International Work

TED Talks on Climate Change 10th Oct 2020

Watch the Countdown Global Launch, a call to action on climate change and the first-ever free TED conference, right here on Saturday, October 10, 2020 from 1600 – 22:00 UK Time Presented by TED and Future Stewards.

Countdown, a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, will launch on October 10, 2020 with a live virtual event featuring leading thinkers and doers. This is the moment to act, and they will outline what a healthy, abundant, zero-emission future can look like — turning ideas into action. The event will combine TED’s signature blend of actionable and research-backed ideas, cutting-edge science and moments of wonder and inspiration. Countdown is part of a broader series of actions and events this fall including the Bloomberg Green Festival, Climate Week NYC and others, all with the collective objective of informing and activating millions in the lead-up to a successful UN Climate Change Conference in November 2021.

This one of a kind live event will feature hosts Jane Fonda, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Al Gore, Xiye Bastida and Jaden Smith; speakers Prince William, His Holiness Pope Francis, Monica Araya, Jesper Brodin, Dave Clark, Christiana Figueres, Kara Hurst, Lisa Jackson, Rose Mutiso, Johan Rockström, Nigel Topping, Ursula von der Leyen, along with scientists, activists, artists, schools and leaders from business and government; and special musical performances by Prince Royce, Cynthia Erivo, Sigrid, Raye Zaragoza and Yemi Alade.

This exciting virtual event will vividly explain the climate crisis, focusing on solutions and calling for leaders and citizens everywhere to step up. Gather your friends and family, and tune in together for an inspiring and unforgettable day!



Rotary feed thousands in Cape Town Covid – Sept 2020

Rotary has used the ‘infrastructure’ ot set up to end polio to help governments deal with Covid but they’ve also been engaged in addressing more basic poverty-related issues in third worl countries.  For example in Cape Town Rotarians have been feeding thousands: the photo above is of some of the food purchased by Rotarians to this end.

You can read more here.

Africa declared Polio free – 25 Aug 2020

Thanks to all those local people who have supported our fund-raising efforts – including Crocus Concerts and Children Singing for Children Concerts – that have contributed to the progressive eradication of this terrible disease.

For several years Banbury Rotary Club has [played it’s part in raising money towards Rotary’s polio eradication project.

Whilst not totally completed, 25th August 2020 marked a major milestone along the way to eradication of the disease worldwidein in that the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Africa region, was officially certified free from wild poliovirus.

Alan’s Africa Update – July 2020

Members should have received Alan Wolstencroft’s latest ‘Alan’s Africa‘ update.

If you haven’t seen it you can grab the main 2019-20 developments here.

Rotary year 2019 – 2020

The Rotary year runs from July to June. As we approach the end of the year I thought I would summarise what has been achieved this year:

  • Installation of a gravity fed water system providing 4 taps , 2 flushing toilets & sinks benefitting 1,500 people
  • Built 3 school toilet blocks all with water harvesting & handwash stations
  • Water harvesting installed on a two classroom block
  • Converted an empty building into nursery classrooms
  • Installed a water system into a science laboratory & purchased science equipment
  • Purchased additional textbooks & library furniture
  • Set up a micro credit scheme for 3 ladies
  • Supported a community football Club including renovations to their hostel and day to day subsistence support
  • Support for 3 teenage/young adult orphans including Momoh & his carer & family
  • Sunny Girl project – supplying 350 girls with sanitary pads each month
  • Supported 83 school staff during Covid


So far this Rotary year £21,760 has been raised, with a few pledges still to come in, and £19,800 has already been sent to the projects. None of this would have been possible without the great support I receive from a vast network of supporters and to each and every one of you a BIG


THANK YOU for helping me to “Make A Real Difference”. Together we are “changing lives & making dreams a reality”

Since I first started working with my first school in January 2007 just over £264,700 has been raised. This has funded the building of:

  • 32 classrooms (23 with water harvesting & 9 with mains electricity)
  • 8 toilet blocks (6 with water harvesting and handwash stations)
  • Installation of a well, refurbishment of another & the gravity fed water system

Plus many refurbishment projects & other support

Rotary & Shelterbox 2020

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the ShelterBox project.

See here for full details

Rotary Convention

Members can join us during the 2020 Rotary Virtual Convention, 20-26 June, for activities beyond the general sessions that will get you moving, help you get involved, and connect you with members from around the world.

You can:
•    Stay active with the Rotary Walking Challenge. Track your progress on a leaderboard, enjoy some friendly competition, and have the chance to win great prizes – including two tickets for next year’s convention!
•    Explore the Virtual House of Friendship to discover Rotary Fellowships, Rotary Action Groups, potential partners, projects, and other valuable resources.
•    Join our Featured Breakouts to learn new skills and engage with fellow members. These take place daily, 22-26 June, with more breakout sessions throughout July.
•    Share how you’re participating by posting a selfie or other photos on our event page on Facebook.
•    Use our Aloha Rotary GIFs and augmented reality filters to engage with your friends and family on social media. Add a GIF to your Facebook or Instagram stories. Snap a selfie or record a video while virtually wearing sunglasses or face paint. Learn how.
Sign up for our free convention today and encourage friends in your network, club, and community to join you. Don’t miss out!

Global polio infrastructure & Covid-19

In every corner of the world, it seems that not a single person or community is unaffected by COVID-19. You may be wondering how to stay focused on our work eradicating polio when we are dealing with a pandemic caused by a virus for which there is not yet a vaccine — a situation similar to what the world faced with the poliovirus not so long ago.

The COVID-19 pandemic response requires worldwide solidarity and an urgent global effort. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), with thousands of polio workers and an extensive laboratory and surveillance network, has a moral imperative to ensure that these resources are used to support countries in their preparedness and response.

We can be proud that in the ever-connected world of global health, the polio infrastructure that Rotarians have helped build is already being used to address — and stop the spread of — the new coronavirus, in addition to serving countless other health needs. In Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where polio personnel and assets have a significant presence, workers from all GPEI partners are engaged in surveillance, health worker training, contact tracing, and more. In 13 countries, polio volunteers have been deployed to address COVID-19 preparations and response.

We recognize that the COVID-19 emergency means that some aspects of the polio eradication program will be affected. While addressing the new challenges of today, the most important thing that Rotary members can do to continue the fight to end polio is to sustain our commitment. We are aiming to reach our fundraising goal of $50 million this year so we can work to safely reach all children with the polio vaccine. In the midst of a global pandemic, we understand that attention to polio eradication will be temporarily diverted, and this makes it all the more vital for Rotarians to remain strongly committed to fighting polio and not let our progress be eroded.

Concerts will help children at home and abroad.

Funds raised at the forthcoming Children Singing for Children concerts will all be going to children’s charities.

The largest share will be going to a local charity, Children Seen and Heard. 

Money will also go to other local childrens charities and to third world education projects.

One such project, overseen by Banbury Rotary member Alan Wolstencroft, is taking place at at Kunduma School in Sierra Leonne  where 150+ kids currently have NO toilets, let alone a Blenheim Palace style GOLD one !

Work has begun at the school to build a 3 cubicle toilet block and the progress is going well.  EVERYTHING is done manually but the benefit of this is that local guys are earning a wage which will help them provide for their families and it also gives them a sense of ownership of the project.





World Polio Day – 24th Oct 2019


Rotary and polio


Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in hours. It can strike people of any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated.


For more than 30 years, Rotary and our partners have driven the effort to eradicate polio worldwide. Our PolioPlus program was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication by vaccinating children on a massive scale. As a core partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary focuses on advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and awareness-building.

Rotary members have contributed $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort.

Polio Today

With our partners, we have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent, from 350,000 cases in 125 countries in 1988 to just 33 cases caused by the wild virus in 2018. Only two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. The infrastructure we helped build to end polio is also being used to treat and prevent other diseases and create lasting impact in other areas of public health.


Rotary and our partners have made tremendous progress against polio, but eliminating all cases is going to take even more progress and perseverance. Afghanistan and Pakistan face unique challenges, including political insecurity, highly mobile populations, difficult terrain, and, in some instances, logistical barriers. With sufficient resources, the commitment of national governments, and innovations that improve access to remote areas, we are optimistic that we can eliminate polio.

Ensuring Success

Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year for polio eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total commitment of $150 million each year. These funds provide much-needed operational support, medical workers, laboratory equipment, and educational materials. Governments, corporations, and private donors all play a crucial role in funding.

  Rotary in Action

More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and money to eradicate polio, and every year, hundreds of member’s work with health workers to vaccinate children in countries affected by polio. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute informational materials for people in areas that are isolated by conflict, geography, or poverty. They also mobilize to recruit fellow volunteers, assist in transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.

Celebrity Support

Rotary has a growing list of public figures and celebrities who support our fight against polio, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; actresses Kristen Bell and Archie Panjabi; actor and wrestling superstar John Cena; supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action-movie star Jackie Chan; actor Donald Sutherland; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners A.R. Rahman, Angélique Kidjo, and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan. These ambassadors help Rotary educate the public about the disease and the fight to end polio for good.

German Rotary buzzing about bees – July 2019


By Henrik Thiele, a member of the Rotaract Club of Paderborn, Germany, and president of the Rotaract Germany Committee 

Recently, Rotaract clubs throughout Germany were looking for a signature project and decided to concentrate on the environment. After watching a Swiss documentary on bees, “More than honey,” one Rotaractor became passionate about focusing our attention on protecting these little superheroes. Did you know, for instance, that wild bees are responsible for pollinating more than 80 percent of our crops and wild plants? We can’t survive without them.

Most of the dangers to bees are man-made. Climate change, monotonous agricultural landscapes, and pesticides are just a few of the many reasons why our little yellow friends are dying in ever-increasing numbers.

With the project “BeeAlive” German Rotaractors began to support wild bees by building bee hotels, educating people about the threat to the bee population, and sowing wildflower meadows. All German Rotaract clubs participated, starting with the most northern club of Flensburg, which visited a beekeeper with their sponsor Rotary club. The southern-most Rotaract club in Germany, Kempten Allgäu, planted a meadow of more than 32,000 square feet for bees to pollinate.

The Bundessozialaktion (BuSo) project, as it is called in German, is divided into three parts:


All the Rotaract clubs in Germany worked together to education the population about bee mortality and the associated consequences for our environment, organizing theme days and informational events. We found many opportunities to cooperate with beekeepers’ associations and nature conservation associations. Efforts ranged from the Rotoract Club of Berlin organizing an online presentation that was promoted across the country, by Dr. Kaspar Bienefeld, a renowned scientist and professor in the field of insects and bees at the Humboldt University of Berlin, to the Rotaract Club of Rheda Wiedenbrück holding a local fair.


Many of the projects are costly. Therefore, fundraising is an integral part of our efforts. The Rotaract Club of Duisburg-Niederrhein organized a Bee-Pong tournament, raising over $1,000 and the Rotaract Club of Paderborn hosted a Pub Quiz on the topic of bees. Clubs also got creative by selling homemade products, from beeswax chapsticks by the Bad Wörishofen-Mindelheim Club to bee-hotels (Herne-Wanne Eickel). There are also many organizations that do great work with our fundraising, like the NaBu; the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, or the local beekeepers associations.


By building bee hotels and diversifying local beds, we make room for wildflowers and create a better environment for insects. Over 100,000 square feet of meadows were planted by clubs in District 1841 and by the Rotaract clubs of Lemgo-Lippe and AC Landshut-Trausnitz. In many of these, Rotaractors, Rotarians, family and friends joined together.

Building a few thousand hotels, we were already able to surpass our goal of 500. The reason is simple. All you need for a hotel is a wooden frame for the outside, hardwood with holes drilled into it, and hollowed out bamboo for the inside. The best part is that you can put up a plaque reading “Made by Rotary/Rotaract” and you have the perfect ambassador for Rotary in your local community.

All in all, we hope to make the world a better place by raising awareness of this important issue and working to solve the problem in our local communities. But this is not an issue that can be solved locally. It is a global problem and we need to make a global impact. Join us in our efforts.