Sharing, learning and innovation at the annual planning meeting of National Coordinators


The 2009 planning meeting took place from 11 to 16 May in Geneva, bringing together National Coordinators (NCs) or their representatives, coordinators of thematic nodes, new WSSCC Steering Committee members, and sanitation, media, advocacy and fundraising experts. While the number of WASH Coalitions reporting on their activities continues to grow, the Secretariat strives to provide them with better support and to better align country and thematic activities.

WSSCC's involvement in a new thematic group on climate change and WASH was, for example, a result of previous requests from NCs and partners, while discussions on urban sanitation at the meeting will help shape the path for the Secretariat's engagement in further networking on the issue. WASH in schools, scaling up, multiple use systems and monitoring sessions were part of the programme, while a highlight of the sharing and learning activities was a Community-Led Total Sanitation session with Dr. Kamal Kar. Dr. Kar's detailed and passionate introduction of the approach has increased and improved understanding of CLTS for many of the participants.

The National Coordinators are natural focal points for media interviews. At the same time, advocating for a national sanitation policy and lobbying their governments, together with ongoing fundraising activities, are all part of their daily work. Therefore media, advocacy for policy development, and fundraising training were good bonding and interaction exercises that gave NCs the opportunity to share challenges and experiences in these fields and benefit from the skills and advice of professionals.

As we, at the Secretariat, like to put it, the National Coordinators are the heart and soul of the organization because they represent the national coalitions. Thus, the planning meeting is always a truly inspirational and intense week. While electronic communications seem to dominate these days, personal contact and human stories are more important than ever. So thank you all, and let's keep them going!