Malaya Achievers: Pioneering Virtual Connections

By Marianick Villegas | Posted on May 21, 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic happened and mandated everyone to stay at home, the first challenge faced by Rotary and Rotaract clubs is how they will continue club activities and service projects given the limitations on face-to-face interaction.

The same dilemma was faced by the Rotaract Club of San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers in Quezon City, the host club of the 13th national District Rotaract Representatives Training. The initial plan was to have it face-to-face and be held in April 2020, but they had to postpone it to June 2020, still lingering on the possibility that the pandemic may have ended early. Unfortunately, it did not happen. 

Digitizing Trainings

During that time, virtual meetings and activities were not yet the standard. However, the Rotaract Club realized that they have to master it as there is no other choice but to adapt. The Rotaract Club and its members took time to study how to operate Zoom and know all its functionalities. The Rotaract Club also surveyed all other platforms available to be integrated into the training to achieve the best training experience for the next district leaders. They know that if they have been able to stage an outstanding virtual training, the leaders will be inspired to follow suit and innovate.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2020-06-30-at-6.23.04-AM-1024x553.png
13th DRR training participants playing Kahoot!, a digital quiz app, to assess their prior knowledge of Rotary and Rotaract

True enough, the club made history as one of the first to pioneer virtual training. It is one of the clubs to introduce Kahoot!, a quiz app used commonly by teachers for assessing students’ understanding of lessons, as an engagement activity for training. The Rotaract Club also introduced Mentimeter, a web-based tool that can solicit participants’ perspectives on topic areas through polls, word clouds and rating scales. The Rotaract club also featured games that maximized the audio, video and chat functions of the virtual platforms and were made exciting with good visuals. 

Inviting Foreign Speakers

The Rotaract Club was also among the first to introduce locally the concept of inviting people from various parts of the world to speak in the training. For the first time, Filipino Rotaract leaders had the chance to listen to Rotary International (RI) and global Rotary and Rotaract leaders, including live interaction with RI President Holger Knaack himself.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is FBOFYz-kxxdqaBG_BrlR1HMy8Ub5wvhPYufLufl9Ybh1IMs4ZNsyjs_0aNmr7_WMwFK2i06btHrhN9fokLFQKiV_FT80P4PYcvK-xQOT7h1aY0u73s0tOpJjG3bbdA
Live chat with RI President Elect Holger Knaack where he answered questions from Filipino Rotaractors 

Using Online Games in Club Meetings

The Rotaract Club also utilized all available online games and apps to bring maximum engagement to club meetings. Who would have thought that bingo and karaoke are possible in a Zoom meeting?

Embracing eLearning

The Rotaract Club was also the first to adopt and promote eLearning as a form of member learning and development. The Rotary Learning Center is a hidden gem for being a source of helpful content that can train members on club and district administration. The Rotary Learning Center also has other content for members’ professional development. Hence, the Rotaract Club challenged its members to take a certain number of eLearning courses through their Rotary Learning Center eLearning Challenge. The concept was adopted as a pre-term training requirement for the annual DRR training, and the district’s Presidents and Secretaries Elect Training Seminar and District Team Training Seminar for Rotaract. As virtual training cannot be done at longer durations due to the risk of losing participants’ attention, why not ask them to learn the fundamental concepts through eLearning?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is keqMu4B5lhU5gGqegGmE4S88zdzv2CA8K6DyUgrwaJWPFbVShgb1SeZtS2iOL-fI09QCgxPsX8iGya6VGLgKZH8HM6-c2rfL2yFxQbj6o80MV52Zf2sp8_kOZDSPdQ
eLearning Challenge card to promote taking of online courses available at Rotary Learning Center

Animating Ceremonial Activities

The Rotaract Club was also one, if not among the first, to conduct a virtual handover and induction ceremony—a concept novel back then with Rotaract club immediate past presidents on dilemma on how they will ceremonially transfer the leadership to the current presidents. A one-of-a-kind virtual handover and induction ceremony is indeed possible using animation and videos.

Virtual Fundraising

The Rotaract Club was also one of the first clubs to highlight that virtual fundraising is possible. As lack of PPEs for frontliners back then is a pressing issue, the Rotaract Club used social media tactics and digital payment channels for fundraising. The project highlighted that service is possible without risking your safety. All you need is to establish coordination with people on the ground to deliver your service to the community.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tTBRPjWNg8VccD7gpEzGwwlz_Z52wBKRGDnT5C4AFzkqRczcI6ycNs-j_2tjpaECtEi5C5ATyVoOmWvofG72Lrz9HaNTbgtTOOL4LQ_tAAawRcjtmaPF4R8mlhb9Ww
Online fundraising for PPEs at the early days of the pandemic

Opening Opportunities for Greater Rotary and Rotaract Club Collaboration

Going virtual also opened many opportunities for greater Rotary and Rotaract club collaboration. As meetings are virtual and Rotarians know that they have to learn it from their Rotaractors to adapt to the current setup, meetings of the Rotaract Club and its sponsor have become joint since the start of the Rotary year and happen every Thursday night. Once a month, Rotaract clubs are tasked to host the meeting as an opportunity to introduce fresh ideas, trending topics or introduce Rotaract initiatives to Rotarians for better understanding.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vryWTeo7_DebssY21VPfOe0EX9n37TmulqZXTSM9TfMhBqXsfy-0Tm_FR0MY3UUgKKYxU_BM611nPJcXmHauC5mjXzNMNfwY4ZV9lOkTAL97wzlfYaeqWKJgHZQY_g
The 13th DRR training used Mentimeter app to solicit perspectives of participants on certain Rotaract thrusts or concerns

Going Digital as the Silver Lining of the Pandemic

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed everybody to transform for the better and tap existing digital assets taken for granted for so long. Going virtual meant for Rotaract and Rotary to work together. To increase Rotary’s ability to adapt, they need to learn and be inspired by the younger generation. Going digital has indeed paved the way for many innovations and continues to open more uncharted doors. Even when things get back to normal, Rotaractors and Rotarians have learned that going virtual is not going backwards.

About Malaya Achievers Rotaract Club

The Rotaract Club of San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers is a 27-year-old Rotaract Club in Quezon City under Rotary International District 3780 and sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Francisco Del Monte. “Malaya” was added to the Rotaract Club name to commemorate the street where the sponsor club’s Rotary Center building was located. More than that, “Malaya” also signifies the aspiration of the Rotaract club to be self-sustaining in terms of developing and conducting innovative projects that address the community’s pressing challenges. “Achievers” was also added to the club name from the belief of a Rotary Club Past President that the Rotaract club will leave a big impact and its members will achieve greater heights to be known as role models for their fellow youth and the community. True enough, the Rotaract Club has been a multi-awarded Rotaract Club in the district and the country, produced District Officers, DRRs and MDIO Chair and has a lot of twin clubs here and abroad. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is JOt_p-eBWEsHNK9sMDYxVvOG-5qM290Czi_jDSCO6f7-QWJyq00OH_tj9VA9imw1Xp4ZzrBbz1i5Z_U4oOr8SGlQoIDOdFozDVdtdiUsx8e01EM-VGTHuMEiGEqRV8TDmDfcYXo
The charter members of the Rotaract Club of San Francisco Del Monte Malaya Achievers (circa 1994).

Share and Enjoy !