Rotary in Ukraine – Findings of an Accompanying Research Project

Opusculum 190 | 21.05.2024 | The surveys show that a large number of Rotary clubs operated independently of centrally collected funds and carried out many projects and initiatives


As part of an accompanying research project on the Ukraine aid launched by Rotary Germany immediately after the start of the Russian war of aggression (February 24, 2022), two online surveys were carried out (survey period: Sept. 7–Oct. 18, 2022 and Oct. 21–Nov. 21, 2022). On the one hand, Rotary and Rotaract clubs were asked about their activities and, on the other hand, about the projects and initiatives that were supported with central donation funds. As a result, extensive information on the objectives, scope, orientation, resources used, and the cooperation received by Rotary Ukraine Aid were able to be obtained. In addition, the questionnaires asked for assessments on the future handling of emergency aid in humanitarian emergencies.

In summary, Rotary Germany has been extremely comprehensive and, in many respects, very active not only in Germany, but also in Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, in their neighboring countries, with numerous aid projects and initiatives carried out. Nearly nine out of ten clubs have implemented “Rotary for Ukraine” activities, and more than half of them have had more than one project or initiative. The different types of aid included a broad spectrum: Medicines and medical assistance as well as items and articles for private use were the main focus. As target groups, refugees, children, and young people, the sick and injured, as well as women, were given a particularly high priority. If we include commitment and benefits in kind in addition to the financial resources mentioned, an extrapolated value of around 29 million euros can be estimated, which Rotary used for Ukraine aid until the end of November 2022.

A clear majority of Rotary clubs explicitly advocate for Rotary’s future activities in humanitarian emergencies. At the same time, however, almost a third – for various reasons – express concerns about such a general approach. This is due to the fact that Rotary does not see itself as an aid organization capable of acting. There is also a risk of meeting Rotary’s long-term goals, unique selling points, and identity.
Organizationally, in future emergency situations, they rely on the initiatives of the Rotary clubs and, above all, on their independent projects – combined with a strong leadership function of the clubs.

Eckhard Priller

Dr. sc. Eckhard Priller

Wissenschaftlicher Koordinator
Maecenata Institut

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