During the Rotary Institute 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, a two-day training programme for the partners of Governors Elect was conducted. The partners, led by Mala Basker, provided not only colour, but incredible, creative thoughts for the conduct of Rotary in 2018. During the two-day highly interactive workshop, they came up with ideas that could transform the Rotary movement.
No longer were they just being challenged to help the DGs, but actually being asked to lend their feminine shakti to make sizeable contributions to the work of Rotary.
Usually partners are silent supporters of the governors. In this group I found all of them extremely participative.
— Mala Basker, Spouse of RI Director C Basker
The prayer song and the Rotary songs surrounded the session with a special energy. There were lively and interesting quiz sessions conducted by Jayanthi Raja Seenivasan and Nalini Olivannan, which proved how surprisingly well-informed the partners were.
The Round Table format got everyone talking and the presentations on how women can be attracted to Rotary were innovative and lively. Mary Ellen Matthews, wife of Director John Matthews was emphatic and impactful. She also shared her experiences about the International Assembly. Vasanthi Theenachandran made an interesting presentation on how to make the District Conference more effective.
The discussions ranged from how to increase the membership of women Rotarians in clubs, to how they could enhance the contributions to the Foundation. Dr Sharmishtha Desai gave a practical presentation on projects. Manju Das shared a sensitive account of her experiences as a spouse. Marlene Kamdar shared her secrets on how to be a better aide to VIPs and guests. Usha Saboo’s inspiring presentation on her experiences in Africa moved the audience to plan more international projects. Kiran Jalan added a special touch to the discussions by her effervescent personality.
One of the most interesting sessions, conducted by Nalini Olivannan, focussed on special projects and plans by partners. Most of them had a flagship project to energise the woman power in their district.
Dampathi is the ancient Indian concept of marriage being a journey of partners joined in a common enterprise. Like oxen drawing a cart together. This two-day session proved that Rotary believed in the equal support and strength offered by partners.
‘Friendship is essentially a partnership,’ wrote Aristotle.
“I was amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment among the partners,” says Mala Basker about the partners’ programme. “Usually partners are silent supporters of the governors. In this group I found all of them extremely participative. The format of the programme also allowed for a lot of involvement and interaction.”
The writer is a PDG from D 3232 and conducted an interactive session on how partners could take proactive steps to raise Foundation giving.
Pictures by Rasheeda Bhagat