Let us work for a bigger cause


Rotarians around the world celebrated World Polio Day recently. Eradication of polio has been our global priority for nearly 35 years now and we are almost there. Our perseverance and success are something all of us are proud of. However a majority of present day Rotarians haven’t had the opportunity to play much of a role in our fight against polio. I fondly recall the NIDs of the past when the entire club would turn out either for advocacy, bringing children to the booth or to encourage the paramedics. NIDs brought all of us together with a sense of purpose.

With that experience, I feel we need a similar cause to bring us together, motivate us and to grow this organisation in the years to come. While RI is unlikely to announce our next thrust area globally till the world is declared polio-free, we can still find something to charge us all up without losing sight of the resource mobilisation efforts for ending polio.

Regionally either at a club or at a district level, let us identify an activity that is relevant, needed, impactful and scalable. It could be a hospital, a school, blood bank or restoration of a large water body or anything that is large and significant. Rotarians of the region should be able to identify with the cause. Let us not be satisfied with doing small deeds. While they do make a difference to the beneficiary, they don’t do justice to the potential that we have as an organisation. The collective effort of Rotarians has to be much greater than the sum of its parts. As most of these large initiatives cannot be completed in a year, the normal leadership tenure in Rotary, I urge every club to have a clearly defined strategic plan with the buy in from the future leaders that would give the clubs the power to think big and the ability to execute them.

Let us not underestimate our individual capabilities and thereby underperform. The key is in our ability to make a difference in our community through large, impactful signature projects. As is said, when your signature becomes an autograph, you have arrived. Similarly when our projects become signature projects Rotary gets noticed. Best wishes!

A S Venkatesh
RI Director, 2021–23

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