Service Above Self
Rotary was first formed in Ethiopia in 1955 by a decree of the Imperial Ministry of Pen then.
A few clubs were formed in major cities namely Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, which was still part of Ethiopia then.
In 1974 the political changes confiscated and/or banned all Western ideology-initiated businesses and civil society organizations. Many institutions closed down. However, the government did not target Rotary to close down as it was not engaged in politics, religious and profit making but worked on only humanitarian needs of communities. Even then, the clubs in Dire Dawa and Asmara closed down, while only the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa, one of the three oldest clubs in East Africa, survived and implemented a few humanitarian projects funded by grant resources from TRF.
In 2006, the government enacted Proclamation No. 321/2006 to control the way civil society organizations could operate in the country. However, that legal framework had no clearly articulated content which could enable Rotary to function according to the RI constitution and guidelines and expand in the country. Nevertheless, since it did not disallow humanitarian engagements of non-government organizations, Rotarians attempted to form a few more clubs, mostly in Addis Ababa. In particular, since RI’s global polio eradication program had started and Rotary was visibly supporting the country’s endeavors directly through the existing clubs and its global polio eradication partners like UNICEF, WHO and others, Rotarians could create partnership with the ministry of health which secured millions of dollars of resources in their support.
In 2019, the civil society proclamation number 321/2006 was repealed and the current 1113/19 was enacted. Rotarians quickly moved to form more clubs, strengthen the existing ones, expand their service projects. In December that year, Rotary Ethiopia was registered under the new legislation giving our movement a full legal coverage for the first time in the country.
Rotary Ethiopia reached 22 Rotary clubs, 16 Rotaract and 14 interact clubs across the country with about 2000 members of the Rotary family as of writing this content. Service projects also continued to grow reaching total average donation of about 30 million Birr at any one time now.