The relationship between Rotaract and Rotary had mostly been around sponsorship, partnerships and collaborations. But with the Elevate Rotaract initiative, things are starting to shift. Since the Rotaryan year 2019-2020, where the news has been shared about elevating the status of Rotaract Clubs to members of Rotary International and not just one of its programs, our clubs have been eager to do more, to accomplish more, to serve through fellowship more.
From removing the age limit to the possibility of acquiring Global Grants, this change has brought to Rotaract Clubs even more endless possibilities to the impact they can have on their communities. However, a lot of questions arose and baffled Rotaractors around the world. What are Global Grants? Do we still need sponsor clubs? What is the new membership fee? How can we use all these new opportunities to enhance our projects?
To try and answer as many of these questions as possible, Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO has teamed up with Rotaract Africa MDIO and South East Asia Rotaract Information Center and hosted an online conference on May 7th 2022. Through Rotaract Rotary Talks, we were able to gather Rotaractors and Rotaryans from all the collaborating MDIOs and their respective regions, and offered them the chance to talk and discuss the new changes as well as to refresh our memories about some basic concepts like the 4-way test. According to Kennedy Gayah, current president of Rotaract Africa MDIO, it was “an amazing learning and interactive session [where he] got to connect with a diverse pool of Rotaractors and Rotaryans”. During this event, we had interventions from multiple figures, including Rotary International Vice President and its incoming Director, Nicki Scott, who enlightened us about Rotary International’s plan for Rotaract and how they plan to continue elevating Rotaract in the upcoming years. Salim Zridi, a Rotaract alumni and Rotaryan from Morocco has moderated a panel about Rotaract’s role in Rotary International where our impact in our movement was highlighted. Later on, alongside Gayah, Jad Salame (Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO 2021-2022 president) and Kaushal Sahu (SEARIC MDIO 2021-2022 president) participated in a panel about the MDIOs and their impact and value in Rotary International. This purely reflective and enriching panel was moderated by our own Melis Leyal Gurel, Internal Communications Coordination of our MDIO. Upon reflecting on this event, Kennedy hopes that “this event will act as the trigger for a positive mindset shift among Rotaryans and Rotaractors and serve as a bridge to work together”. We were also informed about the procedures of getting a Global Grant with Christina Covotsou-Patroclou. After all these enriching interventions, the event’s highlight were the breakout rooms where the participants really dove into the different topics regarding Rotaract and Rotary : Increasing membership, Global Grants, interaction with youth, joint projects, etc.
Out of all these moments, Kennedy’s favourite part was the breakout rooms because he was able to “interact and listen to Rotaractors spanning three different continents. Everyone had a different approach to the topic yet they all concluded that our business is to create a positive impact in our communities” He also added that he “loved the diverse ideas and [he is] carrying those home”. While other participants like myself enjoyed the informative interventions because they offer us an opportunity to fact check our knowledge and build on it. As this will allow us to do things more correctly, therefore more impactfully.
As an MDIO, we are truly looking forward to what the future holds for Rotaract. Elevate Rotaract is a step that will allow us to build a better world for our communities to live and thrive in through our actions of service and fellowship.
Ahmed Tahé Allala
Tunisian CR at the Mediterranean Rotaract
(Rotaract Club Tunis Hope, District 9010)