Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Crisis Talks – a round-up of events!

Alexandra Chitty is an intern at End Water Poverty. Here, she writes about the Crisis Talks End Water Poverty's partners and members organised on World Toilet Day 2011.

On and around World Toilet Day, 19 November 2011, thousands participated in Crisis Talks to highlight the water and sanitation crisis which is killing 4,000 children under the age of five every day. Here is a summary of some of the innovative Crisis Talks held across the globe:

Why?

End Water Poverty’s partners and members organised Crisis Talks – public hearings in local communities with government ministers where people affected by the water and sanitation crisis were able to speak out about life without these basic services – to encourage decision makers of all levels to take action to increase water and sanitation provision worldwide, and to emphasise the importance of the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting (HLM), an international meeting to be held in Washington DC on 20 April 2012 when world leaders from the Global North and South will meet to act upon the water and sanitation crisis.


Where?


In Nepal, Sanitary workers reported on the sanitation crisis to their Minister of Local Development and State Minister of Finance. They displayed a photo exhibition of public toilets to highlight the need to improve sanitation and a documentary was shown on the state of toilets in urban areas.





In Liberia, members of Liberia’s CSOs’ WASH Working Group organised Crisis Talks in seven of the country’s fifteen counties including Bong, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Lofa, Nimba, Montserrado, and Margibi. Political leaders, policy makers and the media were informed of the impact the lack of access to WASH has on the health and economic and social well-being of individuals, especially in hard-to-reach rural locations. As a result of these talks, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reiterated that the New Poverty Reduction Strategy, PRS II, will prioritize access to water and sanitation and that asserted that sustainable safe sanitation must be a continuous government investment, both in infrastructure and in hygiene education.

In Burkina Faso, Crisis Talks were held in Kirsi and Saaba. Speakers expressed the challenging and painful nature of every-day life when access to clean water and adequate sanitation is absent. They highlighted the dangerous situation this crisis places women in, especially when walking to collect water. The ‘Open Defecation Free’ community of Darsalam was showcased as a feasible means out of the sanitation crisis; in this instance, the community participated in building latrines and sanitation coverage in Darsalam now stands at a fantastic 100%.
A cycling competition between Crisis Talks participants was also organised in Burkina Faso with the winners being awarded household latrines!

Simavi, a founding member of End Water Poverty, organised an eye-catching Crisis Talk in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. A six-metre high toilet was inflated in Dam Square, and a new report, ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’, was launched detailing the Dutch’s chances for involvement in water and sanitation at international level.

Whilst in the UK, WaterAid supporters met their MPs, including Julian Huppert MP, Sheila Gilmore MP and Alison McGovern MP, to talk about the fundamental role water and sanitation provision plays in development and to encourage high level attendance at the HLM.

Crisis Talks were also held in Bangladesh, India, Tanzania, Mali, and Sierra Leone.

Interested in organising a Crisis Talk? It's not too late to get involved! Crisis Talks can be held anytime from now until the SWA High-Level Meeting in April 2012. Please email fleuranderson@endwaterpoverty.org for more information or visit our website.

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