Over recent weeks I have been a little surprised to hear people taking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in relation to Rotary activity. But I guess when we look at it the concept covers everything we do and how we do it.
So what do Rotarians do? We provide "Community needs on a global scale" and we do this by undertaking Service above Self.
So taking a look at the simplest of hierarchies, in many cases our activities provide for peoples basic needs, safety and security. Our Areas of Focus, Peace and conflict prevention/resolution, Disease prevention and treatment and Water and sanitation concentrate on the basic needs. Our others, Maternal and child health, Basic education and literacy and Economic and community development start to build on the requirements for love and belonging and self esteem.
As I start my District Governor visits to Clubs I realise that for many Rotarians there is a real sense of belonging to a Club, perhaps over and above Rotary International itself. That regular weekly meeting is a place of friendship and fun and can be a regular outing in what could be difficult personal circumstances. The Club meeting can therefore be a real anchor in someone’s life.
For others, who are perhaps more involved in our project work, the sense of achievement from a job well done and the provision of service for others gives a sense of personal esteem, occasionally reinforced by thanks from those that receive our service.
Every now and then a project will provide us with a special Rotary Moment, that spine tingling event that really gets to the heart of what we do and why we do it. It’s these moments that help us move on to more innovative and creative thinking about what it is really possible to do as a member of Rotary.
So, yes, Maslow’s Hierarchy makes a lot of sense of what we do.