RI President's Window

9 October–15 OctoberEvanston, IL

Reconnect Week is an opportunity for you to invite Rotary alumni in your community to join you in a celebration or special event that will help strengthen their bond with Rotary. - RI President John Germ in Facebook

RI President in Lebanon

RI President John F Germ - Biography

Whenever John Germ saw a need in his hometown, he engineered a solution. He'll bring the same can-do attitude to the office of RI president.

Champion of Chattanooga

RI Board of Directors

TRF Trustees

What is new

John Germ declares Sam Owori president-nominee

Surgeons from India bring relief to underserved patients in Rwanda

Rotary Staff Members Help Keep India Polio-Free

Reasons to Love Rotary Right Now - The Rotarian staff

Rotary's 31-year struggle to wipe out polio

ShelterBox and Rotary clubs take action following earthquake in Italy

Hall Of Fame Singer Donovan Becomes Rotary Polio Ambassador

Bill Huntley Endowment funds the first Rotary Peace Fellow

Polio resurfaces in Nigeria

First wild poliovirus cases in Nigeria since July 2014

Government of Nigeria reports 2 wild polio cases, first since July 2014

WHO plans mass polio vaccination in West Africa

Fresh polio cases embarrassing – Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima

We will redouble our efforts towards eradication of Polio from Africa - Past RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe

Polio will be eradicated - Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication, WHO

A live Q&A on the Polio response in Nigeria, with Dr Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication, WHO

Cases in Nigeria: What’s the Outlook? - Interview with Michel Zaffran, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

RI President John Germ and Vice President Jennifer Jones Facebook Live chat.

Raja of Rotary - An account of  55 years Rotary journey of  PRIP Rajendra K Saboo by Rasheeda Bhagat, Editor, Rotary News Online

Rotary Peace Fellows win resources from "10 for 10th Competition"

'Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last frontiers in the 100-year war on polio'

RI President-elect Ian Riseley on the progress in ending polio in Radio National, Australia

PRIP K R Ravindran's Farewell Message

PRIP KR Ravindran's Farewell Remarks

 John Germ is a man of commitment - The Rotarian Q & A Session

What can we achieve within our children’s lifetime?

To create peace we need to look beyond the causes of conflict

What defines a Rotary club? You choose

Rotary helps women in Honduras to successfully build their businesses and future - John Hewko in Medium

What is ‘global competence’, and is it the key to inclusive growth? - John Hewko

Creating Sustainable Peace - John Hewko, RI Gen. Secretary in Diplomatic Courier 

What’s Love Got to Do With It? - RI Gen Secretary John Hewko's Special Contribution to the Parliament of World's Religions

Rotary Delegation Visits Pakistan, headed by International Chair Polio Plus Committee

Pope greets Rotary members at special Jubilee Audience

Council on Legislation Grants Clubs Greater Flexibility in Meeting, Membership

What should you know about 2016 CoL

The Council on Legislation - First day comes to an end

The Council on Legislation - Second day of action draws to a close

The Council on Legislation – The third day completed

The Council on Legislation – Fourth Day Concluded

The Council on Legislation Comes to an End

Canada & The Polio Story: A Will, A Way, And A Healthier World - Past Rotary Polio Chair Dr. Bob Scott

We’ll see an RI woman President in five years - RI Director Jennifer Jones

2016-17 Theme Address by RIPE John Germ

Download 2016-17 theme logo and materials

Rotary's 2016 International Assembly coverage and resources

TRF Trustee Chair Ray Klinginsmith and incoming Chair Kalyan Banerjee speakes about the direction and long-term vision of the Foundation

Latest Activity

C.J. Singh posted a blog post

Rotarians of District 3080 Salute the Jawans

A telephone call from Mrs Usha Saboo to District 3080 Governor Raman Aneja and her Rotary Club…See More
2 hours ago
Ambalakat Ram Mohan posted a status
"Reached back after a successful Inter District Family Friendship visit from Rajasthan 3052.A sister Club agreement signed with RC Uday."
Sunil K Zachariah posted a video

World Polio Day 2016

A special #WorldPolioDay event co-hosted by Rotary and the CDC, featuring health experts and celebrities, presenting an update on the path to #endpolio
Ambalakat Ram Mohan posted photos



“We’re so close — we’re so close to eradicating polio, which is a major disease that has affected my family.” Jenna Bush Hager, newest polio ambassador of Rotary International and UNICEF USA

Highlights from the September 2016 Rotary International Board of Directors Meeting

The second 2016–17 RI Board of Directors meeting was held on19–22 September in Evanston, Illinois, USA. At this meeting the Board reviewed 12 committee reports and recorded 64 decisions.

Club and District

The Board

  • approved criteria, guidelines, and a timetable for rezoning the Rotary world and approved the creation of three regional teams that will develop rezoning proposals for consideration by the Board at its January 2017 meeting;
  • reaffirmed that developing the Rotary vision and strategic plan is a top priority for the Board, Trustees, and Secretariat and approved an action plan for the Strategic Planning Committee to execute and monitor;
  • amended the specific duties of a district governor to add responsibilities for district-wide strategic planning;
  • requested Rotary institute conveners to provide comprehensive governor-nominee training at their institutes starting in 2020–21, and further agreed that Rotary would subsidize this cost;
  • agreed to reduce the time frame of the International Assembly by one day, starting in 2021;
  • received a report on membership trends that included as of 1July 2016the following data:

membership: 1,209,491 Rotarians (down 1,578Rotariansfrom2015)

clubs: 35,399 (up 285 clubs from 2015)

average club size: 34members



The Board

  • agreed that every seven years Rotary may consider convention bids from cities that do not meet the critical criteria for an RI convention host city provided that

no other city in the country of the city that is making the bid meets the criteria for conventions;

the city has no more than three modifications to the criteria;

the total financial impact of accepting such a bid does not exceed US$1.5million;

the city be subject to limits on the number of registrants or to other convention product modifications as defined by the general secretary;

  • accepted the proposal of Districts 7010, 7070, 7080, and 7090, to host the 2018 Rotary International Convention on 24–27 June2018 in Toronto, Canada.


Programs and Awards

The Board

  • agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Lufthansa to help grow their Entrepreneurship Camp model for a term ending in2020;
  • broadened its policy regarding Rotary Friendship Exchanges to allow for participation by Rotarians and non-Rotarians with the goal for participants to experience cultural immersion and intercultural exposure, foster greater international understanding, or to allow those new to their career to enhance their vocational skills, while making new connections and friendships, and, when possible, building a foundation for collaborative service projects. The expanded Rotary Friendship Exchange policy will also provide a unique educational opportunity for young business and professional people at the beginning their professional lives to develop professional and leadership skills, to address the needs of their communities;
  • selected the recipient of the 2016–17 Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award and the Rotary Alumni Association of the Year Award, which will be presented at the 2017 Atlanta convention.
  • Supported President Germ’s plan to grant the Rotary Award of Honor to Jack Nicklaus and Dolly Parton.


Administration and Finances

The Board elected Brenda M. Cressey, K.R. Ravindran, and Michael F. Webb to be trustees of The Rotary Foundation, beginning 1July 2017.The Board further elected Mary Beth Growney Selene to fill the unexpired term of Thomas M Thorfinnson, who resigned his position as a trustee to take the role of chief strategy officer at the Secretariat.

The Board accepted the audited financial statements and report on Rotary International’s financial results for 2015–16. An annual report will be published in accordance with the RI Bylaws

Source:: The Quest, Monthly News letter of RID Manoj Desai

Rotary’s World Polio Day Event Looks Ahead to Ending the Disease for Good

Dennis Ogbe, Paralympian and polio survivor, tells his personal story of the disease at Rotary’s World Polio Day event on 24 October 2016 at the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

While the fight to eradicate polio suffered a blow this year when the virus re-emerged in Nigeria, Rotary leaders and top health experts focused Monday on the big picture: the global presence  of the paralyzing disease has never been smaller.

The headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, served as the site of Rotary’s fourth annual World Polio Day event. Some of the biggest names in the polio eradication campaign were there to reflect on the year’s progress and discuss what’s needed to end the disease for good.

More than 200 people attended the special live program, and thousands more worldwide watched online. Jeffrey Kluger, Time magazine’s editor at large, moderated the event.

In a question-and-answer session with Kluger, CDC Director Tom Frieden talked about the latest developments in the effort to eradicate polio.

“We have the fewest number of cases in the fewest number of places in the world right now,” said Frieden. “We continue to make ground against polio, but we’re still recording cases in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.”

The total number of cases worldwide so far this year is 27, compared with 51 for the same period last year.

Unfortunately, Nigeria slipped back onto the list of countries where polio is endemic this year, after cases appeared in the northern state of Borno, which was under the control of Boko Haram militants until recently. The World Health Organization estimates that the virus has been circulating in the region for five years. The country was on the verge of celebrating two years without any polio infections.

But this hasn’t stopped Rotary and its partners, who are working with the Nigerian government, Chad, Cameroun, and parts of the Central African Republic, from executing a sweeping emergency response. Shortly after the outbreak, a robust immunization campaign targeted about 1 million children with both oral and inactivated polio vaccines.

“Because the new cases were only detected due to ongoing surveillance efforts,” said Frieden.  “We shouldn’t be surprised to see more cases, because better surveillance means better detection of all polio cases.”

Polio eradication efforts continue to make progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, cases dropped from 13 in 2015 to eight so far this year. In Pakistan, they decreased from 38 to 15.

Frieden cited innovative tactics for reaching children in Pakistan who were often missed in the past. These include placing permanent vaccination sites at entry points to the country, provinces, and large cities. Rotary has funded the purchase of cell phones for vaccination teams, so they can send data to health centers immediately.

“The virus is cornered, we just have to make sure never to let it out again,” Frieden added.


Dennis Ogbe, a polio survivor and Paralympian athlete, told his personal story of survival. Ogbe contracted polio at age three at a clinic near his home in rural Nigeria while being treated for malaria.

Ogbe competed in the Paralympics in Sydney in 2000 and London in 2012. But he says the toughest challenge he’s faced is helping to rid the world of polio.

Shira Lazar, host of the show “What’s Trending,” gave a social media update during the live streamed event in which she announced that more than 3,000 World Polio Day events were happening around the world. In Pakistan, a huge End Polio Now message was illuminated at the Kot Diji Fort in the Khairpur district.

Video addresses came from Maryn McKenna, author and journalist, and new polio ambassador Jenna Bush Hager, chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation, a journalist, and an author. Hager’s father-in-law is a polio survivor.

Rotary, with support from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, also debuted a  that transported attendees to the streets of India and Kenya, where they interacted with polio survivors and heard their stories.

“This is very good technology to put people in places where polio has affected so many,” says Reza Hossaini, director of polio eradication for UNICEF. “It’s important we see the places and people we are helping with our polio eradication programs.”

Earlier in the day, Frieden and Rotary International President John F. Germ announced major contributions to polio eradication. The Canadian government committed $10 million, and Michael Bloomberg, businessman, philanthropist, and former mayor of New York City, donated $25 million.

Rotary has contributed more than $1.6 billion to polio eradication since taking on the virus in 1979.

“We started this more than 30 years ago,” said Germ. “We’ve stuck with it all this time. And soon, we’re going to finish it.”

On World Polio Day, calls for Australia to boost funding - Lisa Cornish in www.devex.com

A child receives polio vaccination at an immunization clinic in Pokhara, Nepal. Photo by: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / CC BY

World Polio Day 2016 is often an opportunity to highlight the successes of global eradication programs and plan for the coming year. But in Australia, the occasion instead sparked concern over how a shrinking foreign aid budget will have an impact on eradication.

Cuts to Australia’s aid program will see funding to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative fall dramatically, from 15 million Australian dollars ($11.5 million) to AU$3 million in 2017.

Advocates gathering at a World Polio Day breakfast at Parliament House on Oct 19, hosted byGlobal CitizenRESULTS AustraliaUNICEF and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, made their case to maintain funding levels.

Just 30 new cases of polio have been reported for the year to date, and the number of children not vaccinated is falling. Still, unexpected outbreaks, such as those in Syria in 2013 and recently in Nigeria, point to the importance of ongoing efforts and vigilance.

Australia’s planned cuts

The cuts will directly impact programs designed to wipe out polio in countries still struggling to eradicate it, including Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Australia’s funding wasn’t the largest, but it played an important role in plugging the gaps in eradication programs, Michael Sheldrick, head of global policy and advocacy for Global Citizen, told Devex.

“Australian support in the past has been flexible,” he said. “While some countries tie their contributions to particular countries or regions, Australia has allowed their contributions to go to areas of greatest need in the fight against polio.”

With unexpected polio outbreaks often occurring, Sheldrick said Australia’s flexible funding was particularly important.

A strong case for Parliament to back down

Australia has contributed more than $100 million to polio eradication since 2011. Global programs now face a $1.5 billion funding gap to meet its goal of eradicating polio within two years.

“There is the sense, amongst the international community, that Australia should be doing their fair share,” Sheldrick said. “The U.K. recently announced increased funding to support polio which was meant to help plug the overall funding gap. Now they believe they are instead making up for Australia’s shortfall.”

Canadian polio survivor and global advocate Ramesh Ferris urged parliamentarians to maintain the previous funding levels. Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja, RESULTS board chair Chris Franks and member of Rotary International Board of Directors Noel Trevaskis also emphasized Australia’s long history of support for polio and pointed out that eradication is within sight.

Key Australian political figures supporting the event included Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science Greg Hunt, Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Matt Thistlethwaite, who are influencers on both sides of politics. 

Hunt, who spoke on behalf of the Australian government, said the government was committed to the fight, despite the funding changes.

A face for polio

Ferris used his first visit to Australia to ensure high level decision-makers understand the human impact any cut to polio funding will have.

Born in India, Ferris contracted polio at the 6 months of age and his legs were paralyzed for life. At the age of 1, his mother put him in an orphanage in the hope for a better life. He was adopted by the the Anglican Bishop of Yukon and his family in 1982 and lived a new life, with medical support, in Canada.

Returning to India in 2002, Ferris saw what his life could have been like. And he was determined to be an advocate to fight polio and support survivors.

“The response from audiences is often an inspiration for others to accept the call to action, not waiver in their continued support to end polio, raise awareness and pledging funds to help end polio,” he told Devex.

Following the breakfast, Ferris spoke directly with Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten. He also visited key policymakers and staff within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to stress the importance of continued funding for polio eradication. He said his story was received positively.

“If that funding does not continue, it will all be for nothing and polio will come back stronger than ever,” he said.........

Read Lisa Cornish in www.devex.com

HowDo You End a Global Disease - John Hewko in Medium

One evening, a child would go to bed feeling fine, and awake to discover that he or she had lost the use of their legs. This is polio, a devastating disease, most common in children, that has existed for thousands of years.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering why we’re still even talking about polio today. But thanks to an effective vaccine (which you would have received as a child) polio was eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in 1994.

Despite this milestone, polio is still a threat to global health, and epidemics from the late 19th century through the mid- 20th century struck thousands of victims in Europe and North America, and caused widespread panic. There is no cure for polio, but it can be easily prevented through immunizations that are safe and effective.

Passed from person-to-person, it can strike young and old, rich and poor alike. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States’ 32nd president, contracted polio in 1921, when he was 39 years old. For most people who get infected, it is a disease with no visible symptoms, and many recover fully. But for a small proportion of unlucky victims, it wreaks havoc on the human body, reaching the brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis, and even death.

At its peak in the U.S., more than 21,000 paralytic cases of polio were reported in 1952, with more than 3,000 deaths

Fearful parents kept their children away from swimming pools and movie theaters in summers, which was the high season for polio.

But thanks to effective vaccines and a remarkable global partnership, its reign of terror is close to an end. This is the story of how we have reached this stage, what still needs to be done, and the lessons we have learned to protect the world against other infectious diseases.

Finding a Vaccine

For a long time, little was known about the cause of polio, how the virus spread, and what could prevent it.

In Vienna in 1908, Dr. Karl Landsteiner, and his assistant E. Popper first discovered that polio was caused by a virus. This discovery, along with the invention of the electron microscope in 1931, facilitated the study of polio in the laboratory, and raised the possibility that a vaccine could be found to prevent it, like other viruses.

But progress in the search for this vaccine was slow, and many misunderstandings about polio’s transmission resulted in strategic mistakes. In New York in the summer of 1916, tens of thousands of cats were put down, as health officials feared that they were carriers of the virus.

Two American scientists, both hailing from Russia, focused on two different kinds of potential vaccine for polio. Jonas Salk led research into a vaccine using a killed (inactivated) form of the virus (IPV) that was injectable; and Albert Sabin developed an oral vaccine (OPV) using a live but weakened form of the virus.

Salk was the first to create officially a safe and effective vaccine, conducting the largest medical experiment in history from 1954–55, to test its effect on 1.8 million children in the U.S., Canada and Finland.

Salk (left) and Sabin administer their respective vaccines. When you were a child, you may have received Sabin’s live vaccine with a sugar cube, or Salk’s inactivated vaccine as an injection, if you were born after 2000 (in the U.S.). H

The Need for a New Partnership

Salk’s vaccine was a triumph, and combined with Sabin’s live vaccine (from 1961) mass vaccinations had a dramatic effect in reducing polio cases in the industrialized, wealthier nations in North America, Australasia, parts of South America and Northern Europe.

Unfortunately, merely possessing a safe vaccine is not enough to eradicate a disease globally. Polio still devastated developing countries, which possessed neither the health systems, infrastructure, nor resources to buy vaccines.

By 1985, polio paralyzed about 400,000 children a year — nearly 1,000 children every day, and was endemic in 125 countries.

That same year, Rotary, a global, nonprofit membership organization, decided to launch its audacious PolioPlus program to take on polio through the mass vaccination of children.

The eradication of smallpox in 1979 proved that an infectious disease could be wiped out. An effective and safe polio vaccine already existed, and the World Health Organization’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), launched in 1974 (and universally adopted by the early 1980s) intended to build on the smallpox infrastructure to target 6 diseases, including polio. So Rotary figured: Why not join forces and accelerate the efforts to end a deadly disease?

Rotary had already tested its capacity to work on a large-scale immunization campaign with other partners. Rotary worked closely with UNICEF to target polio when it led a program to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines in 1979, which then had the highest polio caseload in the western Pacific.

However, getting buy-in from other organizations was not easy. Many health experts thought that it was too costly to pursue the eradication of a single disease, when weighed against the benefits of boosting basic health services. But Carlos Canseco, then Rotary’s President, saw no conflict between the two. The “plus” in Rotary’s PolioPlus program reflects the idea also foreshadowed in the EPI, that by fighting infectious diseases such as polio, the global infrastructures to fight other diseases would also be strengthened.

With persistent advocacy, Rotary leaders managed to gain the endorsement of other major players in the health and development world.

So in 1988, following the unanimous adoption of a World Health Assembly Resolution on “Global eradication of poliomyelitis”, Rotary spearheaded one of the most successful public-private partnerships in history, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Action

The GPEI spearheading partners faced a formidable task. To achieve the global eradication of polio, and to assist primary care services at the same time, had never been accomplished before on this scale.

The Initiative had to encompass research and innovation, advocacy, political leadership, and grassroots activism to raise awareness and ensure that every child, no matter how remote, was reached by vaccinators.

The project would not only have to win over heads of state, but populations of every culture, from the boat-dwelling fishing communities in Cambodia and Vietnam, nomads in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, to construction workers in Delhi, and even those who resisted the vaccine in wealthy countries.

Since the launch of the GPEI in 1988, more than 13 million people, mainly in the developing world, who would otherwise have been paralyzed, are walking because they have been immunized against polio. More than 2.5 billion children have received the oral polio vaccine, and the global polio caseload has been reduced by 99.9%, with only Pakistan and Afghanistan remaining as the last two polio-endemic countries.

To reach a point where we are on the cusp of eradicating a human disease for only the second time in history, the Initiative employed a variety of strategies:

1) Mass Vaccination Combined with Broader Health Interventions

The aim of mass campaigns was to interrupt circulation of poliovirus by immunizing every child less than five years old. For example, in Pakistan, this meant five nationwide campaigns in 2015 targeting all of the more than 35 million children under the age of five.

In many countries polio vaccination campaigns were linked with other badly needed health interventions. In Nigeria and elsewhere, health clinics set up as part of the polio program infrastructure have served as a staging post for multiple medical interventions, including measles vaccination, treatment of intestinal parasites, distribution of Vitamin A, and bed nets to protect against malarial mosquitos.

2) Advocacy

With competing priorities, not least other infectious diseases, it was imperative to keep polio eradication at the top of the agenda for heads of state, health ministers, and for multilateral organizations such as the U.N. As the only GPEI partner which is comprised of citizens in more than 170 countries around the world, Rotary was uniquely positioned to urge officials from the local to national level to focus on polio eradication.

Advocacy has resulted in more than US$7.2 billion in contributions and commitments from donor governments to the GPEI. In combination with private sector partners, NGOS and development banks, over $11 billion has been invested in the Initiative. Rotary alone has contributed over $1.5 billion to the effort. Advocacy has also resulted in important declarations to bolster and extend support for eradication, from the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and many others.

Grassroots advocacy to reach local social, religious and cultural leaders was also vital. Rotary and its partners have appealed to Ulemas (specialist bodies of Islamic scholars) to support polio vaccination. In Pakistan, Islamic leaders have issued 28 fatwas promoting the safety of the vaccine and the importance of vaccinating children.

3) Innovative Tactics

The GPEI has also implemented innovative tactics to reach more children. For example, the creation of strategically placed Permanent Transit Posts (PTPs) at entry points to international borders, provinces, and big cities across Pakistan have reached mobile populations with the vaccine. Staffed by polio eradication teams, the Posts provide safe spaces to keep the vaccine, and immunize children in transit, reaching migratory and nomadic populations.

A carefully crafted communications strategy expressed the importance of frontline health workers to parents as vital for their children’s health, and assuaged fears about the vaccine’s safety.

And the Initiative has also overcome hurdles in reaching remote communities through its use of technology. In the age when high quality data is of paramount importance, the GPEI has worked hard to replace traditional written paper reporting of polio and maternal and newborn health data from the field with cell phone reporting. The use of cell phones has facilitated communication with, and payment to, vaccinators, especially in remote communities. GPS monitoring of vaccination teams and missed communities has enhanced immunization coverage, and improved upon the hand drawn maps that were previously used in house-to-house campaigns.

4) Female Health Workers

Hundreds of thousands of health workers, mainly women, carried and delivered the vaccine to billions of children. Women had a greater level of trust with mothers and thus were able to enter households and have the interactions with mothers and children necessary to deliver the polio vaccine.

Female health workers immunize children against polio in the streets of Karachi, Pakistan.

They also provided other services, such as health education, antenatal care, routine immunization, and maternal health. They worked bravely in difficult conditions, and persevered despite the threat of violent resistance to the polio vaccine. The Taliban in Pakistan and other extremists, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, have waged a brutal campaign against vaccination teams. More than 70 polio workers (including several men and security guards) were killed in Pakistan from 2012–2016. The contribution of these health workers was a vital part of the success in fighting polio.

What’s Next? Building a Legacy

The GPEI offers several valuable lessons for global health. It shows the value of finding good partners who persevere over many years with disciplined adherence to a set of clearly defined roles. It shows the importance of constant communication and coordination between partners to track down a formidable threat to public health. It engages voluntary support with creative advocacy, extending its reach and appeal. It also uses clear metrics for success and independent oversight to keep a massive undertaking on track, with a singular focus.

True to the ambitions of the PolioPlus program, the global effort to eradicate polio, involving 200 countries, and 20 million volunteers, has strengthened routine immunization coverage against multiple diseases, trained thousands of health workers, and implemented infrastructures vital to national public health systems, and built resilience against outbreaks.

We now have a global network of 145 laboratories established by the GPEI, which also tracks measles, rubella, yellow fever, meningitis and other deadly infectious diseases, and will do so long after polio is eradicated.

The GPEI infrastructure is already being used to counter other health threats. For example, Nigeria managed to thwart the deadliest Ebola virus in history in 2014, by repurposing its polio eradication infrastructure and technology to track all cases, and implement a rapid and effective outbreak response.

A polio-free world will reap financial savings and reduced healthcare costs ofup to US$50 billion through 2035. In fact, we’ve already saved $27 billion since the GPEI’s inception, and low-income countries account for 85% of the savings. This achievement will prove what is possible when the global community comes together to improve children’s lives.

If we succeed, we will have gifted the world a new blueprint for disease eradication, on a scale never before attempted. But if we don’t see this effort through to the finish line, polio would easily see resurgence, leading to 200,000 cases of paralysis a year within 10 years.

The day will come soon when we see no new cases and live in a polio-free world. That will be a day to celebrate. The feat of eradicating polio will be one of the most important this century. But when it is defeated, it will also empower our belief in the potential to reach new milestones for global public health.

Join Rotary on 24 October for a live broadcast on World Polio Day featuring CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden and TIME Editor Jeffery Kluger. Watch live:http://www.endpolio.org

-John Hewko in Medium

On 12th November, Rotary Day at UN to Highlight Role of Business in Building A Better World

From the United Nations’ earliest days in the aftermath of World War II, the organization’s humanitarian mission has always dovetailed with Rotary’s efforts to administer aid and build peace. This year’s Rotary Day at the United Nations, 12 November, will highlight the role businesses can play in that collaboration as we work toward a more just and equitable world.

The theme of this year’s gathering at UN headquarters in New York City, “Responsible Business, Resilient Societies,” recognizes Rotary’s role at the intersection of commerce and cause. As leaders in their professions and communities, Rotary members often use their professional skills and networks to advance social causes, particularly economic development.

The six Rotary Responsible Business honorees and two business partners will be recognized at the UN gathering for their inclusive business practices and outstanding contributions to improving their communities.


  • Juan Silva Beauperthuy, Rotary Club of Chacao, Venezuela: For 25 years, Beauperthuy has helped keep disadvantaged youths on the right track through Queremos Graduarnos, an education program focused on mentoring and skill development, with support from his engineering firm. Today, the program serves over 700 students in 18 schools.
  • Jean-Paul Faure, Rotary Club of Cagnes-Grimaldi, France: To encourage young professionals and provide promising new businesses with training and funding, Faure launched a business contest called Le Trophée du Rotary. Now in its seventh year, the program has drawn support from a major bank and has kept past participants involved as mentors.
  • Suresh Goklaney, Rotary Club of Bombay, India: Goklaney, executive vice chair of a large manufacturer of UV water purification systems, has led efforts to provide clean water in rural villages and impoverished urban areas throughout India. The project has also established centers where local women can sell clean water to generate income.
  • Annemarie Mostert, Rotary Club of Southern Africa, South Africa: Mostert formed Sesego Cares, a Johannesburg-based nonprofit, in 2005 to offer education and job training, and to teach entrepreneurship and leadership development to women and children. She also worked with TOMS Shoes to mobilize 70 clubs in the country and provide 1.3 million pairs of its shoes.
  • Stephanie Woollard, Rotary Club of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: After meeting seven illiterate craftspeople during a visit to Nepal, Woollard founded Seven Women to help Nepalese women make products to sell abroad. The program, which has trained and employed more than 1,000 women in the last decade, also teaches basic bookkeeping and computer skills.
  • Larry Wright, Rotary Club of Taylor, Michigan, USA: A master gardener, Wright started his landscaping business with a bank loan in the 1970s. In 2013, he led an effort to adapt a microfinance model, which had succeeded abroad, to support entrepreneurs in bankruptcy-era Detroit, offering microloans, business classes, and mentorship.

Business partners:

  • Coca-Cola Pakistan has supported the Rotary Pakistan National PolioPlus Charitable Trust since 2010 to promote vaccinations and awareness, particularly through publicity and projects to provide clean water, in one of the few remaining polio-endemic countries.
  • Mercantil Banco Universal supports a project that has trained 6,000 students in 40 universities across Venezuela in social responsibility and leadership, with the goal of encouraging students to use their academic knowledge to respond to the challenges of underserved communities.

The Responsible Business program, expected to draw 1,500 participants, will include a recognition ceremony for the honorees, as well as panel discussions and youth activities.

Speakers and breakout sessions will focus on aspects of responsible business, such as education, innovation, partnerships, the needs of the world’s poorest people, the empowerment of women and youths, and how these issues relate to the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s ambitious framework for eliminating global poverty by 2030.

- Rotary International

Making an impact in Honduras through economic and community development

I had the opportunity to go to Honduras with Steve Rickard from the Rotary Club of Calgary West, Wally Gardiner from the Rotary Club of High River, and Jim Louttit from the Rotary Club of Toronto-Sunrise, all of whom are instrumental in the Honduras Economic Community Development (HECD), a microfinance project implemented by the Rotary Action Group for Microfinance and Community Development (RAGM) in collaboration with the District 5360 Microcredit Task Force.

The groups worked with the Rotary Club of Real de Minas Tegucigalpa,Opportunity International Canada (OIC) and their operating partner in Honduras, Instituto para el Desarrollo Hondureño (IDH), to provide microfinance services in the region.

During my visit to Honduras, I got to see the great impact the project has had on the community and the people. A small loan makes such a big different, both for the original loan recipient and by sparking ideas and initiatives amongst family and friends. As a result, spin off economies develop and often the people close to the loan recipient sign up for loans themselves.

There are more than 8,000 beneficiaries from the HECD program! One of the projects we visited was a shoemaking business where I met Milton, who was able to acquire raw materials and shoe molds through the loan program.  Another beneficiary, German, was able to repair his moto-taxi. Martha, who makes the best tortillas, was able to increase raw material supplies so she could expand into wholesale selling.

I also met Marvin, who spends hours in the open sun baking bricks with his brother. A loan allowed them to erect a lean-to so they could continue working during the rainy season. The loan was used to stockpile raw materials and increase production. Marvin has contracts to supply his bricks wholesale and is now making environmental clay ovens for export; the clay ovens produce better heat, burn less wood and burn cleaner than similar stoves.

To actually witness the impact my district is making is something I will always carry with me. I’m inspired by all Rotarians who do humanitarian work at home and throughout the world, by every project you take on and by every person you touch.

Charlene Bearden, Member of the Rotary Club Calgary North; District 5360 in Rotary Service Connections

Blog Posts

Rotarians of District 3080 Salute the Jawans

Posted by C.J. Singh on October 27, 2016 at 2:42pm

RI President's Message - October 2016

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on September 29, 2016 at 7:00am

Trustee Chair's Message - October 2016

Posted by Sunil K Zachariah on September 29, 2016 at 6:56am


  • Add Videos
  • View All

www.eflashonline.org is an initiative of Rotary Club of Kalamassery,  R I District 3201, India. Since 1999, eFlash spreads Rotary news and stories online to members from over 100 countries. 

Founder Editor: PDG Sunil K Zachariah

This community operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, nor is it controlled by Rotary International


When I give to Rotary, I get so much more back

At 28 years old, I decided to become a Rotarian, because Rotary changed my life.

I grew up in a small town in Oregon, USA, and was a young leader in my school. When I was 15 years old, I applied to attend a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in Rotary’s District 5110 to learn more about myself and what leadership meant to me. During that amazing week-long experience, I learned not only about how to be a better leader for my school and community, but about Rotary itself. 

One of the things I learned about Rotary was the organization’s commitment to international service through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. I had always dreamed of learning about another culture through an international experience with students my age. So when I was 17 years old, I applied to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student. In District 5110, they have a wonderful tradition of selecting the student’s host country for them, and then SURPRISE! In 2005, I was off for a life-changing year in Slovakia.

Most students who have the incredible opportunity to study abroad speak of the experience as a pivotal moment in their life. That was certainly the case for me. While living with a host family, and studying at the local high school, I learned so much more about what it meant to be a global citizen and what my goals for my life were.

161027_witkowski2https://rotaryinternationalblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/161027_witkowski2.jpg?w=150 150w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" width="154" height="154" />

Witkowski during her induction into the Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana.

During this year, I began to appreciate different cultures and languages and what they offer to our world as a whole. This path over time led to a BA in cross-cultural communication, a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Slovakia at age 23, followed by three years of graduate study in linguistics. My Rotary Youth Exchange experience set me on a path toward my current career (as a revitalization linguist for a Native American Tribe.)

During my educational and professional pursuits, I always kept my connection to Rotary. In summers during college, I served as a RYLA camp counselor. I wanted to give back to the next generation of young leaders and inspire them. But the truth is, I always came away as inspired by the youth and their commitment to Service Above Self.

Finally, this May, I joined Rotary to once again give back to an organization that gave so much to me. But again, I find that when I give to Rotary, I end up receiving so much more.

Stephanie Witkowski, Rotary Club of Honolulu Pau Hana in Rotary Voices

Stephanie is one of 13,594 people who used Rotary’s Member Center in 2015-16 to express their interest in Rotary. Tell us why you’re interested in Rotary and we’ll help you get connected.

Serving Haiti in times of need

One week before we saw monstrous Hurricane Mathew, approaching our country  Haiti, members of the Rotary Club of Petion-Ville started to make survival kits. After an emergency committee meeting, our club decided to send a delegation composed of myself and our club Foundation chair, Jean-Herve Landrin, to the regions struck by disaster.

On Saturday, 8 October, three days after the hurricane hit, Jean-Herve and I took the road to Les Cayes as soon as there was an opening on the River of Petit-Goave, which had been blocked by a collapsed bridge. We left the capital of Port-au-Prince with trucks filled with survival kits. Since there were rumors of armed gangs, attacking trucks going into Les Cayes with relief supplies in the area of Petit-Goave, we decided to stop in Léogâne, 21 miles from Port-au-Prince. There we contacted local authorities and the General Inspector of the National Police, Ralph Brice, guaranteed us safe passage for our trucks.

When we arrived in Les Cayes, our first stop was visiting District Governor-elect Robert Leger. We visited a hotel that had survived the hurricane, and later met a Rotarian brother and his adopted child to deliver food supplies.

The next morning, we delivered the survival kits and a check of 100,000 Haitian Gourdes (equivalent to USD $1,500) to the President of the Rotary Club of Les Cayes, Claude Pubien, and the club disaster relief chair, Yvon.

Afterwards, we visited our friends in Les Cayes and distributed more supplies. We saw a lot of roofs were destroyed and decided to continue our exploration to the coastal cities which liked it had been hit by an atomic bomb. The trees, the plantations and town infrastructure had completely disappeared.

The last part of our visit was chaotic as we took the road to the city of Jeremie by passing through Camp-Perin. Camp-Perin was Haiti’s last cities lined with many trees but now almost all the trees and houses had been destroyed.

In the rural areas of Camp-Perin, people were drinking from streams, unaware of catching cholera by drinking contaminated water. Cholera killed nearly 10,000 people after the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti, spreading quickly from toilet waste being emptied into the Meille River, a major water source. Now the country faces the same problem once again.

After Camp-Perin, we stopped at an orphanage of a past guest-speaker of our club and a very good friend of Jean-Herve, Father Pascal. We walked over 30 minutes to the mountains to reach the building. All infrastructure had been destroyed, including clinics and school. More than orphans had survived by hiding in the bathroom while the concrete building shook, resulting in psychological trauma for these kids.

That evening we took the road back home to Port-au-Prince. Rotary gave us the opportunity to serve our community and we hope to continue to take action during this difficult time.

Jack Guy Lafontant, President Rotary Club of Petion-Ville, Haiti  in Rotary Service Connections

Miles to End Polio: Everyone should be protected from polio

On one of my travels for Rotary, I visited our offices in New Delhi, India, in 2002. One image has always stuck with me since – that of a little girl begging on a train platform.

She was clearly afflicted with something terrible, impacting her ability to stand much less walk. My local hosts explained that she likely had polio. Now, I have my own 12-year-old daughter, and to know that she is safe from the scourge of polio, just because she had the good fortune to be born in the United States – well, it should be everyone’s good fortune to be protected from this disease.

Persistence pays

I’m excited to be doing the Miles to End Polio bike ride as part of El Tour de Tucson this November for a number of reasons. I’ve worked with Rotary in various capacities since 1995, principally in our accounting group and currently in our Auditing Services group. I’ve had the ability to work many International Assemblies and International Conventions, giving me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, which would not have happened, had I not been part of Rotary.

To me, the eradication of polio is one of the most significant public-private enterprises ever undertaken. It is truly a massive effort on every scale and knowing the origins of the eradication efforts in the early-1980s, starting off as a smaller multi-club project in the Philippines, just goes to show that anyone, anywhere can have an audacious idea, and see it to fruition, as long as there is “patient persistence.”

When it comes to this ride, for the past 12 years or so I’ve been involved with the sport of triathlon and open water swimming, slowly building up my endurance from short distance tri’s in 2003, to completing the Wisconsin Ironman in Madison in 2012 and again in 2015. I have also participated in numerous century rides as well as a bunch of 5k open water swim events (both organized and simply on my own). So planning and training to build endurance for El Tour de Tucson is something I am familiar with. But this time it has been extra special to be able to do this with a team of colleagues that I normally don’t get to work with closely, and to do this for a higher purpose.

Club support

In 2011, I joined the Rotary Club of Evanston, have served as club treasurer for three years, and am currently 2016-17 club president. The club is really supporting me on this ride, with both donations and encouragement!

All these things, plus being so close to finally ending this disease, make this an exciting time to be engaged in something much bigger than myself. Participating in triathlons and open water endurance swims have been a lot of fun. But doing something like this ride, and helping to collect donations to support the global eradication of polio, has special meaning.

Dave Stumpf, Rotary staff in Rotary Voices

Dave Stumpf is director of auditing services at Rotary International, and one of several Rotary staff members who will join General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona to raise money for polio eradication. Read posts from other team members leading up to the 19 November event and learn how you can support the team

Financing polio eradication and development in Nigeria

As a lead economist at the World Bank, it has been exciting to see my organization step up to the plate and commit resources to the fight to eradicate polio, as we observe World Polio Day.

While the World Bank is not one of the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the organization does work closely with the GPEI, of which Rotary is a leading partner, as well as country governments to provide financing to help end polio. At the request of the Government of Nigeria, the World Bank has recently committed $125 million for polio eradication in the country this summer. About half of these resources will fund oral polio vaccines and other operational requirements, while the other half will help fund routine immunizations.

In considering the World Bank’s investments, I am struck by how intertwined the two issues of polio eradication and broader development are.

The World Bank program document notes multiple obstacles to eradicating polio, in large part due to the lack of security in the northeast caused by the Boko Haram insurgency. As a result, special measures are being introduced including “hit and run” interventions to immunize children and get out as quickly as possible in problem areas; building a “firewall” by ensuring immunity in areas surrounding these inaccessible villages; relying on local volunteers who won’t draw attention as vaccinators; reintroducing the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into routine immunizations; conducting bus stop and market vaccinations; and ensuring that all people in the displacement camps have been vaccinated.

Take part in World Polio Day

In addition, the World Bank is providing another $450 million to support development projects in Nigeria’s northeast including:

  • immediate basic social infrastructure and psychosocial support to communities most affected by displacement;
  • labor-intensive work and skills development for youth, women and the unemployed as well as cash transfers for displaced families and individuals who return voluntarily and safely to their old communities;
  • access to irrigation and drainage services, delivery of agricultural inputs, and other support for farmers in conflict-affected households, particularly women and youth;
  • financial incentives for teachers who have completed psycho-social training as well as grants to schools to address specific needs identified by school-based management committees;
  • health services with a focus on maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, psycho-social support and mental health, as well as mobile clinics in communities in which health facilities have been destroyed.

I have written about some of the World Bank’s past efforts toward eradicating polio in theRotarian Economist blog, including  an innovative buy-down mechanism through which the World Bank partnered with Rotary, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Disease Control and the United Nations Foundation to finance polio eradication in Nigeria. Other posts have talked about World Bank investments with polio components inPakistanYemen, and Nigeria.

The needs in Nigeria’s northeast are enormous. Let’s hope that the financing provided by the World Bank and other development partners will help eradicate polio, support development, and make a major difference in the life of those affected by the conflict.


About the author: Quentin Wodon is a lead economist at the World Bank. He holds PhDs in economics and in theology and religious studies, and has taught at universities in Europe and the U.S. He is currently President of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. He is also author of the Rotarian Economist blog at www.rotarianeconomist.com.

-  Rotary Voices

I thought I’d never walk again

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history.

Nancy Wright Beasley with her favorite muppet, Miss Piggy, spreading the word about polio eradication.

Nancy Wright Beasley with her favorite Muppet, Miss Piggy, spreading the word about polio eradication.

Some 60,000 people nationwide were infected, killing 3,000 and paralyzing 21,000 others. My brother still remembers the summer day when he found me, the youngest of four children, unconscious under a snowball bush just beside our farm house in Christiansburg, Virginia.

A spinal tap at Roanoke’s Memorial and Crippled Children’s Hospital confirmed a diagnosis of polio. At 6, I had never spent a night away from my family, but I was isolated in a sterile room, seen only by medical personnel swathed in gowns and masks. I cried with joy the first time a nurse wheeled me into the sunroom where my mother placed her hand on a glass partition opposite mine. A prisoner of polio —I talked to her by telephone.

When I was released months later, my parents were told I’d never walk again. Mama refused to accept that. She chopped wood to heat the water she lugged uphill from the springhouse, lowering me into a steaming tub and exercising my body beyond exhaustion. I’m fairly sure a home health nurse demonstrated the exercises, trying to stave off muscular atrophy in my legs. For months, Mama followed this routine twice a day, while acting as my substitute teacher; caring for my siblings, my father and grandfather; and helping with farm chores. With tears in his eyes, Daddy used to tell how Mama was so worried about me that he found her one day sitting on the bucket beside a cow and milking onto the stool.

Her hard work paid off — I eventually began to walk again, and though I had missed most of second grade except the last two months,  I passed with flying colors.

My brother still remembers the summer day when he found me, the youngest of four children, unconscious under a snowball bush just beside our farm house in Christiansburg, Virginia.

I gleaned two important lessons from that experience: I never take walking for granted, and I approach difficult tasks as challenges to be overcome. When my third book, The Little Lion, was adapted for the stage by playwright Irene Ziegler, the world premiere was held at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in South Chesterfield, Virginia, in January. I approached Tom Width, director of the Mill, as well as the play’s artistic director, and he agreed to assist in a fundraiser for PolioPlus. Brandermill Rotarians joined with me to “Fill the Mill for PolioPlus” on 20 February 2016. Students, friends and Rotarians purchased tickets, some coming from as far away as New Jersey to help support the project, raising $4,512 for PolioPlus.

DeJa View, a Richmond, Virginia, club whose members are polio survivors, was one of the welcoming audiences. The vast majority of members are physically compromised, and some have been stricken with post-polio syndrome. That didn’t’ dampen their spirits, and one member managed to sell 13 tickets for the show. Several sent donations, even though they couldn’t attend.

They, and the many individuals who helped, have inspired me to help carry RI’s task to the finish line. After all, “We’re this close.”

Beasley is available to speak to Rotary Clubs about her experience with polio and the books that she has written. She donates a portion of proceeds from her books to PolioPlus. She can be reached at nancy@nancywrightbeasley.com

- Rotary Voices

Rotary Convention 2017

Seoul Convention Digest

Join Fellow Rotarians in Atlanta for the 2017 Rotary Convention and the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. 

Important deadlines

6 June 2016: Last day for special centennial discount ($265 Rotarians/$70 Rotaractors)
15 December 2016: Last day for early-registration discount ($340 Rotarians/$70 Rotaractors)
31 March 2017: Last day for preregistration discount ($415 Rotarians/$100 Rotaractors)
14 June 2017: Last day for online registration ($490 Rotarians/$130 Rotaractors)


2016-17 RI President John F. Germ invites you to Atlanta

Future Rotary International Conventions

2018: 24-27June, Toronto, Canada

2019: 1-5 June, Hamburg, Germany

2020: 7-10 June,Honolulu, USA

2021: 13-16 June, Taipei, Taiwan

2022: 5-8 June, Texas, USA.

© 2016   Created by T.K.Balakrishnan.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service