It is certainly true that the reasons for a person joining Rotary are varied and many. For some, it’s the personal and business networking that motivates them. For others, it’s fellowship and a sense of belonging to a world-wide organization of people. Still for others, it’s a status symbol. Whatever the reasons, everyone has one. Sadly, some of the reasons don’t fit Rotary’s primary purpose; a network of problem solvers living the mantra of Service Above Self.

Networking for professional and personal development is laudable, so is the quest for social recognition through association with entities that have an impact, and so is an opportunity to travel around the world to Rotary events. My fear is that the essence and core responsibility of being a Rotarian is being lost on many around the world, at least from my club.

Many of us travel on expensive budgets to Rotary events, yet we have not contributed a single cent to The Rotary Foundation where our investment into communities around the world comes from. I simply cannot comprehend this and I am certain that there are many of us thinking alike.

However, it is obvious that there are also many who do not feature the Foundation in their budget priorities, and that, whether they donate or not to the Foundation, they consider themselves a Proud Rotarian as long as they pay dues. This must change. Privileges come with responsibilities whether voluntary or compulsory. Whoever enjoys the privileges has an inherent moral obligation to live the responsibilities as well.

It is unbelievable that many clubs struggle to have members offering themselves up for leadership, club service, community service, and even participation in club meetings, projects, and other events. Being Proudly Rotarian is not just an empty accolade and status symbol. Rather, it is a call for service and commitment to hold true the driving motive of Rotary. It’s a call to give of yourself to the world community in giving to support and strengthen the Rotary Foundation’s humanitarian efforts around the globe. It’s a call to build strong clubs and use our skills, professional knowledge, and technical know how to bring happiness to people in our communities.

If this is not your core understanding of what it means to be Proudly Rotarian, I guess you are simply and unfortunately a mere member of Rotary.

I am a Rotarian and Proudly so. Which are you?

By Frank Kofi Owusu Debrah, Foundation Chair and Past President of the Rotary Club of Sunyani Central, Ghana