October Area of Focus - Economic and Community Development


Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. - Arthur Ashe

Economic and community development is one of Rotary’s six areas of The Rotary Foundation’s focus.

Nearly 1.4 billion employed people live on less than $1.25 a day. Rotary members promote economic and community development and reduce poverty in underserved communities through training, well-paying jobs, and access to financial management institutions. Projects range from providing people with equipment to vocational training. We work to strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.

Unemployment, underemployment, lack of economic opportunity, lack of appropriate training, and the absence of social safety nets lie at the core of poverty. For the poor, labor is often the only asset available to improve well-being. Creating productive employment opportunities is essential for reducing poverty and achieving sustainable economic and social development, and for providing income security and empowerment especially for women, people with disabilities, youth, and the extremely poor.

Determining your community’s needs and resources is an important starting point for any community project. Community assessments identify the community’s strengths and weaknesses and how Rotarians will be able to work with the community to meet its needs.

It is vital to conduct a community assessment, often in conjunction with a cooperating organization, before starting your project. Remember to consider the historical, cultural, and social dynamics of the community with which you wish to partner. You’ll not only identify the core needs and select the most appropriate project, but will also ensure support and sustainability for your endeavors.

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