My Family of Rotary

As a former Rotaractor, youth engagement is close to my heart. And you can therefore imagine my delight when Rotary International elevated Rotaract to full membership status. And the Rotaractors have not disappointed. Within our own district, Rotaractors have contributed more than $5,000 to TRF, in addition, 6 Rotaract Clubs have applied and obtained district grants from the Rotary Foundation. And as a result, they are now firmly in the driving seat, initiating and implementing projects that they are passionate about, at scale. I would therefore like to congratulate DRR Jakob, his team and the concerned clubs on these achievements and the remarkable growth in membership through the addition of 32 new Rotaract/Interact Clubs.
Our District goals this year included ensuring that 80% of clubs sponsor at least one Interact or Rotaract Club, in addition to sponsoring youth for RYLA Boot Camps. And we have made good progress. Nonetheless, more should be done to improve the quality of our partnerships with our youth.
Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow but are the drivers of change today. Contrary to outdated assumptions, there is so much that we can learn from them; and we can achieve so much more by working closely with them. For example, while many Rotary clubs have established Interact Clubs, the level of engagement with some of these clubs leaves a lot to be desired and yet we have a responsibility to inculcate in our
youth, Rotary’s ideals of service. We must therefore find new and more dynamic ways of engaging our Interactors. I have for example observed some thriving Interact Clubs that are being mentored by Rotaract Clubs. This is probably because young people understand the needs of their peers better and
know how to reach and engage them. Maybe such an approach of a tripartite arrangement between Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs might create opportunities for more meaningful engagement.
 
Our youth service must also include the young people from the marginalized populations targeted by our programs. Not just as beneficiaries but as active participants. The youth make up more than 60% of the communities in both Uganda and Tanzania; and therefore, there is no way that we can promote social and economic development without them. We must support them to become a positive force in their communities by directly addressing the issues that affect them e.g. education, unemployment, drug use, etc. I would therefore like to encourage all clubs to revive, expand and sustain their youth initiatives started under the Rotary Vijana Poa Programme. Discussions are underway with potential partners to scale up our youth skilling initiatives and in tandem with technological advancements; and will be communicated in due course.
 
As I conclude, I would like to applaud all the Rotarians in this district for your generous support towards the D9211 COVID-19 response. COVID-19 is still here and while it has caused much disruption, the world requires our leadership today more than ever. Thus, our responsibility also includes educating the communities on the containment measures put in place by the Ministry of Health. These measures are critical to flattening the curve and we must all adhere to them. In light of that, we have re-organised our much anticipated 95th DCA and will instead have a virtual DCA on the 24th – 25th May, 2020; lookout for the details.
 
For our Muslim brothers and sisters, I wish you blessings and steadfastness during this holy month of Ramadhan.
Ramadhan Kareem!
Stay safe and stay healthy!!
 
F X Sentamu
District Governor 2019 - 20
Rotary International District 9211