by Carl Treleaven
 
 
May, 2024 is both Rotary’s month to celebrate Youth Service as well as hold the Rotary International Convention in Singapore from May 25 through the 29th. I’d like to talk about both.
 
RAGCED is involved in three different ways with Youth Services. The first involves vocational training. Of all the different areas in which RAGCED helps Rotary Clubs with global grants, vocational training is one of the largest. Without a doubt, one of the very best ways to alleviate poverty is by creating good jobs. Unfortunately, in too many parts of the world, the job prospects for young people are bleak. The best thing Rotarians can do is to help young people gain valuable vocational skills that can be used in work. Recently, RAGCED was involved in the creation of the new Rotary Fellowship for IT Professionals. A key objective of this new Fellowship is to do projects that help young people gain IT skills.
 
A second way that RAGCED is involved with Youth is through Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholarships. These are scholarships provided to university graduates to pursue graduate level study in one of the Rotary Foundation’s seven areas of focus. Naturally, RAGCED is focused on scholarships in the Community Economic Development area of focus. The lives of scholarship recipients are, without doubt, transformed by the experience.
 
A third way that RAGCED is involved with youth is through microfinance, particularly in village savings groups. Quite often, microfinance funds are used by families to pay for schooling. Families lack the funds to educate their children, so funds are borrowed to pay for education. To the extent we can expand funding for microfinance, particularly for village savings groups, educational opportunities for children will likely increase. RAGCED is working with World Vision to obtain a Rotary Foundation global grant to help fund village savings groups in rural Uganda. Without a doubt, much of that money will be lent out to families with limited opportunities to afford school tuition. Village savings groups should increase those opportunities.
 
May is also when the Rotary International Convention will be held in Singapore. RAGCED will offer five different ways to interact with Rotarians. All of these will create opportunities to learn more about the work of RAGCED, as well as connect with other Rotarians and Rotaractors from around the world who are similarly interested in economic development.
 
The first opportunity will be RAGTIME, a gathering of all twenty-five Rotary Action Groups (RAGs) to connect and socialize. The event will be held at the Park Royal Pickering Hotel on Thursday evening, the 23rd beginning at 7 pm Singapore time. Tickets are available through the RAGCED website or through rotaryactiongroups.org.
 
A second opportunity will be a breakout session held at the WASH RAG summit held on Friday, the 24th. This is an excellent conference called World Water Summit, held during the day on Friday, the 24th at the ParkRoyal on Beach Road beginning at 8 am Singapore time (UTC+8). This event can be attended both in person and virtually. To register, please visit https://wash-rag.org/events/wws16-sustainable-sanitation/. Peter Verbeeck and I will participate in a breakout session at WWS 16. The focus of our presentation will be on ways to make sanitation projects more economically sustainable and viable. If we’re ever going to solve the water and sanitation problem worldwide, we’ve got to offer a solution based upon economic sustainability, not charity. This session will discuss ways to do that.
 
Beginning Saturday, May 25th, RAGCED will offer a third convention opportunity. We will be hosting a booth in the House of Friendship that will be open until Wednesday afternoon, the 29th. Our booth number is 1628. Thanks very much to Peter Verbeeck, Nick Frankle, and Jim Louttit for their diligent efforts to set up and staff our booth. Even if you’re not attending the convention, encourage your fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors to visit.
 
There’s a fourth RAGCED opportunity at the Singapore convention. On Tuesday, the 28th at 4:30 pm Singapore time (UTC+8), we’ll be hosting a project fair in Heliconia 3413. Nesta Hatendi and Mary Coward are organizing the project fair and promising presentations about various economic development projects in a range of different geographies. It should be well worth your time to visit.
 
Finally, on Wednesday, May 29th, RAGCED will offer a fifth convention opportunity. This will be a breakout session held at 9:30 am Singapore time (UTC+8) in Jasmine 3905. The breakout panel will include Nick Frankle, Jim Louttit, and me from RAGCED as well as several leaders from World Vision. We’ll be discussing a tremendous new project that World Vision and RAGCED will be undertaking in Uganda involving village savings groups. Over the next few months, we’ll be talking more about this exciting project.
 
No doubt, May will be a busy month, one filled with multiple opportunities in economic development. I encourage you to participate. If you can’t be there in person, get your fellow club members involved.

 
Warm regards,
Carl W. Treleaven PDG
Chair/President (RY 2023-25)
RC of Saint Petersburg, FL USA