Monday, 11 August 2014


Gary C.K. Huang never imagined he would become Rotary International's president when he joined in 1976, but now that he is in office, he hopes to increase membership to 1.3 million by the end of his term.

 "It's simple. The more members we have, the more people we can help. A stronger membership base will result in stronger communities," says Huang, who on 1 July became Rotary's first Chinese president.

 Huang also hopes his presidential theme, Light Up Rotary, will encourage members to brighten Rotary's image to the public, which he believes in return, will improve member recruitment and retention.

Huang has a track record of improving membership development in Asia, adding 19 clubs when he was district governor for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. One of the cornerstones of his presidency is encouraging clubs and districts to conduct a Rotary Day. These one-day events, he says, can spotlight a particular cause, and solidify Rotary's image as one of the world's leading service organizations.

 "We need to showcase our good work to everyone in the community. Rotary Days need to be fun and all inclusive. Invite your family, friends, and neighbors to participate. My hope is at the end of the day a few non-members will want to join Rotary," he says. "Let's give people the opportunity to experience what it's like to make a difference. Rotary Days can achieve that."

Huang designed a travel schedule that will allow him to visit more than 30 Rotary Day events across the globe, including Argentina, Chile, France, India, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, and the U.S., as well as his home city of Taipei. Huang says he's honored and humbled to be Rotary's president. He knows he's part of an exclusive club.

 "We [past Rotary presidents] have achieved great success in our businesses and in our communities," says Huang. "But success isn't about power or money. It's about giving back. Being a Rotarian has given me the opportunity to help those in need. As president, I can inspire our members to take advantage of the same opportunity and bring happiness in people's lives."

Funding gaps

Huang says Rotary members are never short on ideas and innovative ways to solve problems, but funding gaps prevent many of these projects from taking off. For instance, Rotary members in Korea, Japan, and China are strong fundraisers, but struggle to help each other use the funds because of distance and language barriers, Huang says. "I want to show Rotarians why I am their president," he adds. "The best way to do that is to see and inspire their work, participate in their projects, and help them raise funds." "I want to, along with my district governors, reach out and try to link different clubs from different countries together so we can find the right communities in need," he adds.

"That's one of the great things about being an international organization: the ability to bring different cultures and backgrounds together to find a common cause.

Friday, 8 August 2014

 Youth Service…the future of our organisation is here

Youth Services, has been officially recognised as the Fifth Avenue of Service by Rotary International. This formal action was taken in Chicago during the April 2010 meeting of the Council on Legislation, the legislative arm of Rotary International which meets every three years. Districts in Southern Africa have a long tradition of outstanding service in the area of youth services with great support and forward thinking from District leaders.

Youth Service programmes include all our Rotary service programmes for young people up to the age of 30. In our Districts these include the RI Programmes of Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE), and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) along with a large number of other projects done at the club level. Youth Protection is another important Youth Service resource available to Rotarians, clubs and youth programmes at the District level. This vital aspect of Youth Service was introduced to provide greater compliance and protection to participants of the programmes

So, why are Youth Service Programmes so important that they have now been recognised internationally?

We often hear that our youth is our future. This is certainly true and one of the reasons that we focus on literacy, leadership training, and expanding training in ethics for young people. These are the people who will be running our country and our world within the next 20 years. This is a group of individuals who will drive our organisation forward. Rotarians have always taken a sincere interest in helping to prepare the next generation with programmes and projects that help with health and education and lead the way to world peace and understanding. Beyond this fact, young people are also the future of our organisation if we choose for Rotary to survive and thrive beyond our lifetime. Through our Rotary youth programmes, we have the opportunity to not only provide service that is the keystone of our organisation, but also to develop relationships and provide exposure to our wonderful organisation and the ideals of “service above self” to the next generation.

The following programmes make up the menu of opportunities for our youth:

Rotaract is a Rotary sponsored club for young adults in the age group of 18 to 30. Rotaractors are involved in community and international service projects, as well as professional development and leadership training, and are good partners in service with their sponsoring Rotary clubs. Our Zone has somewhat lacked behind in nurturing this youth programme which is perhaps a reason for our very slow growth in Rotary membership.

Interact is a Rotary sponsored club for ages 12 to 18, typically at secondary school although it is not limited to a single school. We have a good track record in establishing Interact clubs at schools yet fail to capture the opportunity of growing the larger organisation with the parents of our Interactors.

Some of our Districts are also engaged with Earlyact, a primary school based Rotary sponsored club.

Rotary Youth Exchange is the leading international student exchange program in the world, and Districts send students out to foreign countries each year, and also hosts students from around the globe to spend a year of secondary school in our communities. This is known as the long-term exchange programme. New Generations Exchange is another cultural exchange program for students beyond secondary school for a shorter term exchange experience abroad.

RYLA, is a premium weeklong leadership camp for secondary school students. There are many such programmes within our Zone and every club is encouraged to send at least one secondary school student from their local community to benefit from the “life changing experience” offered at RYLA.

Youth Service also includes the many projects that individual clubs undertake to serve young people in our communities-such projects as the Dictionary Project, other reading and literacy projects, scholarship programmes, and secondary school projects to name just a few.

Youth Service intersects the Vocational Avenue of Service in such programmes as Career Guidance, Team Speaking Contests, The Presidential Awards Programme, etc. You can tell that there is a wide range of Programmes and projects included under the Youth Service umbrella. Virtually every club should be involved in one or more of these programmes for the benefit of their community.

Since 2011 Rotary International has been encouraging each club to appoint a Youth Service Chair to serve at the club level. The Youth Service Chair should be one of your current or incoming board members, or at a minimum, be a person who will report to the board on a regular basis to keep you and your board up to date on financial and other commitments needed to support your club's youth programmes. There are many District resources available to help you and your club with respect to Youth Service. Please contact your District Chairs for more assistance.


Natty Moodley

August 2014


On behalf of IPPC chair John F. Germ, I forward the following. Please let us know if you have any questions.

In May, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the international spread of polio a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and issued a set of recommendations to all polio-impacted countries. On 31 July, the situation was reassessed and the Director-General has declared polio remains a public health emergency. Several factors played into this decision, including:

1.    Both Pakistan and Equatorial Guinea have exported the virus internationally since May.
2.    Polio thrives in areas compromised by conflict. The unfortunate reality is that there are currently several countries whose public health systems have been seriously weakened by crisis, and whose children are now some of the most vulnerable to polio. In fact, the number of people living in conflict-torn states has increased since May, putting these children at greater risk.
3.    It is too soon to determine whether the guidelines issued in May have had serious impact in the affected countries.

The measures recommended by WHO in early May help to protect the initiative’s overall gains in the fight against polio, specifically working to ensure that international travelers do not unknowingly carry the virus with them, and inadvertently contribute to international spread of the wild poliovirus.

Rotary supports the WHO Director-General’s decision to keep these recommendations in place for travelers to/from Pakistan, Syria, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon (countries who have exported polio in 2014); and Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria (countries infected by polio in 2014).

We firmly believe that through close collaboration, Rotary, its partners and governments will achieve a polio-free world.


John Germ

Chair, International PolioPlus Committee

Rotary International



Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Together, Let’s Light Up Rotary

RI President Gary C.K. Huang and his wife, Corinna, at the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event, in January.

By RI President Gary C.K. Huang

As we begin a new Rotary year, I would like to tell you that I’m honored to be your Rotary International president and to stand with you as Rotary members.

Being a Rotarian is about a way of approaching the world and its challenges. There are many people in this world who need help and many changes that need to be made. It can be overwhelming.

Confucius and Rotary share similar ideas, and one idea from Confucius is that “It is better to light one single candle than to sit and curse the dark.” To me, this means that we shouldn’t lose hope and do nothing.

Instead, do something positive in your community, and let people know that Rotarians enjoy being together and working together. Involve your spouse and family in Rotary. Sharing your love for Rotary will recruit new members and keep current ones, and be the action that lights a candle.

Tell your community about Rotary 

Holding a Rotary Day is a great way to share your love for Rotary with your community, friends, family, Foundation alumni, and Rotaract and Interact clubs. You can make your Rotary Day simple, you can make it fancy, you can make it a whole day or just a few hours. But do something for your community to show people what you do locally and internationally. Make sure your community knows that Rotary is there, Rotary is active, Rotary is fun, and Rotary is doing good work!

Download the Rotary Days brochure to learn more, and share your Rotary Day photos on social media using #RotaryDay.

I appreciate each selfless act of kindness you do and for sharing the love and ideas of Rotary. Thank you for joining me as together we Light Up Rotary!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Rotary’s Challenge for the Future


It was a wonderful privilege to have attended the District Conferences of District 9210 in May and D9400 in June. Both conferences gave us an opportunity to Celebrate Rotary and the success of the respective Districts over the past year. A district Conference is such an opportunity to celebrate, evaluate and motivate and I had the privilege to talk on Rotary’s challenge for the future, because the Future of Rotary is in Your Hands.


Rotary has offered me more than I could have had in a single career path in a typical workplace. It has given me connections and friendships that I never could have dreamt up. It gave me the world and over 1.2 million new friends. It gave me the opportunity to develop personally and equally develop my fellow members because through our vocations each one of us imparts our skills onto others. It gave me the opportunity of making a difference in my community and it gave me the opportunity to serve and feel good about it.


Now I want you, for a minute to imagine Rotary to be your business. A business you started two decades ago and when you started this business your subscriber base was approximately 1.2m.  You were making good progress with your service to your subscribers but each successive year operating costs increased and your subscriber base remained the same. Now imagine that in order to grow your turnover you needed to diversify, so you added in new products like satellite clubs and associate clubs. You allowed your subscribers some flexibility to operate, offer some incentives, perhaps some awards, etc. and still your subscriber base does not increase. You develop a new strategic plan to include a new and exciting market, the up and coming middle class and still nothing happens. You have got to agree that before long you will be in a crisis.  



The worldwide trend for membership changes show a decreasing trend. In July last year we dipped below that magical 1.2m membership mark to 1,185m members. In the Southern hemisphere we have a growing region whilst we have some problems in the Northern hemisphere. Africa in particular is growing with great gains in Central & West Africa.



On the African continent we have 54 countries. Of these 52 countries have the presence of Rotary. The economic indicators show a net GDP growth of 5% across Africa. This provides a great opportunity for the creation of a new middle class of individuals. Individuals who are making money from IT activities and entrepreneurial talent and unless we engage with this new generation of members, we run the risk of losing them to other non-profit organisations and community based organisations. Organisations that do not require an attendance commitment. Organisations who do not charge annual fees. Organisations who are specific area focussed. Organisations who receive government funding for their operations. Because if we do not ask them to join us at Rotary then these organisations will.


The second issue on membership is retention. When we invite someone to join our Clubs and when they do, do we take care of them? Are they assigned a mentor? Are they kept informed about the workings of the Club and District? Are they engaged in service activities?


Most people join Rotary to positively impact their communities and for friendship and fellowship. Rotarians who feel that they are a valuable part of the organisation, who are contributing to our projects and feel appreciated do not leave. While one can argue that recruitment and retention in a volunteer organisation can be different than in a business, the goals are very similar;

·       Bring in the individuals who are the most qualified to advance your organisation

·       Do what you can to keep them satisfied.



One of the biggest challenges for SA clubs is the concept of CSI (Corporate Social Investment). Large corporations are investing monies in social upliftment programmes via their staff pool. Any staff member can identify a worthwhile project in their community, submit a plan of action to the CSI committee and if approved the project is undertaken with corporate funding, personnel and time. Now why would one want to join Rotary when one is employed in Corporate which provides the time, money and opportunity of doing good in our community. That’s where our PR skills come into play. We need to clarify what Rotary stands for, how it is different and how people should care. It is our responsibility to inspire, motivate and engage prospective members and strategic partners.


The second challenge in SA is the invitation of the black members of the community into our organisation. Whilst critics may continue to castigate us for not trying enough, the actual problem lies in the very concept and philosophy of Rotary. Why must I pay fees to belong to an organisation that requires me to give off my time to uplift others whilst I myself may need help. And until we can convince a change in mindset we will continue with this challenge in SA. But all is not lost. With 20 years of democracy behind us we believe that the younger generation would embrace Rotary’s values and principles and we remain hopeful.


So dear friends in Rotary… what is the future…


Behind me… I find infinite power, the power of knowledge that we have a great organisation and have done great work without which our world would have been that much poorer.

Before me…. is see endless possibilities, the possibility for each one of us to make a determined effort to share the joy of membership and invite an individual to experience the same joy and magic of Rotary each of us enjoys.

Around me I see boundless opportunities for all of us to work together, across our borders in growing our organisation for it matters not where we live, what matters is that foreign friend, relative, associate being introduced into Rotary.


So I encourage each one of you to share the gift that you were once given, to reach out to that friend, colleague, business associate or young generation’s member, to ask the question once posed to you…would you be my guest tonight at my Rotary Club? It could be the start of a new friendship for you and it would change the life of the person you invited and yours too.


And as we look to the new Rotary year I encourage you to continue to Engage Rotary and to make a difference in your communities by changing lives and creating such an illumination in their lives that we Light up Rotary.


July 2014

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Conferences, Conventions and Council

The month of May heralds in the fellowship spirit of Rotary when many Districts around the world hold their District Conference. A district conference is a time to celebrate the year’s success and to honour and acknowledge clubs and individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty in their endeavours to assist those in need. It is also the time to reconnect and rekindle friendship and a wonderful opportunity to “catch-up” with the many friends from other Clubs.

My home District D9370, celebrated its conference aboard the splendid cruise liner MSC Opera during April this year. The organisation was good and the cruise liner was really great with on-board service a marked improvement from previous experiences. The daily floor shows were spectacular with the programme director whose wit and great humour being the favourite of the shows. One of the highlights of any conference are the keynote speakers and this Conference surprised all by not having any. Instead the novel idea of presenting two leadership videos proved to have limited success. Once school of thought was that they wished to have a key note speaker with whom they can see, feel and engage with and some felt that the video provided an alternative to the rising costs of engaging keynote speakers at a Conference held on a cruise liner.

By the time you read this article D9350 would have held their conference in Knysna and D9210 will hold their conference in Nyanga, Eastern Highlands, Zimbabwe later in May. In mid-June D9400 will hold their conference in Polokwane. Both of these conference straddle the Rotary International Convention to be held in Sydney in the first week of June. I look forward to attending some of these events in May and June.

The Rotary International Convention is the annual worldwide attraction held in a host city which is selected at least 5 years prior to enable the Host Organising Committee to plan and host a convention that usually attracts 20 000 convention goers. One can imagine the organisation that goes into organising an event of this magnitude and the logistics that need to be available to make it a successful one. Overall it is great fun and a tremendous honour to host such an event. We are all keeping our fingers crossed as Africa is still a talking point in RI headquarters for a future convention and Cape Town has been invited to submit a memorial to the RI Board indicating their willingness to host such an event, perhaps in 2020.

Talking of memorials it is also time for Districts around the world to select it’s COL representative. The Council on Legislation (COL) is Rotary’s legislature. It meets in April every three years to consider changes to the policies that govern Rotary International and its member clubs and it holds the authority to amend Rotary’s constitutional documents. The Council is made up of one representative from every Rotary district. These representatives are the voting members of the Council.

The next Council will sit in Evanston, Chicago in April 2016 and Districts are required to select their representative by no later than 30 June 2014. The date and procedure for the selection is determined by each District and is usually co-ordinated by the District Governor. So how then does all of this work?

The Council considers proposals from Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts,  RI officers and the RI Board for changes in the way Rotarians operate at every level of the organisation. At District level, legislation may be proposed by a Rotary club or via the District Conference. Club proposals must be endorsed by the District before it can be sent to the Council. Proposed changes to legislation is submitted in the form of enactments or resolutions. A club or district may also submit a petition (also known as a memorial) for consideration by the Board at any of the planned meetings if these suggestions do not change constitutional documents. If your Club would like to submit legislation to be considered by the 2016 Council then you would need to think about the type of issues for legislation, determine whether the issue to be addressed has a universal impact affecting Rotarians around the world or whether it is limited affecting only a small percentage of the members. If the issue has a broad effect then consider a proposal of legislation. If the issue will have limited effect then consider a submitting a petition. The most important factor though is to seek the assistance and guidance of your COL representative whose primary responsibility is to assist Clubs prepare proposals in the correct format and to act as objectively as possible as a legislator.

Finally we are coming to that time of the year when the changing of guards begin to take shape and plans are being put in place to induct the incoming President and Board. It is also an opportune time to look at your Club’s strategic plans and to consider what has worked and what can be done differently. Perhaps it is also the time to become creative and innovative and to make changes that would attract younger people into the organisation.

So if you are conferencing, convention going or just involved in council matters then I wish you all well. Make the best of it. Rotary’s best years ahead are in your hands.

Natty Moodley

Rotary Africa

May 2014

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Alumni award winners turn heads with unique accomplishments

Maya Ajmera visits a shelter for abandoned girls in Chennai, India. The Global Fund for Children, which she founded, provides seed funding to organizations that educate children and protect their rights.


Maya Ajmera founded the Global Fund for Children in 1993 to provide seed money to community-based organizations that help at-risk children across the world. Since then, GFC has awarded more than $32 million in grants to over 600 organizations in 80 countries, improving the lives of millions of children – from educating AIDS orphans in Uganda to conducting so-called curbside classrooms for waste pickers in Cambodia.

"Education is the key to getting human beings out of poverty," says Ajmera, whose studies at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai were sponsored by the Rotary Club of China Lake in California. "Community-based organizations are probably the most creative in being able to find the most marginalized children and provide education that is meaningful and makes sense in their lives."

In recognition of her work, Ajmera was chosen by The Rotary Foundation Trustees to receive the 2013-14 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award. She will receive the honor at the Rotary International Convention in Sydney on 3 June.

Ajmera credits extraordinary leadership at the grassroots level, combined with the ability and willingness to work as partners, for GFC's success. "Trust is really important," she says. "You also need good ways of measuring outcomes: how many kids got educated, how many were kept off the streets, how many got psychosocial counseling."

Nowhere was the need for leadership and trust more evident than in Afghanistan in the 1990s. GFC awarded $5,000 to the Afghan Institute for Learning to fund the secret education of 600 girls. Even after the September 11 attacks, GFC continued its support, including a $25,000 sustainability grant to establish a reserve fund. Today, the institute reaches more than 400,000 women and children annually with education and health care. GFC has also released over 30 children's books, including "Children from Australia to Zimbabwe," co-authored by Ajmera, of which a portion of the proceeds from sales support the organization's grant making. And it's invested in documentary films like "War Child," which tells the story of hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier in Sudan's brutal civil war. Jal spoke at the Rotary World Peace Symposium in Bangkok in 2012.

Ajmera stepped down as GFC's president in 2011. She is now a visiting scholar and professorial lecturer at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., and social entrepreneur in residence and visiting professor of the practice of public policy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

"For me, Rotary was an incredible inspiration," says Ajmera, adding that without the scholarship there wouldn't be a Global Fund for Children. "The scholarship fed my soul."