Tuesday, 30 August 2011

End Water Poverty members meet in Stockholm

Jessica Bekker works for Simavi, a founding member of the End Water Poverty campaign. Here she shares news of the meeting she helped to organise for End Water Poverty members at Stockholm World Water Week, where members learnt more about the Sanitation and Water for All initiative (SWA) and helping feed into campaigning strategy building.

On Tuesday 23 August, End Water Poverty members organized a successful side meeting at the Stockholm World Water Week. The meeting gave an insight to the End Water Poverty campaign, shared ideas for involvement, and invited participants to contribute to strategizing future campaign activities through an interactive brainstorm.

The End Water Poverty campaign and strengthening national efforts

After a short introduction on what End Water Poverty is, Rolien Sasse, End Water Poverty representative in the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) steering committee, gave an explanation about the SWA Initiative and its importance. Together with Yakub Hossein, civil society representative for Asia in the SWA steering committee, they gave a useful insight of the relevance for civil society organizations to engage in the SWA.

The End Water Poverty campaign considers the SWA as an important political tool to ensure that investments in WASH are targeted towards poor people, and governments are held accountable for WASH investments. In April 2012, the SWA will organize a High Level Meeting on water and sanitation; this is an important moment for WASH investments! The End Water Poverty meeting in Stockholm focused on how civil society can play a role in the lead up to this event by demanding their national governments participate at the High Level Meeting and hold governments accountable for promises made. The End Water Poverty campaign creates through this an interaction between national processes around the SWA and global civil society activities. Information is shared and campaign activities, such as the Crisis Talks, are held in many different countries at the same time.

Crisis Talks

To make sure the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting is a success, the End Water Poverty campaign involves civil societies to push their national governments to participate in the High Level Meeting in 2012, and to bring along credible promises to improve access to water and sanitation.

A very powerful and practical tool to bring the importance of the High Level Meeting on the agenda of policy makers, is organizing a Crisis Talk, around World Toilet Day, upcoming 19th of November.

Interactive Brainstorm

In smaller groups the participants discussed what success at the High Level Meeting in 2012 will look like. The meeting room was full with curious civil society organizations who did or did not know about the SWA, active End Water Poverty members, and experts on the Sanitation and Water for All initiative. This gave an interesting dynamic into the different groups.

While one was more focusing on what success will look like for African countries and how for example AMCOW could engage donor countries, other groups were speaking about targeting European leaders through a postcard action (Tearfund) or publishing a report (Simavi). Other ideas and issues were discussed too – such as getting more off-track countries onboard with the SWA, ensuring new commitments at the SWA High-Level Meeting and how to mobilize civil society organizations that don’t work specifically on WASH in campaigning and advocacy around the SWA. These challenges and ideas will be used to strengthen the campaign.

Get active!

End Water Poverty Members will advocate for national engagement in the SWA through organizing Crisis Talks the 19th of November – our first big campaign moment internationally in the lead up to the High-Level Meeting. Do get involved by organizing a Crisis Talk in your country!

If you’re a member of End Water Poverty, and would like to get involved with the campaign’s engagement in SWA, you can join End Water Poverty’s Task Team on Sanitation and Water for All. For more information, please contact Fleur Anderson.