We’ve all been to conferences. You know, the kind where you spend entire days in a hotel without ever going outside, running from one session to another, wondering what you will learn and who you will see. Most times, they are relatively useful ways to continue dialogue about an emerging approach to international development, global health, or capacity building. Often they also help align advocacy agendas. This year’s annual Global Health Council Conference is one such example.
But this year, WaterAid and other partners in the Washington, DC-based Health-WASH Network decided to something different from the usual panel discussion.
We all know that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are critical health issues, underlying child survival, undernutrition, and efficacy of treatment for HIV/AIDS. But WASH is rarely on the agenda at global health conferences.
So, we worked with fellow End Water Poverty member, PATH, along with Population Services International, John Snow Inc., WASH Advocacy Initiative, and more, to increase awareness among global health NGOs of how WASH can advance their objectives.
The result of our brainstorming was a scavenger hunt, titled “What’s Your Poo IQ?” Five short questions on a postcard inserted into all conference packets will lead participants around the exhibition area to partners’ booths, incentivize their attendance at the only WASH-focused panel of the week, and remind them to wash their hands after using the loo!
The questions ask hunters to list the top three killers of children aged one month to five years (of course, if you know your Poo IQ, you know that #1 and #2 are WASH-related!); to identify ways healthcare workers can promote WASH; to think through ways WASH improves quality of life for people living with HIV/AIDS; and to remind themselves of basic hygiene practices we should all be doing every day.
Our goal in asking people to learn their Poo IQ is to ensure people focused on other areas of global health think about the impact of unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and lack of hygiene on their own work, and hopefully to increase WASH-related partnerships. But their goal in participating may be something entirely different: anyone want to win a brand new Apple iPad?
For more information on the role of the health sector in improving WASH around the world, check out WaterAid’s new report, The Sanitation Problem: What Can and Should the Health Sector Do?
And to prove that you know your Poo IQ, find us at the Global Health Conference this week or, for those not in Washington, DC, comment on this post with answers to some of the questions above!
Lisa Schechtman, Head of Policy & Advocacy, WaterAid in America