Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation 2013

Join thousands of campaigners walking to demand that politicians keep their promises on water and sanitation

We are calling on you to become part of a global movement for change taking place on and around World Water Day 2013 by joining this year’s World Walks for Water and Sanitation! From 16 to 24 March thousands of people around the world will walk together to call on their political leaders to keep the promises they have made to end the sanitation and water crisis, and we want you to join them!

This crisis means that 2.5 billion people still live without a safe toilet and 783 million people remain without access to clean water. Poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water mean children miss school and 2,000 die needlessly every day from disease caused by contaminated water.

Earlier this year, over 380,000 people in more than 70 countries from Nigeria to Nepal took part in the World Walks for Water and Sanitation to demand political leaders take action to improve access to safe sanitation and clean water. Campaigners used their voices to ask their Development and Finance Ministers to attend the crucial Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in Washington DC and to come ready to commit to real action to tackle the global water and sanitation crisis. This resulted in big success, with an unprecedented number of Ministers from 40 countries attending the meeting and making strong commitments including to allocate at least US$35m to water and sanitation annually and eradicate open defecation by 2015 in Burkina Faso and the Netherlands committing to scale up its assistance to reach 25 million more people with clean water and sanitation globally over the next four years.

Decision makers have made promises locally, nationally, regionally and globally to get clean water and safe sanitation to the world’s poorest countries and communities. We welcome this progress but too many promises remain off track or unfulfilled, so this year it’s up to you to hold your leaders to account on the promises they have made. You can do this by joining the World Walks for Water and Sanitation 2013, which this year is part of the year long Keep Your Promises Campaign. However big or small your walk you can take the opportunity to ask your leaders about progress on their commitments and to demand action to ensure they keep their promises and improve access to clean water and sanitation.

How you can get involved

We want as many people as possible to walk in solidarity with the women and children forced to walk long distances each day just to collect water and find somewhere to go to the toilet – and to tell governments to change this by keeping their promises on sanitation and water! We’re asking you to either organise or join a Walk for Water and Sanitation between 16 to 24 March 2013. You can get involved no matter who you are, whether you’re a university, school, youth group, NGO, Civil Society Organisation or a company. Your walk can be long or short and take place anywhere with any amount of people!

Make it fun and exciting by dressing up as taps and toilets, singing and dancing and inviting celebrities but don’t forget to make it political! The campaign demand you focus on is up to you - invite politicians along, walk to their offices or present a petition to decision makers to put pressure on them to stick to their commitments and take action to end the water and sanitation crisis.

To find out more about how you can get started and organise your Walk for Water and Sanitation, take a look at our brand new campaign toolkit. It’s packed full of information, ideas and tips for how to make your walk a success and have the biggest political impact possible.

The new website will also be launched soon where you will be able to register your walk and access more resources on how to make your walk a big success. Until then visit the Keep Your Promises website for information on promises made by political leaders.

For more information take a look at the toolkit, or contact Natasha Horsfield on

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Advocacy and campaigning for sanitation in Switzerland on World Toilet Day

Marco Daniel is the Water Policy Advisor at Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation. Here, he tell us about the launch of Keep Your Promises in Switzerland:

On World Toilet Day 2012, End Water Poverty (EWP) launched its Keep Your Promises campaign (KYP) requesting politicians around the globe in public hearings to stick to the promises they have made on sanitation and hygiene. Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation is a steering committee member of EWP and therefore, on World Toilet Day, called the Swiss Federal Council to account on its promises.

Switzerland decided in 2011 to increase the funding for development cooperation to 0.5% of the gross domestic income and during the pilot phase 2011/12 it attributed a great share of this extra budget to water and sanitation projects. On World Toilet Day, Helvetas asked the Swiss government (notably the federal council for Foreign and Economic Affairs) to continue to attribute at least 100 million extra Swiss Francs per year for water and sanitation development projects in rural areas in 2013 and beyond, highlighting the importance of water and sanitation for poverty reduction and the great economic and social benefits of investments in the sector.

Our demand has been taken up by several major Swiss media outlets on and around the World Toilet Day and we are currently waiting for an official response from the Swiss government.

On the same day, Helvetas campaigners symbolically blocked public toilets in most major Swiss cities. Thereby Helvetas raised awareness amongst the Swiss public that 2.5 billion people around the globe still lack access to an adequate sanitation and hygiene. Helvetas water experts were interviewed in major Swiss newspapers about global sanitation and hygiene challenges and the Helvetas toilet blocking campaign was taken up by at least ten major Swiss media outlets and fostered an interesting public discussion on the issue.

Let’s hope that these actions will help water, sanitation and hygiene to remain high on the Swiss development agenda (both of the government and the Swiss public) and additional resources are made available to tackle sanitation and hygiene challenges and give more people access to decent sanitary facilities and encourage safe hygienic behaviour.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Young people in Liberia launch Keep Your Promises

Liberia Youth WASH Coalition is a group of youth-led organisations geared towards campaigning for youth recognition and participation in minimizing water sanitation and hygiene related challenges. Here, James Koryor, their Inter-Sector Coordinator tell us about their launch of Keep Your Promises in Liberia:

In commemoration of World Toilet Day 2012 in Liberia, the Liberia Youth WASH Coalition and partners organized a Keep Your Promises Hearing in New Kru Town.

The Hearing brought together over 200 participants including representatives from the Government Ministry, CSOs, local officials, women and youth groups as well as students and other stakeholders to discuss and put forth concrete recommendations. 

We aimed to remind the government of Liberia and other decision makers to keep all of their promises and work towards achieving universal access to basic sanitation and safe drinking water. We wanted to create a platform where citizens could interact with decision makers thus reminding them to keep all of their promises made in ensuring safe water and sanitation are accessible to all. 

Importantly, we also planned this Hearing to campaign for youth recognition and participation in tackling the sanitation and water crisis.

The meeting started with a presentation and was followed by speeches by some of the participants. We also had a question and answer segment to discuss government commitments and how we can ensure these commitments are kept and many  young people asked insightful and challenging questions to the decision makers. Finally, we screened a documentary to further highlight the  water and sanitation issues in Liberia to all decision makers present.

261 people signed the KeepYour Promises petition at the Hearing to call on our government to keep its promises on sanitation and water.

The Hearing was covered by both the print and electronic media including the National Radio Station ELBC, SKY TV, SKY FM, Daily Observer News Paper, Inquirer News Paper and the Women Voices News Paper. We definitely made our voices heard!

Friday, 30 November 2012

WASH CSOs launch the Keep Your Promises campaign in Uganda!

Doreen Wandera, Director of UWASNET (Ugandan Water and Sanitation Network), tell us about the launch of Keep Your Promises in Uganda

On 23rd November 2012,  the Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network (UWASNET) in partnership with WASH United and Water Aid Uganda joined the rest of the world to launch the Keep Your
Promises Campaign in Uganda at St Peters Primary School. The event was held to coincide with the same week as World Toilet Day and we aimed to highlight commitments made by the Government on sanitation in schools and to hold them to account on these promises.

The promises!

Participants at the event called for the implementation of the universal Primary Education Policy which states that :

  • each school in Uganda must have separate toilet facilities for boys and girls at a ratio of 1:40 pupils per toilet facility
  • there should be separate toilet facility for female and male teachers, wash rooms for girls and urinals for boys.

The campaign also called for the fulfilment of the 2011 presidential and local leaders' manifestos who pledged to make sanitation and water their priority. Kampala Capital City Authority ( KCCA ) this year
promised to increase the number of public toilets in the city as well as make them easily accessible and affordable. We called on them to keep this promise. We also talked about the promises made by the three key ministries in charge of sanitation, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water and Environment and Ministry of Education and Sports, who have committed to make sanitation a funding priority by contributing to the national sanitation budget line.

The campaign event

The campaign was launched by the Principle Education official Ms Santa Ajok on behalf of the state Minister of Education. In her speech she said that Uganda needs the right strategies and concerted efforts for these commitments to be realised.

The CSOs also presented a petition to the Government supported by over 300 signatures from
the civil society, communities and school pupils calling for these promises to be kept! They called for more funding towards water and sanitation especially in schools, responsiveness and targeting of funds to where they are most needed and improved transparency and accountability in the provision of WASH services in the country. They also called upon the Government to make sanitation and water a priority beyond 2015.

And that wasn't all!

We also held a big public walk to draw attention to your Keep Your Promises campaign. Community members and school pupils holding placards flanked by a band walked 6 kilometres to highlight the issues and demand Government action on water and sanitation service delivery in the country. Key messages on the placards read:

I can keep my promise, why can’t you keep yours?

We are tired of queuing. We need more toilets. 

Access to water and sanitation is human right.

We definitely drew lots of attention during our launch and we plan to keep pushing our decision makers to keep their promises so that more people in Uganda have access to safe sanitation and drinking water!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

“A partnership like SWA is very complex but we are unified by our goal”

Olivier Germain is End Water Poverty's Campaigns Advisor. He attended the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership Meeting in South Africa earlier this month. Here he gives his reflections:

The first ever Sanitation and Water for All Partnership Meeting came to a close this week but injected some renewed momentum into the initiative. Sure, a lot of questions still remain unanswered and it was sometimes hard to reconcile the breadth of opinions and views on the way forward. However this is to be expected from a partnership encompassing such a wide variety of actors, such a plethora of expertise, and such a range of skills. The goal of reaching universal access to sanitation and water is a complex one and will require different tools and approaches to succeed. And it is this goal of providing safe clean water and sanitation to everyone that unites all the partners to succeed.

Capitalising on the strengths and successes of the partnership

Whereas agreement was hard to come by on certain issues, there was consensus that at the global level, the political dialogue and attention generated by the partnership through the High Level Meetings was something to be proud of. The growth of the partnership to just under 90 members in the space of just a couple of years, bringing on board more developing countries, donors, research institutes and civil society organisations, is testimony to the trust and belief in SWA’s vision. The HLM commitments made by governments and developing partners have provided a focus for driving the sector forward, accelerating progress, and advocating for transformational change.

Proof of success will lie at the national level
Yet, much remains to be done to translate the promise of the commitments into tangible results on the ground; for the pledges and decisions within the sector and country statements to deliver accelerated access to water and sanitation in practice. And the key to this surely lies in replicating the synergies, pooled resources and concerted actions on the front line – that is at national level and below.   The dialogue between partners, the matching of resources with demand, and the exchange of information and best practices has to take place at country level. SWA and its partnership approach needs to be embedded in national WASH sector processes.

Moving Forward
This can only be realised if partners truly demonstrate, not in words but in actions, what they bring to the table. The focus has to be on what members can contribute, with Developing Country Government’s taking the lead.  As Achille Kangni from Benin declared during the meeting “Si il n’y a pas une dynamique au niveau national il ne se passera rien” (If there is no action and momentum at national level, nothing will happen). Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are ready to step up to the plate and redouble their efforts to see the promises made in Washington just over 6 months ago deliver life-saving changes to communities around the world. CSOs, during the meeting, pledged to play a key role in raising awareness of SWA and HLM commitments among citizens, the media and parliamentarians to increase understanding of the partnership and thereby focus attention and resources towards jointly making progress.   Furthermore, CSOs have the legitimacy, passion and skills to support the partnership in monitoring this progress, contribute technical resources where needed, use their coordination power to bring actors together, and ensure that the voice of the communities the partnership aims to support is heard.   So now is the time to regroup and consolidate, to make progress at the national level, for all SWA constituencies to focus on what they bring to the partnership and to deliver.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Keep Your Promises in Pakistan

Syed Shah Nasir Khisro, National Convenor of FANSA-Pakistan tells us about their plans for launching Keep Your Promises around World Toilet Day

Our planned activities will start with a poster and leaflet distribution day this Saturday through which we will make sure that as many people as possible know about the Keep Your Promises campaign. We will encourage local communities to raise their voices for improved sanitation services and call on the government to keep to their commitments.

Following this, campaigners will hold a series of meetings with government officials to call on them to approve the provincial sanitation policy and work towards implementation. At the same time, we will hold seminars in both rural and urban communities to explain the importance of World Toilet Day and encourage local people to make their voices heard and advocate for improved latrine coverage.

On World Toilet Day itself, we are excited about our plans to establish a demo latrine at a place where people defecate in the open. We will talk with school students and community members who normally defecate in the open and discuss the health risks of this practice, which helps the spread of diseases such as diarrheoa, cholera and bilharzia, and the benefits of using latrines instead. We will call on our government to work to end the practice of open defecation and to keep its promises for improved latrine coverage.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Keep Your Promises is launched in Zambia!

Jackson Mwenya, Executive Coordinator of VAREN in Zambia writes about the launch of the Keep Your Promises campaign

We launched the Keep the Promises campaign in Luapula province in Zambia at the end of August and called on our politicians to keep to their commitments on sanitation and water. We specifically called on them to keep the promises that the Minister of Local Government and Housing and the Minister of Finance and National Planning made during the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting in April 2012 and we focused our activities on selected districts which are off track in achieving these targets.

Lack of access to safe water and sanitation in Zambia has greatly affected Luapula province. This area has extremely low levels of rural access to WASH services and has received little attention from donors compared to other provinces. There is still a gap between communities and government hindering dialogue on issues of water and sanitation challenges. Communities have not been given a platform to tell their leaders about the issues and leaders do not communicate with the people to find out about the challenges they are facing.

This problem has been addressed with the Keep Your Promises campaign, which has brought together local people, community based organisations and faith based organisations to raise awareness of the importance of local people's participation in local and national governance and of their right to monitor government performance against promises.

To start with, CSOs visited and interviewed local community members to tell them about the campaign and to find out what they think Members of Parliament and government officials should be doing to improve their access to safe sanitation and water. We spoke to women, children and disabled people and ensured that they led on this initiative and had key roles in the campaign.

CSOs were then called for an awareness meeting at which the government’s commitments were reviewed and discussed before the launch.

The day before the launch, a  live radio discussion was broadcast on KFM Community Radio Station during which two CSO representatives gave information about the government's commitments on sanitation and water and the areas where they are off track in keeping these promises and reaching their targets. We invited listeners to come to the launch the next day to hear directly  from government representatives.

Children played a key part in the launch day and the Anglican Boys Brigade and Majorettes stayed for the whole of the launch event! Children from Our Lady of Mercy School run by the Sisters of Mercy
were part of the advocacy team as they marched and sang and then presented a poem to call for safe water and better sanitation for all. It was so amazing!

Chief Chisunka who is the Chairperson of all Chiefs in Luapula province had this to say
during the launch:

"As a Chairperson of chiefs in the province, I am fully convinced that everyone in our province can have access to safe water and good sanitation because this is a province with a lot of water bodies such as Lake Mweru, Lake Bangweulu and Luapula river. I am calling on the government and especially our Members of Parliament to  ensure that water problems are resolved not only here in town but also in rural communities because water is life."

The Managing Director of Luapula Water and Sewerage Company, Mr. Sebastian Chilekwa added:

"Access to safe water in Luapula is bad because currently as a company we can only manage to service12% leaving 88% unserviced. The only solution to the problem is massive infrastructure investment by the government because these challenges are due to inadequate and dilapidated infrastructures. We have all these water bodies but without investment nothing can be done. That's why communities need to be proactive and lobby to their members of parliament for adequate sector financing."

Monday, 5 November 2012

Hanan El-Amin Muddathir tells us about her organisation's plans for Keep Your Promises Hearings in Sudan!

Sudan has signed and committed to achieve the MDGs, and have committed to the eThekwini Declaration and Sharm el Sheikh Declaration. However, indicators show that, despite efforts to reach people with water, sanitation, and hygiene in all of Sudan especially in the rural areas, these commitments are mostly still off track.

On World Toilet Day 2012, the Environmental Initiative Organization for Sustainable Development will be taking part in Keep Your Promises and organising Hearings. These Hearings will be a series of meetings with the Technical Advisory Committee in water and sanitation, municipalities and media actors to introduce the Keep Your Promises campaign and raise awareness of the commitments our government and other decision makers have made.

There will also be a workshop on World Toilet Day organised by civil society organisations and targeting a number of different stakeholders. At this workshop, issues of concern will be highlighted to the media, the public and decision and policy makers. The Keep Your Promises petition will also be circulated at this workshop.

Over the past few months, Random Assessment surveys have been conducted to find out the number of open defecation areas in North Kordofan State and Monitoring visits have been carried out to discover the number of drainage & sewage treatment stations, and domestic discharge systems in Khartoum State. In this way, we are monitoring the progress our government is making to keep its commitments and ensuring that decision makers know they will be held to account on promises.

Our message to the decision and policy makers: Please Keep Your Promises, and be committed enough. CSOs and the public have the right to hold you accountable.  So let us all work together for better decision making and sustainable development.

Hanan El-Amin Muddathir
Chairperson for Environmental Initiative Organization for Sustainable Development (EnvI), Sudan

Friday, 14 September 2012

Post-2015 Blog Week: 'Improving healthcare information is a matter of life and death' by Martin Carroll, BMA

Martin Carroll, Deputy Head of the International Department at the British Medical Association, highlights the importance of healthcare information in the post-2015 agenda. 

Clean, safe and available: three words which neatly sum up End Water Poverty’s vision. Clean water which does not carry life-threatening disease, safe sanitation which does not make water dirty, and both of these universally available. Earlier this year, a major step was made towards realising the vision.  UNICEF and WHO announced that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water had been achieved, well in advance of the 2015 deadline.

UNICEF claimed that the gains made demonstrated that MDG targets could be met with will, effort and funds. But it also acknowledged that the most difficult work lay ahead. 11% of the global population – 783 million people – are still without access to clean, safe drinking water and billions more have no sanitation facilities.

The post-2015 landscape offers the chance to develop a more inclusive and participative framework which can foster innovative and integrated approaches like those described in “Join Up, Scale Up”, a collection of case studies, published in 2011 by a group of six influential aid agencies, including EWP. The ‘interconnected’ nature of the MDGs has long been acknowledged: “Join up, Scale Up” showed how it could work in practice, with water, sanitation, nutrition, and education programs connecting and collaborating in a variety of combinations to achieve tangible results. The advantage of the integrated approach is that it can be adapted to suit a range of collaborations with other sectors and campaigns. Healthcare Information forAll by 2015 (HIFA2015) – of which End Water Poverty is already a member - is a prime example.

Like clean and safe water, the availability of relevant and reliable healthcare information is fundamental for health. Yet thousands of children, men and women die needlessly every day because their parent, caregiver or health professional did not know what to do or where to seek help.

Childhood diarrhoea, the biggest killer of children worldwide and frequently the result of unclean water and poor sanitation, is one area where ‘information poverty’ has a particularly significant impact. Evidence from India shows that 4 in 10 mothers believe that fluids should be withheld when their child develops diarrhoea, thereby tragically contributing to the risk of death of their own children; 1000 children are dying every day - in India alone - due to dehydration associated with diarrhoea. More than 90% of these lives could have been saved with basic life-saving interventions that are locally available but simply not provided due largely to lack of basic healthcare knowledge. HIFA2015 members report similar problems in Africa and other LMICs.

It is a typical example of a wider problem which HIFA2015 is addressing: healthcare providers’ information and learning needs are not being met. HIFA2015 is working to harness the experiential knowledge of its membership - 8000 individuals from 2000 organisations in 167 countries worldwide – to determine what those needs are, the barriers and drivers to meeting them and how to improve availability of relevant and reliable healthcare information in low- and middle-income countries. At the heart of the network is a group of solution-focused email forums in English, French and Portuguese, in collaboration with the BMA, WHO and many other health and development organisations. As I write this, a discussion is taking place on the main HIFA2015 forum about public understanding of the links between water and disease, and ways to promote and scale up effective solutions such as solar water disinfection, a simple procedure to disinfect drinking water, using UV-radiation to kill diarrhoea-generating pathogens. Join here:

The potential for HIFA2015 and End Water Poverty to integrate efforts and break the vicious cycle which claims the lives of thousands of children every day is clear. Success in meeting the challenges of the post-2015 world will depend upon the willingness of governments to provide political and financial support for powerful alliances like these.

Post-2015 Blog Week: 'Civil society is a vital part of the development process' by Yakub Hossain, VERC and FANSA

Yakub Hossain is the Deputy Executive Director of Village Education Resource Center (VERC) - a national NGO in Bangladesh, and the National Convenor of Fresh Water Action Network South Asia (FANSA) Bangladesh Chapter.

On the whole, the MDGs have been partly successful in Bangladesh. The water and sanitation situation has improved as an outcome of local and global initiatives, however, current progress rates on achieving the sanitation target is only 1.1% per year, yet in order to meet the target, we need 4% progress rates per year. At these rates, the WHO calculates that it will take until 2033 to reach the MDG target - this is not good enough. A recent WHO report also stated that the financial flows at both national and local government levels are less than 75% of needs as required for meeting the MDG targets.

The lack of funding for the Least Developed Countries, especially in Africa and South Asia, has been a big problem with the MDGs. Also, governments have not always used funds smartly, and there is a need for a more collaborative monitoring process in place.

We need a revised action plan in order to make progress with global development. One important issue which should be addressed in the new development framework is proper evidence of progress, certified by an international body. The national governments also need to be answerable to their people, and to the donor communities.

Another key area which needs to be addressed by the new development framework is to prioritize the countries that are lagging behind - they should be given more attention. Countries in South Asia such as Bangladesh have big needs - it is not just countries in Africa which need to be given greater priority.

In terms of sanitation and water, we definitely need a global goal to address them - without a clear global goal, we won't be free from the water and sanitation crisis.

The decision-making process for the new development framework should involve all the stakeholders, including the local people. My organisation, the Village Education Resource Center (VERC), has a good relationship with the government, and we use the mechanism of a forum with the highest body in the Ministry to communicate our views. At the country-level, government, civil society, and UN institutions should work together - civil society especially is a vital part of the development process.

Post-2015 Blog Week: 'Building our future, one girl at a time', by Joanna Hoffman, Women Deliver

 Joanna Hoffman is Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women. In this post she explains why women and girls must be at the centre of the post-2015 process, and invites you to join the Women Deliver global conference in 2013.

In just a few years, key international agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the International Conference on Population and Development’s (ICPD) Programme of Action will expire. Opinions about what will come next are mixed: some believe all health issues—including maternal health, child health, and HIV/AIDS—will be collapsed into one objective; others believe the MDGs should be extended; and others believe an entirely new framework will shape the path forward. 

Regardless of what is chosen, we are sure of one thing—girls and women must be at the center of development in 2015 and beyond. More than 215 million women still have an unmet need for modern contraceptives and 287,000 women around the globe die each year from complications arising in pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries and are entirely preventable.

Safe drinking water is a proven, life-saving solution to preventing maternal deaths, yet still at least 783 million people around the world lack access. Sepsis accounts for 15% of maternal deaths in developing countries. Contact with unsafe water can result in a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can weaken pregnant women’s immune systems, leading to potentially fatal complications.

Girls and women are the ones most affected by unsafe water, and by nearly all development challenges. Moving forward, it will be increasingly important to recognize the linkages between girls, women, and all development areas. Girls and women form the majority of the world’s poor and illiterate. In Africa, they account for 75% of those living with HIV/AIDS. They are also those most affected by toxic cooking fumes. 

Given these areas of intersection, it’s important that we now begin to work together across sectors, development fields, and the globe. Tackling the greatest obstacles to human and sustainable development require all hands on deck.

Saving women’s lives is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Healthy mothers are more likely to have healthy, educated children. More of their income goes to food, medicine, and other family needs, and their unpaid labor contributes up to one-third of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In short, when girls and women win, we all win. 

In an effort to mobilize strategic partnerships and bring the best and brightest minds together to save the lives of girls and women, Women Deliver is holding a third global conference this May in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We will gather over 5,000 civil society advocates, researchers, Ministers, journalists, Parliamentarians, private sector executives, and youth activists to call on world leaders to prioritize girls and women in 2015 and beyond. The conference will feature over 120 breakout sessions, high-level speakers, and a full day dedicated to discussion on the post-MDG framework. 

I hope you will consider joining us in Kuala Lumpur. Together, we will put the world on notice that girls and women are at the heart of development. They are, in every sense, the future of our world.