An anniversary celebrated through advocacy

Rotarians around the world celebrate the organization’s 108th Anniversary by building political support for polio eradication

20130226_Psy
Psy is busting a new move, polio style. Psy is just one of more than 8,000 people who are part of Rotary’s World’s Biggest Commercial. Rotary International

26 February 2013 – Every year in recent times, Rotary International has celebrated their anniversary on 23 February by lighting up world-famous landmarks… but not this year.

With polio case numbers at the lowest levels ever seen, this year is different. And as such, Rotary is using a different strategy to build support for polio eradication, reflecting the momentousness of the current opportunity to end polio. This time around, with the Global Vaccine Summit and the launch of the new polio eradication strategic plan just around the corner, Rotarians are inviting their political representatives to local club meetings in the days surrounding the Anniversary and encouraging them to give polio eradication efforts their full political and financial support.

The highlight of the week so far has been the Rotary Peace Conference, held in Vancouver, Canada, on Saturday. The event celebrated the way the Canadian Government and Canadian Rotarians have successfully worked together to achieve great progress in the battle against polio – and included the announcement of more than CA$4.5 million in additional funding for polio eradication through the Pennies for Polio Initiative.

But while Rotarians have been focused on building political support, they have not forgotten the need to simultaneously build public support for polio eradication. This Saturday also saw the release of a special “best of” cut of their World’s Biggest Commercial, featuring a selection of images from some of the more than 8,000 people who have shown their support for polio eradication by uploading a photo of themselves making the “this close” sign – because the world is “this close” to ending polio.

Rotary was the first organisation who dared to take on the challenge of making the dream of a world without polio a reality. Since 1985, they have spearheaded efforts to vaccinate children across the developing world, and their 1.2 million members have raised more than US$1 billion for polio eradication efforts.

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