My Family of Rotary
 
Paul Harris said: “If Rotary is to realise its proper destiny, it must be evolutionary at all times, revolutionary on occasion.”  And how so right!!  Just a few days ago – we had an incredibly successful virtual run - the first in the history of the Rotary Cancer Run.  Who would have guessed that at a moment like this, the Cancer Run would evolve into a global event?  Congratulations to the Cancer Run 2020 team for a job well done. Thank you for showing the world that in Rotary service, even a pandemic is not the limit!
 
Talking of evolution, September is the month Rotary has designated for Basic Education and Literacy, precisely because of its transformative nature.  As Rotarians we envision a world where all children have access to education, the opportunity to realise their full potential, and to pursue their dreams.  And I am so proud of the contributions that Rotarians have made over the years through the construction of classrooms, provision of scholastic materials, scholarships and mentorship programmes i.e. Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), and Youth Exchange.
Despite the progress we have registered, the disruption and lock down of schools for the last six months has exposed the inadequacy of our traditional education system.  Many of the children in this part of the world remain locked out of both the physical and virtual classrooms; and many are in danger of dropping out of school completely.  And we know that without education, these children will be at great disadvantage for the rest of their lives. Therefore, as part of our “evolutionary approach” – what should we in Rotary do differently?  The COVID-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to rethink how education should look like for Generation Z and Alpha who are growing up in a world where technology rules.  The challenge and the task before us is obvious i.e. to provide an education that prepares our young learners for what the future might hold. And this may entail supporting our communities and schools to incrementally ‘leap’ into the digital space.
 
However, as we also know, education should not be limited to the classroom or reduced to the ability to read and write. The world is changing and so are the skill sets required.  A World Economic Forum report published recently, argued that 65% of primary-school children today will be working in job types that do not exist yet.  What we know though is that the successful youth will be those with the ability to connect effectively, interpret, and discern the complexities of the world in which we live.
 
Our support to basic education and literacy should expand to include those “soft skills” (communication, collaboration, creativity, resilience and adaptability) that employers are looking for; and that our youth will require to navigate the ever changing environment.  And in this regard, I would like to commend the team behind the recently launched Rotary Roses programme, which will among other things, focus on the mentorship of young women leaders.
So as we go through the month of September, let us challenge ourselves and share best practices that will enhance the relevance and impact of our interventions in basic education and literacy.
 
I continue to appeal you to stay home if possible, wash your hands regularly, wear a face mask in public, practice social distancing as per the COVID-19 guidelines, exercise regularly and eat healthy foods.  Stay safe and let’s grow Rotary!
 
Rosetti Nayenga
District Governor 2020 - 21
Rotary International District 9211