By Quentin Wodon
Rotary is about service and fellowship. While some value fellowship the most, others place the emphasis on service as the defining characteristic of their Rotary experience. I tend to belong to the second group. I believe in the importance of thinking through the design of our service projects to ensure they have a lasting and measurable impact on those we are trying to help.
That is why I am excited about an upcoming event for International Women’s Day that will feature two women who have exemplified this in their tireless work on behalf of the less fortunate. Both Marion Bunch and Deepa Willingham have been recognized by Rotary as Women of Action, and for good reason. They will be featured in an event on 8 March from 14:00 to 15:00 Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5) at the World Bank. The event will be streamed live, and a recording will be available later.
Marion Bunch is the head of Rotarians for Family Health & AIDS Prevention. Bunch acted on a heart-felt desire to extend health care to hundreds of thousands who lacked it, and has helped organize free Family Health Days in several countries in Africa and now South Asia. The health screenings are both effective and economical.
Deepa Willingham founded PACE Universal out of a desire to empower young women from impoverished areas through education, health, nutrition, and social development. I talked to Willingham recently, and was impressed at her commitment and dedication. When she left her native India to pursue a degree in the United States, she made a vow to return home and effect real change for girls there. She is keeping that vow, having returned to India to manage several different interventions including opening a secondary school in a village that lacked one and helping women earn a decent wage.
The Women’s Day event is an excellent opportunity to hear and learn from these women. Please share this information with Rotary members you know and your friends. Let’s be inspired to do great service through Rotary.
About the author: Quentin Wodon is a lead economist at the World Bank. He holds PhDs in economics and in theology and religious studies, and has taught at universities in Europe and the U.S. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., and is involved in several innovative global grants. He is also author of the Rotarian Economist blog.