Collaborate with Rotarian experts on maternal and child health projects

By Zuhal Sharp, Rotary Service and Engagement staff

Is your club or district thinking of starting a project focused on maternal and child health? Are you looking for resources to help you get started? Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs) help clubs and districts plan and implement service projects. RAGs are organized by committed Rotarians, Rotarians’ family members, and Rotary program participants and alumni who have expertise and a passion for a particular type of service. Learn about our current  Groups with expertise in maternal and child health, and contact them directly for assistance with starting a new, or expanding an existing, initiative:

With 20,000 worldwide members, the Rotarian Action Group for Population & Development (RFPD) has the largest membership of any action group. RFPD assists with projects addressing the intersection of unsustainable development, human suffering, and overpopulation, such as access to health services. The group maintains information on population and development projects that clubs/districts can help sponsor. An example of their work:

  • The group’s signature project in northern Nigeria, funded in part by the Rotary Foundation, the German government (BMZ) and the Aventis Foundation, is a comprehensive approach aimed at a sustainable reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality. Initially piloted in ten hospitals, the program has more than doubled to 25 hospitals in six states of Nigeria. The project aims to improve the Nigerian health system through the support and implementation of the medical guidelines and quality assurance in administered services. Read more about the project.

The Rotarian Action Group for Healthy Pregnancies / Healthy Children (RAG HP/HC) encourages Rotary members to work towards achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The group is working with clubs and districts to provide education and promote awareness of prenatal care:

  • In partnership with the Rotary Club of Paramaribo Residence (Suriname) and the Rotary Club of Leiden (Netherlands), the group implemented health education programs at secondary schools, as well as provided education on a healthy pregnancy for women visiting hospitals and primary health care clinics in Paramaribo, Suriname. The program was carried out through trained midwives and other health care professionals. Contact the group to get involved on a similar project.

In addition to organizing health camps enabling access to services such as dental care, health screenings, vaccinations and more, the Health Education and Wellness Rotarian Action Group provides Rotary members with the tools and knowledge they need to advocate for cost-effective, low-technology programs for early detection and treatment of cervical cancer. Contact the group to get involved.

Are you attending the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta? Connect with Rotarian Action Groups in the House of Friendship and attend their open events and meetings.

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Related:

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: