The program includes general and breakout sessions, with concurrent tracks for youth. Join the Rotary family, young leaders, community members, civic dignitaries, scholars, medical professionals, and university and business experts in the field of research for disease prevention and treatment for this one-day program in the historic International City of Peace.
The Board of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation 2017 - 18
Three Rotary women were honored 7 March 2018 at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., USA for their commitment to improving lives through innovative humanitarian projects.
The celebration, hosted by the World Bank Group Staff Association, and sponsored by Rotary International and investment firm Oppenheimer & Co., was one of many events held this week to mark International Women's Day, which is on 8 March each year. It highlighted the positive changes women make around the world. Annette Dixon, vice president of the World Bank for South Asia, moderated the event.
Speaking to more than 300 people, with thousands watching the livestream, Dr. Geetha Jayaram, Marie-Irène Richmond Ahoua, and Danielle De La Fuente, all Rotarians, told their stories and explained how their work helped poor women in India gain access to mental health care, vaccinate hundreds of thousands against polio in West Africa, and empower refugee children around the world.
"These are women of action who are making a huge contribution to the world," Dixon said. "They have given a lot of themselves to their initiatives and are playing a leadership role for many women."
Jayaram, a member of the Rotary Club of Howard West, Maryland, USA, and a recipient of the Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award, told the audience that her mental health clinic has provided nearly 2,000 poor people, mostly women, each year with comprehensive care in more than 200 villages in southern India.
The Maanasi Clinic, founded by Jayaram, has been recognized by the World Health Organization for its effort to advance mental health care in developing countries. Its services also focus on vision, hearing, geriatric care, and vocational rehabilitation. The clinic, which operates in partnership with St. John's Medical College, has received funding from the Rotary Club of Columbia, Maryland, and Rotary grants. In total, the clinic has reached nearly six million housholds since it began in 2002.
"I never expected I would feel so fulfilled and gratified by these women who have so little, who will welcome you in their home and share their most intimate details of their lives," Jayaram said. "That is a large gift to me and our workers."
Jayaram is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Marie-Irène Richmond-Ahoua, a member of the Rotary Club of Abidjan-Bietry, Côte d’Ivoire, served as Rotary’s PolioPlus chair for her country and now helps coordinate immunization activities in West Africa. She is an international communications consultant and worked as an outreach adviser for the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire.
Richmond-Ahoua was recognized by Bill Gates at the 2017 Rotary Convention in Atlanta for her role in polio eradication and peace.
"Volunteering has brought me much happiness, and some tears. It has allowed me to see the world through different lenses," Richmond-Ahoua said. "We must believe in what we are doing regardless of the challenges we will face."
She adds: "And my greatest reward? The smile of a mother after her childr has just been immunized."
Danielle De La Fuente, a member of the Rotary Club of Coronado Binacional, California, USA, is co-founder of The Amal Alliance. The nonprofit group empowers refugee children around the world through social development and educational programs. She worked at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., where she fostered good relations across the Middle East South Asia.
De La Fuente told the audience that 65 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide, 77 percent of whom are children. "Imagine a world where children have no dreams," De La Fuente said. "That is a reality I choose not to accept."
"The need for compassionate people has never been greater than now," she adds. "What is our future if our next generation is unable to dream? I call on all of you to take action and make a difference."
Source: www.rotary.org -
For the 10th consecutive year, The Rotary Foundation has received the highest rating — four stars — from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S.
In the most recent ratings, the Foundation earned the maximum of 100 points for demonstrating both strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.
In a letter to the Foundation, Charity Navigator notes that "only 1 percent of the charities we evaluate have received at least 10 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that The Rotary Foundation outperforms other charities in America. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets The Rotary Foundation apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness."
The rating reflects Charity Navigator's assessment of how the Foundation uses donations, sustains its programs and services, and practices good governance and openness.
- Rotary International
District governors-elect got their first look at the 2018-19 presidential theme Be the Inspiration Sunday at the International Assembly, an annual training event for incoming district leaders. RI President-elect Barry Rassin urged the audience to build a stronger organization by inspiring a younger generation and by getting the word out to the community at large about the work Rotary does. “I will ask you to inspire with your words and with your deeds: doing what we need to do today, to build a Rotary that will be stronger tomorrow; stronger when we leave it, than it was when we came.”
We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts on being the inspiration.
Charles Tondeur, Rotary Club of Hazebrouck-Merville, France (District 1520): “I think Rotary needs to be open to new ideas, and this theme encourages us to think about ideas that will inspire our members. Inspiring is about bringing new energy.”
Yoko Hattori, Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, Japan (District 2750): “This theme is clear and direct, which is going to be useful and powerful for the leadership in districts. He’s asking us to think about how we take care of our Rotary family, but also how we inspire beyond Rotary.”
Malcolm Kerr, Rotary Club of Cobram, Australia (District 9790): “I thought the theme was, well, inspiring. I especially like the way he talked about the sea connecting us all. We have to inspire our districts, we have to inspire our clubs, we have to inspire our individual members, and we have to inspire in the world beyond Rotary. It’s a pyramid of possibilities.”
Jim Cupper, Rotary Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA (District 6360): “What I really liked was Barry Rassin’s emphasis on the environment and how we’re going to fit that into the things that Rotary does. Be the Inspiration is easy for most of us to work into our message to our districts and our leadership teams. Part of inspiring our clubs will be training them to use the amazing tools that Rotary has.”
Linda Murrary, Rotary Club of South Everett/Mukilteo, Washington, USA (District 5050): “The theme is so important to Rotary right now, when we all need inspiration. Barry Rassin talked about getting the word out, so I’m going to go post the theme and talk about it on Facebook tonight! His message on membership is so important, urging us to be open to new ideas. ”
- Hank Sartin, Rotary editorial staff in Rotary Voices
Rotary Peace Fellow Linda Low could not have known what world events would bring when she took a position as the communications manager for the Europe region of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 2015.
But shortly after she started her new job, the migration crisis began to overwhelm Europe. Low saw the waves of migrants and heard their stories firsthand. This challenging experience sparked her desire to help communities in conflict and ultimately led Low to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is studying the connection between the environment and peace.
Linda Low will speak on 10 February at the first of six presidential peacebuilding conferences in locations around the world between February and June
Low will speak on 10 February at a conference on environmental sustainability and peace hosted by RI President Ian H.S. Riseley in Vancouver, B.C. It will be the first of six presidential peacebuilding conferences in locations around the world between February and June, focusing on the connection between building peace and Rotary’s areas of focus.
Low spoke with The Rotarian about her work and how the environment affects peace.
Q: What’s your background?
A: I am a communicator by trade. I started in corporate communications but always volunteered with the Red Cross in Vancouver. The more involved I got with the Red Cross, the more I realized my values really aligned personally with the work of organizations like this. They do disaster relief but also build stronger communities.
Q: You worked for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies a total of six years. What led you to leave this work to become a Rotary Peace Fellow?
A: Over six years at the Red Cross Red Crescent, again and again as we responded to crises, words that kept coming up were “climate change.” In the Syrian crisis, drought was happening in rural areas, and farmers moved into the urban centers where they were competing for limited resources. I remember thinking that if I had to be part of it I would go back and tackle climate change.
Then I received the gift of this generous scholarship from The Rotary Foundation and the opportunity to go to Duke and study the nexus between policy, environment, climate change, and community.
Q: Do you have a specific area of study in your program?
A: I am focusing on the link between food waste and climate change. As food rots in landfills it creates methane, which is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases. In the developed world, we all waste food. If I don’t waste one banana, that’s not a great impact, but if everyone in my community, everyone in my state doesn’t waste, then there is greater impact.
Q: What has been your experience as a peace fellow?
A: Everything I have learned here is elevating my game. Coming into this program I could write a great story that could bring you to tears, but I did not understand the science and economics behind it. Now I understand science and economics. I can bring that holistic view to drive solutions that are truly sustainable. I want to mobilize people in every community to reduce food waste and help build healthier environments and secure food systems.
–Susie Ma in The Rotarian
We are close to eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history. A global public-private partnership has reduced the poliovirus caseload by 99.9% over the last 30 years, but there’s still plenty of work to do.
Even before we reach that milestone, the knowledge and infrastructure built to fight polio is being repurposed to take on other global challenges.
3 countries where polio is still endemic
Fewer than 40 children were paralysed by polio in 2016, the lowest number in history. This is a dramatic decrease from the estimated 350,000 cases per year in 125 countries that the world saw in 1985 — the year that Rotary International initiated a worldwide effort to eradicate this terrible disease.
155: the number of countries involved in largest coordinated vaccine switch in history
In 1988, Rotary was joined in the effort by WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF (and more recently the Gates Foundation) to create the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
Today the virus is limited to a few areas in just three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
In response, Nigeria intensified surveillance activities to pinpoint where the virus is circulating.
In Pakistan, innovative tactics are being used to focus polio immunization drives. Health workers are trained in the use of cellphone data reporting, which allows real-time recording of immunization coverage and public health surveys of populations.
In Afghanistan, the program continues to adapt in order to reach the maximum number of children possible despite a volatile security situation.
155: the number of countries involved in largest coordinated vaccine switch in history
There are three different strains of the poliovirus. Once a strain is eliminated (type 2 was officially eradicated in September 2015), we have to match our vaccines to the remaining strains to protect children globally.
This transition is a massive undertaking, requiring significant funding and coordination to accomplish global health feats that have never been attempted.
To give you a sense of scale, the largest and fastest globally coordinated vaccine switch in history (to target poliovirus types 1 and 3) was successfully conducted over two weeks in April 2016, with 155 countries taking part........
There isn’t a big market for poliovirus plush toys. They’re not much to look at–about the size of a softball and a sort of ashen gray. That’s a fitting color: polios is Greek for gray, and it’s the gray matter in the central nervous system that the virus attacks, robbing children of the ability to walk, if it doesn’t kill them first. It would be the rare parent who would want even a cuddly likeness of so lethal a thing anywhere near a healthy baby.
But the plush toys were much in demand at the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on World Polio Day in October. They were tucked into gift bags, stashed in purses, playfully tossed from person to person. If that seems unserious, well, the 400 people in attendance and the 150,000 more who watched the presentations online had a right to let themselves go.
As recently as 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio each year, and the disease was endemic in 125 countries. In 2017 there have been only 16 cases, in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan. With a case count so low, the question now is a straightforward one: Will 2018 be the year we get to zero?
“We’ve never seen this level of progress, this level of restricted transmission,” says Jalaa’ Abdelwahab, deputy director of UNICEF’s polio-eradication initiative. “We’re hoping that by the end of the next transmission season, we will see zero.”
If that happens, polio will join smallpox as the only other human disease to be driven over the cliff to extinction. The 16th case in 2017 could, at least in theory, be the last case ever.
The road to almost zero has been a long one–and a lot of the credit has rightly gone to Rotary International, the global service organization that made polio eradication its mission in 1979. That year the group began a five-year campaign to vaccinate upwards of 6 million children in the Philippines. In 1988, Rotary joined hands with UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to form the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. In 2007 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation came aboard. Today 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated worldwide at a cost of $15 billion.
One thing that has made so mammoth an undertaking possible is the type of vaccine used. There are two varieties: one administered orally and one by injection. The oral polio vaccine (OPV)–which is easier, cheaper and less scary for the children who receive it–has been the go-to choice for eradication. It takes an average of three doses at different times to confer full immunity; as long as the poliovirus is still at large, that will have to continue.
“Each year we vaccinate 450 million children under 5 years old,” says Abdelwahab. “OPV is an amazing tool for stopping acute cases.”
While OPV can cost as little as 18 cents per dose, inoculating nearly half a billion kids each year is not cheap–especially when you add the cost of field workers and delivery chains. In a world where diseases like malaria and HIV claim millions of lives, pouring so much money into eradicating a disease with fewer than two dozen victims this year raises questions. Health experts concede the seeming disconnect......
According to UNHCR, 65.6 million people are currently displaced by conflict, violence, or persecution. Rotary members refuse to accept conflict as a way of life and are committed to pursuing projects that address the structural causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.
Rotary projects provide trainings that fosters understanding and equip communities with skills to resolve conflicts. During February, Rotary Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution Month, build peace and mitigate conflict by:
Bring your project idea to life with guidance from a Rotarian Action Group
Find support for your initiatives from our partners
Presidential peacebuilding conferences
RI President Ian H.S. Riseley presidential peacebuilding conferences kick off this month! The conferences will explore the connection between peace and Rotary’s five other areas of focus, plus environmental sustainability. Consider attending a conference to gain inspiration on your peace building initiatives:
- Rotary Service and Engagement Staff in Rotary Service Connections
Have you ever wondered how Rotary became involved with polio eradication in the first place? I did. I used to use polio eradication as an example of poor goal setting in my presidents-elect training seminar classes. It was up there right next to world peace. I mean … really?
It turns out that one of the true giants in our story was a past governor in my district (7620). His name is Dr. John Sever. While you’ve probably never heard of him, I think when you learn his story you will be amazed. You will also learn about many other Rotary leaders who have been a part of the incredible story of how Rotary got started on our journey to eradicate polio.
I wanted to tell this tale so that more members would have an awareness of our Rotary history. And it turns out to be a very entertaining story full of good guys and bad guys, conflicts and roadblocks, as our Rotary heroes put Rotary on the road to polio eradication. Many of the original polio eradication pioneers are still alive to tell their story on film so we get to learn about it in their own words.
Based on the book by Sarah Gibbard Cook, “Rotary and the Gift of a Polio-Free World, Vol. 1,” a recommended read, we made a new documentary called “Dare to Dream, How Rotary Became the Heart and Soul of Polio Eradication.” The movie is 56-minutes long, and is both highly entertaining and motivational in encouraging support for our polio eradication efforts.
The District 7620 Project Trust Fund owns the film, and it is our purpose that you can use it to inspire your members, introduce new members to your club, and educate your community about the work Rotary does.
The first 19 minutes of the movie are available for free as a club program. Once you show it to your club the excerpt becomes a teaser to buy the full-length movie where you learn more of the story AND make a contribution to PolioPlus. Approximately $20 of your $25 purchase becomes a tax deductible contribution to PolioPlus.
I’ve given you a FREE club program … you provide the popcorn!
Ken Solow, past governor of District 7620 in Rotary Voices
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