Rotarians Against Malaria Conference Report
Part 2 RAM Related Activities in Australia
RRAAAM: Steve Carrol D9670 RAM Chairman.
Steve and Doreen Carrol reported that the ride around Australia had raised nearly $30,000 to support malaria control in PNG and that they had recently travelled to PNG and Solomons at their own expense to investigate the most effective way to assist. RRAAAM / “Operation Buzz Off” has been registered as a separate RAWCS project 44/2014-2015 but has the same goal as RAM. During the ride they presented to over 1200 people and 87 Rotary Clubs during 36 presentations. In addition, they took part in 3 TV interviews 1 Radio show and had 5 Newspaper articles written about the ride and its aims and were afforded 3 Civic receptions as well as laying a wreath at the Australian War Memorial Canberra. Steve strongly suggested that RAM coordinate a public awareness campaign around Malaria Awareness Day with activities connected across Australia.
Rotaract Project: Michael Shields Rotaract Immediate Past National Chairman and Malaria Project leader.
At the 2011 Rotaract Australia National Conference malaria elimination was adopted as Rotaract’s National project. Michael related that eliminating malaria was a goal that was considered achievable in the lifetimes of most Rotaractors and resonated as a tangible practical outcome that they could help achieve. Using slides and U-Tube Michael and Rotaractors Teresa and Chris showed the passion and creative thinking that can be applied to fund raising and awareness including enlisting corporate sponsors such as Westpac. They reported that Canberra Rotaract alone had raised $5,000 during the past year.
Rotaract then presented a cheque for $ 10,911 to assist RAM’s active field programs.
D9820 DG partner’s project: Christine Williams.
Christine described how she had adopted the ‘Healthy Villages’ project in the Solomons as her project during the current year whilst husband Merv serves as D9820 Governor. Working closely with D9820 RAM Chair Tom Shanahan, Chris has devised a brochure and presentation which she will deliver at every club in the district this year highlighting the practical self-help nature of the project.
Induction Kit for new RAM Chairs: Roshni Thattengat RAM Central Region Coordinator.
Roshni displayed the various elements of RAM history, background briefing, science, up-to-date statistics and practical tips and guides that she had incorporated into an induction kit for all new (and old) RAM representatives. This was one of the agreed goals of the 2014 RAM Conference and will be delivered along with a set of basic presentation slides and other resources early in the 2015 Rotary year.
Donations tracking: RAM Fund Raising Coordinator PDG Richmond Manyweathers.
Richmond reviewed the current donations system based on the RAWCS central accounting system supervised by RAWCS National Administrator Belinda Griffin. Richmond noted that he reconciles the RAM account and personally responds by email to each donor. RAM Chairs were encouraged to ensure that donations were clearly notated with Club or individual name and Rotary District as well as keeping track of donations in their district to check against Richmond’s records and to respond to the donors themselves as well.
It was agreed that modifications of the current RAWCS donations page would be requested so that Rotaract could be identified, District could be easily input and payments other than donations could be made.
Discussion of future directions for RAM.
A series of discussion points aimed at assisting in developing future strategy for RAM were suggested prior to the conference and following a brief introduction of the topic on Saturday discussions and consultations were led by RAM Regional coordinators who reported the outcomes on Sunday morning.
- Review of RAM’s mission statement. Led by Roshni Thattengat and Phil Dempster. Roshni and Phil reported that after an Executive Committee discussion of modifying the mission statement to reflect a changed emphasis to include elimination they had been asked to propose a new wording. They submitted “Rotarians Against Malaria is a volunteer-run organisation working to eliminate malaria.” This was discussed with a view to submitting it for endorsement at the AGM.
- Discussion of possibilities for Corporate Sponsorship. Led by Greg Berry (RAM Coordinator Northern Region). Greg reported that there was general enthusiasm for RAM to seek corporate sponsorship but that it needed to be done in a coordinated and professional manner. It was agreed that RAM should pursue this in close consultation with RAWCS and RDU as the appointed media and promotions manager.
- Review of the ‘Little RAM Badges’ in fund raising and other token RAM badge for sale outside Rotary. Led by Virginia Turner (RAM Coordinator Southern Region). Virginia found support for a flexible approach to using the badges in fund raising and, importantly, in awareness raising. Respondents encouraged continued use of the badges and consideration of a similar token to use beyond Rotary circles.
- Opportunities for Rotary Volunteers to work on RAM programs. Led by PDG Rob Lyons (RAM Coordinator Western Region). Rob was approached by several people who were enthusiastic to be involved in Rotary Volunteer teams traveling abroad to assist in RAM program work in our focus countries. It was recognised that hands on involvement would lead to energised fund raising back in Australia.
- Should RAM encourage ARHRF to support more malaria research? Led by Milton Lewis (RAM Coordinator Central Region). Milton found that whilst the delegates supported the idea of Australian Rotary Health supporting malaria research some delegates suggested that malaria may be outside their scope. Milton agreed to contact Australian rotary Health directly to pursue the possibilities and report back.
- REMARAG (Rotarians Eliminating Malaria A Rotary International Action Group) relationship with RAM? How to influence RI to focus on malaria post Polio Plus. Led by PDG Richmond Manyweathers (RAM National Fundraising Coordinator). The huge degree of experience and potential funding that could be applied to eliminating malaria if RI adopted it as the next Global Health challenge following the successful elimination of polio was discussed together with consideration of the effectiveness of REMARAG in communicating and advocating for that outcome with RI. It was concluded that the RAM Executive should seek to energise cooperation and engagement with REMARAG to help achieve the goal.
- Location, timing and content of 2016 RAM Conference. Led by Dave Pearson (RAM Eastern Region Coordinator and National Chair). The proposal that the RAM Conference be rotated between easily accessible destinations such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to encourage greater participation by Rotarian supporters and researchers was discussed and further comment called for via the Conference feedback forms. The overwhelming response was that the proposal was supported although it was noted that the extra flight involved would make for greater travel time and expense for RAM’s overseas based program managers and National Health representatives.
A brief AGM was held at the commencement of conference sessions on 23rd August.
National Chairman Dave Pearson reported that the RAM Executive Committee had met on the evening of 21st August and determined that the distribution of unallocated donated funds for 2015 / 2016 would be 40% to PNG, 35% to Solomons and Timor Leste, 15% to the PhD scholarship and that 10% would be held for new initiatives.
Dave reported that although an aspirational target for fund raising of $20,000 per Australian Rotary District had been agreed at the previous Conference there was much work to do to achieve that.
The meeting voted to endorse the new RAM Mission statement which reads:-
Rotarians Against Malaria is a volunteer-run organisation working to eliminate malaria.
Dave reported that two nominations had been received for the Deputy National Chair position and in a secret ballot George Mills was elected. Dave then called for nominations for the vacant position of National Secretary and upon nomination Virginia Turner was elected unopposed.