2020-2021 Edition 6
District Governors Message
Environment and Sustainability - Rotary's NEW 7th Area of focus

As many of you are now aware, the Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a seventh area of focus—supporting the environment. Areas of focus are categories of service activities supported by global grants, and this seventh area will join peace building and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and, community economic development.

Whilst grant applications for the seventh area of focus won’t be accepted until 1st July 2021, now is an ideal time to build our knowledge and plan projects for this focus area…even small projects that can be done in our backyards, local parks or community walkways.  Already, great work has commenced through our newly formed Environmental Sustainability Committee, headed up by Fabienne Nichola and John McCaskill, and is the subject of our feature article this week.   

Being Membership Month, we have some unique opportunities to introduce others to Rotary. Supporting the environment is one, as highlighted in the feature article, and so too is reaching out to all those you know who may need support through these difficult times and would welcome connecting with others. We also have an opportunity for anyone you know in business to join our Zoom Business Leaders Breakfast scheduled for Tuesday 25th August. https://rotarydistrict9800.org.au/event/series-business-leaders-breakfast-1/

Another exciting event this month is the Rotary Club of Camberwell’s major community and fund raising event, the highly regarded Camberwell Art Show, which is going digital for the first time in its 55-year history.  Make sure you check out the monthly exhibitions via the website: http://www.camberwellartshow.org.au

Whilst Victoria is officially in a state of disaster, let’s all remain calm, and be grateful for our ability as Rotarians to support one another and continue doing good in the world.

Rotary District 9800 Governor Philip Archer

Quote for the Week

“In the final analysis, Rotary exists for the purpose of developing the individual member and thereby increasing his capacity to serve” 

Message to Rotary Club of Buffalo, 1922

Paul Harris, Founder of Rotary International

Around District 9800
Rotary Environmental Sustainability Committee

This Committee was formed in early 2019 with the key purpose of developing greater awareness of environmental sustainability solutions to restore ecosystems and contribute to a healthy environment. The committee supports clubs to identify new environmental sustainability projects and/or enhance existing ones.

[The orange-bellied parrot is on the brink of extinction with only 60 birds in existence.]

With the support of the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG), the Committee has access to a range of resources to assist clubs to achieve successful projects in this area. A World Environment Day Handbook can be downloaded at https://www.esrag.org/esrag-unep-handbook.  The handbook includes a selection of 11 green themes for club activities.

Why get involved?

Survey responses from Rotarians, Rotaractors and Alumni members showed the environment is one of the major concerns and in the top 3 causes that members wish to address. (Source: YOUR VISION FOR ROTARY’S FUTURE: A Report of the 2017 Triennial Strategic Planning Survey)

‘… one way that we can listen to younger generations and make existing club membership more appealing to them is to focus more on the environment. Recent disasters — such as the bush fires in Australia — underscore the importance of taking strong action.’

Holger Knaack, Rotary International President 2020-21

In response to this groundswell, ‘Supporting the Environment’ was named as the 7th Area of focus at the recent Rotary International Virtual Convention, and environmental projects will now be eligible for grants in 2021. Announcement details: https://www.esrag.org/new-area-focus-announcement

Clubs that take up environmental programs have compelling pathways to volunteering and new membership, bringing new energy and future leadership, as well as revitalising existing membership and member retention.

How the Committee assists Rotary Clubs

Committee members have competencies in a number of environmental specialist areas. The operating model is to visit clubs, identify their needs and provide appropriate assistance. A register of all environmental sustainability projects in the District is being developed to create a network for clubs to jointly work on projects or replicate similar projects in their local area.

Clubs are encouraged to appoint an Environmental Representative to enable the Committee to have a key contact in each club to distribute regular updates on policy developments and other information on Global Grant criteria etc. Being the 7th Area of Focus, environmental issues will complement other Areas of Focus and provide more opportunities for Global Grant consideration.

Club recognition though District ‘Enviro Awards’ is also being planned based on the level of environment project achieved. Used as part of your marketing message, this acknowledgement has the potential of enhancing a club’s brand and community relevance.

The existing District website Environmental Sustainability tab will provide further details.

Environmental Sustainability Projects

The Committee aims to identify relevant environmental activities in Government, Corporate and NGO communities and seek to align partnerships with Rotary providing clubs with further environmental project opportunities.

One project drawing significant interest globally is ‘Rotarians for Bees’ whose mission is to build awareness of the need to protect and support the declining bee population. For more information see the RFB Facebook or their website https://www.rotariansforbees.org

An important relationship being developed is with the WHEEN organisation (https://www.wheenbeefoundation.org.au/), a registered not-for-profit charity that promotes awareness of the importance of bees for food security, and raises funds for research that addresses the national and global threats to bees.

The Rotary Club of Canterbury in conjunction with WHEEN and ‘Rotarians for Bees’ launched ‘The Waggle Dance’ video initiative, which was featured at the Global World Environment Day Forum Webinar series attracting awareness globally through social media.

Other important relationships are with Nursery & Garden Industry, Victoria (NGIV) and its association with the Victorian Schools Garden Program and Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. The Nature Conservancy–Living Melbourne/Resilient Melbourne is also a key ally.

Opportunities for partnerships with Rotary clubs are being explored to implement pollinator friendly, environmentally sustainable projects such as community gardens.

Recycling Projects

Rotary Donations in Kind (DIK) is well-known in District 9800 as a volunteer-based recycling facility. The goods it distributes are destined for developing countries and disadvantaged individuals in the local community. They are distributed through Rotary club projects and the wider NGO network.

Rotary clubs can develop relationships with schools and corporates to donate furniture and equipment to DIK, as well as develop an international service project, based on donated goods available through the DIK Store.

Other existing recycling projects include club-managed Rotary Op. Shops that divert household items from landfill. These have the added benefit of supporting the disadvantaged and being an avenue for direct interaction with the community.

Environmental projects align well with the current Rotary theme – Rotary Opens Opportunities. With the announcement of the 7th Area of Focus, clubs have the support of the Committee for inspiration and resources to succeed.

Contact Details

Co- Chairs, Environmental Sustainability Committee

Fabienne Nichola                      John McCaskill

fabes.n@bigpond.net.au           john@jmcresources.com.au

Diabetic Workshop in Ghana—partnering for success

Ghana is a small country on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa with a population of 30 million. As a developing country with an improving economy and adoption of westernised lifestyles, its people are experiencing significant levels of endocrine disorders such as diabetes and thyroid. Unfortunately, as distinct from Australia, they also have an unusually high death rate from what are treatable conditions.

Hoppers Crossing Rotary partnered with Ring Road Central Rotary Club and health professionals in Ghana, to organise, support and arrange funding for a workshop on Endocrine dysfunctions. Through two of their members, Drs George and Gifty Dade, who were both born and educated in Ghana, Hoppers Crossing Rotary Club has developed a close connection to the medical profession in Ghana. Dr George Dade is a practicing GP in Werribee and is an active member of the International committee at the club.

The workshop was held in October 2019 at an Ahodwo-Kumasi workshop and was delivered by several professionals from the Ghana Society of Paediatrics, Endocrinology and Diabetes. It complemented information provided at the two previous workshops on diabetes in Ghana held in 2017 and 2018.

Attending the workshop were medical practitioners and health care professionals from the southern and coastal region (Accra), the middle belt (Kumasi, Ashanti Region) and the northern region (Tamale) of Ghana.

Positive outcomes from this workshop included the finding that access to health care providers when combined with information on endocrine disorders improves outcomes. The workshop also provided advice aimed at preventing deaths resulting from mismanagement of disorders of the endocrine system; treatments for delaying or preventing diabetes complications by providing information on the risk of obesity; and, better methods for the ongoing management by patients suffering from an endocrine disorder.

A report on this workshop was received by the Australian High Commissioner in Ghana and by the Ghana High Commissioner in Canberra.

A Rotary Foundation Global Grant supported this project.

Further reading can be found here:  https://academic.oup.com/inthealth/article/12/2/107/5524823

Dr Bob Fairclough

Chair, International Committee

Rotary Club of Hoppers Crossing


Bringing Interest to Club Meetings Through the Rotary District 9800 Speaker Bank

Having interesting and diverse speakers is important for Rotary clubs.  A vibrant and diverse program not only retains members, it can also attract potential members and introduce new opportunities and learning experiences.

Sourcing speakers for weekly meetings, however, can be a challenging task.

The Rotary District 9800 Speakers Bank is a very useful resource that assists clubs in sourcing interesting and diverse speakers to enhance their weekly meetings.

How many speakers?

Currently there are over 100 speakers listed in the Bank. Some of the speaker categories include: business, community, communication, education, environment, health, international, lifestyle and Rotary.

Who are some of the speakers? 

Just some of our speakers and topics include: the head of the Herald Sun’s investigative unit; a former Commissioner of Australian Federal Police; a Mechatronics Engineer & Oceanographer; speakers from Zoo Victoria’s International Conservation Partnerships; authors (e.g. The Cold War Games, the Murray-Darling Pastoral River Trade); the documentary maker of ‘Gallipoli From Above’; speakers on the dramas of early television, mental health, the history of Melbourne’s early airports, prejudice, racism and bullying, and, of course, speakers from different Rotary areas, including the latest: ‘Vietnam and Cross Cultural Management For Rotary Clubs Going International’.  

There are also invitations to visit the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute 

Where can you find the District 9800 Speaker Bank?

You will find the Speaker Bank under the ‘District’ tab on the District 9800 website.


A regular email update is sent to program directors that informs of any new additions or changes to the Speaker Bank.

You also have the opportunity of adding to the ‘Bank’.  Good speakers are welcome.  Just send an email to Jill Weeks, with the name and contact details of the speaker.

Email:  jill.weeks@lifestylematters.com.au   

Club Service Tool Kit - Health Check for Rotary Clubs

Good – Better – Best!

From time to time clubs decide to review their activities, and ‘temperature check’ what they have in place so they can determine objectively what needs to stay, what needs to change and what needs to be implemented to ensure the club’s future success. A great way to do this is by conducting a Club Health Check.

To assist this review process, District has developed a very useful template that includes a system to enable a club to rate its overall performance, as well as each of its constituent parts.;

The template can also be easily modified to suit a club’s specific needs. If a club wishes to address only some aspects of their performance, relevant sections of the template can be easily modified and used specifically for that purpose.

There is also another comprehensive template developed by Rotary International on the My Rotary website. It covers much of the same ground, but varies from the District template in three ways: it doesn’t include a numerical rating system; it does include some actions a club can do to address particular issues; and, it has links to other RI resources on My Rotary that clubs may find useful.

Regardless of which template suits your club, it is highly recommended that clubs conduct a Health Check every three or four years as part of their planning process. A club that keeps abreast of its issues and is able to address them effectively is a healthy club, and one that is building a solid foundation for longer-term sustainability and growth.

With COVID restrictions, what better time to conduct a Club Health Check!

Rotary District 9800 Club Health Check

Rotary International Club Health Check

John Hudson, OAM: volunteering his skills to the community

Having grown up in Boroondara, Glenferrie Rotarian, John Hudson, has been devoting his retirement years to volunteering in the community that provided he and his family so many benefits.

A Fellow of the Certified Public Accountants and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries, John’s career included the role of Company Secretary at McIlwraith Davey Ltd, which employed over 7,000 people, and finally as Finance Manager at Trinity Grammar until 1990. 

John joined Glenferrie Rotary in the late 90s and served in a variety of roles including Club President in 2004-05.  His impressive financial background proved helpful in many of the community programs in which the club has been involved, including the Boroondara Family Network for which he served as Treasurer for six years.  John was responsible for obtaining Deductible Gift Recipients taxation status for this organisation that is now in its 20th year of providing valued support to around 70 families annually.

In 2003, in conjunction with the City of Boroondara, Rotary Glenferrie established, and now runs the highly successful Boroondara Farmers’ Market. John took on the role of Administrator in 2008, being responsible for setting up the market, collecting fees from stallholders and donations from patrons, and reporting to City of Boroondara and Glenferrie Rotary Club. John has had enthusiastic support from his fellow Glenferrie Rotarians, resulting in the market grossing more than $1.6million over its operating life. After nearly 12 years in his role as voluntary administrator, John recently handed the management reins over to a committee of fellow Rotarians, but still retains involvement.

John has also served as Treasurer for Boroondara Cares Foundation, which supports local projects including EDUCATION CHANCES Scholarships. For over a decade, this organisation has given financial support to more than 1,100 secondary students in Boroondara so that they can complete their schooling and enter University. Still actively involved in this work, John believes the current difficult times will see more students seeking support from EDUCATION CHANCES.

In 2010, John, in a support role, took part in the Sumba Eye Project, joining fellow Rotarian Dr Mark Ellis and a group of ophthalmologists, optometrists and nurses who provided free eye care services to the local third world population of Sumba, an island in eastern Indonesia. John found this experience particularly emotional, having witnessed many amazing transformations including an operation to restore the sight of a 6-year-old boy.  Members of the visiting team pay their own expenses and it is completely voluntary.

On Australia Day in 2019, John was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), and named 2019 Boroondara Citizen of the Year. He was “surprised and extremely honoured” to be recognised for something he enjoys … volunteering with others in the community.

George Koudos - New member Profile

A graduate from Melbourne University’s School of Dental Science, George set up his own large regional dental practice in Ballarat some twenty years ago.  But, with a passion for giving back to the community, George decided to sell his practice and volunteer through the Pacific Islands dental charity, Australian Christian Dental Aid. He has completed approximately 16 trips to Vanuatu providing dental care in remote villages.

George was introduced to Rotary through current Southbank Club President, Jasmin Dhillon, and after attending a few meetings, joined the club in June this year.  In George’s words: “I enjoyed the company of like-minded people with a focus on giving back to the local and global community.” 

George is now eager to use his Rotary experience to learn and connect to the highly skilled and passionate individuals that make up Rotary and contribute in whatever ways he can.  Being of service and being able to provide access to healthcare to underserviced and underprivileged communities locally and globally is a personal goal of George’s as a Rotarian.

George has a very strong volunteer mindset.  In addition to his work as a volunteer dentist in Vanuatu, he also volunteers on a fortnightly basis at an inner-city food truck service called Manna 4 Life, based in Kensington.

With a personal maxim centred on Eckert Tolle’s teachings, George believes in living mindfully—being in the now with full awareness and intention.  He views being able to give back a privilege and feels that human connection and the mental health impacts associated with the inability to connect are key challenges facing our world. “Apart from the increase in digitalisation (AI) the current circumstances of isolation and social-distancing are, and will continue to have an impact on connection,” advised George.

Doing good in the world…it’s what Rotary does!

A business colleague, who was a member of Rotary Club of Balwyn, encouraged Doug Hawley to join Rotary in 1987.  They had done voluntary work together, and when Rotary Balwyn formed the Canterbury club, Doug became a Charter Member.

“I have been fortunate to be involved in three major projects. In 1993-94, clubs were invited to raise funds for the Donor Bone Marrow Institute.  Our project was a re-enactment of the inaugural Grand Prix, and we organised vintage cars and 350 volunteers to keep people off the track,” advised Doug and further adding “I was surprised how easy it was to get Rotary volunteers from other Clubs.  We raised $70,000 in two years, a great effort for a small club. When the real Grand Prix came to Melbourne, no other motor sports were allowed, so we lost our fund-raiser.”

The second project came when PhD study by fellow-Rotarian, Jill Peake, resulted in a simple eye-screening process. Jill introduced the club to the Cataract Association that she had started in the Philippines, and since then club members have made 23 annual visits.

“We take 25 people who support the Filipino surgeons,” said Doug.  “In total, the Foundation has enabled 800,000 blind people to regain their vision! We now screen hearing as well.”

For-A-Meal is the third key project in which Doug has been involved.  This project centres on supplying nutritious dry-food relief packs following natural disasters. The club arranges distribution through other Rotary clubs, and would like to supply other countries in the future.

Doug says that it’s a privilege to be a Rotary volunteer:  “You get so much more out than you put in. Collegial support is vital, and many friendships result.”

Doug believes Rotary’s challenge is to attract younger members, which means Rotary must change to attract them.  He feels that reduced costs and time demands might help with overcoming this challenge.

“Rotarians want to do good in the world, locally and internationally.  If people join with that in mind, they become good Rotarians,” Doug concluded.

Getting to know the clubs – Rotary Club of Footscray

The Rotary Club of Footscray was chartered in August 1937 and was the first club in Melbourne to be formed in a highly industrialised area where the majority of potential members would be non-residential. It was an experiment where Footscray’s progress would determine whether establishing similar clubs would proceed.

Peopled by ‘captains of industry’ in a community soon to experience the privations of World War 2, the Club endured.  The captains have long gone—light industry and a certain gentrification has replaced them while the Rotary Club of Footscray has cemented its place as a contributing force in the area for over 80 years.

Eight plus decades and the provision of three District Governors (Doug Mills 1981/82, Lawrence Atley 1989/90 and John Davis 2007/08) has meant numerous and wide-ranging involvement in community and international programs, significant among these being:

  • The establishment of the Rotary Club of Footscray Community Trust—in conjunction with the James Flood Trust, funds were derived from the sale of collector’s item motoring publications with the annual interest donated to local charities.   

  • The Community Hub–an outstanding and ongoing project where discarded bicycles are collected, repaired and given to excited children at the Maribyrnong Refugee Centre.

  • The Club’s involvement in Youth Exchange, continuous since 1974, is outstanding. Recently, Footscray hosted two incoming students (French and Brazilian) concurrently.

  • For over 20 years Past President Jamie Robertson arranged the Vietnam Dental Project. This involved Australian dental professionals travelling to Vietnam for field-work and teaching, and Vietnamese counterparts coming to Australia for similar experiences. As well, PP Peter McGrath has led FAIM and Save Water Save Lives teams to New Guinea, the Maldives and Timor-Leste.

  • The Club maintains involvement in MUNA and the National Youth Science Forum (recently, one of Footscray’s candidates was selected to attend the World Youth Science Forum).

Despite a vastly altered environment, the Rotary Club of Footscray looks forward to 2020/21 under President Jama Farah and Secretary Rodney Johnstone.

Clubbing in Rotary - International Rotary Educators Fellowship

The International Rotary Educators Fellowship is one of Rotary International’s newest. It is a Fellowship that tends to appeal not only to professional educators, but also to Rotarians who are not teachers, but who possess a passion for education or a keen interest in education’s considerable benefits.

Worldwide there are more than 775 million people over the age of 15 who are illiterate. This is approximately 17% of the world’s adult population.

An important focus of this Rotary Fellowship is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, to reduce gender disparity in education, to increase adult literacy and to promote quality education (both public and private.) Other types of training promoted by the Fellowship include continuing education and adult lifelong learning.

An excellent program that this Fellowship sponsors is an online FREE Reading program for Kids.  This is an English speaking interactive literacy program for children starting at kindergarten level through to grade 6 at school. It’s free for use by Rotary clubs and other groups and it can be accessed by signing up via the International Rotary Educators Fellowship website: www.rotarianeducators.org. The program improves English reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary and much more, and students can start at any level at which they feel comfortable. The program is designed in such a way that a lot of children think the activities they are doing are games, but all the while they are mastering learning language. Currently there are more than 60,000 students using the program.

In 2014, several Australian Rotary clubs joined other countries, including the US, UK, Ireland and Canada to establish the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  These clubs provide children from birth up to the age of 5 years with a free new book each week, chosen for its suitability for the child’s age. The children who receive these books are mostly from low income families or families suffering hardship and the program has proved very successful for the children.

The International Rotary Educators Fellowship is a group of Rotarians from different parts of the world who enjoy friendship, share their enthusiasm for the value of education and endeavour to further literacy worldwide.

Tip of the week

Traders, Professionals and Business People  - ask them to join your club to help your projects and their business 

Upcoming Events

Homeland Story - Screening on Zoom

7th, 14th, 21st August '20

Trivia Night - hosted by the Provisional Rotary Club of Northside

13th August, '20

Zoom Breakfast with Michael Byrne - Building Resilience in Today's Business Climate

25th August, '20

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