Monday, 18 July 2011

Civil Society makes its stand at AfricaSan3

A whirlwind day in Kigali! Over just a few hours, seventy members of African civil society – including national networks and grassroots organizations and representatives from international and pan-African initiatives, gathered to finalize CSO messages for AfricaSan 3, which commences tomorrow.

A forum for civil society is a great opportunity to share knowledge and learning and also join together under one key voice so civil society can be a reckoning force within the wider AfricaSan conference, and be better placed to influence proceedings. As the Chair of the forum, Patrick Apoya of Ghana, expressed, “We must speak as one voice so we complement and reinforce each other”.

Patrick Apoya of Ghana, Chair of Civil Society Forum

We heard presentations from Rudy Amenga-Etego, who is the African civil society representative of the Sanitation and Water for All partnership, who shared the latest challenges of the initiative and ways for CSOs to be engaged. Catherine Mwango of the Kenya CSO Network KEWASANET shared the key issue of health and sanitation. And Nelson Gomonda of WaterAid presented a traffic lights paper which provides monitoring information on commitments previously made on sanitation, such as minimum sector funding and gender inclusion in plans.

Finally, we tackled the major task of forming messages for AfricaSan 3. Groups broke away to discuss headline messages, which developed into three major themes of financing, monitoring and accountability and coordination and partnerships. The small task team of representatives of staff working in Ghana, Sudan, Malawi and the UK drafted the full messages with input through the afternoon from the rest of the forum.

The resulting messages are a bold statement to the conference – urging them to follow through on commitments, and deliver for the most marginalized.

Civil society representatives will distribute these messages far and wide tomorrow at the start of the conference to set a tone of ambition for the week. We’ll keep you updated!

Read the civil society messages.