Rosie Wheen steps down as Chief Executive of WaterAid Australia

3 min read
Rosie Wheen and Karlene Maywalk

WaterAid Australia's Chief Executive, Rosie Wheen, has announced she will be stepping down from her role in the organisation after almost 20 years, with eight of those as Chief Executive.

Under Rosie’s passionate and committed leadership, WaterAid Australia has made significant progress in its mission to provide clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to communities across the globe.

Rosie said it had been an absolute privilege to lead WaterAid Australia and work alongside such a dedicated team.

In my nearly 20 years with WaterAid Australia, I’ve done many things I loved and also many things that challenged me. Whether it was in the very early days of the organisation’s conception, mailing letters to water utilities inviting them to support WaterAid, visiting Papua New Guinea when we were starting our very first project there, or meeting community members in Timor-Leste and hearing how water, toilets and good hygiene had changed their lives.

I'm incredibly proud of what we've achieved together at WaterAid over the past 20 years. We've made significant progress towards our mission of a world where everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. I know the committed and passionate team at WaterAid Australia will continue to drive progress towards this goal,” said Rosie.

During Rosie’s time as Chief Executive, she has overseen the scaling of WaterAid’s impact across the region. She has been a leading voice to champion a systems strengthening approach as the path to scale and the importance of social and gender inclusion as core to WASH outcomes and approaches. She has led internal work on power which has led to transformative shifts in WaterAid Australia’ governance approaches through intentional reflection and changes in whose voices are at the decision making table. This only touches on a few from the long list of achievements Rosie has contributed to over the last eight years.

WaterAid Australia Chair Karlene Maywald praised Rosie for her outstanding leadership and the incredible impact she has made during her time with the organisation.

It has been an absolute joy to work with Rosie. Rosie has been a driving force behind WaterAid Australia’s success and has played an instrumental role in advancing our mission. Rosie's commitment to diversity and addressing power imbalance has redefined who we are and how we do business. We are deeply grateful for Rosie’s dedication and commitment to improving the lives of people around the world living without access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

After a dedicated career of over 20 years with WaterAid Australia, including eight years as Chief Executive, we wish Rosie all the very best for her 'what's next,' and look forward to seeing how she writes the next chapter of her career."

The WaterAid Australia Board will now begin the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive to lead the charity through its next phase of growth and development. The organisation remains committed to its mission of working towards a world where everyone, everywhere has access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.