WSSCC had a strong presence at The 6th Africa Water Week conference (AWW6) held in July, with Executive Director Chris Williams addressing the Opening Session’s audience as a Goodwill Messenger and The Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) leading a technical session.
“The issue of women and girls is talked about prominently but how do we turn it into reality?” asked Dr. Williams. He called for greater investment in sanitation to end the widespread practice of open defecation. “If we are to have potable drinking water, we must be open defecation free”.
High level representatives from United Nations Agencies, the African Development Bank, Multilateral and Bilateral Agencies as well as delegates representing NGOS, Civil Society Organizations and the Private Sector participated in the deliberations.
This year’s conference was the first during the Sustainable Development Goals era on the theme of “Setting the Platform for Implementing the SDGs on Water Security and Sanitation”, and was organized under five sub-themes:
• Achieving Universal and Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation for All
• Water Security for Sustainable Development
• Productive Wastewater Management and Sustainable Water Quality
• Building Water and Climate Resilience
• Financing the Implementation of the SDG 6
Throughout the week, sessions addressed key issues under the sub-themes and provided recommendations for action required to achieve universal and equitable access to WASH.
The GSF’s technical session provided an overview of decentralized delivery models through the lenses of five different country programmes. This included discussions on how working with local governmental and non-governmental entities supports achievement of sustainable behavior change to improve access to sanitation and good hygiene behaviours.
The GSF Presentation Credit: WSSCC
Dr Rija Lalanirina Fanomeza, Programme Director of the GSF programme in Madagascar, locally known as the Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement (FAA), shared ideas on the WASH sector and what changes are needed but also expressed optimism in achieving behavior change.
“The Water Sector is investing so much on quality; much more should be invested in Sanitation and Hygiene programming to improve the quality of structures, behavior change and financing to ensure sustainability,” he said.
“We will continue triggering the mind-set and the capacity for communities to construct and use toilets. Let us meet in 2030 and see the results!”
WSSCC also supported the attendance of participants from Tanzania, Benin, Madagascar, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia.
They provided feedback on the lessons learnt from the various sessions and on ways that WSSCC could be involved in the future.
Tobias Omufwoko, WSSCC’s National Coordinator in Kenya was one of the attendees who has particularly benefited from the various comments from African Ministers of Water and their call for self-driven initiatives.
Participants from Malawi Credit: Asayire Kapira and Ngabaghila Chatata
“I learnt that the sanitation sector belongs to everyone, but also to no one. We must work on behaviour change for sustainable behaviour change,” Omufwoko stated in a summary report, adding that local governments need to make commitments to monitoring service delivery, and funding.
As for WSSCC’s involvements, he pointed out that there is a need to strengthen systems and structures of the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) and the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) where WSSCC can play a crucial role by mobilizing partnerships for it – specially to support AMCOW’s monitoring systems.
Other feedback was shared by Nanpet Chuktu, Programme Manager of the “GSF-funded” Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) who along with Emmanuel Awe, Chairman of the Programme Coordinating Mechanism (PCM) was part of the WSSCC’s team that made a presentation during the GSF’s technical session.
Chuktu explained in a report how attending The Civil Society Organization (CSO) forum which was held as a preparation for the main conference, has shown a need to strengthen CSO coalitions for greater advocacy.
“It became apparent to me that because we work with a number of CSOs in our GSF programme, it was important for them to see the bigger picture of being influencers of the sector. They can be the drivers for the change we would want to see,” he said in his statement.
Chutku’s conclusions from attending various sessions at the conference was how WSSCC and GSF programmes are unique and are delivering a number of new things in the sector.
“We need to tell our story more, as WSSCC and the GSF country programmes are unique in their delivery models,” he wrote.
He also added that an overall important lesson to be learnt is that strategic partnership and building partners is important.
Organized by AMCOW in conjunction with the African Union Commission, the AWW conference is a flagship water event representing a political commitment at the highest level for creating a platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water and sanitation challenges.
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