Two of the oldest and largest clubs in district 1210 come together to
Celebrate Rotary Day
February 23rd 2021 marked the 116th anniversary of the founding of Rotary, commemerating the day when Paul Harris called 3 friends together in his downtown Chicago office with the idea of forming a club to do good in the world. The Walsall and City of Wolverhampton clubs decided to hold a joint Zoom meeting to mark the occasion.
At this extremely well attended event the guest speaker was Rotarian Jannine Birtwistle who gave us an enlightening and absorbing talk about the great achievements of the Rotary Foundation including its flagship project – the elimination of polio.
Jannine, from Guernsey, heads up the EndPolo campaign throughout Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland. She told us that from the start of the campaign in 1985 when there were 1000 new cases of polio throughout the world every day, Rotary, with its partners, the World Health Organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others, has seen India and Africa become polio free and reach a stage were the disease occurs in only 2 countries – Pakistan and Aghanistan. In 2020, there was just a small handful of new cases, confined to these 2 countries.Telling us about the Rotary Foundation – ‘our’ Foundation as she emphasised, we heard that over $4 billion has been granted to clubs throughout the world to carry out humanitarian projects within 6 areas of focus, which include Peace and Conflict Resolution, Child and Maternal Health and providing Clean Water and Sanitation. A seventh of focus – supporting the environment – will come into being in the new Rotary year beginning on July 1st.
Jannine also told us about the Rotary Peace Centres based at universities around the world – including one in the UK at Bradford – where students benefit from Rotary Scholarships and gain Masters Degrees in peace studies which equip them to progress to extraordinary careers in such organisations as the United Nations.
We learned that for the 13th year running, the Rotary Foundation has been awarded a four star rating (the highest available) by Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator that assesses the effectiveness, good management and governance of worldwide charities.
Concluding by telling us about Vocational Training Teams, Jannine had given us a valuable insight and update into the remarkable achievements of the Rotary Foundation which came into being shortly after the momentous day in 1905 when Paul Harris formed the first Rotary club.