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 Celebrate Literacy Ideas (September 2022)
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Promoting literacy and education is one of Rotary International’s seven areas of focus. The Rotary Foundation supports education through scholarships, donations, and service projects around the world.

Rotary’s goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy. Rotarians support education for all children and literacy for children and adults.

To implement the literacy goals of Rotary International, District 5960 supports a Literacy Team which encourages clubs to implement literacy projects. The goal of the District Literacy Team

is to provide guidance, resources, and recognition to clubs interested in helping communities address the full range of literacy challenges for learners of all ages, as well as teacher training.

What is a literacy project?

A literacy project can be as straightforward as raising funds to buy a set of books for a school, community group, or a retirement village. But a project is not necessarily about raising money. It can be about educating people who need support in developing literacy
skills needed for everyday life. 

How to choose a literacy project?


There are many things to consider when choosing a literacy project for your Rotary Club. Club projects are just like other things; they need to be evaluated with regularity to ensure they still are the best value for dollars and time spent. The points below address only a few of the things we, as club members, must consider when allocating resources to literacy projects.

  1. What group are you projecting to target?  What is the need within that group? How will you assess the need? With whom will you talk? Literacy needs exist from cradle to career. Assess where there is greatest need, consider less served groups (like Correction Services, Visual/Hearing Impaired, Homelessness) and see if there is something your Rotary club can do to improve the quality of life for your local or global neighbors.  The key is assessing the need.
  2. Once you know the need and have a plan to address it, ask yourselves: What is the intended impact of the program? How do you plan to evaluate your program? You may also want to consider planning ahead for how you will expand the project.
  3. Consider opportunities to partner with others to increase the effectiveness of the project. Sometimes the expense and administration of a project make it imperative to involve other members of the community. In addition, this often   allows expanded awareness, which will assist in alerting target groups and spread knowledge of the program and of your club.
  4.  Is this project currently valid or has technology reduced its usefulness? Literacy support resources have changed with the rapid increase of technology in the learning environment making traditional resources less engaging and useful.
  5. Does the project consider the cultural background of the targeted group? There needs to be an awareness of the cultural practices, values and sometimes income levels of the targeted group.

This short list of things to consider is meant to promote thoughtful analysis of the projects supported by Rotary Clubs. As George Bernard Shaw said: “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” Evaluation is essential., 

Questions: Contact David Waldschmidt, Team Lead, Stillwater Sunrise Rotary Club