sábado, 24 de outubro de 2009


An enormous volume of work was now ahead. No organization could undertake such a project by itself. Rotary created teams with the WHO, UNICEF, and later with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Gradually these organizations recognized Rotary as a valuable and trustworthy partner. The staff was trained in the RI headquarters in Evanston, Chicago, and new commissions were being formed solely to focus on what soon would be re-baptized as PolioPlus Campaign.
There were two major challenges to be immediately faced by Rotary. First, be able to achieve the amount of US$120 million. An international commission of the PolioPlus Campaign presided by Leslie Wright, from Birmingham, Alabama, organized a world scale fundraise. It would be an experience of true learning at all levels in Rotary. Walter Maddocks, from Bermuda, a past district governor, became director of the campaign. Jack Blane, from Wheeling, Illianois, also a past district governor, who was an international executive coordinator of the campaign, supported him. Both worked full time on the campaign for two years as unpaid volunteers.
They supervised 44 national/ multinational commissions, and 11 international coordinators, the magnificent as they remained known. One of them was Marcelino Chaves, past governor of the Portugal district, later RI director. On the other hand, those Rotarians provided orientation and guidance to 84 national coordinators and were the main contact for the 450 PolioPlus district presidents. Inside each district every 7 clubs were given to one of the 3300 zone coordinators, who were the link to more than 20000 PolioPlus presidents at club level. It was a structure that rivaled with many of the most elaborated battle plans by the most famous generals.
All planning reached its climax with the public announcement of the PolioPlus campaign in New York, in 10 July 1987. The then president of the RI Charles Keller and his team of 467 governors worldwide turned this campaign into their priority. The campaign ingenious activity and the usual practice of the districts were someway integrated.
The moment the campaign was launched senior volunteers were trained to appeal to great financial donations. Something the Rotary had never done in its 84 years of history. Apart from the initial reluctance they «followed the plan». And the Rotarian W. Clement Stone, from Chicago, made a one million dollars donation. The Australian Rotarian Les Whitcroft, who led the PolioPlus campaign in his country, and his wife Shirley – herself a polio survivor – made a donation of US$250 000.
Gradually the Rotarians started to recognize that they were involved in an event that would make history. Never before had Rotary embarked in such a worldwide project. Never before had they propose to raise US$120 million. Never until then had made partnerships with agencies of such visibility as WHO, UNICEF and the CDC. From then on Rotary would never be the same of the recent past.
(To be continued in G)

Henrique Pinto
October 09 in World Polio Day
PHOTOS: Marcelino Chaves, one of the Magnificient, was always pulling me, side by side, in all my way as a rotarian. Here he is, in a Gala Dinner I promoted, with Maria da Graça Pinto, Marcia and Alceu Vezozzo; Caol Belamy, former UNICEF executive director, in a cerimony in Afganistan

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