Emma is now in Geneva studying her two year Master's Degree at the Graduate Institute

We have been following Emma, ever since she successfully received a Rotary Global Scholarship Grant** (RGSG) of almost £30k, after applying through Widnes Rotary Club.  Emma is in her second year at The Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland, studying for a Master’s Degree in International and Development Studies, specialising in Gender, Race and Diversity.

Lausanne Rotary Club, just along the coast from Geneva, is Emma’s host Club and she has formed ties with both Lausanne and Geneva International Rotary Clubs, the latter hosting many RGSG students from across the globe, Geneva being seen as a centre of excellence.

In a nutshell, Emma met Widnes Rotary members when she served as a waitress at the Ring O’ Bells, at the tender age of 16 and asked ‘What is Rotary’? She went on to do her "A’ Levels but wanted to make a difference in the world, so travelled to Tanzania to help build toilet and hygiene facilities, with the help of a small grant from us. Emma has since worked and volunteered in many places including France, China and the US and her CV grows by the minute.  Emma graduated from Nottingham University with a 2:1 in Politics and French. 

We wish them all, but particularly Emma of course, continued success!

** Such Grants are awarded with the help of Rotary's own charity Foundation; into which members and members of the public make donations.  (Rotary International has 1.4 million members, with Rotary Clubs in more countries than MacDonalds!)

In 2022-23 the Rotary Foundation provided more than $98 million in grants to aid all types of projects around the world relating to Rotary's seven areas of focus, including the environment. 


As part of research for her Master’s degree, Emma travelled to Kampala, Uganda in January this year and was hosted by Rotary families who are deeply engaged in their community. There are a staggering 60 Rotary Clubs in Kampala alone!  Emma visited two homes for disabled children and was appalled at the conditions, but was encouraged by the work Rotary are doing to help.  

Emma chose Rotary International as her Thesis topic, having researched many different development institutions, and recognising that Rotary was mostly absent from literature, despite being so active globally in development projects.  Interested in philanthropy, gender, and education, Emma, with guidance from Rotary HQ, chose Uganda to use as her case study.  

The high level of both philanthropic donations and engagement in projects was what impressed her most. Highlights of her trip were visits to the Rotary Cancer Centre, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University, and attending a “Mega Fellowship” weekend in eastern Uganda.  The main aim of Emma’s research is to situate Rotary International in Uganda as a development agent, with the hope that it sparks more interest and research into Rotary International within the field of development.  She is also looking at the Rotary-USAID WASH partnership, together with gender dynamics.

Emma saw a lot of need in Uganda, visiting a school where primary students learn under a tree due to the school building falling down in a storm, but the school not having the money to re-build. She also visited homes for children with disabilities, where the facilities were extremely poor, and the children did not even have any shoes. 


Emma plans to go back to Uganda to support projects after she graduates later this year (2024).  Longer term, Emma wants to continue in the field of international development, especially working in Sub-Saharan Africa on education and gender equality projects for international organisations, Non Government Organisations, and philanthropic foundations. She also will definitely become a Rotarian once she has graduated!


To lend their support to Emma, current and Past Presidents Frances Atherton and Linda Ord travelled to Geneva to attend two Rotary Club meetings, firstly Geneva International, where Emma gave a presentation alongside three other Global Grant Students, Katie and Johanna from the US and Rio from Japan. Emma, Frances and Linda then travelled to Lausanne International Rotary club, Emma’s host club.  

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Emma is now in Geneva studying her two year Master's Degree at the Graduate Institute


First started in 1960 and still going strong!


A wonderful gathering to say thank you to all those who helped us with the float and to make donations from the £20,333 collected from the Widnes public and local businesses! Click details for photos of the evening and more info!


In 2017 we nominated Aidan Jackson (then 14 yrs) for a Rotary Young Citizen Award after he raised £16,000 for charity. He has gone on to do great things ......