March Area of Focus is Water and Sanitation


Neville John

District Governor 2016-2017

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one - Jacques Cousteau

March Area of Focus: Water and Sanitation            

Clean water and sanitation is a human right. When people, especially children, have access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, they lead healthier and more successful lives. We don’t just build wells and walk away. Rotary members integrate water, sanitation, and hygiene into education projects. When children learn about disease transmission and practice good hygiene, they miss less school. And they can take those lessons home to their families, expanding our impact.

‘WASH’ in Schools Target Challenge

Clean water, better sanitation, teacher training, and hygiene education in schools can improve the health and education of children by creating a cycle of opportunity: improved education, increased school attendance, and improved academic performance. The WASH in Schools Target Challenge is a pilot program created to motivate Rotary clubs to develop sustainable water, sanitation, hygiene (collectively referred to as WASH), and education projects using the expertise and resources available through two of Rotary’s areas of focus: basic education and literacy and water and sanitation.

The program will focus on measuring the impact that WASH and basic education and literacy initiatives have on school attendance. Rotary and UNICEF will recognize Rotary clubs and schools whose WASH in Schools projects achieve the benchmarks outlined below. During the pilot phase, the program will run through to July 2018 in five countries, all chosen for their strong, active involvement in school sanitation efforts: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, India, and Kenya.

If a club or district isn't in a pilot country, you can still support a project as an international sponsor. Sponsors collaborate with a host club or district in the countries listed to support projects in the pilot country. Contact to learn more.

Many Rotary clubs in D9800 have been involved in water and sanitation projects locally and overseas in places like Western Uganda, PNG, East Timor, Philippines, Cambodia. Back in Australia, the ‘End Trachoma 2020’ project initiated by Melbourne Rotary aims to end trachoma in indigenous communities and this will include projects related to education in sanitation and hygiene.

Rotary Showcase – Federation Square

I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to the Showcase Committee on what was an extremely well executed showcase last Saturday.  Thank you also to all Rotarians that attended on the day and promoted the event.

Rowan McClean summarized it so well that I will quote his feedback: “The two key objectives of the Showcase were to impress non-Rotarians with the scope and quality of what we achieve and to interest them in membership of their local club.  I met:

  • One school staff representative with items being replaced that I referred to DIK.
  • One definite membership prospect for my club, and one other potential member who plans to visit.
  • A school that has not yet, but could, participate in the Boroondara Rotary Gardens Project.
  • Visitors from Perth, Denmark, Chile and Netherlands that said they would Google their local club and attend a meeting.
  • Quite a few young people to whom I explained the new, more flexible attendance requirements that might better meet their lifestyle commitments.

This was a well-planned, well-managed display well attended by Rotarians. The Rotarians did interact, and there were some very good cross-fertilisation outcomes and synergies achieved on the day.

I am proud of what we have created but, of course, disappointed with the attendance on this occasion. I remain confident that the concept is excellent and worth pursuing using the experiences we have had to date. In summary, full marks for the supply side.  Now let’s attend to the demand!”

Thank you Rowan and its now on to Echuca for the Steam Rally on the Queen’s Birthday weekend in June.

Celebration of 112 years of Rotary

As part of the planning for the Rotary Showcases, we held the Federation Square Showcase in the week of Rotary’s 112th Anniversary. Those present gathered for a group photo as we celebrated ‘Doing Good in the World’ with 29 Rotary projects on display.

Group Vocational Exchange – District 3820

The GVE team from D3820 has had a weekend break in the beautiful border town of Echuca Moama and is headed to Bendigo this week. Sometimes it is difficult to know who benefits most from these visits, the hosts or the team members. Team Leader Lzl made this fairly clear on her Facebook page as she wrote:

The best part of GVE is not the place we been to, or the place we are going, It’s ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE. I love it. It made the experience both unforgettable and beautiful. Just want to share some of the things my team members said to me about the exchange.

  • Leny - 'this is the best month of my life’.
  • Mafe – ‘I don't know what I did good in my life to deserve this blessing’.
  • Nikki – ‘Surreal but real.
  • As for me – ‘this is the best experience a Rotarian can ever have’.

The team will attend the Bendigo South meeting on Thursday 2 March at the Bendigo Club, and then return to Melbourne next weekend. In their last week they will be attending Canterbury Rotary meeting on Monday 6 March and their final appearance will be at Camberwell Rotary on Wednesday 8 March. Please let the clubs know if you plan to visit.

District Governor for 2019-2020

It is with great pleasure I advise that our District Governor for 2019-2020 will be Past President of Woodend Rotary, Grant Hocking. This will be confirmed after a 14 day appeal period, ending on 12 March 2017. Grant will join the DGEN as the District Governor Nominee from 1st July, and up until then will be known as the Designate. The DGEN works together on a three-year plan, sharing ideas and discussing strategies. The structure provides continuity and alignment in the support provided to clubs. In my time on the DGEN, I have had the benefit of working with three PDG’s, as well as DGE Peter Frueh, DGN Bronwyn Stephens and soon, Grant. We, along with the Assistant Governors and Avenues of Service Committees, are your Support Team.  It has occurred to me that clubs could also benefit from having a similar structure with three years of Presidents working together in the same way.

District Conference

There is only 4 weeks left until the Rotary District 9800 Conference in Shepparton. Here is an update. 

Program and Speakers

The full program now appears on the website . You can find it under the "Sessions" tab. Recent additions to the speakers list are Minister for Finance and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Robin Scott MP; the CEO of the Scanlon Foundation, Anthea Hancocks; and Tasneem Chopra a cross-cultural specialist. There are still places available for the leadership lunch with Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp. Email us if you would like to attend.


Registrations are still open till Tuesday February the 28th. Go to to register.

Pre Conference Activities

There are only a few spots left for the pre-conference activities, "The Settlement Journey" and the Shepparton Historic Walk. Please email if you would like to attend. More details are on the website. The Golf Day still has some vacancies, but once again there is a good amount of interest so it would pay to sign up soon. Email us if you would like to play.

The Rotary Foundation Centennial Celebration – 31 May 2017

Last edition I asked you to please save the date and help promote the opportunity to support The Rotary Foundation at this Centennial Celebration. I also mentioned supporting Foundation beyond our lifetime through The Bequest Society.

I would like to share with you that it is my hope that by the time we get to celebrate this event, and with your help that we will sign up more than $1 million in bequest pledges. I am amazed by the support being expressed so far, from corporates, non-Rotarians and Rotarians that have indicated their intention to either attend, donate funds or by advising of their intention to register or increase a bequest. Based on this support, I am confident that we are well on the way to achieving the objective and with your help, it will become a reality. There won’t be another centennial any time soon and this will be an occasion we should all want to remember.

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