Rotary’s Reach Out to Africa initiative a significant step in Rotary’s war on hunger

By Kalyan Banarjee

What Rotary is doing to combat one of the most pressing humanitarian crises facing us today: hunger? It is, I think, common knowledge that when we talk about food shortages, the problems we face are nearly always local. There is more than enough food produced in our world to feed everyone in it. The problem is getting the food where it is needed, and helping people in the poorest regions achieve food security.

In so many parts of the world, subsistence farming practices are the only way food can be acquired, and a few months of poor weather, or even a single storm, can mean catastrophe. It is unfortunately also the case that the parts of the world where food supplies are the most vulnerable are often those that receive the least attention when disaster does strike.

But this is one of the greatest advantages of Rotary: our local presence in so many parts of the world, and our ability to see, and react to, crises when they occur. More important than this, however, is our commitment to a long-term approach to addressing the root causes of hunger.

There is a great deal that all of us in Rotary can do about global hunger, but as always, we rely on the work of local Rotarians to bring help to where it is needed the most. And there is little question that when we look at the world today in terms of poverty and hunger and extreme material want, the place we need to be looking first is Africa – which is why Africa is also where we should be looking to expand.

Rotary’s Reach Out to Africa initiative seeks to increase Rotary club membership in Africa, mobilize African Rotarians to address local needs, and raise awareness of African issues among Rotarians in more developed regions. It is just one way to connect the people who need help with the people who want to give it but may not know where to begin.

There is no question that the obstacles to global food security are significant. But they are not insurmountable, and the Rotary model is perhaps one of the most promising paths forward for development – if we continue our work to build Rotary into an ever more effective agent of global change.

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About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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