Swiss Rotarians stage National Polio Day
Rotarians volunteered at more than 200 booths across Switzerland during the national polio action day. Photos courtesy of
Rotary Suisse Liechtenstein.
Swiss Rotarians used their creativity and numbers to join the thousands of Rotary clubs who have raised funds for Rotary's US$100 Million Challenge.
More than 200 Swiss Rotary clubs pooled efforts for Swiss National Polio Day on 13 September, raising US$643,000.
Some 13,000 Rotarians across districts 1980, 1990, and 2000 supported the event, with help from 16 Rotaract clubs and countless other volunteers, including employees of Rotary International’s Europe and Africa Office in Zurich.
Working with local political leaders and regional health officials, Swiss Rotarians set up bright yellow booths, decorated with a colorful sunflower design, on sidewalks and city squares in 200 cities and villages across the nation.
On the day of the event, booth volunteers donned yellow vests used during polio immunization campaigns to sell small packets of 10 sunflower seeds for 75 rappen (about 64 cents), roughly the cost of a single dose of oral polio vaccine. Each packet bore the Rotary emblem and the words “With only 75 rappen you are in!” to demonstrate how even the smallest contributions toward polio eradication can make a difference in a child’s life.
Reaching the goal
The Swiss public’s response surprised even organizers.
“Clubs brought in revenues that were 30 percent higher than we expected,” says Andreas Kleeb, past president of the Rotary Club of Zug-Zugersee in District 1980.
“Our goal was clearly achieved,” says District Governor Urs Herzog, a polio survivor. Key to that success was the effective planning and volunteer efforts of Rotarians. “The participation from clubs in our district went beyond expectations.”
It was also a public relations coup for Rotary in Switzerland, as the organization and its top goal of eradicating polio was spotlighted throughout the national media.
“I was happy to see that some newspaper publishers in my district provided full-page reports on our activities,” says Urs Bolliger, governor of District 2000, which also covers parts of Liechtenstein.
This campaign was the first stage of a strategic effort to promote polio eradication awareness in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and raise US$830,000. More coordinated activities are being planned for upcoming months.
“We are very happy because this action day was the most important measure of our campaign,” says Kleeb.
Adapted from Rotary Suisse Liechtenstein , the certified regional magazine of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.