Setting a three-point working agenda for Rotarians in zone-4, 5, 6 and 7 (Indian subcontinent) for his presidential year, RI President Shekhar Mehta declared that EOBO (Each One Bring One) pins and ‘thank you’ certificates will be given to those who bring in new members. The thank you note will be signed by Mehta and RI general secretary, and those who bring 25 new members will have their photos displayed in the Virtual Hall of Fame at the RI headquarters in Evanston.
In a freewheeling tete-a-tete over zoom with DGs, zonal and district membership coordinators, regional leaders and club presidents, Mehta called upon them to also focus on two other priority areas — empowering girls and Rotary Days of Service, in which clubs can unite to showcase signature projects of their district once every quarter to enhance Rotary’s public image at a mega event in which non-Rotarians participate in large numbers.
During his visit to the installation events at RIDs 3011 (Delhi), 3141 (Mumbai), and 3131 (Pune), he had persuaded the new governors to raise their membership target to over 2,000 net growth (for each district) this year, he said. “While we have added 40,000 new members in the last 10–12 years, we have inducted over 10,000 Rotarians last year (2020–21) alone across our four zones.” And in the first 25 days of the current year, the zones had already inducted over 10,000 new members. If only each club adopts EOBO, “we can grow more to do more and really move mountains,” he added.
Recalling his meeting with UP chief minister, the MoU with Haryana government, the e-learning content for 1,000 schools in Punjab; and the resolve to do 10 per cent of GoI’s projects in check dams and water bodies in the next five years, he said he will be writing to PM Narendra Modi on Rotary India’s ambition to usher in Saakshar Bharat (literate India) by 2025.
Mehta urged governors to seek the help of Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) and Rotary India Humanity (RIHF) for getting sponsors and finding the right resource persons for project implementation across Rotary’s seven focus areas.
While serving humanity is Rotary’s business, “membership is our greatest asset and gets the highest priority as it is the raw material with which we come out with our finished product, that is, service,” said PRID Kamal Sanghvi, membership chair at RI. The new mantra in the bylanes of the Rotary world is EOBO and “our zones have risen up to his challenge as in just one month (Jan 23-Feb 23, 2021) we inducted over 6,000 new members under the Paul Harris Membership Challenge.”
Calling for a flexible approach in forming clubs, he said, “each district must have at least 10–15 e-clubs as we are opening up to diversify our membership under the new DEI (diversity, equity,
inlcusion) policy. We need to bring in more women in our clubs as they form just 24 per cent of our global membership as against 48 per cent of the world population. In India, women’s membership is much lower at 14–16 per cent.” He mooted the idea of forming Rotary clubs in apartment clusters and residential colonies as part of diversification.
Sanghvi urged DGs to “excite the Rotaractors” to join Rotary clubs and impress each of them to bring at least one Rotarian and a Rotaractor. “We need to be consistent in increasing our brand messaging and visibility through high-impact projects and showcasing our work to a larger audience.” To retain members, club presidents must give opportunities for members to get involved in service projects.
Rotarians, clubs, DGs and district membership chairs (DMCs) who bring in new members will be given appreciation letters signed by Mehta with recognition pins of graded value (Level-1, 2, 3 etc) based on the number of new members they sponsor over time. Likewise, star certifications with pins will be given to DGs and DMCs if they form 10 new clubs and in multiples thereafter. Districts and clubs that achieved 100 per cent retention will get a specially-designed pin with certificate signed by RI president.
“EOBO has become the new religion of Rotary; thanks to Mehta for coming out with a game-changing concept,” he said. Rotarians can also refer their relatives and friends in other cities and towns for membership and get duly rewarded, he added.
Sync data with websites
For clubs to get RI recognition, they have to sync all their uploaded data (membership, projects and programmes) on rotary.org with rotaryindia.org by using the authorised vendor Roster on Wheels, said RID Mahesh Kotbagi. Clubs must actively upload their projects and performance at rotaryindia.org, he said, and added that from Aug 19, a Master Class programme will be held every Wednesday for DGs, district leaders and club presidents on making effective use of this portal and the Rotary India App.
Another priority area is Rotary Days of Service in which during every quarter, a few clubs may join to showcase a mega project of the district for the benefit of the larger public as this would boost the public image of Rotary, thus attracting new members in the process. Each district or a group of clubs can host 3–4 such events in a quarter so that the general public can appreciate the work being done by Rotary.
In his presentation, RID A S Venkatesh said 132 million girls dropped out of school in the last few years across India, which was an alarming situation. All the focus areas of Rotary can be leveraged to empower girls. These include sending them back to school through the Asha Kiran programme, distribution of educational aids, building gender-segregated toilets, gifting bicycles and installing solar lamps in rural homes. “The three As — availability, accessibility and affordability — are critical elements for any project to empower girls/women,” he said. Also, skill development programmes can be designed to provide a regular source of income for them, he said.
A range of advocacy programmes such as talk shows, rallies, nukkad performance, puppet shows and flash mobs can be implemented with the help of Rotaractors, said Venkatesh. Mehta intervened to point out that DGs can share ideas and give suggestions on means to empower rural women by uploading their views and plans on rotaryindia.org. Around 1,200 club presidents, PDGs, governors and Rotary coordinators took part in the webinar.