Coalitions on the move: recent activities

Date: 9th November 2010

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The Secretariat is providing support in Ghana to carry out WASH advocacy, specifically through the existing National Sanitation Working Group to which a number of WSSCC members belong.

WASH actors in Liberia have launched a new report detailing how five civil society organizations are seeking to strengthen their collaboration and potential through a joint advocacy initiative. The initiative is being pursued through the creation of a network—the Liberian WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) working group. “Given the devastating effects of the civil war on Liberia’s human and economic development, a coordinated approach has the potential to speed up the implementation of the government’s poverty reduction strategy,” says Muyatwa Sitali, WASH Consortium Advocacy/Communications Manager.

The India WASH Forum has published a Right to Water and Sanitation Report, which is available at www.wsscc.org. The report follows a meeting of representatives of various civil society organizations who gathered to understand and learn from the experience of other coalitions and alliances on education, health and work. Their intention is to build an alliance that can spearhead a movement for a constitutionally recognized Right to Water and Sanitation, according to Depinder Kapur, WSSCC’s National Coordinator in India.

Holding officials to account for commitments made at the major sanitation conferences in 2008 in South Asia (SACOSAN) and Africa (AfricaSan) has been a major activity lately that has involved WSSCC National WASH Coalitions. Civil society organizations met in Sri Lanka in November 2009 to follow-up on SACOSAN, and a report card on progress in South Asia was issued. The Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA), WaterAid and WSSCC organized the meeting there since Sri Lanka will host SACOSAN IV in 2011. Lal Premnath, WSSCC’s National Coordinator in Sri Lanka, said the meeting was a successful one and should stimulate improved coordination and action for 2010. A report card on progress was also issued at the African Water Week, where the eThekwini commitments to sanitation were being honoured. Both report cards, available at www.wsscc.org, were guarded, saying progress was slow.

Twenty two regions participated in the Global Handwashing Day celebrations in Madagascar, including sixteen regional Diorano WASH committees, while target groups included public and private schools, transport cooperatives, bus stations, hotels, churches, media, private sector, scout committees and street vendors. The broad objective was to contribute to reducing diarrheal disease and flu contaminations, with specific goals of reinforcing hygiene key messages delivered during awareness raising activities for handwashing with soap and contributing to behaviour change towards sound hygiene practices.
Photo of Madagascar celebrations, caption: Lovy Rasolofomanana, WSSCC member and Executive Secretary of Diorano WASH speaking at the Global Handwashing Day celebrations in Madagascar.

Handwashing is less expensive than immunization, said the Health and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Mwankyusa, at the occasion of Global Handwashing Day (GHWD) celebrations in Tanzania, while he urged the public to cultivate the habit of handwashing with soap. According to him, only 10% of people in Tanzania wash their hands with soap after cleaning their children, 40% wash their hands with soap after going to the toilet and only 20% do so before cooking. This year’s GHWD celebrations were held under the theme “clean hands save lives”. Handwashing with soap can indeed reduce diarrheal disease by 40%. This simple gesture would reduce the number of children under five dying from it worldwide each year by over 700,000.

The National WASH Coalition in Cameroon is expanding to the East of the country according to the recommendation that decentralized structures be formed at all administrative levels under the aegis of the decentralized services of three ministries: Ministry of Energy and Water, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health. The launch of the coalition in East Cameroon was co-organized by the Ministry of Energy and Water and WSSCC and will be followed by the creation of a regional committee of the National WASH Coalition grouping all the partners working in the water and sanitation sectors in the region. Its goal is to help accelerate the achievement of Millennium Development Goals water and sanitation targets in the region.

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