RI committee seeks to mobilize African Rotarians By Ryan Hyland
A young girl waits outside a feeding center in Niamey, Niger. Reach Out
to Africa, an RI committee, was formed to promote collaboration,
increase service projects, and boost Rotary club membership in Africa.
Rotary Images/Alyce Henson
Four African countries will each receive 20 incubators purchased by
Rotarians in India as part of a project supported by Reach Out to
Rotarians involved in the initiative worked with local clubs to raise
funds for transportation and port charges, which will help the infant
incubators arrive in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda by 30 June.
Reach Out to Africa, an RI committee, was formed to promote this kind of
collaboration, to increase service projects, and boost Rotary club
membership on the continent.
"Africa has always been full of challenges, where the needs surpass the
resources," says Past RI Director Örsçelik Balkan, a member of the
ad hoc committee overseeing the initiative. "Reach Out to Africa's aim
is to essentially give clubs and districts the guidance, advice, and
resources they need to execute the best possible service projects," he
"Activities like the incubator service project will lead to a reduction
in child mortality," says Balkan. "This is an example of the initiative
helping local Rotarians practice teamwork."
Originated by Past RI President Wilfrid J. Wilkinson's advisory
committee, the ad hoc committee consists of four regional subcommittees
that cover eastern, western, southern, and northern Africa, and another
subcommittee made up of Rotarians from around the world who have
participated in successful projects on the continent.
The regional subcommittees identify the needs in their area, while the
last subcommittee finds project resources from local and international
Rotary clubs and organizations.
Reach Out to Africa will focus on projects related to water, health,
literacy and education, economic empowerment, children's welfare, and
Balkan says that increasing club membership in Africa is vital to the
initiative's long-term success. The committee is striving to help
African clubs and districts meet RI President Dong Kurn Lee's goals of a
10 percent net increase in membership and at least two new clubs per
It would also like to boost African clubs' participation in programs
such as Ambassadorial Scholarships
rialScholarships/Pages/ridefault.aspx> and Rotary World Peace
As one of the largest RI committees, it has the flexibility, experience,
and capability to help clubs and districts carry out service projects,
"We encourage all clubs to be proactive," he says, adding that the
committee can be used as "a tool to help accomplish the best service
projects in Africa. Rotary now has a great opportunity to reach our
destiny and Make Dreams Real for all people in Africa."
Source: Rotary International News / Coourtesy: eFlash_Rotary
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