Côte d’Ivoire Rotarian honored for dedication to polio eradication
Rotarian Marie-Irène Richmond-Ahoua received an honor from The International Catholic Child Bureau for her work in helping protect children against polio.Photo by Steven Morris/AP
The International Catholic Child Bureau (Bureau Internationale Catholique de l’Enfance) has honored Marie-Irène Richmond-Ahoua, a Côte d’Ivoire Rotarian, for her work in helping protect her country’s children against polio.
A member of the Rotary Club of Abidjan-Bietry since 1991, Richmond-Ahoua received the nongovernmental organization’s annual distinction, along with 19 other distinguished national personalities who have contributed to the well-being and dignity of children.
More than 25 Rotarians, representing all of the clubs in Abidjan, along with three Rotaract presidents, attended the 23 November ceremony at the Economic and Social Council headquarters in Abidjan.
Richmond-Ahoua has been a tireless supporter of polio eradication at the local level. Since 1997, she has volunteered to immunize children during National Immunization Days. She has served as chair of the Côte d’Ivoire PolioPlus Committee for nine years and chaired the District 9100 Polio Eradication Fundraising Campaign Committee.
“It is a privilege to receive [the distinction], thanks to the tremendous work done by all Rotarians in the field in order to eradicate polio,” says Richmond-Ahoua. It is the sixth time she has been honored by her country for her volunteer work toward polio eradication. “All these awards are a real source of motivation to do more and more on behalf of Rotary International.”
Richmond-Ahoua became the first female Rotary club president in West Africa in 1994. In addition to her polio eradication work, she has been involved in a variety of Rotary community service projects, from clean water initiatives to literacy programs for women. (In Côte d’Ivoire, about two-thirds of the female population cannot read, write, or calculate simple math.)
“There is so much to do for humanity,” Richmond-Ahoua says. “As an African woman and mother, I know what poverty means, I know what dignity means. Therefore, it is a must to pursue our fight against poliovirus.”