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Using district resource networks

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For a long time, the incredible amount of knowledge within Rotary that could help clubs create more effective and sustainable projects was scattered and difficult to access. The creation of district resource networks has remedied that.

People can think of the resource networks as "in-house consulting firms" that collaborate with partners around the world to make humanitarian projects easier to launch and maintain, says Elva Heyge, a district international service chair in Canada. These resource networks bring together the expertise of our own members and of their connections beyond Rotary.

Clubs can get assistance finding language experts, initiating community assessments, designing meaningful service projects, acquiring funding, securing partners, or even sourcing materials or aid in the location where the project will take place. And every expert and partner in the network is carefully vetted by the district, so clubs can have confidence in the guidance they're receiving.

The next goal is for these resource networks to become essential early partners in any club's project planning. But the networks "are not well-understood in Rotary," says Roslyn Teirney, an international service chair in Australia.

"People don't yet know how magnificent it is," Teirney says, "how many subject matter experts are involved, and the opportunities for networking with other Rotary members who are extremely dedicated to international service projects."

Bill Gormont, an international service chair in the United States, hopes members come to understand the vast amount of expertise they can make use of. "You don't have to do this alone," he says. "There's an entire network here that can help. And our hope is that with access to more knowledge, clubs will be encouraged to band together and think bigger about the impact they can make."

In Italy, the resource networks have provided knowledge on projects where members worked with communities to set up clean water and functional toilets for young women in Tibet, build wells for fresh water in Argentina, and provide innovative telemedicine devices for home care during the pandemic in Italy, among many others.

"We are trying to disseminate information" about the resource networks, says Paolo Pasini, an international service chair in Italy. "We are building an impressive network to exchange experiences and move forward together. And it's all coordinated to ensure clubs receive support."

These international service chairs have spent years developing their resource networks, identifying experts in their districts, and connecting Rotary members with the right expertise both domestically and globally.

"If people need help," Heyge says, "I probably know someone who can help."

Connect your club with a district resource network or your district's international service chair.