Public image in the age of COVID-19

By Laura Spear, assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 32

How can your club promote your activities and service projects if almost all of it is virtual today? Your club’s website and social media channels are now more important than ever.

Many clubs are meeting virtually, using tools like Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting. Capture a screen image of your members and post it on your digital channels to show that your club remains active. Post club bulletins and newsletters to update your members and community on your club’s activities, even if you aren’t meeting in person. Consistent communication with both members and the public is essential for keeping your club visible in your community. Continue reading

How to plan a virtual World Polio day event

2019 WPD event

Local civic and government officials and representatives from ten Rotary clubs at the 2019 World Polio Day event. Photo by David Andrews

By David F. Andrews, three-time past president, Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, Ontario, Canada, and chair of District 7070’s Public Image Committee

After many years of celebrating World Polio Day with proclamations, updates from Rotary and health leaders, and flag-raising ceremonies, the 10 Rotary clubs in District 7070 (Ontario, Canada) took a different course in 2018. An in-person event held in a new global classroom and simultaneously streamed live is now serving as a great model as we approach holding our first World Polio Day live event in a COVID-19 world.

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We heal as one

A member of the Rotary Club of Camp Aguinaldo, Philippines, delivers a packet of food.

By Elizabeth P. Directo, Rotary Club of Camp Aguinaldo, Philippines

Knowing that many people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, incoming club presidents in our district (3780) were looking for a way to spread a little bit of hope to those who lacked it. So we partnered with a mobile kitchen, run by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to make and distribute meals for residents in need. Continue reading

Rotary in Kirkintilloch is alive and well

Bob Tomlinson

By Bob Tomlinson, president of the Rotary Club of Kirkintilloch, Scotland

The COVID-19 pandemic is horrifying. The lives lost are not just statistics. Each death is a life cut short and a family and friends left grieving. This reality is something we must never forget. Our way of life has been profoundly challenged.

For organizations, such as Rotary, a common question asked is: “what will Rotary be like if we survive this?” The questioner invariably makes the addendum, “We’ve never been through anything like this before.” As individuals, very few of us have been through anything like this. But Rotary International has, several times, and came through to the other side — 1918 Spanish Flu, the Great Depression of the 1930’s, World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars, etc.

This is the account of how one club is working to survive. Continue reading

Conducting service projects is possible, rewarding during pandemic

The Rotary Club of Novosibirsk-Initiative, Russia, assembled masks for medical workers as a virtual project.

By Ekaterina Tashlykova, secretary, and Julia Fedeneva, president-elect, Rotary Club of Novosibirsk-Initiative, Russia

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our self-awareness. Virtual meetings are now common, but what about doing service projects? Can these be virtual too? As a club, we explored this idea with our first service project since the pandemic hit. Continue reading

We were built for this

Paddy Rooney

Paddy Rooney

By Paddy Rooney, governor of District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)

“We were built for this.” They were just a few words, cast upon a sea of words spoken that evening. But it encapsulated everything that I believe Rotary to be about and what our challenge is for the future. The words were spoken by Rotary International Director Jeffry Cadorette and General Secretary John Hewko at a zoom gathering of district governors and governors-elect. Spoken above the blare of the evening’s business, these words offer a profound vision for Rotary in the months and years to come as we move through this pandemic into the future which awaits us. Continue reading

Finding common ground during the pandemic

Kiran Sirah Singh at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA

I’ve been having lots of inspiring conversations with my fellow Rotarians recently. As a Rotary Peace Fellow, I’ve found it so helpful to connect and brainstorm with my colleagues from the program. I think many of us individually and institutionally have had our thoughts crowded out by our focus on survival early in this crisis.

The question marks we all face remain overwhelming. But as we have talked with one another, it has shifted our attention on collaboration and supporting one another. We’ve been focusing on how we can help not just ourselves and each other in our own personal and professional circles, but also make a difference in the wider world. Continue reading

Touching lives in Lagos

Rotary members Omolara Omotosho and Bolatito Olaboye deliver food in Lagos, Nigeria.

By Michael Effiong, Rotary Club of Ikeja South, Lagos, Nigeria

All around the world, the coronavirus pandemic is changing our lives and creating a new normal. But our members have seen the need and risen to the challenge. Now, more than ever, we need to show Rotary’s goodness as we practice Service Above Self.

Long before a nation-wide lockdown in Nigeria, Lagos had initiated its own stiff measures to stop the spread of the virus. This meant that our usually engaging meetings had to move online. The platform we decided to use was Zoom, and it has been our playground, a place where we share ideas and make plans to help our community. Continue reading

Ideas for staying connected during social distancing

Ingrid Waugh

By Ingrid Waugh, Assistant Rotary Coordinator and Past Governor of Rotary District 9920

During this time of physical separation and social distancing, it is more important than ever to keep our social connections. Rotarians join Rotary to do good in their community. They stay because of the connections they make. Our relationships are important, and we need to strengthen the ones we have and to build new ones. What might this look like in our changed world? Continue reading

Polio: beyond the talking points

Health workers administer polio vaccine to migrant families during a National Immunization Day organized by UNICEF and its GPEI partners in Ghaziabad, India, in January.

By Stephanie Herzfeld

On 27 March 2020, the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region recognizes six years of polio-free certification.

To be sure, this is an important benchmark as we progress toward a polio-free world, but as I look back on my first National Immunization Day trip to India, the country in the region once considered the most difficult to bring to zero cases, this date has now taken on a new personal significance. Continue reading