RFPD Reporting from the 2019 RI Convention in Hamburg
Over 25,000 Rotarians from around the world met in Hamburg this year for the Rotary International Convention 2019. RFPD kicked off the week of events with a pre-convention summit on maternal and child health (MCH) on Friday, May 31st. Moderated by RFPD board member and Population Council Director of Country Strategy, John Townsend, the summit’s program was filled with world-class speakers with eclectic backgrounds. Director of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health at the WHO, Helga Fogstad, began with a presentation on engagement and effectiveness of projects in MCH. Franz Josef Radermacher, professor and consultant to the German Development Minister, presented on the connection between family planning and sustainability. RFPD CEO Robert Zinser, Area Coordinator Dolapo Lufadeju and Statistical Consultant Nicholas Lack reported on the “Nationwide Family Planning Campaign in Nigeria”, including the project’s status and planned activities. Renowned Pakistani Gynecologist, Shahida Zaidi, presented on her successful project ‘Post-Partum Family Planning ‘. Monsignor Prof. Obiora Ike brought the summit to a strong end with his engaging speech on an ethical perspective of MCH and family planning.
The MCH summit was followed by a range of further RFPD activities throughout the week – the Annual General Meeting on Sunday, a breakout session on “Replication and Expansion of ‘Best Practice’ in Rotary Projects” on Tuesday, an RFPD International board meeting on Wednesday, and many cordial discussions between board members, project leaders and interested Rotarians from around the world. Highlight of the Annual General Meeting was the presentation Kee-young Yuen and his delegation from the newest RFPD country section – RFPD Asia. Yuen and his colleagues are working with partners in Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan and elsewhere to raise awareness on pertinent MCH issues and expand RFPD’s project assistance in further Asian regions. Led by RFPD co-founder Dolapo Lufadeju, the breakout session centered around the development of RFPD’s activities in Nigeria and the ongoing nationwide family planning campaign. This project is financed by a regional team of clubs and districts from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Nigeria – only the second Rotary regional team after End Polio Now.
Highlight of the Rotarian week was the Tuesday visit by German Federal Minster for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – Dr. Gerd Müller – to the RFPD stand in the Rotary House of Friendship; see Photo. The minister was greeted on arrival by co-founder PDGs Robert Zinser (Germany) and Dolapo Lufadeju (Nigeria) and presented a letter from the Nigerian minister of health regarding the fruitful cooperation with Rotary’s much-needed family planning campaign. During his subsequent speech at the plenary session, Minister Müller remarked the challenge of population growth – especially in Africa – and the need for new methods of resolution. He expressed his thanks to the thousands of Rotarians present for their ongoing engagement and announced that the BMZ would co-finance the Rotary/RFPD Nationwide Family Planning Campaign in Nigeria with up to US $1.5 million.