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Increasing our ability to adapt

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Overcoming challenges

To succeed, organizations must be nimble, responsive, and open to new ideas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotary has demontrated that we can adapt in the face of adversity — and thrive. Balancing our traditions with the needs of today and tomorrow creates experiences and relationships that will carry us forward for years to come.

As stay-at-home orders took effect around the world, Rotary found ways to keep going. When student travel through Rotary Youth Exchange was suspended, virtual exchanges allowed young people to meet and collaborate with new friends from faraway communities. And when Oktoberfest was canceled in Munich, Germany, the Rotary Fellowship for Beer hosted a 24-hour virtual global beer festival. Starting at 17:00 New Zealand time, more than 500 participants raised their glasses while raising funds for the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Rotary Action Group.

The Rotary Club of Colombo Reconnections, Western Province, Sri Lanka, not only adapted its approach to service during the pandemic but also expanded its reach by collaborating with program participants. The club used virtual meetings to teach its community how to slow the spread of COVID-19 while Sri Lankan Interactors used their social media networks to encourage people to wear masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing. When the nation’s lockdown order was lifted in May 2020, Interactors helped schools implement COVID-19 safety protocols so they could reopen.

Clubs are increasing their ability to adapt by:

  1. Establishing funds to be spent on trying new ideas and activities

  2. Experimenting with new meeting schedules, formats, and locations

  3. Re-evaluating their governance structures and making them more inclusive and effective

  4. Inviting community members to advise on or participate in projects so they can offer new perspectives