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By Ceridwen Johnson, Senior Programme Officer – Country Engagement, Coordination and Membership, WSSCC
The National Consultation workshop for Niger, aiming to inform the next WSSCC strategy, took place in Niamey on Tuesday 26th June thanks to the wonderful leadership of Aï ABARCHI, WSSCC National Coordinator (NC) for Niger. With committed support of the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, she gathered senior representatives from said ministry as well as other ministries (health, education and environment to name a few); parliamentarians, mayors, international and national NGO representatives and the media.
The Minister for Water and Sanitation, M. Barmou Salifou opened the meeting and stayed on to witness the incredibly compelling institutional triggering led by Dr. Rija Lalanirina Fanomeza, Global Sanitation Fund Programme Manager in Madagascar. The audience was fully engaged in Rija's expert 'déclenchement' with everyone raising their hands to pledge to end open defecation in the country, including the minister, who committed to 'redoubling' their efforts. The huge task to hold them to account will be taken by the National Coordinator as well as the coordinator of the WASH media network in Niger, Ousmane Dambadji.
The discussions on the strategy which followed were lively and rich. Undoubtedly inspired by the triggering, participants were evidently motivated to engage in the WSSCC movement.
When asked about how WSSCC has supported the sector in the past, participants agreed that the Geneva based organisation has already added a great deal of value in terms of capacity building, forming a WASH Coalition led by the NC, setting up the parliamentarians network on WASH as well as contributing to the development of the national strategy on sanitation and hygiene.
The one day consultation was a great opportunity to raise the visibility of WSSCC in the country and allowed participants to explore sector challenges and think through ways in which WSSCC could add value.