Building Positive Peace in Venezuela

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes leads a class on Positive Peace in Venezuela.

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes

Mauricio Pernía-Reyes

By Mauricio R. Pernía-Reyes, president of the Rotary Club of San Cristóbal Metropolitano, Venezuela

I recently discovered a valuable resource on Rotary’s website that has strengthened my club’s efforts to serve our community and build peace. When I was selected to serve as club president for the 2019-20 year, I wanted to expand my understanding of the resources that Rotary makes available online and through social networks. That is when I found the Rotary Positive Peace Academy. Continue reading

Event brings together Peace Fellows, Nobel laureates

Rotary Peace Fellows at Mexico summit

Rotary Peace Fellows at the Nobel Peace Summit (from left to right): Lauren Coffaro (University of Bradford); Summer Lewis (University of Queensland); Rosalvina Otálora (Universidad del Salvador); Jorge Meruvia (International Christian University)

By Summer Lewis, Rotary Peace Fellow and coordinator of the Rotary-Institute for Economics and Peace Partnership

It’s not often that you get to spend International Peace Day, 21 September, surrounded by more than 30 Nobel Peace laureates and 1,200 young peacebuilders. But thanks to my network of connections with Rotary Peace Fellows, I was able to do just that and bring 30 Rotaractors, Rotarians, and Peace Fellows from the United States, Mexico, and Colombia with me to the 17th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Continue reading

What brings Rotarians, returned Peace Corps volunteers together?

Ross Feezer, Mark Walker and Hal Rifken at the outset of the video project.

By Mark D. Walker, Membership Chair, Partnering for Peace

The recently formed Partnering for Peace (P4P), an affiliate of the National Peace Corps Association, brings together a group of professionals with a shared vision to promote peace by creating sustainable projects locally and around the world. The stories of how and why they joined are as diverse as the 50 members themselves. Continue reading

Introducing young leaders to human rights

Cassady Shaw and Tamara Larson

Cassady Shaw, left, and Tamara Larson at the Nelson Mandela Exhibit in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

By Tamara C Larson, Youth Services Chair for District 5370 (West and Northwest Canada) 

For the past two years, I have had the privilege of being a chaperone and working with many young leaders as they attend the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg as part of our district’s program to introduce young people to human rights.  As youth service chair, I find working with these young leaders to be very inspiring. They have a strong investment in social justice, in creating positive change, and are willing to tackle tough issues without compromise. Continue reading

Returned Peace Corps volunteers make great members

Chief Matari and Charlie Masilae Hunt

Charlie Masilae Hunt, right, and Ben Matari, chief of the village in Vanuatu where Hunt served as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

By Charlie Masilae Hunt, Rotary Club of Denver LoDo, Denver, Colorado

Imagine increasing your club membership by 50 percent in just one month. That is what my club did this past January. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) and a member of Rotary, I have had a dream for some time now of recruiting returned Peace Corps volunteers into our club. It is a natural fit. The focuses of both organizations are almost identical. So recruiting returned volunteers is certainly logical. Our club just had an induction ceremony adding ten newly returned volunteers to our membership. Continue reading

Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience

Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.

By Yannis Comino

Over my summer break at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I decided to trade in the warmer weather of Australia for an English winter. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? Well, the only way I can explain it is — I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management. Continue reading

Celebrating Positive Peace

The Positive Peace rally in New York City on the International Day of Peace. Photo by KseniyaPhotography

By Ana Cutter Patel, Executive Director, Outward Bound Peacebuilding, and a 2016 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Peace can be described as positive or negative. Negative peace refers to the absence of violence. Positive peace describes the attitudes, institutions and structures that, when strengthened, can lead to a more peaceful society. The Positive Peace framework developed by Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) identifies eight factors that create peaceful societies. They are: Continue reading

Visiting water-deprived communities in western Ghana

Talking to villagers in western Ghana.

By Nana Konduah Dickye, Rotary Club of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

On 12 November, I led a three-member team to visit seven communities my Rotary club is responsible for as part of the multi-year Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration in Ghana. The aim of the collaboration is to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure and advocacy to deprived communities.

The total journey to these seven communities – Akwaso, Samfifire, Amoada, Kyeikrom, Nkakaa, Bonuama and Anyabream – began at Takoradi and covered a distance of 800 kilometers. It is one thing to hear about communities without basic water supply and sanitation needs. Actually having been to these communities and experiencing the kind of hardships they go through is quite another. Continue reading

Good news for Ghana sanitation efforts

Rotary and USAID are creating Tippy Tap devices to encourage good hygiene in remote areas. The devices use a simple foot paddle to tip a water container so people can safely wash their hands.

Rotary and USAID are creating Tippy Tap devices to encourage good hygiene in remote areas. The devices use a simple foot paddle to tip a water container so people can safely wash their hands.

By Mohamed Keita, RI staff, Administrative Coordinator, Areas of Focus, Programs and Grants

In January, a new government came into office in Ghana and set a different tone in addressing access to water and public sanitation in the country. President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the creation of a Ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources. It is the first time an administration has dedicated the centrepiece of an executive cabinet agency to public sanitation.

Ghanaian Rotarians who are involved in the rollout of the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration, a $4 million initiative to support lasting, positive change to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives in Ghana, have welcomed the move. Continue reading

Building a better tomorrow for youth of Kenya

Class beside new bathrooms

The author with Kenyan students and their teacher in front of the new bathrooms provided by Rotary.

By Sarah Rolfing

No matter how many times I visit the slum in Nairobi or the poverty-stricken schools in the outskirts of the city, I’m not prepared for the feeling of despair that follows. Basic human rights, such as educational opportunity and access to healthcare, are constantly upended by poverty in many regions of Kenya. Children are often the most vulnerable, and the impact on education and the advancement of society is significant.

Lack of resources should not compromise the right to education, particularly in a society that has considerable disparities in wealth. Since 2013, the Rotary Club of Sumner, Washington, USA, has partnered with low-income schools in Southern Kenya to provide bathroom facilities for students with special needs. Lack of basic sanitation at schools across the region is common, negatively impacting health, hygiene, and attendance. Poor health makes education an afterthought, and Rotary’s investment in creating healthy environments for students in Kenya is impacting thousands on a daily basis. Continue reading