Monday, 28 February 2011

Belgian children to walk twice round the world to demand water for the world's poorest

Philippe Moreau works in Belgium and is helping to coordinate the World Walks for Water campaign in 75 schools across the country on World Water Day. Around 15000 school children will walk on the day! Read here about why they are joining in...

The organisation I work for, MOS (Milieuzorg Op School, Environmental Care at School), helps schools develop their own environmental care system. Children and young people work together with school staff on different environmental issues. The entire school population promotes nature and environmentally friendly behaviour. A key objective of the project is that children and young people acquire the necessary skills to conduct themselves as future responsible citizens ensuring an environmentally friendly and sustainable society.

In the blog we join forces with the NGO, challenging schools to take action for sustainable water use and to be aware of the water problems in the world.

In 2010 we organised a "Stand still for water" on World Water Day. We asked people to reflect on water during a freeze action taking place on marketplaces in five towns. You can watch the video clip here.

Since it's a nice idea to progress from a standstill for water to a walk for water, we asked schools to organise a walk for water with their pupils and to join the World Walks for Water in 2011, because kids shouldn't actually be walking for water in developing countries across the world. They should have the opportunity instead for school and play.

To date, 75 schools have joined and 15.000 students will walk more than twice around the world collectively. Check back after the day for photos and an update on how it went!

MOS is a project of the Flemish Government, the five Flemish provinces and the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels Capital Region.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Seen our brilliant video yet?

A great video has been produced for the World Walks for Water campaign. We'd love you to share your thoughts on it, and share it with your friends by posting on your facebook wall, your organisation's website and tweeting about it too!

Take a look and send us your thoughts!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Zambian water campaigners to reach millions

Mubu Kalaluka campaigns in Zambia and is organising a huge World Walks for Water event there on World Water Day. Here he shares with us how is plans are developing, what his messages to government are and how he's promoting the event....he's a busy man!

The Zambian NGO Water Forum will be taking to the television and radios, as well as to the streets, for The World Walks for Water 2011.

We have a clear message:
It’s not difficult to supply clean water. What’s difficult is living with the consequences of NOT doing so. Through a documentary and radio programmes we will show viewers that many people in Lusaka, our capital city, are living without clean water unnecessarily. And the video will help the wider community to understand the impact of living without clean water and to inspire them to think they can do something about the situation.

We will focus on the problems faced by communities in Lusaka of lack of water and sewerage provision, poor water quality, unannounced interruption of supply and connections flooding with sewage. This exemplifies the scale of the problem. At the time of World Water Day 2011, seven of the peri-urban areas of Lusaka have been identified as at particularly high risk of cholera, with six other areas at significant risk. 53 cases have already been confirmed. This cannot persist, and we’ll use the World Walks for Water campaign to tell our government so. This will build on our brilliant campaign last year, The World's Longest Toilet Queue, which saw thousands of Zambians taking part in the first ever global campaign on sanitation coverage, (a couple of photos below).

Viewing figures for the 2011 programme should be about 8 million people, and after viewing the documentary, we want people to be more focused in bringing clean water to more people in Lusaka, both through their own actions, and through urging opinion formers and duty bearers to do more.

The documentary will be in four parts, showing viewers how people’s lives are harmed by their poor access to clean water, and what can be done to solve them. Each part focuses on the life of one person/family who do not have clean water – how that is impacting them – both in their daily lives and longer term impacts – and what they are doing/have done about it.

The documentary is emotional and hard-hitting, told by stories. It is not a neutral, research-focused informative piece. It is part of the NGO Water Forum’s advocacy work, ending with a clear call to action.

On 15thMarch we’ll be having a radio discussion programme with someone form Lusaka Sereage Company, someone from the affected community and an NGO representative, and we expect 3 to 4 million people to tune into that.

Planning for our actual walk is going well too and we’re going to have a relay of 6km (6 x 1km stretches, or 3 x 2km stretches). This should make it easier for people to join in. Containers of water will be carried the whole distance to illustrate the issue.

The marchers will be carrying placards highlighting the key issues that have been raised in the documentary. They will also be wearing brightly coloured T-shirts highlighting a key message. The plan is that the Forum members T-shirts will be brighter and more striking than any other walkers raising the possibility of good media attention.

The individuals and families profiled in the documentary will be encouraged to participate so that their stories receive more profile from the media.

Check back later to see how our plans develop!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Kenya Combines WASH and Health Solutions to Defeat Diarrhea

Eileen Quinn is director of the diarrheal disease advocacy team at PATH, a member of End Water Poverty. Here she tells of an exciting new project that aims to capture the best case studies of public health integration that stops people dying needlessly of diarrheal diseases.

About a year ago in Kenya the Ministry of Health unveiled a new national strategy to combat diarrheal disease. The new national policy takes a comprehensive approach, encompassing treatmentsuch as like oral rehydration treatment and zincwith preventionexclusive breastfeeding, vitamin A supplementation, proper hygiene techniques like hand washing with soap, and access to improved water supplies.

Some of our colleagues at PATH worked with the Ministry on updating and strengthening its policy and on a community-based project in Western Kenya that piloted the integrated approach. While we are still gathering data on the results, we are heartened that hospital wards that were once overcrowded now see far fewer children for severe diarrhea.

The progress is Kenya is exciting, but just one example of new integrated approaches to improving lives and health outcomes. We would love to hear from you about other projects and programs that are offering more holistic services and great impact for low-income communities.

PATH is pleased to working with Action for Global Health, End Water Poverty, Tearfund, and WaterAid and others to produce a report to highlight opportunities to policy makers on taking a more joined-up approach to planning and implementing health, WASH, and nutrition strategies. We are looking to showcase examples of integrated programs in several countries and tell a positive story about how integration and effective programming is moving forward.

And we hope you can help. Please send us examples of health, WASH, or nutrition projects from the public sector that integrate across those issues or with other areas. We are seeking examples of projects from urban or rural areas or those that focus on girls/women, and we would also welcome additional ideas about areas where integration between sectors has proved to be successful. While we are prioritizing public sector programs, we are interested to include examples from civil society projects as well. Follow this link to participate.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Invite a politician to your event

World Water Day is the perfect time to make politicians or community leaders aware of the global water and sanitation crisis.

Many political figures don't realise the seriousness of the crisis and don’t realize that it’s a key concern of constituents in many developing countries. By inviting politicians to the join in your walk, you will be offering them a great opportunity to get involved and learn more about water and sanitation.

This week, we added a Political Invitation Template to the resources offered on the World Walks for Water website to help you get started with contacting politicians and inviting them to join a walk.

If we all invite our politicians to get involved, we will more effectively put political pressure on leaders to strengthen water and sanitation policies, step up commitment, and follow through on past promises! Remind them that 4,000 children die every day from diarrhoea caused by unsafe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation. Don’t let them ignore the fact that 1 in 3 people lack a safe toilet. The water and sanitation crisis has an impact on health, education, and the economy and requires dedicated political action around the world.

Invite politicians to join a walk as soon as you can or let a politician know about a walk you’re already attending. The more invites they get, the better! And also think about other influential people from your community to involve - the media, celebrities, dignatories. It's important they all realise there is a water and sanitation crisis and that everyone has a responsibility to help solve it!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Call for Nominations for Women to Stand for Election to the SWA Steering Committee (SC)

A message below from the Sanitation and Water for All's Secretariat on an opening on the Steering Committee. Please read and respond to Piers by 15th February 2011 if you are interested, and do let Fleur know if you apply too.

Dear SWA Partner

Re: Call for Nominations for Women to Stand for Election to the SWA Steering Committee (SC)

The November 2010 meeting of the SWA Steering Committee decided to create three additional members of the Steering Committee to improve the balance and representivity of the Steering Committee. All these three additional SC members must be women.

The three seats open for nominations are:

1 One seat for a SWA partner developing country government representative from a non-English-speaking African country (i.e. French or Portuguese).

2 One seat for a SWA partner developing country government representative from a non-African country government countries (excluding Pakistan who already have a seat on the SC). .

3 One seat from any SWA partner for a leading female spokesperson on water and sanitation issues. The incumbent could come from any constituency and should display leadership capabilities, strong sector experience and good fit with SWA objectives.

Please find a nomination form here. Please note:

1 One nomination per form. Please complete all the contact details.

2 Only tick one vacancy per form and submit one nomination per form. For nominations for other categories you need to tick another box and submit another version of the form.

3 Partners can submit more than one nomination per category.

4 All nominees must be women.

5 The nominations by each partner will be confidential.

6 The working language of the SC is English. All nominees should be able to work using English in meetings and informal communications.

7 It is permissible to nominate oneself or someone from one’s own organization, so long as candidates fit vacancy conditions.

8 All nominations should come from SWA partners.

Completed nomination forms should be returned to me ( before 15 February 2011. Each nominee will be contacted and asked to confirm that they are willing to stand for election and be required to prepare a short CV and manifesto to guide partners voting in the election.

Many thanks

Piers Cross

Secretariat for Sanitation and Water for All

Madame/Monsieur et cher partenaire,

Objet : Appel à nomination de candidates pour élection au Comité directeur d’Assainissement et eau pour tous

Le Comité directeur d’Assainissement et eau pour tous a décidé lors de sa réunion de novembre 2010 de recruter trois membres supplémentaires afin d’améliorer son équilibre et sa représentativité ; ces trois nouveaux membres doivent être des femmes.

Les trois nouveaux sièges ouverts à des propositions de candidatures sont les suivants :

1 Un siège à attribuer à une représentante d’un gouvernement de pays en développement partenaire d’Assainissement et eau pour tous réservé à un pays d’Afrique non-anglophone (francophone ou lusophone).

2 Un siège à attribuer à une représentante d’un gouvernement de pays en développement partenaire d’Assainissement et eau pour tous réservé à un pays d’Asie (à l’exclusion du Pakistan qui dispose déjà d’un siège au Comité directeur).

3 Un siège de porte-parole principale sur les questions d’eau et d’assainissement à attribuer à un partenaire d’Assainissement et eau pour tous quelque soit le groupe catégoriel auquel il appartienne ; la candidate devra posséder d’excellentes capacités d’initiative, une solide expérience dans le secteur et avoir une compréhension claire des objectifs d’Assainissement et eau pour tous.

Vous trouverez un formulaire de nomination ici, veuillez noter que :

1 Un formulaire doit comporter une seule nomination. Donnez tous les détails nécessaires pour nous permettre de contacter la candidate.

2 Faites une proposition de candidature pour un seul siège à pourvoir par formulaire et proposer un seul nom. Pour proposer une nomination à un autre siège, utilisez et transmettez un nouvel exemplaire du formulaire.

3 Les partenaires sont autorisés à proposer plus d’une candidate par catégorie de siège à pourvoir.

4 Toutes les candidatures proposées doivent concerner des femmes.

5 Les propositions de candidature sont confidentielles.

6 La langue de travail d’Eau & Assainissement est l’anglais. Tous les membres du Comité directeur doivent avoir la capacité de travailler en anglais dans le cadre des réunions et en général de toutes les communications nécessaires.

7 Il est permis de présenter sa propre candidature ou celle d’une personne appartenant à sa propre organisation à condition que ces candidatures satisfassent aux conditions présentées.

8 Toutes les nominations doivent être soumises par des partenaires d’Assainissement et eau pour tous.

Les formulaires de nomination dûment remplis doivent me parvenir ( d’ici le 17 février 2011. Chaque candidate proposée sera contactée pour confirmer sa candidature et devra prépare un court C.V. et une brève « profession de foi » pour guider le choix des partenaires qui prendront part au vote sur les candidatures.

En vous remerciant de votre collaboration, je vous prie d’agréer, Madame/monsieur et cher partenaire, mes sentiments les plus cordiaux.

Piers Cross

Secrétariat, Assainissement et eau pour tous

Introducing the Widget!

A great new resource for the campaign to tell you about. The Widget!

This fantastic online tool enables you to place a mini version of the campaign's online Walk on your own website or blog. You just need to grab the code from the World Walks for Water resources section.

The Widget asks for a name and email address, which the central team does not keep (though, you can ask us for your data back and we can send it through so you can thank people who took part) but the info magically appears on the main website along with other online Walkers.

Please do use the Widget to spread awareness of the campaign . See you in the online Walk!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Country Snapshots

An update on an exciting resource to support your World Walks for Water activity from Jessica Mirabella, End Water Poverty's Intern.

Today we’ve added a new Resource to the World Walks for Water website: COUNTRY SNAPSHOTS!

Each Snapshot has been written with water and sanitation campaigners in-country and contains relevant country information. If you are organising a 6km walk, or would simply like to know more about your country’s water and sanitation conditions and/or policies, check the Resources page for your country's Snapshot. If your country isn’t on the list, then keep checking back as we're adding more next week or use the global messaging sheet and adapt to your country.

Each snapshot provides key information about your country’s role in the crisis and the important demands for your government on World Water Day. We hope they help you!

Interestingly, while researching the Snapshots, I found a few global trends becoming apparent:
• Many people still must be educated about the global water and sanitation crisis, which has a severe impact on the health, education and economies of populations throughout Africa and Asia. The World Walks for Water will play an important role of informing the public and expanding international support for improvements.

• Many of us must ask our politicians to strengthen its commitment to water and sanitation. There is not enough funding to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and many countries must increase funding for these issues. Working with all levels of government – either national, regional or community level – we will all benefit from increased government action and funding.

• Many countries may benefit from creation of a national policy for water and sanitation, which should aim to decrease inequalities across districts and demonstrate your government’s focus on policy implementation for water access and sanitation.

Read up on your Country’s Snapshot to prepare for the walk in your hometown. The asks of government can be used to create signs, write letters to political leaders and let you know what to say during the World Walks for Water. These Snapshots provide a foundation for everyone to communicate with their government, which gives each Walk event an even greater political impact.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

An update on the SWA

Fleur Anderson gives a quick update on the latest from the SWA partnership, including how you can help us keep track of commitments:

The two key messages of the Sanitation and Water of All partnership are that sanitation and water should be a political priority and that no credible national plan for sanitation and water should fail for lack of financing. These continue to be strengthened as the governance systems of the SWA are put into place, including a new steering committee with three civil society representatives alongside the government and key development partners, and the lobbying work continues both globally and nationally.

  • New members are continuing to join, with Germany being the latest country. To find out if your country has joined, see the list here.
  • The results of the commitments made at the High-Level Meeting last year are being seen on the ground. For example a nationwide WASH campaign was launched by the government in Burkina Faso, alongside a huge increase in WASH budgets; and from the specific processes to be in place and under a national plan for Nepal to achieve 100% access to sanitation and water by 2017 . We would like to collate more stories from members of the results they have seen (good and bad). To find out what your country has promised, visit our webpage that contains the HLM commitments - and then let us know what the reality is on the ground.
  • The Sanitation and Water for All secretariat has produced a workplan, and End Water Poverty contributed to ensuring that role of civil society is included throughout. Civil Society organizations can play their part in the process of writing of credible and effective National Water and Sanitation Plans, in campaigning globally and nationally for these plans to be funded, and then in monitoring the delivery on the ground.
  • A task force of donors will be working with the Liberian Government, civil society in Liberia and other partners, to establish how the SWA can support Liberia to draw up a credible National Plan for water and sanitation. This should show how the SWA Partnership can bring value through joining up aid, supporting effective national policy-making, attracting funding for sanitation and water where it is most needed, and ensuring this is sustainable through the involvement of civil society at all stages. We’ll be reporting on this project so watch this space.
  • The next major meeting of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership will be the High Level Meeting in April 2, and during this year the SWA members will be building up to this through many different regional and global meetings, but does not plan to focus on just one Asian and one African meeting as was planned earlier. These will go alongside national processes to prepare for the High Level meeting and ensure that it delivers significant progress in considerably more and smarter funding for sanitation and water around the world. This makes the rest of 2011 a very key time for End Water Poverty members to be working together with the SWA partnership in highlighting the global crisis in water and sanitation, and demanding action from governments in the global North and South.