Wednesday, 29 September 2010

How to get water and sanitation to all – no matter how poor or marginalised

We’re in Tanzania this week with our friends at the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) for a three-day workshop on equity and inclusion. We’re learning how to make sure that the services we champion are accessible for all and that the most marginalised in society – older people, children, women, people with disabilities – are able to access clean toilets and water in their communities.

Seventy advocates from across the region are attending, and it’s been great to meet face-to-face with some of our members for the first time!

The opening session saw a bit of a media frenzy with the Minister for Water and Irrigation providing the keynote speech and reiterating his support for CSO action in the struggle for sanitation and water for all. He highlighted the importance of women from communities being involved in dialogues and progress.

Equity and inclusion is a massive challenge to the sector. Laura Hucks from WaterAid Tanzania shared the statistic that only 1% of latrines in schools in Tanzania are accessible to those with physical disabilities. Rather than a deliberate approach, this was an oversight by planners, and shows that equity and inclusion strategies need to be at the heart of any implementation programs.

We’ll be learning lots and will integrate the learning into our campaign plans going forward including our soon-to-be-announced World Water Day campaign – so stay tuned!

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