The Rotary E-Club of WASH has just chartered, and, while its meetings might be held in cyberspace, its roots are distinctly and terrestrially Kiwi. Its home base is Dunedin, and it’s sponsored by two District 9980 clubs: Dunedin and Dunedin East.

The WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – E-Club is the brainchild of Rotarian, and former Dunedin club president, Dr Steve Atkins. Inaugural e-club president Dr Chris Bloore has also paid tribute to assistant governor Lesley Brook, who, he says, has contributed an “enormous amount of work” in bringing the club to life.
“Her wide network of Rotary friends has provided excellent recruiting agents, and the scope of the administrative tasks she’s performed is mindboggling.”

Of the e-club’s current members, 12 are from New Zealand, and there is also representation from Africa, the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

Chris says the new e-club builds on expertise from the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG), together with SmartAid research in hygiene and water aid, which was co-funded by Rotary.

Aiming to link water, sanitation and hygiene expertise from around the world, its mission is to address the appalling plight of hundreds of millions of people who lack access to safe, clean water for drinking and washing.

When it comes to sanitation, Chris says 2.4 billion people worldwide live without an improved sanitation facility, and, among them, almost 950 million still have no choice but to defecate out in the open.

The idea for the e-club was sparked several years ago when the focus was put on applying humanitarian work psychology to volunteer-based aid programmes.

“The concept was that, by carefully matching volunteers’ skills, experience and personality to the real needs of sustainable water and sanitation projects, the most benefit for time, money and effort expended would be achieved,” Chris says.

While the new e-club mightn’t gather traditionally on terra firma, the flavour is still very much Rotary – members meet weekly, perform service projects, locally and internationally, support the Rotary Foundation, and enjoy the company of like minds.

“The keys to our effectiveness are the same as any other Rotary club: service-minded members, opportunities for fellowship, and strong leadership,” Chris says.

E-club meetings are hosted every week on a unique website,, which includes a chatroom for members. The official meeting time is considered when the webmaster or club secretary posts material for weekly discussion, but members can access the site at their convenience any time during the week.
Welcome everyone to my first SHOUT OUT. I want to regularly take the opportunity to shower a bit of attention on individuals, clubs or other Rotary groups who are rocking it.
Actually, at the moment, there are whole lot of you out there shaking things up, and I have so many I could send a Shout Out to, I’d make myself hoarse.
Given I have to start somewhere, here’s to all of you in District 9980 who are forging innovative new pathways for Rotary … including wonderful Rotarians Dr Chris Bloore, Dr Steve Atkins, assistant governor Lesley Brook and the new E-Club of WASH. Thank you, Chris, Steve and Lesley – you, and the rest of the team who’ve made this happen, are amazing, and a credit to Rotary and District 9980. 
And, for all of you keen to know more, here’s an update on the new e-club, its aims, and the latest on where this exciting Rotary initiative is at.
Janice Hughes