Working to Eradicate Polio

Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone

By Ryan Hyland

Volunteers vaccinate children in Maiduguri, Nigeria, against polio, marking the houses they’ve visited.
Photo by Andrew Esiebo

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.”

Join Rotary on World Polio Day, 24 October, to celebrate our progress. Help us reach our goal of a polio-free world by donating today.

August – Membership and New Club Development Month

Promoting membership with new ideas, even some that challenge tradition

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 2021

VOCATIONAL SERVICE MONTH

Rotary is a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, color, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The video above produced by Rotary International in Britain & Ireland encourages Rotarians to use their particular vocational skills to make a difference to the world.

Having a broad range of vocations within each Rotary Club assists in your Club’s ability to work in your own community or internationally to achieve a better world for us all.

Food Plant Solutions

Rotary Action Group

This is a Rotary Action Group and RAWCS project (32-2009-10) that I have been impressed with for many years. What they offer could be incorporated into many of our existing RAWCS Overseas aid projects.

A SOLUTION THAT ENDS MALNUTRITION

We create educational materials that explain what nutritional food is, why our bodies need it and how to grow and use it. We focus on what are often neglected and underutilized plants, plants that are growing in and adapted to their environment, and are high in the most beneficial nutrients.  Our materials are designed to empower people, but particularly women, so that they can make informed choices on what plants to grow and eat that will nutritiously feed themselves and their families.  This project is cost effective, proven to work, sustainable and enables self-sufficiency.

We can end malnutrition – it’s as simple as growing the right plant in the right place.

Recently they were featured on an ABC Landline program that you can watch by clicking on this link – ABC Landline Program

You can see more on their website by clicking here – Food Plant Solutions

Congratulations Bev

NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year – Bev Cooney, OAM, MOHpe from Bathurst

Congratulations to Bev, a member of the E-Club Serving Humanity and Honorary member of the Rotary Club of Bathurst, on being awarded NSW Senior Volunteer of the Year 2020. Bev Cooney helped establish the Dementia Café – cleverly name Dcafe – at The Neighbourhood Centre in Bathurst. Volunteers have been trained to help run the café which provides a space for people with dementia to come together, interact and maintain a sense of connection with the local community and its people.

Bev is co-ordinating a volunteer program at Bathurst Hospital known as CHOPS (Confused Hospitalised Older Persons Volunteer Program.

The aim of the program for patients with dementia and delirium is to enhance the emotional care and security of patients during their stay in hospital. The program supports family and carers and the nursing staff. This includes assisting patients with eating and drinking, gentle exercise, promoting the wearing of hearing and visual aids and appropriate therapeutic activities.

In Bathurst, volunteers have made books that are of interest to patients as well as assisting nurses with handover at shift change.

Volunteers undergo an appropriate selection and training process. This volunteer program model, supported by Director of Nursing and Midwifery Brad Molenkamp, is the responsibility of nursing and allied health staff.

Bev indicates the Bathurst Hospital requires three people on each shift in the Medical, Surgical and Rehabilitation wards.

Not content with just supporting the CHOPS program in the hospital Bev has embarked on an education program to ensure Bathurst becomes a Dementia Friendly Community. With the growth in our population and the large community of retirees the instances of Dementia is growing.

Alzheimer’s Australia and the Australian Government are encouraging towns to introduce the Dementia Friendly Cities Program to make lives easier for the people who suffer this insidious disease. With three in ten people over the age of 80 and one in ten over 65 with dementia, it is timely for our community to be active.

 Bev indicates that simple education programs, adjusting signs around town and by making shopping centres, cafes and restaurants dementia friendly we can improve Bathurst to be one of the most modern cities in this country.

We are proud to have Bev as a member of our Rotary Club. She has achieve much in her life assisting those less fortunate.

Bev has previously been recognised for her volunteer work in Peru. read her story below:

Bev Cooney’s Story – Chasing Dreams in Peru

06 Nov 2013

Walking through a hospital, one could be forgiven for not having their wits about them. There are clinicians and nurses darting this way and that, patients being ferried from one ward to another and concerned visitors anxiously making their way to the nearest information desk to find the whereabouts of their loved one. In this beehive of activity, there is rarely a minute to slow down and take in what’s happening around you. So slow down, and take a minute to read this.

Last month Bev Cooney, an Enrolled Nurse at Westmead Hospital, received the Medal of the Order of Australia. One would automatically assume such an award would be directly aligned with her profession. But Bev’s story is much more than that.

Bev has been a nurse for 47 years, spending most of her time working in children’s hospitals. In 2003, Bev accomplished one of her lifelong dreams of travelling to Peru in South America. She walked the Inca trail, visited untouched rainforests and saw some of the finest sites that part of the world has to offer. But the best thing she did, in her own words, was visit a “big kid’s hospital”.

“Like everybody else in Australia I thought we had nothing in our hospitals, but I soon realised we had everything. So I decided that I should help these people,” Bev said.

4 Boat donated by Bev to the town of Satipo

Bev didn’t just “help”. In 2006, she founded a school and rehabilitation centre that provides medical care and education for children and adults with disabilities and their families. She raised funds for the construction of the school and rehabilitation centre including using some of her own superannuation payout.

“The year after my first visit I took a team of surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses and we worked in the big kid’s hospital in Lima for a little while. From there we went out to the jungle with a team of local doctors to a town called Satipo, which had a 19 bed hospital, but while we were there I saw 500 kids that were disabled who could not go to school. They were not permitted to go to school,” Bev said.

This really worried her. As a nurse working with disabled kids every day in Australia, it was inconceivable to see them marginalised in another part of the world. Disabled adults also fell victim to the community’s pre-conditioned view that these adults have been punished by the gods and therefore must suffer. So in 2005, Bev began to make some enquiries.

“In 2005 I went back twice to see what it would take to build a school there. I worked out approximately what it would cost, and that I could do it with my super. So I came home and retired in 2006 and I went back and built a school for 100 kids and a house for myself to live,” Bev said.

Bev started working with the Mayor of the town and managed to acquire a place for the adult disabled and taught them how to sow and started a factory. They now make clothes and sell them in the markets, and more importantly, are no longer living on the streets.

Her extraordinary accomplishments have not come without some obstacles. Bev has been shot at, kidnapped, extorted and belittled but this has not stopped her in her quest. She’s had to return to work to continue funding the centre and move to Sydney to take on the role, but she says it has all been worth it.

Next year Bev is taking a team of plastic surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses to Satipo to operate on children who are born with cleft palates. She hopes it will inspire more volunteers to share their knowledge and time for those who need it most.

In time, Bev yearns to live in her home in Satipo permanently, but now she is happy to continue her work both in Australia and Peru. Her compassion for the children of Satipo is heart-warming, and her unassuming, humble nature is inspiring. So next time you’re hurrying through a hospital take a second to slow down, because you might just pass someone as remarkable as Bev.

A First for Rotary

Jennifer E. Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor Roseland, Ontario, Canada, has been nominated to become Rotary International’s president for 2022-23.

A ground-breaking selection that will make her the first woman to hold that office in our organisation’s 115-year history.

Unless challenged, Jennifer will officially become president nominee on 1 October 2020.

Jennifer says she sees Rotary’s Action Plan as a catalyst for increasing Rotary’s impact. “As we reflect upon our new strategic priorities, we could have never envisioned that our ability to adapt would become our North Star during what is arguably the most profound time in recent history,”

Jennifer said in her vision statement. “Silver linings rise out of the most challenging circumstances. Using metric-driven goals, I will harness this historic landscape to innovate, educate, and communicate opportunities that reflect today’s reality.”

As the first woman to be nominated to be president, Jennifer understands how important it is to follow through on Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Statement. “I believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion … begins at the top and for us to realise growth in female membership and members under the age of forty — these demographics need to see their own reflection in leadership,”

Jennifer said. “I will champion double-digit growth in both categories while never losing sight of our entire family.”

Jones is founder and president of Media Street Productions Inc., an award-winning media company in Windsor. She was chair of the board of governors of the University of Windsor and chair of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has been recognized for her service with the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and Wayne State University’s Peacemaker of the Year Award, a first for a Canadian. Jones holds a Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).




Why The Four-Way Test is my ethical guide

The Four-way test is as relevant today as it was when first introduced to Rotary in 1954.

S.R. Yogananda

S.R. Yogananda

By S.R. Yogananda, past district governor, past regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and a member of the Rotary Bangalore East, Bengaluru, India

The year was 1987. I had come back from the Sultanate of Oman and was running a consumer products distribution company in Bangalore, India, when a business executive came to my office one evening. He said “I have been watching the way you do business. You are not taking short cuts, you have asked your staff and accountants to follow all the government regulations. I would like to invite you to join my Rotary club.” Rotary, he said “amongst other things, stands for integrity”

After attending a few meetings, I was inducted into the Rotary Club of Bangalore East during a colorful event in a lovely atmosphere. I attended all club and district events and began to gain a deeper understanding of this wonderful organization. I was delighted to learn that Rotary does not endorse any particular religion and is beyond boundary restrictions. Integrity is a pillar on which Rotary stands.Herb Taylor

Herbert J. Taylor, 1954-55 RI president, in his office holding a large copy of The Four-Way Test. circa 1954-55.

The story of Herbert Taylor, the past RI president who created The Four-Way Test, fascinated me, so much so that when I became president of my club I put up a large sign of the test along a busy road in Bangalore. I got it printed on a silver plate and gave it as a memento to every speaker at our meetings. I also gave it to our members on their birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

I served as the national coordinator and awards administrator for a national essay competition on The Four-Way Test held all over India, administered through Rotary clubs. This project, held for five years, was sponsored by District 6400 and the Rotary Club of Windsor, Canada.

Many times in my business, I made decisions that to an outsider might have looked unwise. There was an occasion when we could have bought a product without the taxes and sold it to make a handsome profit. When this proposal was brought to my attention, I put my foot down and said no. It failed The Four-Way Test. It was not fair to the tax authorities and to other dealers who did not have this advantage.

Another incident etched in my memory, even before joining Rotary, I was heading the special equipment division of a leading company in the Middle East. I was handling global tenders and multimillion-dollar deals. I was sitting with a top ranked bureaucrat from an important ministry who was a major customer, and he asked about the delivery of a piece of equipment that had been delayed due to a problem at the loading port. I was tempted to lie to avoid embarrassment, but working up my resolve, decided to tell him the true reason for the delay. Surprisingly, in my future dealings with him, he seemed to treat me with increased respect. Now I see this as validation of the principles behind The Four-Way Test.

The Four-Way Test is one of our great benefits as members of Rotary. It is a trustworthy ethical guide. And we have an opportunity to share it with eager young minds to the benefit of all.

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarian’s to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarian’s recite it at club meetings:
Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?