We are 1.2 million neighbours, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.
How do we work?
Our impact starts with our members, people who work tirelessly with their clubs to solve some of our communities’ toughest challenges. Their efforts are supported by Rotary International, our member association, and The Rotary Foundation, which turns generous donations into grants that fund the work of our members and partners around the world. Rotary is led by our members, responsible leaders who help to carry forward our organisation’s mission and values in their elected roles.
What causes do we support?
We have identified specific causes to target to maximize our local and global impact. At the same time, we understand that each community has its own unique needs and concerns. Through our network of resources and partners, we help clubs focus their service efforts in promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.
Through global grants and other resources, we help clubs focus their service efforts in the following areas.
Today, 42 million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution. Through our partnerships with several leading universities, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills to strengthen peace efforts, train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and support long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict. We provide up to 100 peace fellowships per year at Rotary Peace Centres.
More than 100 million people are pushed into poverty each year because of medical costs. We aim to improve and expand access to low-cost and free health care in underdeveloped areas. Our members educate and mobilise communities to help prevent the spread of major diseases such as polio, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Many of our projects ensure that medical training facilities are located where the workforce lives.
Eliminating Polio Worldwide
Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. The poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine-preventable.
In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $9 billion to the effort.
Rotary clubs in Great Britain and Ireland have so far donated over £20 million (€24 million)
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, formed in 1988, is a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world. Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness-building.
Every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year through 2018. These funds help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents. Governments, corporations and private individuals all play a crucial role in funding.
Only one case a day worldwide in 2014 and in 2015 only 73 cases worldwide
From 1,000 new cases a day in 1988, there has been a dramatic reduction to just one case a day in 2014. There was a further amazing reduction of 80% in the numbers from 2014 to 2015, with just 73 new cases in the whole year!
What is more, they occurred in just Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only two endemic countries left. There were NO cases of Wild Polio in the rest of the World. That is a cause for great celebration.
Providing clean water
More than 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. At least 3,000 children die each day from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water. Our projects give communities the ability to develop and maintain sustainable water and sanitation systems and support studies related to water and sanitation.
Women and children in Sacala Las Lomas, Guatemala fetch water. Women can spend up to 5 hours a day fetching water. Soon, the men in this community will dig five and a half miles of trench to provide the piping structure for a new gravity fed water system funded by a Rotary Foundation global grant. Partnered with Berhorst and Rotary clubs, the community will build a system that delivers clean to the home. Women and children will no longer need to travel hours per day carrying heavy tinajas to and from a contaminated well.
Monika Lozinska © Rotary International
Saving mothers and children
At least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, we provide immunisations and antibiotics to babies, improve access to essential medical services, and support trained health care providers for mothers and their children. Our projects ensure sustainability by empowering the local community to take ownership of health care training programs.
Sixty-seven million children worldwide have no access to education and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.
Growing local economies
Nearly 1.4 billion employed people live on less than $1.25 a day. We carry out service projects that enhance economic and community development and develop opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old. We also help strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.