Rotary connects the world

2019-20 Theme

End Polio Now

Last Edited: Tue, 22 September 2015 | Report Error

We are “this close” to polio eradication.

Polio eradication was an initiative of Rotary International President Clem Renouf (1978–79), from the Rotary Club of Nambour in Queensland.

At the International Assembly in 1985 a time line of 20 years was announced to eradicate this dreadful disease. Rotary set a goal of $120M and this became the first major project of Rotarians world wide.

In 1988 Rotary International partnered with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the US Centres for Disease Control – and Rotarians kept on raising funds. Polio eradication is a top priority of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a major sponsor they contribute technical and financial resources to our other partners, and have challenged Rotarians to raise funds – which they have matched. Rotary agreed to raise $200M by 30 June 2012. When this target was reached Gates Foundation challenge funding boosted the total to $355M.

But the job is not yet complete. At the Lisbon Convention in June 2013 a new 2 for 1 pledge was announced that the Gates Foundation would match up to $35M through to 2018.

Rotary’s advocacy efforts with both endemic and donor country governments have maintained the dream of a polio free world for the past 29 years and brought polio to the brink of eradication, having committed over US$1.2 billion to the program. We are “this close”.

So we must not give up, nor stop raising funds till the disease is eradicated.

World’s Greatest Meal to Help End Polio

In 2014–15 each Club is asked to make a contribution to the End Polio Now Program. One way is to join Rotarians around the world to by organising the “World’s Greatest Meal to Help End Polio” This initiative, set up to help raise funds while having food and fun is a joint project of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, D9550, Australia and the Rotary Club of Hounslow, D1140, England. By May 2014, over 300 events in 33 countries had raised US$198,825.90. With matching funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that total rises to $596,477.70. This translates to 1,000,000 polio vaccinations!

So why not arrange an event this Rotary year? Events can be big or small —simple or lavish dinners, street BBQs, special collections in place of regular dinner meals, raffles or auctions. Use your imagination.

By joining together in a world-wide event you can enjoy international fellowship via Facebook All monies collected go straight to Foundation/ End Polio account with full credit to your Club.

Register your event at

As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children - wherever they live - remain at risk. The stakes are that high.Bill Gates

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