Join a Twitter Chat on Membership with RI General Secretary John Hewko
Kick off Membership and New Club Development Month by participating in a Twitter chat with Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko on 5 August at 10:30 Chicago time (UTC-5). Get tips and resources for gaining members and becoming more involved in your club. Share your own ideas and expertise on how Rotary members can encourage their friends to join. Use #RotaryChat to participate and follow @Rotary and @JohnHewko.
While in Hawaii, I was on KHON2 News and Hawaii News Now, where I had the opportunity talk about Rotary and the Rotary Club of Hawaii's 100th anniversary. You can watch the interviews here: http://khon2.com/…/…/08/rotarys-100th-anniversary-in-hawaii/
RI President K.R. Ravindran encourages us to use our gifts — talents, knowledge, abilities, and efforts — to make a significant impact through fellowship and service activities. Through vocational service, we champion high ethical standards in the workplace, use our professional expertise to serve others, and improve local and international communities. Here are just a few ideas for activities your clubs can undertake:
Review the humanitarian service goals to learn how your vocational service projects can help your club qualify for the 2015-16 Presidential Citation.
- Vocational Service News Letter
From the August 2015 issue of The Rotarian
The girls were alone. Their families were dead, or gone, or lost in the broken landscape of southern Sudan. They had nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to. Some lived in the market, others in the cemetery. When Cathy Groenendijk saw them, she couldn’t help herself. She offered them tea, then some food, then a place to sleep in her guesthouse.
“In the morning, we would sit together and talk about what had happened the night before,” Groenendijk remembers. “And what I heard I could not believe. I could not believe it.”
One girl’s father had died, and after the funeral, she never saw her mother again. She was living on the streets with some other kids when four men started chasing them. The other girls were faster. She fell behind and was caught and raped by all four men. Groenendijk knew a doctor who repaired the physical damage, saving her life.
Another three girls, ages eight, six, and one, lived with their mother, but they all slept in the open. Groenendijk helped them build a tarped shelter, but the hot sun ate it away. One night, a man snuck in and tried to assault one of the girls. After that, Groenendijk let them sleep on her veranda.
This was in 2006. A peace accord had been signed the year before, ending a 22-year civil war and paving the way for the independence of South Sudan. But the region was still broken in many ways. While the story of its “lost boys,” who traveled hundreds of miles on foot to reach safety during the war, is well known, little has been written or said about the girls who stayed behind, and who were just as lost.
Groenendijk was born in eastern Uganda, where her father grew coffee and bananas on the family farm. She had three brothers and seven sisters, so when she was three years old, she was sent to the capital, Kampala, to live with an aunt. After secondary school, she went on to study nursing.
“When I was in Kampala,” she says, “I used to take the food that was left from our kitchen in the training school and give it to the children who were without food. It was a very, very bad time under Idi Amin, and after.”
It was a time of war, suspicion, and fighting. Between 1971 and 1979, about half a million people died under Amin’s dictatorship. Another 300,000 died under Milton Obote before he was deposed in 1985......
Nigeria marked its first year without a single case of polio on Friday, reaching a milestone many experts had thought would elude it as internal conflict hampered the battle against the crippling disease.
It means the country could come off the list of countries where polio is endemic in a few weeks, once the World Health Organization (WHO) can confirm that the last few samples taken from people in previously affected areas are free of the virus.
This achievement turns up the pressure on Pakistan, where most of the few polio cases in the world remain, to follow suit.
Nigeria's polio-free period, dating from July 24, 2014, is the longest it has gone without recording a case. The hope is that next month the entire African continent will have gone a full year without a polio infection, with the last case recorded in Somalia on Aug. 11, 2014.
All this brings tantalizingly closer the prospect that polio will soon become only the second human infectious disease after smallpox to be eradicated.
"It's an extraordinary achievement. It really shows the value of government leadership and taking ownership of the program," said Carol Pandak, the director of Rotary International's polio program.
A disease that until the 1950s crippled thousands of people a year in rich and poor nations alike, the poliomyelitis virus attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection.
It often spreads among young children and in areas with poor sanitation - a factor that gives it freedom in areas of conflict and unrest. But it can be halted with comprehensive, population-wide vaccination.
Nigeria had struggled to contain polio since some northern states imposed a year-long vaccine ban in mid-2003. Some state governors and religious leaders in the predominantly Islamic north alleged the vaccines were contaminated by Western powers to spread sterility and HIV/AIDS among Muslims.
Traditional leaders throughout the country pledged in January 2009 to support immunization campaigns and push parents to have their children vaccinated. But at about the same time Boko Haram militants began a bloody insurgency to carve out an Islamist state in the northeast........
Pandak says it's now Islamabad's turn to feel the huge international pressure Abuja came under to commit itself to finding every last polio case and vaccinating every last child.
"When you're the last country in a region to still have polio, there's a lot of pressure from the global community and from your neighbors," she said.
"Everybody spurs you on, polio gets talked about at the highest levels of government, and that pressure is something Pakistan is acutely politically aware of."......
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Once stigmatized as the world's polio epicenter, Nigeria on Friday celebrates its first year with no reported case of the crippling disease, having overcome obstacles ranging from Islamic extremists who assassinated vaccinators to rumors the vaccine was a plot to sterilize Muslims.
Just 20 years ago this West African nation was recording 1,000 polio cases a year - the highest in the world. The last recorded case of a child paralyzed by the wild polio virus endemic in Nigeria's impoverished and mainly Muslim north was on July 24, 2014.
"We are celebrating the first time ever that Nigeria has gone without a case of polio, but with caution," Dr. Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary International's polio campaign in Nigeria, told The Associated Press.
If there are no new cases and laboratory tests remain negative in the next few weeks, the World Health Organization will take Nigeria off the list of polio-endemic countries, said Oliver Rosenbauer of the U.N. agency's polio unit.
Nigeria is the last African country on that list.
The two remaining countries are Pakistan, which recorded 28 new cases this year, and Afghanistan, with five, said Rosenbauer. It's a 99 percent reduction since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began in 1988, when one of the world's most feared diseases was endemic in 125 countries and was paralyzing nearly 1,000 children every day.
Polio shows up unsuspiciously as a fever and cold, followed quickly by acute paralysis as the virus destroys nerve cells. The disease mainly affects children under 5. The virus invades the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine, then is spread through the feces. It is highly contagious with infected but asymptomatic carriers able to spread it silently and swiftly.
That's why "surveillance takes place in every nook and cranny of this country, even in those areas that have been free for years," said Rotary's Funsho.
In Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamic extremists held a large swath of the northeast for months until March, that means testing sewage and stool samples of refugees from areas too dangerous to access.
The extremists opposed the campaign and Boko Haram gunmen killed nine women vaccinators in northern Kano state in February 2013, but the vaccinations continued.
The milestone has been reached despite the government's failure to deliver the most basic services: 100 million of Nigeria's 170 million people defecate in the open, while the percentage with piped water has shrunk from 12 percent in 1990 to 2 percent today, according to U.N. estimates.
Nigeria has been on the brink of recording no new cases before, only to fall back during elections in 2007 and 2011 when money was lavished on political campaigns instead of vaccinations, said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, chairman of the government's Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication.
Politicians spent unprecedented amounts on March elections that for the first time ousted a sitting president. But 2015 also brought the government's biggest commitment of $80 million to fight polio.
Flexible strategy was needed for the campaign to succeed. "Initially there was this wrong approach ... we thought we could overcome it with global pressure and scientific information," Tomori said. "It didn't work."
The campaign had to win over religious and community leaders and grass-roots women's groups, he said........
R I President K R Ravindran congratulating Nigeria on going one full year without a case of wild-polio virus.
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
We’re delighted to report that [today] Nigeria has passed one year with no new cases of the wild poliovirus.
This is the longest the country has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way since the bleak years when the virus reached its peak. It was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa- three quarters of all cases in the world.
We congratulate Rotarians who have donated $688.5 million to fight polio throughout Africa, including more than $200 million to Nigeria. We congratulate Rotarians from Africa and around the world who have also devoted countless hours to immunize the children who now have the opportunity for healthier, happier lives.
With the ambitious scope of Rotary’s PolioPlus program, our efforts are having a far-reaching, transformative impact beyond the eradication of polio.
With the infrastructure put in place by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Nigeria not only reduced its polio caseload by 90% in 2014, but it also successfully thwarted the world’s most lethal Ebola outbreak to date, in only 90 days, a response faster than even the U.S., and rightly praised by the World Health Organization as ‘world-class’.
In Nigeria and elsewhere, the Initiative provides a blueprint to reach all children with a package of lifesaving vaccines and health interventions. This is a vital step on the path to human development, as we know that with improved public health, more resources can be channeled towards education and economic growth.
If the stringent World Health Organization testing criteria are met, then Nigeria could be removed from the list of polio-endemic countries in September of this year.
However, our work is not done. We know that polio can easily return, with devastating consequences, if we don’t stamp it out now.
We must act, as Rotarians do, to build on the progress made and stop polio once and for all. We have a narrow window of opportunity to achieve this, and if we fail, we could witness up to 200,000 cases a year in the near future.
So how can we finally make history and end polio now?
Today, we must protect the progress made in Nigeria, and support Pakistan and Afghanistan, the other two remaining polio-endemic countries.
Protecting progress means enhancing surveillance, routine immunization, and community engagement in Nigeria and other countries where transmission has been stopped.
Supporting Pakistan and Afghanistan means full political and financial commitment to eradicating polio; vaccination of all children in these countries; high quality surveillance, and the accomplishment of all the expert recommendations as part of the GPEI’s Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan.
Visit endpolio.org to download a toolkit of materials to help you share this progress – and the need for continued commitment in the coming years – with your Rotary club, your communities and your elected officials.
This all requires time, energy and investment. Pakistan’s budget requirements for polio eradication activities from 2016-2018 amounts to $305.7 million, and if we can raise this sum now, a polio-free world will reap financial savings of US$50 billion over the next 20 years and prove what’s possible when the global community comes together to improve children’s lives.
Your donation to PolioPlus will be matched 2 to 1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tripling your contribution.
Thirty years ago we told the world what Rotary believes: that we can achieve the eradication of only the second human disease in history. Our belief is becoming reality. For every child, let’s make sure that reality is a bright one.
Posted by C.J. Singh on July 14, 2015 at 6:30pm
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