By Zuhal Sharp, RI Programs staff
Although they have existed for nearly ten years, Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs) are still not widely known throughout Rotary. RAGs exist to help clubs and districts design and implement effective projects, and indeed, the projects guided by these groups are changing lives around the world.
You may have heard about Rotary Family Heath Days, a signature program of Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), one of our 22 Rotarian Action Groups. Now entering its sixth year, this program mobilizes volunteers at hundreds of sites across Africa, providing comprehensive health care services to thousands of beneficiaries in countries across Africa. Last year nearly 350,000 people received free health care services through this unique public-private partnership, leveraging thousands of Rotarian volunteers and support from NGOs and corporations like Coca-Cola.
The Rotarian Action Group for Population and Development (RFPD) focuses its efforts to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in rural areas of Nigeria, where lack of adequate healthcare resources poses a serious threat to the well-being of mothers and their babies. Through a multi-faceted approach including public awareness, advocacy, training of health workers, provision of medical equipment, and surgical interventions, RFPD’s program has proven to be highly impactful, reducing the maternal mortality rate by 60% and newborn mortality by 15% in participating hospitals.
Rotary clubs not only receive technical project advice and support from Rotarian Action Groups, but also leverage resources from non-Rotary organizations through the partnerships they develop. For instance, the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag) partnered with ONE DROP Foundation on an $8 million program last year to bring safe water and sanitation to over 200,000 people in Mali. This program offers Rotary and Rotaract clubs everywhere an opportunity to become involved in an innovative partnership and a large scale program. Several clubs have already signed up to help pioneer this comprehensive program.
Rotarian Action Groups can also be a great resource for clubs seeking international partners and sponsors to qualify for a Rotary Foundation global grant. Since the Foundation requires 30% of submitted funds to come from international Rotary partners for global grant projects, a RAG can help you identify and connect with international Rotarians that share your service interest. Some Rotary clubs even utilize RAGs’ knowledge and expertise when drafting their global grant applications. After all, Rotarian Action Groups are led by Rotarians with significant experience in areas of specialty across Rotary’s six areas of focus.
See a complete list of Rotarian Action Groups and read a summary of their 2014 activities
Contact RAG officers for information
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