For a club to endure almost half a century and be as relevant today as it was at its founding is quite a feat. To be more relevant and more valuable today is an honor that goes to a few. Endurance isn’t easy, and ‘meaningful’ endurance is even harder. Zonta Club of Makati and Environs believes that when women and girls realize their full potential, they contribute to better businesses, industries, communities, and families. And this is why it is important to remove obstacles and provide necessary support to those who need it most. Since its founding in 1971, ZCME has been a resource for empowered women to connect, grow their professional networks, and gain valuable leadership insights and skills. Members of the club took the opportunities and acknowledged and commemorated the club’s 49 years of success, growth, and progress on its mission of empowering women and girls. Looking back at its phenomenal growth from a club of 22 members to what it is now today, ZCME cannot help but be humbled and inspired by the trailblazing women leaders who came before them. In honor of its 49th anniversary, and the Installation of Officers and Board of Directors for Biennium 2020-2022, president Vivian Uy talks about the club’s works, and what advancements she hopes the next 50 years will bring for women.
“2020 has certainly been a year no one ever expected. No one planned on having this global pandemic which has held the world hostage and with no proven cure yet in sight. All plans just fell by the wayside. And the easiest thing to do was to hunker down, stay put and play it safe. But I believe otherwise…I believe this is the time we have to pull ourselves up and move forward.
The goals for this biennium are: Empower communities through our Health, Hygiene & Nutrition project, through our Kababaihan livelihood projects, which also provides a micro-lending program, through our Psychological Center for Abused Women and Children, our Empowering Women’s Scholarship Program (EWSP), the BRAVO Awards, and a new project on food share and urban gardening which is in process for launching by next month.
Engage our members. Members are at the heart of Zonta. With engaged and committed members we can deliver more services and advocacy projects that empower women and girls in the community. We will get our members involved through interesting meetings; inviting inspiring speakers who are experts in their fields and are relevant to the times; by finding ways to make our fellowships a more enjoyable experience, and by increasing the value of their membership through leadership development and mentoring.
Embrace new paradigms. Times of crisis usually hit those who are already the most vulnerable, those already facing the most systemic problems of poverty and violence. We have the opportunity to listen and to reach out to communities most harmed by COVID19—low-paid women workers, women who lost their jobs or their livelihood, women and girls who face a greater prospect of being exploited for sex for economic reasons or for simply spending long hours in closed quarters with likely abusers. We will re-shape our projects to address these threats and proactively look at ways to rehabilitate and rebuild women’s lives during and after this pandemic. We will embrace creative ways to deliver our services, exploring new opportunities, and creating processes of cooperation with like-minded organizations because together we can do more. We will tell our story through our enhanced website and by strengthening our social media channel.
And to achieve the three Es, we need to adapt. Membership in our club is composed of perennials and millennials. Many of our projects are long-standing projects. To achieve our goals we must have an adaptive mindset that is willing to learn to do new ways of doing things. All members will use digital platforms and technology to stay connected with people. No existing project will be exempt from review and transformation, and current operating structures will be appraised and updated.
Create opportunities. For people and resources to come together, we need to increase our membership by 15 to 20 percent through the active recruitment of new members who believe in Zonta’s mission. By becoming more inclusive and embracing a culture of diversity; by forming new clubs; and by introducing new relevant projects to help our communities—this can be achieved.
And lastly, we need to thrive. We are committed to ensuring we will be there for our beneficiaries, and our communities when they need us the most. To achieve this, we will need to build our financial resources through an exciting FilipinaZ online fair; by using crowdfunding for special projects, as our traditional sponsors may not be able to help us as much in the current business environment; and by strengthening the building of a robust Legacy Fund, an investment fund that will ensure the continuation of our work in the future.
This isn’t the end of the story. We always presume we have tomorrow. But if there’s one lesson I have learned during this pandemic, it is this: Let us not put off doing what is right and good. And whatever it is we need to do…let us do it now.
Take action now for equal rights, equal representation in decision-making positions, equal access to all resources, and a life free of violence.