Rotary in the Field of Humanitarian Aid
Eileen reports.... On February 11th, our Foundation Team Leader Roger Sutton gave a spirited talk
about Rotary’s global role through the work of its’ own charity The Rotary Foundation (TRF). He reminded us that there are many humanitarian crises in today’s troubled World and gave us a salutary reminder of why Rotary is needed.
Roger began by reminding us that there is a humanitarian crisis and he demonstrated that via statistics and data which illustrated the size and locations of the problem.
· 274 million people need aid - that figure has gone up 63% in the past 2 years - unsurprisingly,
the Covid Pandemic and associated lockdowns have affected countries and the aid programmes
· 80 million people have been forced to flee their homes
· 40 million are on the brink of starvation
· Women and girls suffer the most
· 11 African countries account for 90% of the World’s humanitarian aid
· Afghanistan alone needs $9.4 billion in aid
We might well ask “what about United Nations?” Rotary helped to set up the UN but its effectiveness is hampered by the richer countries not delivering on their promises of aid / cash and by the vetoes in the Security Council. In Roger’s view, the powerful countries are competing rather than contributing and use the veto to control aid; therefore aid is a weapon.
So what does Rotary do?
TRF is well respected able to act amid crises. Rotary has retained its values and professional standards and keeps its promises. It finishes what it starts and delivers.
TRF gives Global Grants, initiated and supported by Clubs and Districts, to pay for development projects. It also offers District Grants, usually for more local projects, and Disaster Response Grants.
Rotary works with the UN and other global groups to respond and help those in need.
Rotary continues to seek the end of Polio, working with the World Health Organisation. There are 5 Wild Polio cases at present - 1 in Pakistan and 4 in Afghanistan and the Taliban has said it will allow vaccination work to continue.
Shelterbox is a Rotary initative which continues to help, giving relief rather than aid.
Roger concluded that it is necessary to reassert the moral compass. The rich countries need to set aside their self-interest and open the door to free-flowing, generous aid which can provide short and long term solutions. Migrations, for environmental, economic and political reasons, will add to the humanitarian crisis in the coming years. Rotary is needed more than ever.
York Rotary Foundation in good hands - but Roger needs our help and support!