First and foremost – thank you to everyone for your involvement in making this global grant a reality which in my view has really engaged Rotarians and changed lives!
Rotarian Bob Butz and myself from District 5630 have recently returned from Bangalore India who along with many Rotarians from District 3190 visited many schools, communities, and Rotary Clubs involved with the implementation of the Light for Education global grant. This was a lifetime opportunity for Bob and myself to see firsthand the works of Rotary International and be involved with the implementation of this project.
From our experience:
- The project scope was very well defined in that the local site assessment with feedback from the educational system and local teachers / administration was utilized to target immediate needs along with a sustainable future outcome. The schools and local Rotary Clubs knew of the project and timing of the event because of their involvement in the planning, which provided very positive communications and anticipation with the parents and communities.
- There were very important partnerships formed within this project. The Project Management Institute partnered with District 3190 to develop a management structure for implementation, monitoring, and assessment which was very valuable to the current and future success of this project. The fact that a local business had the vision and trust with local Rotarians and the belief in the project was very impressive to see happen. The local partnership with a company that provides all of the installation of the solar panels including future maintenance and telephone hotline availability for service was represented proudly. The commitment of the Menda Foundation to extend the positives of this project because of their belief in this project and the work of Rotary is very commendable and convinces us that the project scope and assessment was correct.
- The equipment provided lamps, chargers, solar panels, and E Learning kits were very well thought out and best equipment available were provided along with a seven year warranty and maintenance plan in place to sustain the life expediency of the project and it’s benefits. All of the schools we visited were very proud of the new equipment and eager to take ownership in training staff and developing monitoring and scheduling of the equipment. The children were exited for their or their siblings turn to get to use the technology.
- The engagement of the Rotarians in District 3190 to this project and other projects was unbelievable, which was very visible at every level of Rotarians within the District. Local Clubs took positive ownership of the schools within their areas and it was very obvious of the impact Rotary plays within the schools and communities we visited. District leadership has in place a very positive communication path which promotes accountability and engagement.
- The school staffs were excited and engaged with the new teaching resources within the project and were all positive on the benefits they could expect. We had meetings with the India Ministry of Education with very positive responses for the opportunities being provided to support education in India.
With children as are our future and education being the key, this project can and will make a huge impact in our view. Children need opportunities to be successful and our teachers need resources to help the children reach their potentials which then magnifies within our schools and communities. We definitely saw that happen during our visit with local representation of the community, parents, and media at the schools we visited. The real benefit for this type of project is to build goodwill through showing students and communities that we care and of the true importance that education can make. Bob and I both feel that we experienced that behavioral change at the schools with kids and the staff through Rotary.
A very well developed and run project in our view and one that definitely needs to be expanded in the future. We wish to thank our very hospitable hosts from District 3190 and especially the Bangalore West Club & President G. Shantaram for seeing to all our needs during our stay. Thank you also for receiving us at your district conference, it was great meeting all your dedicated Rotarians and speakers.
DRFC & DGN