Rotary's involvement with polio began in 1979 in the Philippines, with a 3H Grant. At that time a handful of Rotarians sought to rid one tiny part of the world of this crippling disease, which was endemic in much of the rest of the world.
The World Health Organisation was so impressed with the power of Rotary, when we raised $247 million in the mid 1980's to extend the polio eradication beyond the Philippines, that it joined in partnership with Rotary to launch the largest public health initiative in history.
Today, more than 33 years since we started the fight against polio, we are isolating the tiny pockets of polio outbreak, with the rest of the world polio free. That is an incredible reversal of the situation.
In November 2007 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave Rotary $100 million to help finish the polio eradication work, provided that we matched that sum over a 3 year period, starting 1st December 2007.
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland in 2016 has joined forces with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to plant over seven million purple crocus corms across Britain & Ireland as part of their Purple4Polio campaign to raise awareness and funds for End Polio Now.
Rotary clubs have been teaming up with RHS Britain in Bloom, It’s Your Neighbourhood groups and other community organisations to plant the bulbs in public spaces in local communities.