Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone
By Ryan Hyland
It’s been three years since health officials last reported a case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus in Nigeria. The milestone, reached on 21 August, means that it’s possible for the entire World Health Organization (WHO) African region to be certified wild poliovirus-free next year.
Nigeria’s success is the result of several sustained efforts, including domestic and international financing, the commitment of thousands of health workers, and strategies to immunize children who previously couldn’t be reached because of a lack of security in the country’s northern states.
“Rotary, its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, and the Nigerian government have strengthened immunization and disease detection systems,” says Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. He adds: “We are now reaching more children than ever in some of the hardest-to-reach places in Nigeria.”
McGovern says Rotary members in Nigeria play an important role in ridding the country of the disease. “Rotarians have been hard at work raising awareness for polio eradication, advocating with the government, and addressing other basic health needs to complement polio eradication efforts, like providing clean water to vulnerable communities.”
Nigeria is the last country in Africa where polio is endemic. Once Africa is certified as free of the wild poliovirus, five of the WHO’s six regions will be free of wild polio. Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which means transmission of the virus has never been stopped.
Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, acknowledges the milestone but cautions Rotary members about celebrating too soon. He cites the challenge of making certain that routine immunizations reach every child in Nigeria.
“It’s paramount that we ensure all doors are locked to the re-entry of the wild poliovirus into our country,” says Funsho.
Funsho says to achieve this, Rotary needs to maintain strong advocacy efforts, continue to increase awareness of immunization campaigns, and ensure members raise necessary funds. Rotary has contributed $268 million to fight polio in Nigeria.
“As the first organization to dream of a polio-free world, Rotary is committed to fulfilling our promise,” says McGovern. “Our progress in Nigeria is a big step toward that goal, but we need to maintain momentum so that Pakistan and Afghanistan see the same level of progress.”
Rotary Club of Orange North
Ph 0402018318 [email protected]
John joined the Rotary Club of Orange North in 2004 and was President in 2009- 10. He enjoys the fellowship and service opportunities that the club provides. John has a background as an academic in adult learning in Agriculture. Following various management positions in NSW Department of Primary Industry, John set up his own consulting company which operated successfully from 2000 until retirement in 2014. As a consultant, John managed programs for Research and Development Corporations in Agriculture on capacity building for rural industries. In these roles, John was heavily involved in developing programs and projects that improve the capacity of people in the food and agriculture sector to manage change. In addition, John has led overseas development projects in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
John is married to Fayah with two children and lives at Forest Reefs south of Orange. John’s other interests include scuba diving, cycling, bush walking and flying and he is Chief Flying Instructor and Instructor Trainer for Orange Flight Training. Positions held within the Rotary Club of Orange North and District 9700 include:
2006-07 – Vocational Service Director Orange North (ON)
07-08 – Secretary ON 08-09 – Administration Director/President Elect ON
09-10 – President ON 10-11 to 12-13 – Assistant Governor group 2
10-11 – District Conference Program Coordinator 2011 – member of a small team installing a water supply scheme to a village in PNG.
2011 – GSE team leader to Scotland District 1010 2012 – Awarded PHF by Orange North
11-12 – District Assembly facilitator when District Trainer unavailable
12-13 – Secretary ON 14-15 – Foundation Director ON
15-16 – Secretary ON
13-14 to 16-17 District Grants Committee Chair
10-11 to 16-17 – Food Plant Solutions District Coordinator
10-11 to 16-17 – D 9700 Club Visioning Coordinator
13-14 to present – District IT committee member
16-17 – District Secretary
Picture – Michael McQueen
Strengthening Rotary’s membership is not just important for incoming district governors, it’s critical. That’s the message they received from several key speakers at their training event, the 2015 International Assembly in San Diego.
For membership to grow, leaders must be willing, for example, to ease stringent club meeting protocols and make other efforts to accommodate a younger, digitally oriented demographic.
Seventy percent of Rotary members are 50 years or older, while half of the world’s population is under 30, according to Rotary leaders. The contrast shouldn’t be something to fear, but rather something to embrace, said Rotary member Michael McQueen, a bestselling author who studies social change, youth culture, and cultural issues and whose consulting firm, The Nexgen Group, specializes in demographic shifts and social trends.
To engage this young demographic, McQueen says that staying relevant is crucial. He shared three key ways that enduring organizations can do that: re-calibrate, re-engineer, and re-position.
But relevance does not involve compromise, McQueen stressed; the values, priorities, and commitment of Rotary should never change. “Any organization that is willing to compromise its DNA in order to stay relevant never lasts. After all, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” said McQueen, a member of the Rotary Club of Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia.
RI General Secretary John Hewko expressed a similar view when he addressed the assembly. He said it’s clear that members have been able to accomplish a great deal, but asked what they are “willing to do” to make Rotary stronger.
“So I’m asking all of you, in the coming year, to be voices for doing everything we can in Rotary, not just everything that’s comfortable or easy or the way things have always been done,” he said. “Be advocates for thoughtful, positive, and lasting change. We have a great tradition in Rotary, but it’s our tradition. We made it, we own it — it doesn’t own us; if it no longer serves its purpose, we can change it.”
McQueen suggests adjusting some of the traditions, processes, and protocols that “could be the very things that cause us to lose relevance.”
In McQueen’s native Australia, the Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise, New South Wales, has three members sharing leadership responsibilities for a year as co-presidents. The club reports that having the skills and ideas of three leaders is prompting other changes, and has already resulted in a 25 percent gain in membership.
According to McQueen, change and innovation are led by people with fresh perspectives. Rotary members can draw new ideas from new members, guest speakers, family members, even children who tag along to club meetings.
“The beauty of people with fresh eyes is that they don’t know how things have always been done because no one has told them yet,” said McQueen. “They have no trouble thinking outside the box because no one has told them what the box even looks like.”
And young people, he said, “represent an enormous opportunity for this organization from a membership point of view. They are an ambitious bunch of natural networkers who, contrary to popular opinion, have a strong sense of civic duty.”
Change is never easy, McQueen conceded, but Rotary members must be open to it. “We must avoid the trap of ever feeling we have arrived at the winning formula, which we then set in stone. After all, the moment you think you’ve made it, you’ve passed it.”
Growing membership is a major goal of Rotary President Gary C.K. Huang. Engaging youth, inviting more women into clubs, and embracing change are all important to increasing and keeping members, Huang said.
Sometimes, he noted, adding a member is as simple as asking someone to join. Since he took office on 1 July, Huang has recruited several dignitaries while traveling, including Ed Royce, a U.S. congressman from California; Mulenga Sata, deputy mayor of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital; and Beatrice Lorenzin, Italy’s minister of health. All of them, Huang said, praised Rotary’s work before being asked to join.
RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran applauded Huang’s tireless work, calling him a “one-man army” promoting membership.
“All of you are going to be busy people next year, and I urge you to make a habit of asking other busy people to join. Don’t leave them out,” said Huang, “Maybe some of them will say no, and that’s OK. But I don’t want any of them to say they are not Rotarians because nobody ever asked.”
He added: “Our membership and services are what make Rotary powerful and strong. To keep it strong, membership recruitment and retention have to be a priority for every incoming Rotary leader.”
Welcome to the new Rotary year.
Start of new Rotary officers’ year of service this month with a focus on:
- Tree Plantation
- Reduce, Re-Use, Re-Cycle Waste
For our Club we need to ensure that all officers are aware of their responsibilities for the coming year. All officers will be sent by email their respective manuals that document their area of focus and responsibilities.
At our meeting held 25th June 2019 it was decided to adopt a new meeting concept where the meeting is emailed in PDF format one week before our ZOOM meeting. This will assist those who have slow internet connections and allow them to view video and powerpoint presentations at their own leisure.
We intend for members and those wanting to makeup that they follow the meeting including videos so that at our ZOOM meeting we can discuss any points or questions arising from the presentations. You can view our meeting concept at:
As a trial at this meeting we used a very powerful speech made to the by Rebecca Fry who discussed Public Image and Rotary Core values at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego (January2019) in front of an audience of over 1500 people.
Rebecca is a member of the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley but resides in Sydney, Australia. She is Government Affairs and Community Specialist at Johnson & Johnson, Sydney, Australia and is currently Social Media Manager for Rotary International. In additions she is Past Chair & currently Head of Public Relations with Rotaract Australia.
Please view her presentation by clicking on the link below:
We would appreciate any comments about our new meeting concept.
Our E-Club supports Orkeeswa Secondary School in Tanzania, where the poorest students are receiving a high quality education to become leaders in their community. At Orkeeswa, classrooms are designed to be engaging, collaborative and student-centred. With construction almost complete on the newest classroom, furniture and equipment are needed to turn this building into an engaging space. If you would like to know more or contribute to Orkeeswa’s growing campus, see https://www.ieftz.org/roomtolearn.
2020-21 Rotary International president
By Ryan Hyland
Holger Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, has been selected to serve as president of Rotary International in 2020-21.
The Nominating Committee’s decision follows the resignation last month of President-nominee Sushil Gupta due to health reasons. Knaack will officially become president-nominee if no other candidates challenge him by 31 May.
To build a stronger membership, Knaack says Rotary must focus on increasing the number of female members and transitioning Rotaractors into Rotarians.
Knaack believes that the People of Action campaign offers new public awareness possibilities for Rotary. “This campaign conveys our global image while still respecting differences in regions and cultures,” he says.
A Rotary member since 1992, Knaack has served Rotary as treasurer, director, moderator, member and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor.
He is an endowment/major gifts adviser and co-chair of the Host Organization Committee for the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg.
Knaack is the CEO of Knaack KG, a real estate company. He was previously a partner and general manager of Knaack Enterprises, a 125-year-old family business.
He is a founding member of the Civic Foundation of the City of Ratzeburg and served as president of the Golf-Club Gut Grambek. Knaack is also the founder and chair of the Karl Adam Foundation.
Meet a few of the women in Rotary playing a pivotal role in the effort to eradicate the disease.
Story Written By: Audrey Carl
Feb. 28, 2019
In every corner of the world, women in Rotary are leading the charge to make polio history. They are fundraisers, volunteers, polio survivors, and advocates from all backgrounds and walks of life with one thing in common: working to ensure that no child ever has to suffer the devastating and paralyzing effects of polio. In honor of International Women’s Day, we highlight the work of 5 of the many women in Rotary leading the way in the fight to end polio.
Diment, of the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Thames, England, leads Rotary’s UK advocacy efforts, and is a passionate fundraiser and International PolioPlus Committee member. In 2017, she led Rotary’s efforts to create champions for polio eradication among UK political leaders, resulting in the country committing an additional £100 million to the global initiative. “On International Women’s’ Day, I salute the frontline women health workers in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria for their dedication and commitment to ensure that all children under five are vaccinated, often risking their lives on a daily basis.” Hear more from Diment here.
Ijeoma Pearl Okoro
Ijeoma Pearl Okoro is a member of the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt, Nigeria where she directs End Polio Now activities throughout sub-Saharan Africa. She leads efforts to build awareness around the fight to eliminate polio from Nigeria and engages other Rotary members and the public through events and promotional endeavors. Through a range of activities, like government advocacy, celebrity engagement, and fundraising, Okoro’s leadership helps ensure that polio eradication is a priority and every child is protected from the disease. “Until the last child is reached and immunized, no child in the world is free. Let us all support the cause to end polio now.”
A member of the Rotary Club of Islamabad (Metropolitan), Pakistan, Gul runs a Rotary-funded health center in Nowshera, working with teams of female vaccinators help reach neighborhoods of ethnic Afghan refugees displaced by conflict in tribal border regions. Gul’s teams use cellphones for daily data reporting on immunization progress, which helps health organizations analyze data and report back in real time. “I just contribute my part as a Rotarian. I’m happy to work in remote areas, especially with women, motivating them to play their role in society,” Gul says. Read more about Gul’s work in Pakistan.
Ann Lee Hussey has led Rotary volunteers on nearly 30 trips to places like Pakistan and Nigeria to immunize kids against polio, the disease that has affected her since she was 17 months old. A member of the Portland Sunrise Rotary Club, Maine, USA, she is an outspoken advocate for polio eradication and immunization in general and has testified at state legislative hearings in Maine on the importance of vaccination. In January, Hussey spoke of her experience as a polio survivor and her Rotary service at Rotary’s International Assembly, highlighting the role of frontline polio workers: “Without question, the many health workers around the world—80 percent of whom are women—are the unsung heroes on the polio front. Without them, we would not be where we are today.”
Richmond-Ahoua joined the Rotary Club of Abidjan-Biétry, Côte d’Ivoire, in 1991, making her one of the first female Rotarians in Africa. When a general canceled a national immunization day during a 1999 coup in her country, Richmond-Ahoua appealed directly to the general’s family, pleading that innocent children had nothing to do with the war. Shortly afterward, the general granted her request and presided over the opening of the rescheduled immunization day. Richmond-Ahoua coordinates national polio immunizations and serves on the Africa Regional PolioPlus Committee. She also spoke at last year’s World Bank International Women’s Day event.
The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.
Your donation makes a difference to those who need our help most. More than 90 percent of donations go directly to supporting our service projects around the world. It can save a life.
A child can be protected from polio with as little as 60 cents. Our partners make your donation go even further. For every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $2.
Please consider making your donation to our Club Service account for the Rotary Foundation.
Please make you donations as below:
EFT Payments please make out to:
Account Name: The Rotary E-Club of District 9700 – Service/Projects,
Reference – Name plus ‘TRF’
BSB: 032769 Account: 697413
Cheque Payments by post make out to: Rotary E-Club of District 9700-Serving Humanity
Reference – ‘TRF and your name’, and mail to:
Rotary E-Club of District 9700-Serving Humanity,
PO Box 25, YACKANDANDAH, VIC 3749