Expand our reach
Rotary is at its best when our clubs represent our communities.
Rotary brings together people who use their talents, skills, and backgrounds to address problems and improve lives. When others join us, we make even more of a difference.
Through Rotary, we give people hope, inspire them to get involved, and invite them to support our cause. When we build connections with other community leaders and change makers, form partnerships, and find opportunities for collaboration, we expand our reach, allowing us to deliver long-term solutions to the world’s most persistent issues.
This year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we chartered more than 320 new Rotary clubs around the world. These clubs are now part of a global network of leaders that connects individuals, organizations, and government agencies, builds cultural bridges, and removes barriers to progress. Together we are moving closer to achieving peace, justice, and equality worldwide.
We want everyone to join us and take action. A great example of this type of engagement occurs on our annual World Polio Day, 24 October, when Rotarians, Rotaractors, partners, governments, and friends of Rotary raise global awareness of polio eradication. In 2019, we set a new record with more than 5,900 World Polio Day events held in 136 countries. Social media efforts generated 4.8 million comments, shares, and retweets. World Polio Day is not just an opportunity to learn about polio eradication — it’s a chance to get involved in one of the most ambitious public health initiatives in history.
In January 2020, Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation renewed its longstanding fundraising partnership. We are committed to raising $50 million annually for three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation, for a total of $450 million.
Another top priority for Rotary is growing and diversifying our membership to make sure we reflect the communities we serve. To do so, we are creating new types of clubs that offer a variety of meeting experiences and service opportunities. For some members, meeting once a week over lunch is ideal, but for others, a weekly meeting may be too expensive or time consuming. Flexible clubs bring more people together to experience the power of Rotary.
It’s vital for our clubs to provide a diverse, equitable, and inclusive experience for all members and participants. Everyone is welcome in Rotary, regardless of age, ethnicity, race, color, ability, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Rotary is at its best when our clubs represent our communities.
The Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam Oyster Bay, Tanzania, represents nearly 20 nationalities, reflecting the city’s diversity. To increase its membership and expand its reach, the club sponsored five new clubs, each offering a different experience to entice new members. The new clubs included one e-club and four location-based clubs, where evening meetings were held without meals to allow more people to fit Rotary into their schedules at a reduced cost. Each club strived to welcome and engage people from underrepresented groups, and all five inaugural club presidents were women.
But that was just the beginning. The Dar es Salaam Oyster Bay club also reached out to young adults and professionals by sponsoring a Rotaract club at St. Joseph University in Tanzania, an Interact club at Miono High School, and a Rotary Community Corps in Muungano, an impoverished area with infrastructure needs.
The new clubs are already making a difference. One club donated items to a children’s cancer facility; another renovated a kindergarten classroom and provided water filters to a local primary school.
Partners in service
When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, clubs throughout District 9212 (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan) formed a response team to provide hand-washing stations, deliver food to families who had lost jobs, and raise money for personal protective equipment. Local partners provided critical support.
Within 20 days, a fundraising effort in Ethiopia and Kenya raised more than $21,000. Prime Bank in Kenya agreed to match all contributions 1-to-1. The team used the money to purchase 100 water tanks and persuaded the supplier to donate an additional 100.
Rotary Community Corps, groups of non-Rotarians who work with Rotary members on service projects, are teaching people effective hand-washing techniques and collecting a variety of data. After learning more about local families’ needs, clubs distributed packages of sugar, maize meal, rice, lentils, salt, and soap. The team also partnered with Shofco, a grassroots organization that provides critical services, advocacy, and education for girls and women in Kenya’s urban slums, to monitor the stations.
The Rotarians’ work during the COVID-19 crisis attracted the attention of other organizations, such as banks and insurance companies, who wanted to partner on the effort.