Hard to believe that it’s less than 2 months since we launched the Ebola Campaign in Marlow.
At the first meeting, there were 16 Clubs represented, along with the Town Mayor and representatives from Marlow Churches together and members of the public.
We were lucky to have a guest speaker, David Frankfort, (Right hand seat) direct from the Rotary Club of Monrovia, Liberia; at this initial meeting, we had raised just under £1000. To date, the total is now in excess of £27,000 and rising, and this includes the highly successful MyDonate button on both District and the Rotary Club of Marlow’s website. At the start of the campaign, we were raising money for essential medical needs; protective gloves, masks and hygiene items including soap. Needless to say, as the situation has worsened, the needs have changed and the Rotary Club of Monrovia now finds itself actively feeding quarantined families, helping those displaced by the disease as well as supporting those with the disease.
We were really impressed with the Rotary Club of Monrovia’s approach to this campaign; they are business like and efficient, and I personally have no doubt that money sent to them will be well spent.
As the Ebola outbreak has worsened, so has the situation in Monrovia. Many people are now being turned away from the hospitals and people are in a ‘lock-down quarantine situation’. If you would like to read more about this, please go to The Rotary Club of Marlow’s website, where you will find 2 articles, a summary of the story to date and a presentation made to District 1130.
The support of Rotary Clubs within District 1090 has been brilliant. There have been several street collections, including a 4-day collection by the combined Rotary Clubs of Reading at the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading. We have had the support of both the District website and the RIBI website, plus Rotary Today and Ebola is heavily featured on the Rotary Club of Marlow’s homepage.
Donations and offers of help have been coming in from as far south as the Channel Islands, north from Scotland, Anglesey in the west and from Kent and Essex in the east. We have been the catalyst to setting up communications and donations from the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Australia, and are in constant communication with Canada and the USA.
The campaign has come to the attention of the RIB President Peter King and to Mike Parry RIBI International Chair and the Rotary Club of Washington DC our appeal to the RI President. In Canada, we are talking to the Canadian Rotary Collaboration for International Development – a multi district activity representing the 730+ Canadian Rotary clubs, and the text for my most recent appeal is on the Rotary Club of London High Park (Canada) website.
Presentations were made to District 1130 conference in Eastbourne and to the RIBI International Chairs halfway meeting in Stanstead. District 1130 are actively supporting our campaign, and I hope to see an across District “Ebola” committee set up in the near future. The District International Chairman, Peter Bradley, is encouraging all his Clubs to make a big effort.
There is a strong feeling that Rotary should be doing more and I am doing everything I can to promote this “sharp end” response within Rotary.
In Monrovia, money has been spent – initially on protective items, gloves, masks, disinfectants, soap, etc. As the outbreak intensifies, more is needed to help stop the spread of the disease and to help support those displaced by it. Various projects have been developed to meet the ever changing requirements, here are some examples.
Extending the awareness program with Rotaract Liberian Nurses Association, reaching out to an additional 800 school children that are at home, (schools are closed) with educational / awareness material.
Working with an orphanage to make repairs, supply buckets, with mattresses / pillows to another orphanage and supporting 2 ambulances with USD 1000 worth of diesel gas coupons. Supplying wash hands buckets with a chlorine solution on a regular basis. Supplying food and clothing to quarantined houses.
Recently the Rotaract Club, with support from the Rotary Club of Monrovia, embarked on an Ebola Aware Campaign tagged “Kick Ebola OUT of Liberia”. This is operating in several communities in Monrovia namely New Georgia Estate, Doe Community and Caldwell. The awareness campaign comprised of three components:
1. Training workshop to mobilize youth groups to join in the fight against Ebola and to train them on how to create awareness (i.e. prevent and stop the spread) in the communities.
2. Donation of Ebola posters, Hand-Wash barrels, soaps and cholox to youth group leaders.
3. Creation of Ebola awareness to individuals and households within these communities.
From the UK we have sent 201 non-contact thermal thermometers and will continue funding for the foreseeable future, both in terms of equipment and money.
I feel passionately that we should do everything in our power to encourage Rotary to adopt this ‘sharp end’ campaign, a campaign which will be with us for the foreseeable future.
With the emergence of new disaster appeals, there is the question ‘should Rotary be continuing?’, the simple answer is YES, as there is much that The Rotary Club of Monrovia can do, which others won’t, in their search for funds, makes the following appeal worldwide:
Why should we be supporting the Rotary Club of Monrovia?
1. We are a Rotary Club actually working at the sharp end, so there are virtually no administration costs. All the money collected is used to good advantage.
2. We are a part of the community and trusted by the community.
3. When the current outbreak is contained, the NGO’s will move on. The Rotary Club of Monrovia will continue working, supporting the victims of the outbreak.
4. Because we are Rotarians – and follow the 4 way test.
5. Our response / mobilization time is less.
6. Our knowledge and wide professional coverage to effectively carry out any task locally.
7. We can better assess who to work with / purchase from / where to make effective donations and fill gaps of the donors and assist locally based NGO.
8. Unlike many other organizations asking for funds we provide feedback on how contributions were used, in writing and in pictures.
9. Rotarians / Rotary Clubs will be mentioned in local newspapers and on radio, and not be an unknown donor to other aid / charity organizations.
I would like to thank all the Clubs and Rotarians who have so generously helped and supported this campaign and I hope that we will be able to continue this much needed support for as long as it is needed.
Brian Jonson – President Rotary Club of Marlow
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the club via the website
We will endeavour to keep the Ebola story up to date on the home page of the Marlow Club web site.