R. I. President & TRF Chair's Monthly Messages

Rotary International Kalyan Banerjee's April 2012 Message

RI president's monthly message - April 2012

My dear brothers and sisters in Rotary,

In the April issue of The Rotarian, you will read about what Rotary is doing to combat one of the most pressing humanitarian crises facing us today: hunger. It is, I think, common knowledge that when we talk about food shortages, the problems we face are nearly always local. There is more than enough food produced in our world to feed everyone in it. The problem is getting the food where it is needed, and helping people in the poorest regions achieve food security.

In so many parts of the world, subsistence farming practices are the only way food can be acquired, and a few months of poor weather, or even a single storm, can mean catastrophe. It is unfortunately also the case that the parts of the world where food supplies are the most vulnerable are often those that receive the least attention when disaster does strike.

But this is one of the greatest advantages of Rotary: our local presence in so many parts of the world, and our ability to see, and react to, crises when they occur. More important than this, however, is our commitment to a long-term approach to addressing the root causes of hunger.

There is a great deal that all of us in Rotary can do about global hunger, but as always, we rely on the work of local Rotarians to bring help to where it is needed the most. And there is little question that when we look at the world today in terms of poverty and hunger and extreme material want, the place we need to be looking first is Africa – which is why Africa is also where we should be looking to expand.

Rotary's Reach Out to Africa initiative seeks to increase Rotary club membership in Africa, mobilize African Rotarians to address local needs, and raise awareness of African issues among Rotarians in more developed regions. It is just one way to connect the people who need help with the people who want to give it but may not know where to begin.

There is no question that the obstacles to global food security are significant. But they are not insurmountable, and the Rotary model is perhaps one of the most promising paths forward for development – if we continue our work to build Rotary into an ever more effective agent of global change.

Kalyan Banerjee
Reach Within to Embrace Humanity
President, Rotary International, 2011-12

TRF Chairman Bill Boyd's April 2012 Message

Keeping our promise for a polio-free world

Trustee chair's monthly message - April 2012

As I write this, we are still reflecting on the achievement of a full year in India without a case of polio. As recently as 2009, India had more cases than any other country, so this represents a tremendous effort by Rotarians and our partners, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the government of India and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It shows what can be done when people of goodwill work together toward a goal. As Rotarians, we should feel proud of our fellow Rotarians and the whole family of Rotary in India.

This is not the time to relax, however. India is close to two countries where polio still exists, and China had an outbreak in 2011 because of an importation. India has shown that winning the battle is possible, but some hard work remains to be done.

One of the "unsung" aspects of our effort has been advocacy. The governments of the world have contributed billions of dollars for polio eradication, and much of it has come because of the advocacy of Rotarians. This work is quietly performed in the background, but the results have been significant.

The Gates Foundation gave us another US$50 million gift in January to help us remain an effective member of the partnership. We have several years to go before the world can be certified polio-free. Please do not stop giving because we have achieved the target of Rotary's Challenge, for every dollar you give for the eradication of polio will be used exactly for that.

We made a promise to the children of the world that they would live in a world free of polio. As Rotarians, we keep our promises!

Bill Boyd
Foundation Trustee Chair

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