IPDG Mary Shackleton, Zone 32 Empowering Girls Initiative Ambassador
Are you ready to power up Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta’s EMPOWERING GIRLS INITIATIVE in District 7230? As you may have heard, this initiative focuses on the empowerment of girls through club and district events and service activities, as well as through RI-sponsored events such as the Rotary International Convention, Rotary Day at the United Nations, presidential conferences, and Rotary Days of Service.  You can find more about all of President Shekhar's initiatives by pointing your browser to:   https://my.rotary.org/en/news-media/office-president/presidential-initiatives.
More than anything else, President Shekhar is asking us to share our story on Rotary Showcase.  President Shekhar is already telling his story.  On a recent trip to seven African countries, he watched 200 girls make reusable sanitary napkins at a project he visited.  “Period Poverty” is an issue facing females worldwide, even here in the developed world.  PDG Bill Donnelly reports that his club (Rotary Club of Red Bank, New Jersey, USA | District 7505) provides essential supplies to local organizations with support from a District DDF Grant.  Feminine hygiene products are among the most popular items.
Interestingly, the projects that President Shekhar and PDG Bill spoke about were in progress before the Empowering Girls Initiative.  That is one of the key points to keep in mind.  You do not have to implement a new project or reinvent the Rotary wheel.  If you have an ongoing water project, why not adjust the scope of work to help improve the lives of girls in the community?  Measuring your project's impact might be a great way to start!  Determine whether the number of girls remaining in school has increased or assaults upon those previously traveling to distant water sources have decreased.  (Collecting potable water for their family is a leading reason why girls leave school or face attacks in more remote areas.)
Metrics ARE important.  Those numbers help us achieve at least two of Rotary’s Strategic Priorities and Objectives – INCREASE OUR IMPACT and EXPAND OUR REACH.  The data we collect as part of this Initiative will help us improve our ability to achieve and measure the impact of what we are already doing.  We can then use that data to expand our reach by building awareness of our impact and brand.  As President Shekhar has quipped, the Rotary family are great storytellers, but we tend to keep those stories in the family.  That is why entering projects into Rotary Showcase is so vital.  Please remember to use the hashtag - #EmpoweringGirls2021.