Posted by DG Alex Nyaga on Feb 01, 2022
Happy February Family of Rotary!
February is Rotary’s peace and conflict resolution and prevention month when we focus on the over 70 million people displaced as a result of conflict, violence, persecution, and human rights violations around the world.
Regrettably, this situation has touched closer home in our District with months of protracted conflict in Ethiopia and pockets of South Sudan.  These skirmishes have been percolating in parts of Ethiopia for months, leading to massive humanitarian distress, displacement, and death.
Former American president John F. Kennedy memorably stated, “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
And that is what Rotarians around the world are doing by creating sustainable community projects in their communities as bridges of peace. We refuse to accept conflict as a way of life, and as Rotarians, it is our responsibility to create environments where peace can happen. 
Rotarians in Ethiopia (RE) are doing exactly this.  They have seen the increasing radicalization of the population and have focused on peace-building in community service as a solution.
It is with this backdrop that the RE Peace Concept through community building was born. Through partnership with the Institute for Peace and Economics (IEP) and a Rotary global grant, RE has targeted the youth for training as effective catalysts and positive agents of change in peace building.  
The Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Central Mella last year adopted the Hopeful Little Akaki Project, in partnership with the District 9212/UNEP Adopt a River Project to clean up the heavily polluted river.
This project not only inspired other Rotary clubs in Jimma and Bahir Dar cities to start river projects as well but saw the Rotary Clubs of Addis Ababa Central Mella, West, East, Bole, Sheger, and the Green Rotaract Concept come together to clean up a stretch of the river in a series of six clean up events. During these clean-ups, coffee ceremonies were organized to have discussions in the community on environmental solutions and varied pre-existing conflicts.
The peace project has since trained and certified 108 peace ambassadors who will participate in future community-building activities around the Little Akaki River. In addition, the environmental initiative has so far trained 60 community members on how to make compost, with plans to build a peace park with 1000 native trees on the Little Akaki Riverside; a fine illustration of using Service to Build Peace.
In South Sudan, clubs are also playing their part in creating awareness for peace with RC Wau holding a Sustainable Peace and Development 10km marathon this past weekend.  We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and continue to pray that peace prevails in our region.
As Rotarians, our community service in the areas of fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, improving the health of mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies, ultimately builds the optimal conditions for peaceful societies. Let us be the voice of reason and the change agents in our communities by being bold and consistent in our words and deeds. Spread the ONE LOVE narrative of service and be a peace ambassador!
February is indeed a special month. In addition to focusing on peace, for some the month signifies a satisfying end to the prolonged month of  ‘njaanuary’ and for others; the focus is on the celebration of love with the ushering in of Valentine’s Day.  Either way, this February with its four exact weeks, promises to be an exciting one and a perfect time to make plans and arrangements for our upcoming DISCON (District Conference).
Have you registered yet?  We are now only 3 months away from what promises to be a superb celebration of our one-love memories of the Rotary year.  All roads will lead to the Neptune Resort in Diani, Kenya from 12th to 15th May 2022.
There is a myriad of reasons not to miss out on this event; the amazing change-leaders speakers from various parts of our society, a showcase of our community projects, networking, friendships, the beach, and of course lots of fun! If you haven’t already done so, register for the event and take advantage of the district negotiated rates on accommodation here
Additionally this month, we are also excited to have the finale of the Rotary D9212 Cancer Bikeathon. The bikeathon aims at raising funds for a District Cancer endowment fund as well as creating more awareness around cervical, breast, and prostate cancers.  The first event launch occurred on 4th December 2021 and the finale is scheduled for 19th February 2022 at Karura Forest, Nairobi, Kenya. You are all encouraged to participate and you can register here:
Last month, Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones revealed the 2022-23 presidential theme - Imagine Rotary-  in an online address to precede the International Assembly, which is Rotary’s annual training event for district governors from around the world.
This marks the beginning of the season of the transitional process of leadership from the RI President all the way to the club presidents and boards on July 1st.  Our District Governor Elect, Azeb Asrat is already participating in this international training and it is important that all incoming officials take part in the upcoming district training.  I would also like to encourage the current club leadership to start planning for joint meetings with the incoming boards, and work together to facilitate a smooth handover when the time comes.
Finally, today we launch the District Handbook at the President’s meeting.  The handbook will make it easier for Rotarians, and especially new members, to access information necessary for running your clubs.  The handbook will be accessible immediately via our District Club Runner platform, which has enabled digitalized engagement between the District and members.  If you haven’t already done so, learn how to set up the club runner mobile app on your device by reading up on the tutorial here:
This month of love, do not take for granted the power of one. Invite one friend, family member or colleague and share the experience of Rotary with them.   For it is with LOVE as a foundation, that we are able to Serve To Change Lives.
One Love,
Alex Nyaga,
District Governor 2021/22
Promoting Peace Initiatives Chair – Kenya: Millicent Otieno +254722870102
Promoting Peace Initiatives Chair – Ethiopia: Abeselom Samson +254722870102
Promoting Peace Initiatives Chair - South Sudan: Victor Ohiede +211929150156
District Conference: DCA Chair Antoinette Absaloms +254 721602570
District Cancer Bikeathon: Wambui Karanja: +254 721 824 891
Cancer Awareness: Anne Vanlauw +254 733 813895
Hopeful Little Akaki Project: Mihla Desta +251 91 130 9900
Club Runner: Innovation Officer Sam Mwangi +254 722 286505
Timeline Stories:  Communication Officer Caroline Njiru +254 722650978