True Roots assesses social responsibility projects for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals, proposing strategies and tools for planning, risk management, and impact measurement. One such organization is Rotary International, a nonprofit bringing together 1.2 million business and community leaders dedicated to humanitarian service and promoting peace and goodwill worldwide. These individuals form part of 34,000 Rotary clubs in 200 counties, and carry out projects to combat pressing social issues such as disease, inadequate sanitation, unclean drinking water, illiteracy, poverty, hunger, and environmental destruction. Rotary International and Rotarians represent a global force for good, demonstrating the power dedicated, likeminded individuals have in working towards a better future.
Like any social responsibility initiative, Rotary club projects require strong planning, management, and monitoring and evaluation components in order to ensure positive project impact. As such, the Rotary Club Centenario in Torreón, México reached out to True Roots Consulting Group for assistance with managing and measuring the impact of their various social projects. Of primary concern, a family garden and food security project the club has supported for the past six years, growing from 20 participants to over 500. Rotary Club Centenario would like to continue expanding the initiative, while encouraging participants to take a more active role in planning, managing, and measuring the impact of the project.
True Roots consultants Summer Lewis and José Luis Zárate visited Torreón to carry out an assessment of Rotary Club Centenario and their projects, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Over the course of three days, José Luis and Summer met with participants in the family garden project in order to better understand the challenges they face and their vision for the project in both the short- and long-term. Summer and José Luis also met with Antonio Narro Agricultural University extension officers—students who provide technical assistance to the project, putting their knowledge into practice while fulfilling community service requisites for their degree. To culminate the visit, the True Roots team witnessed club members in action at a weekly meeting and as hosts of the month-long Torreón Fair, a massive event which draws thousands of visitors annually and raises funds for Rotary clubs in Coahuila state.
During their visit, Summer and José Luis were impressed with stakeholders’ commitment and drive—elements that are absolutely essential to moving this (and any) project forward. Based on this momentum, True Roots has developed a comprehensive work plan with Rotary Club Centenario that taps and directs stakeholders’ energy. Activities include:
- Assisting Rotary Club Centenario members in preparing a three-year strategic plan for club projects, defining action items, actors and their involvement, and expected outcomes.
- Engaging club members, family garden project participants, and agricultural extension officers in 116 hours of training on developing and implementing efficient and effective projects. Specific topics include: strategic planning, participatory leadership, assertive communication, team building, participatory development tools and strategies, and financial literacy.
- Building a monitoring and evaluation “tool kit” and guiding stakeholders in measuring, analyzing, and sharing the impact of the project.
- Creating an innovative work model for the Rotary Club Centenario, which can be adapted and applied within other Rotary clubs in Mexico and beyond.
Overall, the goal of this collaboration between True Roots and Rotary Club Centenario is to ensure stakeholders have the necessary tools and training to plan, implement, and measure the impact of this and future projects—to foment self-management capacities and resiliency. This work model has the potential to be adapted and applied to other Rotary clubs, thus presenting the opportunity to draw attention to Rotary International’s tremendous global impact.