Community solutions address local needs through Rotary Community Corps

By Zuhal Sharp, RI Programs staff

RCC of Tauheed Nagar, Pakistan, operates a vocational center for stitching.

RCC of Tauheed Nagar, Pakistan, operates a vocational center for stitching.

Rotary Community Corps, commonly known as RCCs, are teams of community volunteers who share Rotary’s commitment to service but are not Rotary members. They work in partnership with their sponsor Rotary clubs to address their communities’ specific needs. RCCs are highly adaptable and can be found everywhere Rotary is present: in urban and rural areas, and in both developed and developing countries. Some RCCs are established to carry out a specific project for a limited period of time, while others tackle more entrenched problems on an ongoing basis.

Every year, we survey all club presidents whose club sponsors at least one Rotary Community Corps (RCC). This feedback provides valuable information about the activities and demographics of RCCs and their partnership with Rotary clubs.

The 2013 and 2014 Rotary Community Corps surveys provide significant insights for any club considering sponsoring a new RCC to find community solutions to community issues:

  • RCC of Tauheed Nagar, Pakistan, installs community hand pump.

    RCC of Tauheed Nagar, Pakistan, addresses water and sanitation needs by installing a community hand pump.

    RCC projects address all of Rotary’s six areas of focus. Projects that address economic and community development and basic education and literacy seem to be the most common.

  • Nearly 90% of RCC members are in the age range of 18-44. 32 % of this group is in the age range of 18-34.
  • 45% of the RCCs have predominantly male members, 39% predominantly female members, and 16% equal number of female and male members.
  • 80% of the RCCs meet at least once a month.
  • Rotary clubs organize most of the fundraising activities and donate funds for RCC projects. RCC members are more likely to volunteer their time rather than donating money.
  • RCC of Tauheed Nagar, Pakistan, works with the community to prepare wedding dresses.

    RCC of Tauheed Nagar, Pakistan, empowers the community through economic development initiatives. Local residents sew and sell wedding dresses.

    Most of the sponsoring Rotary clubs promote RCCs through personal contacts (rated highest), newsletter/website, or local media.

  • 76 % of club presidents think that RI should establish direct connections to elected RCC presidents or other RCC members.
  • 75 % of club presidents believe that RI can help better equip the Rotary clubs by sharing best practices from successful RCCs.
  • 86% of club presidents would like to see resources on fundraising ideas for RCCs.
  • A significant number of club presidents suggested that successful RCCs should be recognized by RI and/or at the district level.

View the detailed results for each year and learn more about how your club can sponsor its own RCC.

Related posts:

Rotary Days light up communities around the world

By Ellina Kushnir, RI staff

RotaryDays_ENSince 1 July, thousands of Rotary members across the world have honored President Gary C.K. Huang’s call to Light Up Rotary through unique Rotary Day events in their local communities. These events range from family carnivals, to service projects at food pantries, to environmental projects, to pet-friendly events and more!

Here are just some of the many excellent club and district #RotaryDays videos we have received over the past year:

Looking for more inspiration?

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Have a Rotary Day video you’d like to share? Upload it to YouTube and email with a link to the video and a brief description of the event.


Rotarians address food concerns through service partnership

By Ellina Kushnir, RI Programs staff

About 805 million people around the world are undernourished and do not have access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy, active lives. One in every eight people goes to bed hungry each night, with the majority of undernourished people living in Southern Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Asia. About one third of food produced for human consumption goes to waste. [i]

To help combat hunger and malnutrition, earlier this year Rotary International renewed our service partnership with The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN), a global non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating world hunger through food banking. By working with partners like GFN who have long-standing expertise in providing secure access to food, we help address these concerns in communities around the world. This year:

  • Photo courtesy of the Lebanese Food BankLebanon: Four local clubs helped the Lebanese Food Bank secure a new vehicle that enables to food bank to continue distributing food to food banks throughout the region.
  • India: The India FoodBanking Network worked with local clubs and partnering organizations to host a large-scale food drive in 11 cities. More than 180,000 meals were distributed to low income families and orphan homes after the week-long collection effort.
  • Photo courtesy of the Fundación Banco de Alimentos, ArgentinaArgentina: The Rotary Club of Rio de la Plata, Argentina, generously donated 20 freezers to the Fundación Banco de Alimentos, GFN’s local affiliate. The new equipment will help preserve perishable products at various food banks throughout the region.

Through our partnerships with food pantries, community centers, food banks, food producers, and other organizations, we’re helping eliminate food deserts, repurposing nutritious and edible food, and empowering communities to find sustainable solutions to combat hunger and malnutrition. For more information about the Rotary-GFN partnership, read this one page overview and contact GFN to connect with a local food bank near you.


[i] The State of Food Insecurity in the World, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2014

Relief and recovery efforts in Nepal

By Gary C.K. Huang, 2014-15 Rotary International President

Devastation in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital captured by Rotaractor Ashish Chaulagain. Photo courtesy of ShelterBox

Devastation in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital captured by Rotaractor Ashish Chaulagain. Photo courtesy of ShelterBox

Joined by Rotary members worldwide, we express our profound sadness and extend our sympathies to all those impacted by the devastation resulting from the 25 April deadly earthquake in Nepal. Rescue missions and emergency aid continue to arrive in Nepal as 8 million people have been impacted by the massive 7.8 magnitude quake.

As we mourn the thousands of lost lives, Rotary joins many international agencies in providing immediate relief to survivors and mobilizing our expertise to support long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts throughout the country.

Thank you to everyone who has expressed their concerns and desires to assist the devastated communities in Nepal:

  • District 3292, Nepal, has established a disaster relief fund to provide needed equipment and supplies to impacted communities. Contact District Governor Kumar Piya for information about contributing to the fund.
  • ShelterBox response team member Nicola Hinds with Geeta Shrestha, Nursing Director at one of the Kathmandu hopsitals that have received ShelterBox tents. Photo courtesy of Phil Duloy/ShelterBox.

    ShelterBox response team member Nicola Hinds with Geeta Shrestha, Nursing Director at one of the Kathmandu hopsitals that have received ShelterBox tents. Photo courtesy of Phil Duloy/ShelterBox.

    Rotary’s service partner ShelterBox is working closely with Nepali Rotary members to coordinate immediate relief efforts. On Monday, 27 April, and Wednesday, 29 April, Rotarians greeted ShelterBox response teams in Nepal who will mobilize temporary housing and relief efforts in impacted communities. Two more relief teams will arrive in Nepal this weekend. Working with local authorities, an initial 500 housing tents and 500 shelter kits will be distributed throughout impacted communities. An estimated additional 2,500 kits, tents, water purification kits and solar lamps may be deployed once further assessments are complete. Learn more about supporting ShelterBox’s relief efforts.

  • As with all disasters, the Rotary family may apply for global grants to support long-term recovery efforts in Nepal. Once immediate health, safety, and relief efforts have been addressed, work with local Nepali Rotary members and their international partners to develop projects within Rotary’s six areas of focus.

Monitor the announcements section of My Rotary for more information as it becomes available and do not hesitate to contact with any questions.

Our thoughts are with our Nepali neighbors during this difficult time. Thank you for continuing to Light Up Rotary through your compassion and generosity.


Three new Rotarian Action Groups to assist with Rotary projects

The RI Board of Directors recently recognized three new Rotarian Action Groups. Each of these RAGs  have a unique area of expertise and is available to provide any support that Rotarians may seek regarding their areas of specialty:

Disaster Assistance
Disaster Network of Assistance Rotarian Action Group (DNA RAG)

Volunteers work with housing recipients to rebuild homes on the island of Koh Kho Khao, Thailand, after the 2004 tsunami. Photo courtesy of Alyce Henson/RI.

Volunteers work with housing recipients to rebuild homes on the island of Koh Kho Khao, Thailand, after the 2004 tsunami. Photo courtesy of Alyce Henson/RI.

DNA RAG will develop an interactive network to assist with disaster preparedness, communication, and recovery at an international level. The group’s primary focus will be on disaster preparedness with an emphasis on communication between the affected area and potential assistance for long term recovery. DNA RAG’s founders offer expertise and hands-on experience through their involvement with several Rotarian and non-Rotarian disaster relief initiatives such as Rotarian Emergency/ Disaster Initiative (REDI), Haiti Disaster Task Force, Caribbean Partnership, Rapid Disaster Response Task Force, Disaster Aid Australia, and ShelterBox. The founding members have coordinated Rotarian efforts in support of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans, USA), Hurricane Sandy (Caribbean islands and northeastern USA), the Haiti earthquake, and others. If you’re participating in the 2015 RI Convention in Sao Paulo, attend the RAG’s breakout session on disaster relief 8 June..

For more information or to join, contact Chair Barry Rassin.

Endangered Species
Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species (RAGES)

Dr.Jane Goodall joins RAGES' "SAY NO!" campaign to promote animal conservation. Photo courtesy of RAGES.

Dr.Jane Goodall joins RAGES’ “SAY NO!” campaign to promote animal conservation. Photo courtesy of RAGES.

RAGES will mobilize the Rotary family and provide global awareness and focused action to preserve and protect endangered species and the communities that depend on them. While the group will initially focus on elephants, rhinos, mountain gorillas, and chimpanzees in Africa, RAGES aims to expand its focus as new species and areas of emphasis are identified. RAGES emerged from Save Our Rhino Project, a Rotary club-led project in South Africa. The group is currently working on an education program to conserve elephants in the Oloimugi Maasai Village in Kenya in partnership with the Rotary Club of Coolamon in Australia and the Jane Goodall Institute via her global Roots & Shoots program. Don’t forget to tell your Rotaract and Interact clubs about RAGES as the group plans to heavily involve Interactors and Rotaractors in their programming.

Visit the group’s website for more information.

Preconception Care
Rotarian Action Group Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children

Jenni Huntly, a volunteer midwife with Midwives for Haiti, examines Maritha Pierre, who is eight months pregnant. Photo courtesy of Alyce Henson/RI.

Jenni Huntly, a volunteer midwife with Midwives for Haiti, examines Maritha Pierre, who is eight months pregnant. Photo courtesy of Alyce Henson/RI.

The RAG advocates for clubs and districts to participate in helping achieve the 4th and 5th UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality by two thirds and to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters. The group will promote preventative care to men and women and prepare them for healthy parenthood by making sure they are properly nourished, lead a healthy lifestyle, and have access to public healthcare. The RAG’s founding members are bringing a wide range of expertise to address various health risks for future parents and newborns such as medicine, public health, pediatrics, biology, and human genetics.

Visit the group’s website for more information.

Rotarian Action Groups are organized by the Rotary family for the Rotary family, tackle issues such as malaria, population and development, and more. Join one and share your expertise and passion with others. Rotarians, their family members, and Rotary program participants and alumni are invited to join these groups.

Learn more:

Why should you know about Rotarian Action Groups?

By Zuhal Sharp, RI Programs staff

Although they have existed for nearly ten years, Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs) are still not widely known throughout Rotary. RAGs exist to help clubs and districts design and implement effective projects, and indeed, the projects guided by these groups are changing lives around the world.

You may have heard about Rotary Family Heath Days, a signature program of Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), one of our 22 Rotarian Action Groups.  Now entering its sixth year, this program mobilizes volunteers at hundreds of sites across Africa, providing comprehensive health care services to thousands of beneficiaries in countries across Africa. Last year nearly 350,000 people received free health care services through this unique public-private partnership, leveraging thousands of Rotarian volunteers and support from NGOs and corporations like Coca-Cola.

The Rotarian Action Group for Population and Development (RFPD) focuses its efforts to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in rural areas of Nigeria, where lack of adequate healthcare resources poses a serious threat to the well-being of mothers and their babies. Through a multi-faceted approach including public awareness, advocacy, training of health workers, provision of medical equipment, and surgical interventions, RFPD’s program has proven to be highly impactful, reducing the maternal mortality rate by 60% and newborn mortality by 15% in participating hospitals.

Rotary clubs not only receive technical project advice and support from Rotarian Action Groups, but also leverage resources from non-Rotary organizations through the partnerships they develop. For instance, the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag) partnered with ONE DROP Foundation on an $8 million program last year to bring safe water and sanitation to over 200,000 people in Mali. This program offers Rotary and Rotaract clubs everywhere an opportunity to become involved in an innovative partnership and a large scale program. Several clubs have already signed up to help pioneer this comprehensive program.

Rotarian Action Groups can also be a great resource for clubs seeking international partners and sponsors to qualify for a Rotary Foundation global grant. Since the Foundation requires 30% of submitted funds to come from international Rotary partners for global grant projects, a RAG can help you identify and connect with international Rotarians that share your service interest. Some Rotary clubs even utilize RAGs’ knowledge and expertise when drafting their global grant applications. After all, Rotarian Action Groups are led by Rotarians with significant experience in areas of specialty across Rotary’s six areas of focus.

See a complete list of Rotarian Action Groups and read a summary of their 2014 activities

Contact RAG officers for information

Plan health interventions during World Immunization Week

By Ellina Kushnir, RI Programs staff

One out of every five children across the world does not receive a full course of the most basic vaccines, let alone more recently developed ones. The World Health Organization estimates 1.5 million children die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Help strengthen health systems and healthy immunization services around the world during World Immunization Week, 24 – 30 April. There are many ways we are helping to close the immunization gap:

  • NID_NigeriaThe Rotary Club of Omole-Golden, Nigeria, worked with partners to host National Immunization Days 14 -17 March. Oral polio vaccine drops were administered to 189,266 children under the age of five.
  • The Rotary Club of Lahore, India, established a permanent polio immunization center where families can receive vaccinations and other medical services at an affordable price.
  • WPD_BeninThe Rotary Club of Lincoln South, USA, organized a Rotary Day event to promote healthy living, educate local residents about Rotary’s polio eradication efforts, and encourage parents to keep their children healthy with immunizations.
  • On 24 October, World Polio Day, the Rotary club of Benin worked with the Edo State Government and fellow clubs in Zone 15 to immunize children against polio. Hundreds of people came out to assist with the effort.

Join the effort:

  • Browse Rotary Showcase to learn about other Rotary immunization initiatives.
  • Connect with a health-focused Rotarian Action Group to support Rotarian-led efforts:
  • Volunteer at National Immunization Days to help reach more vulnerable children at risk of contracting preventable diseases.
  • Organize health fairs to educate communities about available services and their short and long term benefits.
  • Partner with reputable health agencies and organizations to sponsor the provision of immunization in communities where they are not easily accessible or affordable.
  • Watch Invisible Threat (free with Vimeo account), a documentary on the science of vaccination and the risks facing communities that are under-vaccinated.
  • Advocate for governments to assume responsibility for providing needed services to address the health of their communities.
  • Find project support by posting information on your club’s efforts to Rotary Ideas.

If countries improved routine immunization coverage by an additional two percent per year, approximately 300,000 additional deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases would be averted. Refer to the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization’s toolkit for more resources on how to plan a club immunization campaign or activity.


Saving Babies’ Lives in Ethiopia

By Dr. Karin Davies, member of the Rotary Club of Del Mar, CA, USA

Dr. Karin Davies (second from left) and Dr. Bromberger (second from right) with training participants

Dr. Karin Davies (second from left) and Dr. Bromberger (second from right) with training participants

During a recent visit to Ethiopia, I felt a very strong connection to this beautiful country and its remarkable people. Now a retired pediatrician, I returned to the place where I had spent my childhood and saw an opportunity to use my medical training to help address the country’s high neonatal mortality rate.

Joined by my colleague neonatologist Pat Bromberger, an expert in teaching Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) teacher-training programs in low-resource communities, and by fellow Rotarian Dr. Zemene Tigabu and his colleagues at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences Gondar University in Gondar, Ethiopia, we designed a Vocational Training Team (VTT) project to develop a neonatal resuscitation training program for the university’s curriculum.

I had the privilege of leading our team of five U.S. team members which included Dr. Pat Bromberger, neonatal intensive care nurse Elisa Imonte, respiratory therapist Emilie Jean, and nurse and Rotarian logistics coordinator Fary Moini.

Newly trained NRP instructors

Newly trained NRP instructors

During the two week visit to the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Gondar, our team taught 17 health care providers (including pediatricians, obstetricians, general practitioners, midwives and nurses) to become instructors in neonatal resuscitation. The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Del Mar with support from Rotary clubs, districts, and a grant from The Rotary Foundation.

“It really works” exclaimed Kosi, a third year obstetrical resident who had just delivered a term infant by vaginal breech extraction.  The baby was limp and not breathing.  After unsuccessful attempts to stimulate the baby’s breathing, Kosi began positive pressure ventilation using techniques learned in the NRP provider class. The baby was screaming within minutes.  A life was saved using skills just learned through NRP!  We saw the power of vocational training in improving health outcomes before our eyes, one baby at a time.

Rotarian Karin Davies administers a clinical scenario

Rotarian Karin Davies administers a clinical scenario

Our team mentored each group of four instructors to teach their first NRP provider class to their colleagues.  The new instructors trained 67 additional NRP providers involving all disciplines who are involved in caring for the newborn.   In all, 84 care professionals were trained as NRP providers (16 pediatricians, three general practitioners, 23 obstetricians, 20 midwives and 23 nurses).

The instructors and students were extremely enthusiastic about the training. In fact, ten additional people arrived unexpectedly for the last training session after hearing about the class through word of mouth.  In Ethiopia, most medical training involves lecture.  They know the “theory” very well.  But chances are rare for clinical skills practice with equipment.  The instructors continually emphasized the importance of “hands-on” practice and the students expressed confidence in their abilities to resuscitate a newborn as a direct result of this training.

Course director Dr. Bromberger demonstrates resuscitation techniques to nurses.

Course director Dr. Bromberger demonstrates resuscitation techniques to nurses.

Thanks to the Rotary Foundation grant and our partners in Rotary, the Gondar NRP instructors now have the equipment, educational materials and support to continue this training program so that all care providers and students may take this valuable training.  Our goal was to create a self-sustaining training program in Neonatal Resuscitation and Post Resuscitation Care at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences.  Our trained instructors are now the local experts.

In October 2015 our team plans to return for a second VTT focusing on Post Resuscitation Neonatal Care, training an additional group of doctors and nurses who will become the local experts in how to care for the ill newborns after resuscitation.

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One Rotarian’s dream for education in Nepal

By Malcolm Lindquist, member of Rotary Club of Brownhill Creek, Australia, and Zone 8 Rotary Coordinator

Malcolm LindquistWhen my friend David Rusk, a primary school principal in Adelaide, Australia, fell in love with the disadvantaged children in Kathmandu, Nepal, little did I know the path on which it would lead me.

Through his connections with the Rotary Club of Dillibazar in Kathmandu, David had established relations with several schools leading to the creation of a teacher development program and financial sponsorship of about 80 disadvantaged students in the Nepali community.

Then, by chance, David visited an orphanage on the outskirts of Kathmandu run by a saintly woman, Mother Rajan Bishwokarma. She had established the orphanage in 2007 which cares for more than 50 Dalit (untouchable) children and founded the Nepal Deprived Women Uplift Centre organisation. David immediately saw the urgent need for a school to accommodate the children from the orphanage.

David Rusk

David Rusk

In typical David fashion, he marshalled all of his resources in Adelaide to raise more than $AUD 200,000 to build a school alongside the orphanage. Family and friends were not immune. David spoke at Rotary clubs and Rotary District 9520’s conference to gain support.  A group called “Friends of Nepal” used film nights, car rallies and dinners to help raise the necessary money to commence the project.

This is where fate stepped in…

After approving the school plans and returning back to Adelaide in August 2013, David was diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer and died exactly three months later.

In those short three months, David did everything he could to ensure that the project would be completed. This included asking me to become the project manager. I am now quite familiar with Kathmandu!

The completed Kumari Vidhya Mandir English School.

The completed Kumari Vidhya Mandir English School.

The result has been spectacular. In collaboration with Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS), the Rotary Club of Dillibazar and the Rotary Club of Brownhill Creek in southern Australia, the Kumari Vidhya Mandir English School project has been completed. On 22 February, we hosted the official school opening ceremony in grand Nepali style. A group of 11 family friends and Rotarians made the trip to Nepal as the event’s distinguished guests.

With some twenty percent of funds being depreciated as the result of the falling Australian dollar, the path has not always been easy. But the results are rewarding: fifty orphans now learn in a modern, spacious school. An additional seventy children from the local community are also eligible to enroll at the school. And most importantly, the school will serve many future generations.

We are now looking to set up a trust fund to ensure an ongoing maintenance program for the school. $AUD 300 per year can sponsor a student by covering living and schooling costs. I know David would be so proud to see his dream come true!

Please contact me if you wish to know more or contribute to the trust fund or sponsorship program.

Students at the new Kumari Vidhya Mandir English School.

Students at the new Kumari Vidhya Mandir English School.

Ethical dilemma discussion: what would you do?

One of your club members, a well-known local business owner and a strong advocate of your club’s service projects, is going through a tough business transition and has made drastic financial decisions, in turn adversely impacting many of her clients. Community members are questioning her integrity as a business owner and her interest in improving the community. Over the past few weeks, her diminished image is also starting to impact your club’s reputation.

How do you address this situation?