Monday, 17 October 2011

New report: the 'World We Want'

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a day officially recognized by the United Nations which aims to get the voices of poor and marginalised people around the world heard by decision makers.

To mark this date, Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)’s new report ‘The World We Want’ will be launched by coalitions in 27 countries across the world. This report aims to take the messages of people affected by poverty, climate change, and social exclusion, to their leaders and to convince governments to take urgent action to end poverty and inequality.

Campaigners are coming together from 15-17 October to tell decision makers about the report through diverse actions, public mobilisation, and targeted advocacy. From concerts to letter writing campaigns and tree planting, people living in poverty worldwide will be ensuring their voices are heard.

The report showcases just some of the inspiring ways in which civil society has come together and taken action against poverty and inequality over the past year. This includes the work of End Water Poverty, which is highlighted in the report as a successful and growing movement of campaigners showing the real value of campaigning both nationally and internationally. The fantastic World’s Longest Toilet Queue and World Walks for Water events organized by our members and partners are given as examples of this success!

Walking for Water in Nepal

Alongside the report, civil society organizations all around the world are launching the 'Better Aid for The World We Want’ campaign which aims to mobilise public support for civil society asks towards the upcoming High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea in November. The public are encouraged to sign a petition asking governments to ensure that citizens’ voices are heard in development and aid decisions. The signatures will be collected on campaign postcards as well as online at www.betteraid.org/campaign.

To find out more about GCAP’s work and to read the report, visit their website here.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

End Water Poverty in Mumbai!


Jennifer Williams, from the International Secretariat, is at the WSSCC Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene in Mumbai to meet End Water Poverty partners and members, and to spread the word about the Crisis Talks and World Walks for Water and Sanitation 2012!

What a week! As a new staff member at the End Water Poverty secretariat, I have been incredibly excited to come to Mumbai to meet our members and partners, to liaise with experts in the water and sanitation sector and to join discussions about advocacy, communications and the importance of grassroots civil society voices in WASH advocacy.

Working on the advocacy stall here has been a great opportunity to meet many inspiring and engaged advocates and has made me hugely excited about my role with the End Water Poverty coalition. I’ve been taking the opportunity to tell a variety of people and organisations visiting the stall about the Crisis Talks taking place around World Toilet Day next month. At these events, people affected by poor water and sanitation will give testimonies on life without these basic services and make recommendations on the way forward to attending politicians, media and civil society leaders. I have been hearing about the unique and exciting Crisis Talks already being planned – including one being held in the slums in Malawi, bringing politicians and decision makers directly to the issue being discussed!

Highlights from the conference include a breakout session entitled ‘How to win hearts and minds through WASH advocacy’ where we discussed the ingredients that make campaigning and lobbying successful, from knowing the political scene to communicating the messages in an eye-catching and engaging way. I presented about the Crisis Talks and the World Walks for Water and Sanitation – and was particularly delighted when almost every person in the room raised their hand to say they would like to take part in 2012!

A side-event about the Sanitation and Water for All partnership also proved interesting – explaining what the SWA is, what it’s trying to achieve and updating us on preparations for the 2012 High-Level Meeting. Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it though as our new SWA briefing sheets give you all the latest news and updates!

A visit to Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia, highlighted the public health issues that many residents here face. Our guide informed us as we passed a small block of ten toilets that it serves over 1,700 people –and many of the statistics are much worse. With such poor facilities, adults and children are forced to urinate and defecate in the local river resulting in the spreading of disease. The shortage of clean drinking water for the estimated 1.4 billion residents exacerbates the problem further and it is clear that much more needs to be done to achieve the goal of sanitation and water for all.

Dharavi

I leave Mumbai tomorrow morning feeling positive and excited about the difference the End Water Poverty coalition can make after meeting our engaged and inspiring members and partners. And I also leave feeling determined to work together to push Development and Finance Ministers from both the Global North and South to attend the High-Level Meeting in April 2012 and take action to prevent people in slums like Dharavi being denied a basic human right – clean water and a safe toilet.