Robert L. Moore is being honored as a Champion of Change for his Kiwanis International service.
Though I’d been a Kiwanian since 1968, I did not fully realize the global impact we could make until I joined a fact-finding trip to Ghana. That trip changed my life.
In 1993, Kiwanis International decided to expand from local and regional service initiatives to our first Worldwide Service Project. I was selected to help determine a world health problem that could be eradicated for a known cost, in a known time frame, that Kiwanians and their clubs across the globe could embrace and eliminate. We chose iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), and we chose to partner with UNICEF to raise funds and awareness of this global issue. The absence of iodine in the diet often results in mental disability.
One of several fact-finding trips was to Ghana. For me, the most difficult aspect of that trip was meeting with village officials and children who were affected by the lack of iodine in their diets. They knew they had a problem and thought we’d come with the cure; we had to tell them we did not, but we would be back. Thanks to the successful campaign, the people of Ghana are moving toward eliminating IDD. I remained on the IDD team, working with UNICEF, UNICEF-USA and USAID, testifying before a congressional committee about the dire needs and requesting funds for the project. I later served on a panel at the U.N. Summit for Children discussing the effort to eliminate IDD.
Because of the Ghana trip, I felt the need to move beyond my local Kiwanis club in Venice and my region of Florida to serve on the Kiwanis International Board, which I did for 10 years before being elected as president for 2003–2004. Visiting more than 35 countries over this time reinforced my conviction that we all have a responsibility to improve the lives of children no matter where in the world they live—the way to do it is through collaboration.
As a result of Kiwanis’ involvement in the IDD project, I represented Kiwanis in a meeting at the Gates Foundation to form an organization to work in the area of micronutrients. I continue to work in the field of micronutrients by serving on the Micronutrient Initiative Board of Directors, currently as chairman. The Ghana experience changed my life.
Robert L. Moore is a practicing attorney in Venice, Florida