Goodall finds common ground with Rotary (video)
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Dr. Jane Goodall, the renowned primatologist and humanitarian, addressed the fourth plenary session of the 2009 RI Convention in Birmingham, England, on 24 June, stressing the potential for using the common ground her organization shares with Rotary to effect change.
Goodall, the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation and a United Nations messenger of peace, greeted the audience "in chimpanzee," imitating the vocalizations of the animals she studied for years in Gombe, Tanzania. She said her research revealed a common bond that humans share with animals and the environment. An awareness of this bond can lead to the development of holistic community service projects that involve the community members themselves in problem solving, she said.
The institute's Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education (TACARE) scholarship fund provides family-planning instruction from peer educators who live in poverty near Gombe. "The [young women] have their own lives now. They look forward to a future where their children will not have to suffer the way they did as young people," said Goodall. "Rotarians in Tanzania have helped us with this project, just as Rotarians have helped us in other parts of the world."
Goodall also stressed the common ground that her institute's Roots & Shoots program shares with Rotary youth programs such as Rotaract . Roots & Shoots is a community-based program targeted at young people that involves tens of thousands of participants in 111 countries. She asked Rotarians, who share many of her concerns, for continued collaboration. Read more about Roots & Shoots in a Q&A with Goodall .
"That's what Rotarians are all about: seeing that appeal for help and doing something about it. We need teamwork, we need a network -- that’s what you have, that’s what we have," she said. "Let's put the networks together, and together make this a better world. Together, let's create the change we must create if we care as we do about our children and grandchildren and theirs."
Further call to action came from Deepa Willingham, of the Rotary Club of Santa Ynez Valley, California, USA, who discussed the problem of extreme poverty during the plenary session.
"Currently, half the human population is living on less than [US]$2 per day and that, my friends, is something we should be concerned about," said Willingham. She went on to describe the three broad categories of poverty: extreme, moderate, and relative.
Willingham discussed a project she initiated that focuses on a community in India living in extreme poverty, with no access to clean water or sanitation resources. Inspired by the 2003-04 RI theme, Lend a Hand , Willingham developed Promise of Assurance to Children Everywhere (PACE Universal), which helps educate 130 young girls who might otherwise become part of the sex trade.
The session closed with a preview of the 2010 RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada , slated for 20-23 June. Robert S. Scott, chair of the 2010 convention committee, and Linda Bradley, chair of the Host Organization Committee, addressed the audience in French and English, waving Canadian flags and accompanied by Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
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