Report of Incoming Chair of the International Service Committee to Club Assembly 16th June 2020
RI Theme 2020 - 2021 Rotary Opens Opportunities ....... In highlighting his theme for 20/21, Incoming RI President Holger Knaack reminded us that Rotary isn't just a club for people to join, but that it was an invitation to endless opportunities. He explained that Rotary created pathways for members to improve their lives and the lives of those they help through service projects. " Everything we do opens another opportunity for someone, somewhere", said Knaack, who comes from Germany. As a result he chose as his Presidential theme for the year " Rotary Opens Opportunities, " which is exactly what Norwich St. Edmunds has been doing since it's formation some 34 years ago.
New International Service Committee ... For 20/21, the committee will consist of Irfan Youdjel, Tony Darwood, Jilly Boocock, Alan Longmuir, Kate Secker, Chris Walker, Derek Bower and Mark Little..
The Committee's chosen international service projects for 20/21 ...In the absence of the International Committee meeting as a new committee to discuss and agree a programme of projects for the forthcoming year, a list of suggested projects was submitted via email to the new committee members for their comments and/or their approval on the 5th June. Subsequently there were no dissenting opinions or additions to the suggested list. All comments received were very supportive of the proposed programme for the new year. The list of proposed projects are included in the Annex to this report. In view of the anticipated problems arising from the corona virus pandemic and the resulting lockdown for months of the year, the total of monies required from central funds is limited to £1200. The sums required for specific projects are included in the Annex.
Recommendation: Club Assembly is requested to approve the list and budget required by the International Service Committee for 20/21
A personal commitment which needs the support of the Club .... In view of the current mobilisation of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, it is the right time for RI to be asked to remind Rotarians of their responsibilities to recognise the rights, needs, dignity or value of everybody regardless of race, creed, religion or nationality. These responsibilities should be stated and embedded somewhere into RI's documentation, eg RI's Manual of Procedures or its Code of Policies.
In previous years there was a section in the Manual of Procedures and I believe subsequently in the RI code of Policies which included the responsibilities of the individual Rotarians. For example, in the 2010 Manual of Procedures, under International Service, we had the wording which included nine specific responsibilities for Rotarians to be aware of. Two of them included the following relevant responsibilities:
a) Defend the rule of law and order to preserve liberty of the individual so that all may enjoy freedom of thought, speech and assembly; freedom from persecution and aggression and freedom from want and fear.
b) Uphold the principles of justice for humankind, realising that these are fundamental and must be worldwide.
These stated responsibilities have disappeared from Rotary's literature. I would like to ensure that the RI Board reintroduces these responsibilities into its documentation. There are several ways this can be achieved, eg enactments to the Council on Legislation, resolutions to the Council on Resolution and a Memorial. But there is a deadline for the first two alternatives, ie 30th June 2020. However, to achieve a submission to RI, I need the approval of a) this club and b) the District.
Recommendation: Club Assembly is requested to approve the Chairman's wish to submit the required enactment or resolution to RI as detailed above
Mark Little June 2020
The Committee's chosen international service projects for 20/21
a) Rotary Shoe Box Scheme ... to continue the work which we had planned to start late in the current year, but progress was interrupted by the corona virus pandemic. The scheme's aim is to ease the plight of children and communities in Eastern Europe by sending them small gifts which tell them that people in Rotary do care. A provision of £200 is initially requested to provide 100 shoe boxes. If successfully taken up by schools, we will apply for more funding later.
b) Wulugu Project ...This project was founded in 1993 by Lynne Symonds, a local teacher in Hethersett. When Lynne discovered that only 5% of women in Ghana could read or write, she was determined to help in some way. The original objective of the project was to provide books for a school in Wulugu, a village in Northern Ghana - a region where 60% of the population live in poverty. This successful initiative was soon followed by the construction of a hostel to keep 120 girls safe at school. During the next 20 plus years, the project, with the support and backing of the local Chiefs, has built or renovated 40 remote village schools, improving the lives of over 400,000 girls. In these schools, the girls stay and successfully complete a 6 year course. And to encourage teachers to stay and work in the most remote villages, the project has also built teacher quarters which provide basic safe rooms for teachers especially female teachers.. (see website www.wulugu.co.uk) We will be aiming to raise/ask club for £500 to help fund a massive school rebuild at a village called Wayamba. Supporting this project is necessary, because one of the best defences against human trafficking and slavery is education.
c) Lend With Care - This project provides one of the best examples of how Rotary opens opportunities for someone, somewhere. This is a microfinance lending initiative developed by CARE INTERNATIONAL UK. Launched in September 2010, it allows individuals and clubs like ours to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, which help them to work their way out of poverty. This is one project which we just have to continue with. Chris Walker currently looks after this initiative for NSE. In his last regular report Chris stated that we have over the years made 316 loans, totalling £4740, helped 1674 entrepreneurs and 5598 family members and created 1119 jobs. Our thanks to Chris for overseeing this worthwhile enterprise.
d) Kids for Kids - "Soap for Darfur Appeal" - We would like to support this initiative because it is a 1080 District agreed project in the Darfur region of the Sudan which has been prompted by two members of this club. Darfur is a remote region of the Sudan which has suffered greatly over the past decade where malnutrition and disease is rampant. Providing soap where none exists to these vulnerable people is the first, and probably the only line of defence against COVID-19.Further details of this "Appeal" project can be viewed on page 9 of the latest 1080 News. We know that £380 will provide soap for one village and £3040 will provide soap for 8 villages. Logistical problems mean that we cannot support these communities through Rotary in Khartoum so we have decided to work with the charity "Kids For Kids" which established support channels and a proven distribution network. As this District initiative has arisen largely because of the enthusiasm of at least two members of this club, it would be appropriate for the club to provide a contribution of at least £500 towards this project.
e) YouCanFreeUs - Over the last few years, this club has supported this Mumbai, India based organisation by raising most of the funds to secure the purchase of a 32 seater bus which is currently being used to transport the survivors of sex slavery from their three safe houses in Mumbai to their training centre in another part of India. The organisation is currently looking for a site to build a new training centre and a safe house complex for the women and girls. Once the site has been purchased, your incoming chairman has agreed to initiate a global grant project to start phase 1 of the project, with the help on the ground of the Rotary Club of Mumbai Boravali East. At this stage no funds are required.
f) Modern Slavery Conference - I am on behalf of the club intending to organise a full day's conference on Modern Slavery sometime in 20/21. At the moment, the chosen date is the 26th September 2020. The venue booked is currently "The Alston Centre" at Langley School, Chedgrave. The Conference is intended to be open to Rotarians and to the public at large, with a small entrance charge to cover the costs of morning and afternoon refreshments and a buffet lunch, but there will be no charge for children under 18. Of course the present proposal, which includes speakers coming from abroad, is dependent upon whether or not Covid 19 is brought under control by that date. If the outlook continues to look gloomy, we may have to organise the Conference virtually on that date. Alternatively the Conference may have to be deferred until a later date in 2021. The funds required for this project will be met from the current funds held by the club for anti-slavery initiatives.
g) Mainz's Namibia Project - Apart from the initiative of collecting books for the schools in Namibia, taken up so expertly by IPP Tony Darwood, there are no further plans to help with this project. However, we will need to keep this project under review for the next few months. No funds required at this stage.
h) Tripling in France in 2021 - The committee will need to keep the club informed of the latest developments on this issue later on in the year. There are no funds required for this proposed visit to Reims next year.
Contact Mark Little about this page.