began small, but as the literacy rates began to climb, so did the aspirations of the project. The initiative went nationwide as the Rotary India Literacy Mission, and today, it is contributing to the drive towards 100% literacy in India. Their vision ignited a nationwide movement, proving once again the potential of local projects.
Finally, let's turn to the story of the Rotary Club of Chicago. In the aftermath of World War II, their vision was to cultivate peace and international understanding. They introduced the Rotary Peace Fellowship, funding academic studies and professional development for peacebuilders. What started as a local initiative soon gained momentum. Now, Rotary Peace Centers are based at leading universities around the world, fostering a new generation of peacemakers and conflict resolvers.
We see it time and time again - a local Rotary project, powered by the belief in Service Above Self, that grows into a global movement. The 'Power of Local' is a testament to the incredible potential of Rotary initiatives, no matter how small, to instigate change on a worldwide scale.
When we're planning a local project, we might want to challenge ourselves into thinking "how can this project grow. Can it become a model for other clubs. What if we grow it beyond our local community."