Monday, 22 November 2010

Africa Water Week 3 - first report - Sanitation and Water for All meeting

Fleur Anderson is the new International Campaign Coordinator at End Water Poverty. She's in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week to attend Africa Water Week. Before though, a key meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All initiative took place. Fleur tells us what happened here:

This morning 35,000 people did a 10km run through Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in bright yellow shirts with 'End Poverty' on. That looked a lot of fun, and I am in Addis Ababa, but I didn't run! Instead I went to another event aiming to end poverty. No bright yellow shirts, just suits and a fairly normal looking meeting but no less exciting for that.

I've spent two days at the Sanitation and Water For All meeting - a great process which End Water Poverty campaigned for and is now up and running. Here in the same room were people from Northern countries, Africa and Asia and from governments, development banks, global aid organisations and activists all sitting down together to make progress in solving the crisis in water and sanitation.

Not for a minute did that meeting forget that 2.6 billion people do not have access to sanitation and there is a water and sanitation crisis which results in 4,000 children dying from preventable diseases a day. But this was not a meeting about slogans and just calling for action. These were just the right people who can effect the vision for change through political pressure for more money, providing the real evidence needed to know what the solutions are in the poorest countries, and working in countries to spend the money right - so it really goes to the most marginalised and affected.

The World's Longest Toilet Queue was a fantastic global effort for change in March, and the following High-Level Meeting of Sanitation and Water For All earlier this year was a real success. The meeting this weekend showed that no one is wasting any time in moving forward and keeping up the pressure.

One Northern government representative told me that plans to cut another area of aid funding stopped when there was a public outcry, but he's never seen this on a water and sanitation issue. So here's the clear challenge to all End Water Poverty members: put pressure on all Governments involved to fund water and sanitation work and then to make sure the money is spent for the good of the poorest. Toilets and taps for all!

After the meeting I went to register for the Africa Water Week which starts tomorrow. The process was surprisingly painless and quick and I have my badge - more on that tomorrow.

1 comment:

bemidbar said...

Wanted to share an interesting approach to water for all: