On the second and final day of the e-Medicon, a panel including Rotaract MDIO leaders from different countries took place to give an insight into the workof different MDIOs, their plans and activities.
Astrid Durand Viel, the incoming President of Rotaract Mediterranean, hosted the panel and discussed with Reid William Eyre from Rotaract Canada, Mafalda Luis from Rotaract Europe, Yatin Sehgal from Rotaract South Asia, Lucas de Assis from Rotaract Brasil and Louie Boy G. De Real from Pilipinas Rotaract.
The speakers shared the structure of their MDIO, their projects, achievements and future goals. You can find the full session on this link.
Introducing the MDIOs
Rotaract Europe MDIO – ERIC
Rotaract Europe – ERIC is the world’s first MDIO with 117 districts, 47 countries and 24,000 members. Initiated in the 80s, it got recognized by RI in the 90s after difficulties regarding the new concept that is based on countries, not districts.Its main goal is to support the social projects of the different countries involved.Mafalda’s personal goal for next year as incoming president is to take Rotaract Europe to the next level.
Rotaract Brasil MDIO
Rotaract Brasil MDIO was also founded in the 80s and recognized in the 90s. It consists of 31 31 districts that represent the country and a small part of Paraguay. It counts more than 8,000 Rotaractors and the numbers are still increasing by the year. Brazil is a big country that involves different cultures, experiences and views so Rotaract Brazil’s diversified projects are a tool to strengthen and empower all of the clubs involved.
Rotaract Canada MDIO
Rotaract Canada MDIO is the newest in the world. It was in the works for the past year and was recently announced and recognized. It is open to all districts that have Canadian geography, which are currently 20 of which 13 are bi-national and have American geography as well. Three executive secretaries and five cabinet secretaries run it. There is no President, which matches their vision of being stewards to other clubs and to provide the support needed. Rotaract Canada is built as a hybrid between the United Nations and the Canadian parliament and their structure is unique and very different from other MDIOs.
Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO
Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO was created in 2007 after hosting the Asia pacific regional Rotaract conference (APRRC). It focuses on four different functions: Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO supports the growth of Rotaract by training clubs and districts leaders. To make the trainings more accessible they currently launched an e-learning platform. They also developed communication information material through multiple platforms. As an information organization, the greatest impact of the MDIO rests on making sure that Rotaract club members and leaders are well informed about how to be effective in being members of this organization. They also have been holding national conventions for the past ten years. Pilipinas Rotaract MDIO is always working on multidistrict fellowship and service projects. A strong suit for PilipinasRotaract is the relationship between clubs and their constant collaborations and twinning projects. There is always a big number of working clubs, which is met by big numbers of supporting clubs, which is beneficial for both sides. This structure allows Pilipinas Rotaract to be constant winners of the Rotary International Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards and to have a good amount of Rotaract leaders who are achieving national and international success in important Rotary and Rotaract positions.
Rotaract South Asia MDIO
Rotaract South Asia MDIO includes over 3,000 clubs, spread over 7 countries, constantly growing in numbers. A big responsibility lies in spreading the correct information to every single member involved and offering the right knowledge to create future leaders. One way of doing so is by conducting the DRR training sessions before the beginning of each Rotary year. Like other MDIOs, they put together an e-program in order to keep up with the trainings even during the pandemic going on. In Rotaract South Asia, the number of community-based clubs is close to the number of university based which makes it accessible for anyone in any city looking to join Rotaract. The emerging leaders that the clubs are forming are a sign of success of the yearlong training and activities going onfor each district.Even though having 7 countries involved in the MDIO, means having different people with different perspectives and backgrounds, Rotaract South Asia’s events are a great way to connect these different people together and help them share and create powerful projects together.
Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO
Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO is composed of 17 countries spread across 3 continents. The idea is to develop international connections and be exposed to diverse people. This MDIO has a particular structure because it includes European countries that take part in multiple districts but despite that maintain a unanimous country vote. everyone’s voice from around the Mediterranean Sea can be expressed through this MDIO. Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO also launched this blog recently to be able to showcase different cultures, projects and information and keep a journal of all activities happening in the different clubs.
How did the different MDIOs serve Rotaract?
There are many Rotaractors in Brasil, so the main goal of Rotaract Brazil’s MDIO is to share information and make sure that everyone has the knowledge required. In order to do that, they offer classes and trainings. During the pandemic, 10 hours of content were made available online within two days and thousands of people benefitted from the content. In addition to that, during Rotaract Week, a district project is launched and Rotaractors work together on different activities to bring Rotaract awareness. The MDIO sponsors the district project by providing planning, material and ideas. Rotaract Brazil have won a “Best Project in the World” award, which is an outstanding achievement.
Rotaract Canada is still fairly newand their official launch date is the first of July 2020 so they haven’t had the time to do much. However, they have already signed a contract with the federal government and are currently working on an impactful project that they will soon reveal.
Besides the different cultures and the diversity in the Rotaract South Asia MDIO, there is also a lot of distance geographically. In order to bring Rotaractors together, there are fixed annual events that take place in a different location every time. Everyone looks forward to these events because people can join with their friends and have fun but they can also network and brainstorm ideas. And currently, with the pandemic going on, more online events are taking place the online with a broader reach, like the e-Medicon, which is really fruitful and insightful and can be really inspiring for future projects.
Louie from Pilipinas Rotaract agrees that there is a lot to know about Rotaract especially moving up the leadership ladder so the role of the MDIO is to simplify the member’s education by making it more appealing. They convert Rotary material to social media content in order to make it easier to learn. They make sure to let new comers know that they are valued and their opinions are heard. Their duties also include insuring that the projects of different clubs are being well publicized in MDIO communication channels. Finally, they collaborate with the regional Rotary magazine to highlight Rotaract projects so Rotary can see the impact of Rotaract in the region.
Rotaract Europe includes 47 countries that have different languages and 14 different time zones. They have been working on developing relations for 32 years and have had a vast experience. They make sure to organize yearly events so that different people can share their experiences and bond together.
Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO is spread across 3 continents with very different cultures so the real accomplishment is having the Mediterranean have a clear process and work together. In addition to that, Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO partnered with the UNESCO, which is a huge step forward that will open new opportunities. The MDIO always launches new challenges and makes sure to promote simple actions in the club as these can have a big impact.
How was the communication in the Rotaract community improved through the MDIO in days of Elevate Rotaract?
Pilipinas MDIO has a wide reach in terms of knowledge, best practices, and communication. Recently, they launched a website that willhave all the information regarding the different Rotaract clubs in the country available to anyone who would like to familiarize himself more with their work. With Elevate Rotaract, Louie believes that communication with Rotary district leaders is essential in order to showRotaract’s achievements and make Rotary members aware of the progress going on.
Mafalda believes that in our current days, information is needed quickly. The key role of Rotaract Europe is to spread the correct information in a simple way following an effective process.
Canada’s districts are so big geographically so they usually operate by themselves without communicating together. The role of the MDIO is to build a bridge of communication between those districts and encouraging a mature conversation.
As Yatin mentioned, manyquestions are raised regarding Elevate Rotaract and the duties of the Rotaract South Asia’s MDIO is to look for the changes around Rotary and communicate them properly to the members. There is a dedicated team, whose job is to research and learn new information and circulating them to the concerned parties. The MDIO works on collecting club information and keeping a database.
There is a project going on in Rotaract Brasil called Rotaract Brasil Census. It is a research that reaches almost every Rotaractor and collects their information such as income, age, education level and expectations from Rotaract, etc. Data is then collected, processed and spread around the clubs and district. This helps them come up with different strategies to retain members that work with the answers provided.
Since everyone is currently looking for information especially with Elevate Rotaract, the role of the Mediterranean MDIO is to keep in touch with Rotary International and with clubs and ensuring they receive the correct information without any confusion or miscommunication.
How can MDIOs collaborate?
Reid hopes there will be a global Rotaract MDIO leadership council to be the elected leaders of Rotaract and present a united front to Rotary International. In addition to that, joining all MDIOs can have a very strong impact internationally on the entire Rotary family.
Mafalda believes that the private councils that are already taking place between MDIO leaders where they can share their fears and seek advice and support are extremely beneficial. It is always relieving to know that there are people going through the same experiences that are available to help in times of hardships and this in return helps in achieving a global solution.
Louie agrees that many changes that are taking place right now are not always very clear so he believes MDIOs should be at the forefront. If some concerns prevail in certain regions,they should be discussed and forwarded to Rotary in order to obtain the necessary clarifications.
Lucas also stated that together we could have meaningful strength and show the willpower of Rotaract towards the plans of Rotary. We have a voice to change the way Rotaract clubs are growing and acting and connecting together between MDIOs is a very good opportunity to do so.
For Yatin, bringing MDIOs together is bringing Rotaractors from around the world together and connecting them. Communication is key and creating more forums is essential to share the different diverse experiences that are taking place all around the world. He agrees private councils that Mafalda has previously mentioned are essential and all MDIO leaders look forward to them to share different approaches.
Finally, Astrid ended the session on a good note. The feedback from all the participants was positive and they demanded we have more panels like this because it is a great way to find out our similarities and our differences within Rotaract.