Rotarian Funke Salau, Opportunities’ President, Rotary Club of Ota District 9110 and a Senior Manager with WEMABOD Estates Limited,a member of Oodua group of companies in the interview with OLORUNDARE ENIMOLA, gave insights into the various community projects she executed in Ota, Ogun State, within six months of her election as the Opportunities’ President of the club, her resilience despite the coronavirus pandemic and passion to do more given similar opportunities and circumstances. Excerpts;
Kindly introduce yourself and your current position in the Rotary Club of Ota, under District 9110.
I am Town Planner Funke Doris Salau, a registered Town Planner, a corporate member of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners and an expert in the field of property management.
Immediate After completion of my NYSC, I joined the establishment of Wemabod Estates Limited, a member of the Oodua group of companies as a pupil estate officer, where I rose to the position of a Senior Manager, in charge of planning and development control activities of the Estates as regards urban planning.
I was introduced to Rotary Club of Ota, District 9110 Nigeria, by HRH Oba Dr. Abdul-Kabir Adeyemi Obalanlege, The Olota of Ota, and I served within the club and the District in various capacities, before being elected as the current opportunities President of the Ota Rotary club.
I was the first Major Donor of Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in all the Clubs in Ogun State as at September, 2020, and a benefactor of Rotary Foundation, Rotary International.
Contributing to the foundation every YEAR, without expecting anything in returns.
All my family members are Paul Harris Fellows of Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
I am an active member and a team player of the Rotary club, Ota. I have received so many awards in my club and at the District level. I have also attended Rotary International Convention.
I am also a DEWEF Ambassador of 2020-21 of Rotary District 9110 Nigeria. I love traveling and had visited so many countries in the world in the course of this humanitarian service and other purposes.Traveling is my hobby
What led you into joining Rotary club and when was that?
I have this passion and mind of helping the less privileged, and have been actively involved with this in my own little way right from my higher institution days, so when the preposition to join the Rotary club was presented to me, it was easy for me to join, realizing that what they were doing is in line with what I have been doing and always wanted to do.
The mission of Rotary as an international service organization, working to bring together business and professional people together towards providing humanitarian services, advance goodwill and peace around the world fits my passion and zeal to help the less privileged. It is also a non-political, religious group that is opened to all, fits into my quality of an ideal organization that I would like to belong to.
As an international club, tell us some of the things your club is doing that is of particular significance and peculiar to Ota where you are domiciled.
Rotary club has seven areas of focus, namely: peace and conflict prevention; Disease prevention and treatment; Water provision and sanitation; Maternal and health care; Basic education and literacy; Economic and community development and supporting the environment.
It is imperative for the various Rotary clubs at each level to touch on the various project areas as itemized by the Rotary club. We also have the Rotary monthly calendar stating what needs to be done and it is expected that you strictly work in conformity with its guidelines par time. If you look at these areas of focus of the club as I specified above, you will see they have relevance to any community where we have human existence, including Ota where we are domiciled.
Long before I became president, I prepared myself to carry out 21 different projects in line with those areas of focus of the Rotary club. And within the first six months of my tenure I was able to carry out 20 of those projects, remaining only one.
Rotary international monitors and keeps citation of these projects at the Rotary centre international. In this Rotary year, my great Club earned the Citiation within six months which is unbelievable to Clubs in the District.
The proposal for these projects is unveiled to the public at an installation event, which is organized and carried out to raise money for the execution of the programmes and projects during your tenure.
To have a successful installation event, I called friends, associates,family colleagues, clients, both locally and from abroad, and gloriously the event was a huge success for me, because the funds realised was far beyond what was ever raised by any of my predecessors.
However, the projects we executed so far have justified the support we received.
In these days of economic downturn occasioned particularly by the pandemic, humanitarian needs have escalated, how has Rotary been able to respond to it, especially at your district level?
As a Town planner, we have a common saying that; ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, so in the spirit of that understanding, we planned out our activities ahead, and by taking proactive steps we were able to adequately handle the pandemic situation when it came upon us unceremoniously.
Rotary International also came to the rescue by providing special intervention funds to mitigate unforeseen situations.
We did not have any assistance from the government however, but from friends and well-meaning individuals who rose to the occasion during the pandemic period enabling us to execute our various projects and programmes.
Please enumerate some of the projects executed by the club during your tenure as the Opportunity President of Ota Rotary Club
We have executed twenty projects so far, which include the following;
(1) . The renovation of administrative Block of Iyesi High School Ota;
(2) . Provision of ICT classroom with computers sets, textbook, Mathematical sets, Pens, exercises books, chats, and provision of Generator to power the computers;
(3.) Rotary international special grant’s project fund of N16 Million was received from Rotary Foundation of Rotary International to equip a health centre in Ota the work is on going
(4) . N12.5 Million was raised at my installation as the 38th Opportunity President of Rotary club of Ota to execute Rotary projects;
(5) . Two Plots of land was acquired for the club to be used as a Vocational Training Centre;
(6) . 25 Women were empowered with N500,000.00.
(7:. Donation of food items to motherless home;
(8) . Donation of facemasks;
(9) . Vocational workshop and training organized to educate young graduate and professionals;
(10) . Traffic control, and distribution of flyers and dustbins to create awareness about Rotary;
(11) Polio eradication awareness trek ,and provision of Dustbins to market women;
(12). Screening of 100 men for Prostate cancer;
(13.) Eye surgery for 100 beneficiaries.
The others include:
(14). Career talk and school debate for secondary school;
(15) 20 students sponsored for Rotary youth leadership training;
(16). Family health day program where 271 people were screened, both adults and children to cure malaria, diabetes, HIV, etc., and provision of drugs and mosquito nets given free of charge;
(17) Peace and conflict prevention/resolution program organised to discuss on how we should be living in peace without any rancor. Feed the hungry projects was also carried out, food stuff such as rice, bread etc were distributed in Iyesi community:
(18).Tree planting to save the environment;
.(19)Provision of Borehole water to a community called unity Estate in Iyana-Iyesi Ota;
(20). Various guest speakers were invited across the globe to educate our members. The last project planned is the erection of a bill board at Oju-Ore in Ota.
There is also a joint project between my club, Rotary Club of Ota, Rotary Club of Bolton Level UK, and Bolton Le Moors to sponsor two girls to the primary school level.
What happens to the projects you carry out afterwards, do you carry out any kind or form of follow ups to consolidate?
We do go back to check on the executed projects to monitor the level of utilisation and impact on the community. However, we do carry out need assessment exercise before embarking on these projects, the assessment gives us a clear picture of projects that are of utmost importance and greatly required by the choice communities before we embark on them, with that, we are sure of the diligent utilisation of such projects without necessarily monitoring them.
How do you get funding to execute these projects?
Like I said initially, most of the funding was raised at the installation event, the choice of the date for the event is the exclusive preserve of a current president and he or she would be responsible for the outcome. If the event provides the required funding it is well and good, if not the person will not to put in more effort.
What are the challenges you encountered or generally associated with this humanitarian work?
The most challenging aspect is getting funding for our charity projects, because it is not everybody that is willing to give money for charitable causes. The economic downturn is also affecting our aspirations to do more in the face of rising humanitarian needs in our society, those willing to help are also contending with the prevailing economic realities.
Rotary International is however helping out with funding and providing supports in the best way it can from time to time. I am not daunted in any way by these challenges, because charity work is what I have been doing ever since I was in school, I am passionate about it.
What advise would you give those wishing to join your club?
To be a Rotarian, you must have the spirit of giving without expecting anything in returns.
Importantly you must be able to use your talents, treasure and Time as a Rotarian to help the less privileged. Service to humanity is the best!
As for me I would continue to offer my best to the club and do much more either in similar capacity or at any level, so I could continue to serve humanity.
Read the Source post on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.