How to create a PolioPlus Society in your district

Mollie
Mollie, the unofficial mascot of the PolioPlus Society in Rotary Zones 26 and 27.

Editor’s Note: Bob Rogers of the Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California, USA, and Greg Owen, Rotary Club of Long Beach, California, USA, both End Polio Now coordinators, came together to form a PolioPlus Society in their zones. The Society, which encourages automatic annual giving to Rotary’s PolioPlus fund, has been praised by senior Rotary Leaders as a model for others to follow. Rotary Voices talked to Rogers and Owen about the origins of the idea.

Q: How did you get the idea for a PolioPlus Society in your zones?

Bob Rogers: It was back in 2018 or 2019 and I was beginning my role as District 5130’s PolioPlus committee chair. Cort Vaughn, our End Polio Now coordinator, told me how District 5110 had formed a society several years earlier as a way to increase sustainable giving to the PolioPlus Fund. The original concept has been credited to Harriett Schloer of the Rotary Club of Bend High Desert in Oregon and her district governor, Dell Gray. Vaughn noted it had proved very successful and had been copied by other districts.

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From London to Lagos to build awareness for End Polio Now

Kunle Adeyanju and friend
Kunle Adeyanju, left, poises for a selfie with one of the many people he met on his motor ride from London to Lagos.

By Kunle Adeyanju, Rotary Club Ikoyi Metro A.M, Lagos, Nigeria

Nothing worth accomplishing has ever been achieved effortlessly. And this was certainly true of my amazing road trip from London to Lagos on my motorbike to raise awareness for End Polio Now and raise funds for Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio. The road trip passed through desert, freezing cold, stunning forest landscapes, and across some of the remotest part of the earth.

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Decades of improving life in Uganda and Kenya

Woman at tippy tap
A woman in Uganda uses a new tippy tap to wash her hands in front of a latrine built by Rotary members.

By Chris Roesel, a member of the Rotary E-Club of WASH, District 9980

Chris Roesel
Chris Roesel

I am a Rotary member and the son of a Rotarian, and grew up in rural Georgia, USA, before the Civil Rights Movement. I saw structural and economic problems that I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Later, I attended the Air Force Academy, but that didn’t show me how to empower the people in impoverished communities, either. After I graduated from the academy, I joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Guatemala. What I saw and experienced there shocked me.

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Working toward a malaria-free Zambia is personal

By Eric Liswaniso, member of the Rotary Club of Ndola and the Rotaract Club of Lusaka, Zambia

One of the most frustrating things about malaria is the preventable suffering it imposes on families. The death of a child or a parent, the loss of work, or economic stability can be devastating.

I lost my parents quite early, and life became very difficult for me and my siblings. Fortunately, with help from family members, I was able to complete my education and support my younger siblings through their schooling. But my experience awakened me to the misfortune of many others, for whom losing a parent leads to a lifetime of suffering. I’m now a husband and the father of a two-year-old daughter, so fighting malaria — which particularly affects children under five and pregnant women — is personal.

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What we can accomplish when we embrace diversity

A mother adjusts the strap on her son's new prosthesis.
A mother adjusts the strap on her son’s new prosthesis.

By K V Mohan Kumar, charter president of the Rotary Club of Bangalore, Prime, India, and an ambassador of the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation

As members of Rotary, we can show our support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) not only by our words, but by our actions. The way we design projects and include people of all backgrounds as volunteers and recipients speaks louder than words.

In 2021, three members of our district came together to plan a medical project that fitted individuals who had lost hands with free below-the-elbow prosthetics at a camp in Dharwad, India, in October. All three of these members were from different occupations and backgrounds; one a microbiologist, one a business entrepreneur, and one an IT project manager. Together in Rotary, they blended their unique skills to lead a project benefitting people from all backgrounds.

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Mobile screening limits spread of COVID-19

Byung Woo Kim stands by the mobile screening center. The bus travels to those who suspect they have COVID-19 to perform tests, minimizing their exposure to others.

By Byung Woo Kim, past president of the Rotary Club of Cheongju-Musim, South Korea

My Rotary club has been working on more than one global grant project every year. When we were planning an initiative this year, we were seeing a high rate of COVID-19 cases. At that time, the government’s guidelines required that those suspected of having COVID should be tested at their nearest screening center. But as they travel from their home to the screening center using public transportation, they come in contact with multiple people and risk infecting still others in the hospital performing the screening.

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Philippines Rotary clubs ‘adopt’ vaccination site

patients being screened for vaccinations
A Rotary member and physician helps screen patients for their vaccinations at the University of Baguio City Gym

By Carlito “Tolitz” Villanueva, Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capitol, Philippines

We heal as one. Our communities were brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that vaccine is becoming available in the Philippines, we are slowly regaining our strength, confidence, and mobility to carry on our daily tasks.

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Stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Rotary Club of Dhaka facemask distributions
Rotaract and Rotary clubs in Dhaka distributed 25,000 masks in April.

By Abdullah Al Fahad, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the infection rate from COVID-19 had been increasing daily earlier this year. The death rate was also frighteningly high. It’s a threat to our country’s health and economy. Our population density is simply too high. The best way to decrease the spread of COVID-19 is by using facemasks. Therefore, we felt we needed to work hard as a Rotaract club to remind people of the importance of wearing face masks.

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Vaccination education for all our neighborhoods

Members of the Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA, spend Saturdays distributing information about vaccinations on door hangers in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

By Alex Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA

From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.

Most people have access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. But we discovered many minority residents do not. Motivated by a wish to help our fellow citizens, we partnered with our city government to inform this group.

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Sharing a powerful moment as a vaccination volunteer

By Vicki Brentin, a member of the Rotary Club of Houston Skyline, Houston, Texas, USA

Anticipation. Excitement. Nervousness. Uncertainty. Hopefulness. Relief. Gratitude. I had all of these not-so-surprising emotions as I passed through the various stations at the mega vaccine site in Houston to receive my COVID-19 vaccination.

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