I write this article sipping my daily dose of coffee, deep in thought, reflecting on how far we have come as the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central (RCNC). For one last time, allow me to address you as the President of RCNC.
In the past 365days, the great RCNC has come full circle. To understand where we are, allow me to take you back to where we came from.
The beauty of Rotary and Rotaract leadership is that it gives you a platform to explore your extreme idealistic fantasies of what being a leader is all about. While at it, your raw talents and gifts are nurtured through the many opportunities that the organization provides. You get to make mistakes, and somehow, as long as you still have the passion, your fellow Rotarians and Rotaractors trust you again and again with a leadership position.
12 months ago I addressed the members, friends, and family of RCNC as I was taking over the presidency of the club. Having been a member of the club since 2017, I had an evocative picture of what we needed to do as a club. I knew we needed to dream again, we needed a much bigger challenge outside the norm, we needed to pursue a challenge outside our borders. This conviction informed my rallying call then; mold RCNC to be the Premier Rotaract club in Africa – and beyond.
To achieve this, we needed to lay a foundation anchored on five pillars that would map out our path to success; auditing our financial books, donating to the TRF, revamping our digital presence, registering the RCNC Trust Fund, and sprucing up our membership.
I assumed the presidency at RCNC at a time when the club was struggling with the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. This had seen the club restructure all its operations to suit the recommended virtual platforms. With lockdowns and Stay-at-Home directives by the government and the Kenyan Ministry of Health, we lacked a social touch.
However, the board found a way of ensuring the same vigor and glamour of physical meetings would be displayed in our virtual interactions. Almost a year into virtual meetings, RCNC stands more resolute and stronger; like the Egyptian pyramids. Ever heard of a virtual game night; where cake is served? I will be forever grateful to the amazing men and women that served on the 2020/2021 board for daring to dream, despite the enormous challenges that came with the year.
Financially speaking, we are a struggling club; just like other Rotaract Clubs (LOL). Having said that, there has been a constant need to professionally audit our accounting books in the past three years. This would bestow trust from anyone seeking to donate their hard-earned financial resources to our club. It’s against this background that we sought to audit our financial books for the last three rotary years. Bearing in mind that RCNC changes its leadership every year, gathering all relevant financial documents for the last three years initially sounded like a far-fetched idea. Under the able stewardship of our financial team, we are proud to be among the very few Rotaract clubs in District 9212 which have 3 years of audited financial statements
In November 2020, RCNC convened the highest voltage meeting of all times to stir up a discussion on why Rotaractors need to donate towards The Rotary Foundation (TRF); Rotary International’s charity arm which transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. The meeting dubbed a “Race to Zero” attracted Rotaractors from as far as Nigeria with former TRF Chair and TRF Trustee Brenda Cressey gracing the event as the Chief guest. This meeting was a call to action and it warms my heart to say that RCNC is now an all-giving Rotaract club. What this means is that this Rotary year, all our 36 registered members have contributed at least a dollar towards the Rotary Foundation. Yes. It’s through the efforts of each member, led by our TRF Director, that we have been able to contribute over $1220 to the Rotary Foundation this year alone.
“Elimu Magerezani” is another beautiful story that we celebrate as RCNC. This was a signature project started in 2016 seeking to support formal and vocational learning in four borstal institutions in Kenya; which offer corrective training to offenders who are below 21 years of age. 5 years later, the curtains come down on “Elimu Magerezani” and the impact on the target audience is off the hinges! Since its inception, we have raised over 5000 dollars (approximately Half a Million Kenyan shillings) through a call for donations and visited the Shikusa Borstal Institution in Kakamega county, the Shimo la Tewa Borstal Institution in Mombasa County, the Kamiti Youth Correctional and Training Centre and Kamae Girls Borstal Institution (both inside the expansive Kamiti Prison compound) in Kiambu County.
During these annual visits, we offered mentorship, engaged in outdoor games with the kids, and offered donations ranging from; Stationery – pens, pencils, erasers, and notebooks, etc, Literature material: textbooks, teacher guides, magazines, autobiographies, novels, etc, Computers/laptops, Vocational Training and Sporting material. Through “Elimu Magerezani”, RCNC walks head high that we have played a part to better the society by bequeathing these young souls with a second chance at life. I’m super pumped up and thrilled to see which signature project RCNC rolls out for the next 3 – 5years – stand by for that!
As a club taking up such a detailed and meticulous signature project like “Elimu Magerezani” meeting its financial demands has often proved to be draining. This is because 100% of our funds are raised through a call for donations from like-minded individuals. As fate would have it. Rotaract was recently elevated by Rotary International and this means that soon, Rotaract clubs across the globe will be able to draw grants from the Rotary Foundation and implement projects of insane amounts.
To align ourselves with this new development, RCNC kickstarted a journey seeking to establish a trust fund where the club would collect financial resources, hold them in trust over a specific period, and upon maturity, invest in a high voltage community service project. One year later, I’m super proud to announce that the RCNC Trust was officially and legally registered this year. This was a very long process involving a lot of legal jargon but here we are! If you wish to donate towards the RCNC Trust and be part of a beautiful story, click here.
My oh my! The RCNC Blog is an amazing yet innovative idea that the club has achieved this year. Initially, the blog was designed to be a one-stop-shop where members and guests would log on and read a brief synopsis on all meetings we had, but over time, the information trickled down to every event the club conducted throughout the year.To date, the blog boasts of over 1000 active users with over 21 articles shared by our club members over the past 12 months. Talk of a moment captured in the annals of history. Did you hear about the day RCNC members were dancing in the rain at Karura Forest? Or the day members learned First Aid skills – for free? Or what’s all this fuss about “The RCNC Experience”? Why don’t you just head out to the blog by clicking here and read away!
It’s difficult to sum up all what we purposed to achieve during the year. There is so much to talk about and we might need more wine for that. But for now, allow me to take my final bow. I salute everyone who has played a part in making this year a success. RCNC is a purely voluntary club and we rely on the goodwill and partnership from like-minded individuals like you to achieve our goals. To all our partners; we wouldn’t have done it without you. It is because of you that the club won the following Sam Owori Awards;
- Outstanding Community Based Club of the Year Award.
- Outstanding Rotary Foundation Donation by a Club Award.
- Outstanding International Service Award
So, from the bottom of my heart – Thank you.
Dear loyal reader; I have one last humble request – that you support the incoming president, Ruth Kihoro, and accord her as much support as she may need, same respect and trust that you granted me in the last 12months.
In the end, what we have is a community in need of our service. Our purpose then, as long as we are part of the RCNC family, the Rotaract family, the Rotary family should be to change lives. It’s our hope and prayer that one day, should anyone in our community need help, they will find our footprints in the sand; and because of those same footprints, the world will be a better place.
Ambrose Mbuvi; President 2020/2021, and
Steve Maina; Vice President 2020/2021