A milestone for polio eradication in Nigeria

150724_mcgovernBy Michael McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Today is a special milestone for global health and for every Rotary member. Today, Nigeria has gone one year with no new cases of 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; it was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa – three-quarters of all cases in the world.

A vaccinator in Maiduguri looks for children that were missed during the mop up phase of an immunization drive in Northern Nigeria. Photo by Diego Ibarra Sánchez

A vaccinator looks for children that were missed during the mop up phase of a polio immunization drive in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Photo by Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Last year, thanks to its extensive polio eradication infrastructure, Africa’s most populous nation was able to reduce polio cases by 90 percent and thwart the deadly Ebola virus with a swift, “world-class” response.

I had the privilege of speaking earlier this year at the UN Economic and Social Council about Rotary’s work as part of the Global Polio Eradication Continue reading

Tips for smarter fundraising

150209_burrellBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia, and a regular contributor to this blog

I’m not a huge donor with the capability of making or breaking your club’s fundraising campaign. At least not yet. And I am fully aware Rotary isn’t just a fundraising organization. But we do need funds to carry on our service projects and do good in the world.

So here are a few of my ideas for how to put fun back in your fundraiser, and increase your reach and effectiveness. Continue reading

Putting books in the hands of children

Children read books they received through Gyan Jyot, a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari.

Children read books they received through Gyan Jyot, a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Gujarat, India, have launched a program to put books into the hands of children from low income families who cannot afford them, or whose schools lack large library collections.

Gyan Jyot is a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari. For as little as $3,000, the club purchases and circulates a variety of reading material to students, who get to pick a book of their choice a week to read at no cost. Continue reading

Rotary Flame arrives in Evanston

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By Rotary Voices staff

The Rotary “Flame” arrived at RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, on Tuesday, 14 April, on its journey from India to São Paulo, Brazil, site of the 2015 Rotary International Convention in June.

The flame was launched in Chennai, India, in December to celebrate India being polio-free and commemorate the 30th anniversary of PolioPlus. The torch has made its way through Colombo, Karachi, Kabul, Sydney, Taipei, Manila, London, and Lagos, and will make an additional stop in Toronto before the convention. Continue reading

No child should have to suffer from polio

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By Isabeli Fontana

As a Rotary polio ambassador, I’m currently in India, participating in our vaccination program. I think everyone should have the best start in life, so as a mother, I made sure my two sons received the vaccine against polio.

The story of Rotary’s fight against polio is inspiring, and it always gives me hope to see the impact of Rotary’s work when I travel. For me, beauty is anything that makes you happy. The work of Rotary and health workers is certainly beautiful. Continue reading

Rotary torch keeps the flame burning for polio eradication in Afghanistan

Members of the Rotary Club of Kabul hold the Rotary torch during its stop at their club.

Mohammed Ishak, Rotary Club of Jalalabad, holds the torch during a joint event with the Rotary Club of Kabul City. Luke Beer, author of this post, is second from right in back.

By Luke Beer, president of the Rotary Club of Kabul City, Afghanistan

As some of you know, a Rotary “flame” was launched in December in Chennai, India, to commemorate India becoming polio-free and to promote the need to go the last mile in the battle to eradicate this horrible crippling disease. The torch has made its way through several countries already, and will pass through all three polio endemic countries  – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria – before arriving at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo 6-9 June.

I want to share with you just how inspiring it was to be part of the flame’s journey. As an Afghan club, we are so grateful for the energy it has given us as a club to refocus our efforts on polio awareness, working alongside the Rotary Club of Jalalabad. Continue reading

Why I am sharing my story as a polio survivor

Kerry Jacobson

Kerry Jacobson

By Kerry Jacobson

I feel more urgently than ever the need to share how polio impacted my life. In 1952, I contracted bulbar-polio, the rarest and most dangerous of the strains of the polio virus. I had just turned 7. I caught the virus from a neighborhood friend of my older sister who had been playing at our house and then was admitted to the hospital with polio.

A week later, I was in our family doctor’s office to hear the diagnosis: bulbar polio — very critical. My mother and I were sent on to Mercy Hospital. I remember being quickly taken from my mother, put in a wheelchair, whisked away to a nearby room with other children, and then wheeled past a group of onlookers, including my mother, who were kept separate from us behind a rope to prevent contact. Continue reading

Clubs celebrate Rotary’s anniversary, 30 years of PolioPlus

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This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. It also is 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

Rotary clubs are celebrating the milestones in a variety of ways. The Rotary Club of Mt. Warning AM, New South Wales, Australia, gave away pancakes and handouts on the village’s main street. Continue reading

How will you celebrate 30 years of PolioPlus?

Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary's anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.

Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary’s anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.

This year marks 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

During a speech at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in February 1985, then President Carlos Canseco announced what he called “the biggest news in Rotary,” an organized campaign to eradicate polio by working alongside the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Prior to that, Rotary Foundation grants had supported immunization activities in individual countries.

Leading up to Rotary’s anniversary, 23 February, we will have coverage of our progress in eradicating polio, and what Rotary clubs are doing to celebrate, on Rotary.org and endpolio.org. Send photos of your club’s celebration to blog@rotary.org to be included in a special gallery here.

Golf marathon raises money for polio eradication

Jerry Venters (left) and Rger Samuel, members of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza, show the played 100 holes of golf, adding the "This Close" gesture.

Jerry Venters (left) and Roger Samuel, members of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza, show they played 100 holes of golf, adding the “This Close” gesture.

By Jerry Venters,  a  member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza

Some golfers played 54 holes, some played 65 holes. Others played 100 holes, and one played 126 holes. All in a single day in September, in a drive to raise money to help eradicate polio. And, oh, how they succeeded!

In our district’s first-ever Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon, Rotary members in District 6040 (north Missouri) raised $42,530 in pledges and donations. When you figure in the Bill & Melinda Gates pledge to match 2-to-1 every dollar that Continue reading