Carolyn Ferguson, the Rotary Foundation's major gift officer for Zone 24 (portions of Canada, the United States, Russia and France), was in Kelowna recently.
The foundation's mission is to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, support of education and alleviation of poverty.
Our work is to meet basic human needs: Rotary's six areas of focus provide direction for its 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members as they reach out to meet the needs of local and international communities.
So, let's review the impact we are having.
Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
It's estimated more than one billion children live in areas affected by conflict. Rotarians are working to train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, assisting vulnerable populations and supporting studies related to peace building and conflict resolution with Rotary Peace Fellowships.
Rotary Peace Centre alumni are effective in promoting greater tolerance and co-operation, leading to increased understanding and peace with over 700 alumni presently working across the globe.
Today, 42 million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution. Through our partnerships with leading universities, selected candidates pursue a master's degree in international studies, peace studies and conflict resolution.
Disease prevention and treatment
Infectious diseases are the leading killers of people living in poverty. One in six worldwide cannot pay for health care.
More than 100 million people are pushed into poverty each year because of medical costs. We aim to improve and expand access to low-cost and free health care in underdeveloped areas.
Our polio eradication plan addresses what is needed to end polio by 2018 and was developed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (a partnership launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF and Rotary International, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).
Funding the plan will cost $5.5 billion.
Now through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits in support of polio immunization, up to $35 million per year, will be matched by an additional $2 from the Gates foundation.
Clubs are being asked to set a goal of $1,500 annually for the duration of the challenge.
Water and sanitation
More than 884 million people don't have clean drinking water, and 6,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by lack of sanitation and unsafe water.
Rotarians are working to increase access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, strengthen the ability of communities to develop and maintain sustainable water and sanitation systems, and to educate communities about safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
Maternal and child health
One in 22 women will die during pregnancy and childbirth in Africa. Eighty per cent of those deaths could have been prevented with access to proper health care.
At least seven million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, we provide immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improve access to essential medical services and support trained health care providers for mothers and children.
Basic education and literacy
Literacy and poverty are closely connected. Seventy five million children worldwide have no access to education and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education and increase adult literacy.
Economic and community development
Worldwide, 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. Rotarians are designing projects to partner with local microfinance institutions, co-operatives that provide training and joint economic ventures, providing equipment or supplies, and sending teams to teach leaders in developing countries how to create a business plan and maintain accurate accounting.
On a local level, Rotary is expanding membership in the airport/university area. On Nov. 14, the Ogopogo club is hosting an information meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. in Room 112 of the Arts Building at UBC Okanagan.
Everyone had bare feet for Lake Country Rotary's "Barefoot Day" meeting, Oct. 10. The occasion collected used shoes for the Soles 4 Souls campaign. Members brought 55 pairs of shoes to donate.
Several members volunteered to sellÂ raffle ticketsÂ outside Coopers. They have sold about $2,000 worth of tickets so far, but need to sell $20,000 by early December to reach their goal of a $10,000 Christmas spending jackpot for the winner.
The Westbank club was out on Highway 97 with posters to promote Polio Plus Day yesterday. Last month, they contributed $2,500 to NOW Canada and $2,500 to an outreach program. they raised $3,200 at a recent wine and food event at The Cove.
Their exchange student, Joanna, has arrived from Brazil and is loving it here in Canada. Outbound student Laura is in Milan, Italy, and is really enjoying her time there.
The Ogopogo club has made local donations to Get to Know ($1,000), Junior Diabetes Research Foundation ($563), Inn from the Cold ($2,000) and international donations to Ayo Help Honduras ($5,000 this year and $5,000 next year), ISEE Uganda women's reproductive health program ($2,500). They have recognized Karen Naumann as an honorary member of the club.
Vern Nielsen is the assistant governor for Rotary Area 4, district 5060.