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MUMBAI, India, November 18, 2016 - The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) today kicks off a Sanitation Action Summit in partnership with Global Citizen India, the Government of India, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), and the Government of Maharashtra, to accelerate progress on sanitation and hygiene by giving voice to the needs of India's most vulnerable citizens.
"Government needs to listen and engage with those that usually have no voice - it is only through listening to those of different ages, gender, socioeconomic status, and privilege that government officials can truly understand the concept of inclusive development," said WSSCC's Chair and Minister of Environment of Nigeria Amina J. Mohammed.
The Sanitation Action Summit will support and accelerate SBM objectives by bringing together citizens from across India who are often silent and/or invisible in conversations and programming-elderly men and women, transgender persons, deaf, blind people, adolescent girls and boys, and many others.
According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, "progress (at ending open defecation in the world) among the poorest has been slower, and in India there has been very little change over the past 20 years." SBM, with its renewed focus on collective behaviour change, has made considerable progress reversing this trend, promoting open defecation-free villages and States throughout India. Challenges remain, particularly on reaching marginalized populations. The Action Summit will offer practical ways to contribute directly to SBM.
Notable speakers at the event will include officials from GoI, GoM, Parliament, Global Citizen, WSSCC and elsewhere.
Held during a momentous week for sanitation issues in India, alongside World Toilet Day and the first Global Citizen Festival to be held in India, the Sanitation Action Summit will be a constructive dialogue to support achievement of a clean India for everyone, everywhere all of the time.
"Over half a million Indian citizens have engaged in our campaigns on these issues since we launched Global Citizen India just eight weeks ago - taking over 2million social good actions. Improved access to clean water and proper sanitation is a key part of India's journey to a sustainable future - free of extreme poverty. We commend the leadership of Minister Mohammed, Dr. Chris Williams and our partners at WSSCC to reach this goal," said Hugh Evans, CEO, Global Citizen.