A week ago, we commemorated the World Polio Day and I would like to applaud the District Polio Team and all the Rotary clubs in Tanzania and Uganda who organised special events to mark the day. This year was extra special following the recent achievement of a monumental milestone – the declaration of a Polio Free Africa.
Ending Polio remains Rotary’s number one priority and since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than US$2.1 billion towards this cause. As the contributors of these funds, we have every right to be proud of being part of the effort that has reduced the number of reported polio cases in the world by 99%.  But this is not the moment to let our guard down.  We must remain vigilant in ensuring that every child receives the vaccine until Polio is completely wiped off the face of the earth.
Nelson Mandela once said: “After climbing a great hill - one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”  The declaration of a polio free Africa comes at a time when we are in the throes of a new pandemic – COVID-19.  But if there is one thing that we have learned from our polio experience is that determination, perseverance, collaboration and sustained funding will be key to tackling this global challenge. 
In the wake of the current crisis, we are reminded of the important role that each and every one of us must play to mitigate the havoc that has resulted from this pandemic. And in Rotary, we need not look further than the Rotary Foundation (TRF) which we are commemorating this month. The Rotary Foundation is the vehicle that enables us to address challenges and contribute to lasting change.  All our programmes starting from the End Polio Campaign, to saving mothers and children, building local economies, promoting peace to providing clean water and sanitation are funded by the Rotary Foundation. By June 2020, the Rotary Foundation had awarded US$20 million towards the COVID-19 response; and in District 9211, part of these funds enabled us provide the much needed hand washing facilities, and personal protective equipment (PPEs).
It therefore goes without saying that it is our responsibility to sustain the Foundation through our contributions to the Annual Fund, EREY, the Paul Harris and Bequest Societies.  We have set US$ 600,000 as the target for our 2020/21 District contribution to TRF.  And while I recognise that 2020 is a difficult year, it is my desire that we become a 100% giving District. I am therefore appealing to the Opportunity Presidents and every Rotary Club in the District to contribute something to the Foundation, however modest. For it is only by doing so that we will be in position to support and build resilience in our communities that have been so badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Ask yourself: “if you won’t help, then who will? And if not now, then when?”
I also encourage all Rotary clubs within our District to explore partnerships outside Rotary, and leverage more resources to increase the impact of our work.  But as we do, it is imperative upon us to uphold the principles of integrity, transparency and good stewardship.  If we are to obtain and maintain external support, we must demonstrate that we are strong and reliable partners who ensure that resources reach the beneficiaries most in need.
I thank all those who have already remitted their contributions, and all those who are planning to do so before the end of the year. It is your generous contributions to the Rotary Foundation that will enable Rotary to Open Opportunities!
 
Rosetti Nayenga
District Governor 2020 - 21
Rotary International District 9211