Through its network of National Coordinators, WSSCC recently participated in the 2018 GLAAS Country Survey Workshop organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Water and Sanitation Center (IRC) in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 7-9 August.
GLAAS – the Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water initiative of UN-Water implemented by WHO – celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2018, and the Johannesburg workshop provided an Africa-wide opportunity to kick-start the next GLAAS surveying cycle and provide participants with information they need to successfully implement GLAAS in their respective countries. The GLAAS 2018/2019 country survey will focus on national Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policies, plans and targets and the next report will be published in 2019.
In total, GLAAS provides policy- and decision-makers at all levels with a reliable, easily accessible, comprehensive and global analysis of the investments and enabling environment to make informed decisions for sanitation, drinking-water and hygiene.
In Johanneburg, WSSCC National Coordinators participating included Mr. Lovemore Mujuru, Zimbabwe; Mr. Michael Negash, Ethiopia; Mr. Asayire Kapira (on behalf of Ms. Ngaba Chatata), Malawi; Ms. Priscilla Achakpa, Nigeria; and Ms. Wilhelmina Malima, Tanzania. They were joined as well by Mr. Misbahu Ismail, Special Assistant to the WSSCC Steering Committee.
Moreover, the meeting brought them together with country focal points of GLAAS, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) experts coming from 19 countries – Botswana, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
With this, the workshop’s objectives were to:
The workshop formally opened with remarks from Dr. Brian Chirombo of the WHO Country Office in South Africa. Dr. Chirombo noted how GLAAS is a core aspect for monitoring the SDGs, especially the means of implementation for SDG 6. He explained how it is a helpful tool for both the global agency community as well as for a country to use the collected data for decision and programming.
Collectively, WSSCC representatives had opportunities for deeper engagement and support by WSSCC of the GLAAS work at the national level.
Ms. Achakpa noted that “the workshop provided spaces for a deeper understanding of the tools needed to transform and engage with multi-stakeholders towards the GLAAS country report”.
Mr. Mujuru said the survey work and resulting GLAAS report provides a useful tool countries can use to address key gaps in the WASH sector. For him, “What is needed upfront is to identify an inclusive team of key stakeholders from government, NGOs, civil society, and partners, among others, and to work as a team”.
WSSCC’s representatives agreed collectively that the workshop provided a clear understanding on the country survey facilitation process. At the same time, experiences were also shared by a few African countries which served as lessons to build upon which will be helpful to the NCs as they move forward in the coming months to support their respective country focal points – always an official appointed from government — to carry out the surveying. The training also covered the following key areas:
The WSSCC NCs suggested appropriate ways for the Council to support the work, such as by facilitating stakeholder identification and mobilization, including high-level/ministerial engagement meetings and dialogues; identifying gaps in 2017 GLAAS report to improve the 2018 cycle; and sharing information about GLAAS with the media.
Mr. Ismail found the workshop to be eye-opening in the sense that the GLAAS survey has a story to tell—where the country is doing well, it highlights the reasons for its success while where a country is struggling, it becomes an invaluable tool in identifying the gaps that need to be bridged.”
Ms. Malima noted the relevance for her country. “What touched me was the value that my country, Tanzania, could gain because of engaging in GLAAS,“ she said. “For example, since the country profile provides a clear picture of the WASH sector in different countries, I could immediately notice the gap in our 2017 draft country profile and as an NC.”
In the end, the workshop, as Mr. Michael Negash, National Coordinator of Ethiopia describes, “was an inspiring and informative platform for WSSCC NCs to discover a new-found confidence for their respective country-level engagement and was an amazing opportunity to use the survey report and country highlights as evidence for our country engagement plan and advocacy initiatives.”
Indeed, the GLAAS survey has become an excellent mechanism to mobilize increased effort, particularly the political commitment to unlock local, national and sub-national as well as financial investments in WASH. With the lessons learned from the workshop, WSSCC looks forward to continuing its initiatives in leaving a positive impact towards the WASH sector, where in doing so, no one is left behind.
By Creol Grandjean, WSSCC Resource Mobilization and Marketing Intern Analyst
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