Quota and the United Nations

History of Quota’s Involvement with the United Nations

Quota and the United NationsAs an international organization, Quota International has touched lives in its 14 affiliated countries and beyond. During the organization’s fourth decade of operation, from 1949 to 1959, Quota truly took its place in the larger community of national and world affairs. During that decade Quota was represented at national and international meetings and conferences, including those sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice, and meetings sponsored by a relatively new international organization formed in 1945, the United Nations.

Quota International’s earliest U.N. affiliation began that decade with the organization’s participation at the National Conference on Foreign Policy and the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the United States Committee on the United Nations, and the United States National Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization).

In 1983, Quota’s World Service Program (and Club-to-Club Program) began, and one year later, Quota’s support of the United Nations took on a new dimension when 1984 convention delegates in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A., passed a special resolution supporting UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) in its Revolution for Child Survival program. A U.N. representative attended and addressed the meeting. Quota urged its clubs to support the United Nations International Youth Year, and in 1985 Quota adopted a UNICEF-assisted project in Uganda to provide immunizations for children. This program aimed at preventing such diseases as polio, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and tuberculosis in children. Quota’s contributions helped ensure continuity in the program and provided vaccines for the northwestern portion of Uganda. A series of informational brochures were jointly published by Quota and UNICEF. Rita DiMartino, then U.S. Representative to UNICEF, addressed 1985 convention delegates, saying, “Organizations such as Quota International have a major role to play in this child survival revolution. Just as you have for many years assisted the speech and hearing impaired through your education and fund-raising efforts, you can now take the lead in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka in carrying the message of child survival to your respective communities, your co-workers, and your families and friends.”

In 1988, Quota expanded its partnership with UNICEF in a new project to provide oral rehydration therapy to the children of Bhutan, a small country northeast of India. Quota had completed its project in Uganda, donating more than $30,000 to provide oral rehydration therapy for the children of that country. Oral rehydration fights infant diarrhea, one of the deadliest killers of children at that time. Quota presented a donation for $4,500 to UNICEF representative Ron Hayes at the Melbourne convention to begin the Bhutan project, and individual clubs were urged to contribute to the project during the following year.

In 1991, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actress Audrey Hepburn wrote to Quota club presidents about Quota’s involvement in the efforts in Bhutan: “I want to express my warm personal thanks to you, and to all members of Quota International, for the generous support that has truly made a difference in the lives of Bhutan’s children. The partnership between Quota and UNICEF is helping Bhutan make significant progress toward the goal of cutting its infant mortality rate in half…The immunization effort has done more than save 12 million young lives—it has shown the world what can be accomplished when the international community commits itself to a great endeavor…Thank you for giving life to the children of Bhutan.”

Quota not only has supported the work of various United Nations programs and agencies, but the organization itself has received United Nations awards and honors. For example, the organization’s Club-to-Club World Service Program was honored in both 2000 and 2001 with the U.N. Blue Ribbon of Excellence Award. And just last year, in 2005, the humanitarian efforts of 2005-2006 International President Carolyn Rice, Quota International, and the We Share Foundation were recognized with an award given to those individuals and organizations that have made a special contribution to international human rights; during the 2005-2006 Quota year, Quota International expanded its Club-to-Club service work to 14 projects and launched the We Share Foundation Hurricane Relief Fund.

Although collaboration with the United Nations started in the late 1940s, it was in 1975 that Quota International formally affiliated itself with the United Nations as an “NGO”—a non-governmental organization. Prior to that year, Quota had always supported the policies and activities of the United Nations but had had no official standing within that organization. But in April 1975, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations placed Quota on the roster for purposes of consultation as a non-governmental organization. Later in the year, Quota was also given NGO status by the United Nations Office of Public Information, and then Executive Director Dora Lee Haynes served as Quota’s representative at the United Nations.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group that is organized on a local, national, or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions. And it was during the 1980s that Past International President Jeannette Healey (who lived close by) as well as members of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., club, attended several U.N. NGO meetings in New York, reporting on activities to Quota members.

Non-governmental organizations have been active in the United Nations since its founding in 1945. They interact with the U.N. secretariat, programs, funds, and agencies, and they consult with the member states. NGO work related to the U.N. is composed of a number of activities including information dissemination, awareness raising, development education, policy advocacy, joint operational projects, and providing technical expertise and collaborating with U.N. agencies, programs, and funds. This work is undertaken in formal and informal ways at the national level and at the U.N.

Over the past several decades, NGOs have become major players in the field of international development. Since the mid-1970s, the NGO sector in both developed and developing countries has experienced exponential growth. From 1970 to 1985, total development aid disbursed by international NGOs increased ten-fold. In 1992 international NGOs channeled over $7.6 billion of aid to developing countries. It is now estimated that over 15 percent of total overseas development aid is channeled through NGOs. While statistics about global numbers of NGOs are notoriously incomplete, it is currently estimated that there are somewhere between 6,000 and 30,000 national NGOs in developing countries.

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