Thursday, 21 February 2013

Launch of new World Walks for Water and Sanitation video marks a month until World Water Day!

A month tomorrow, on World Water Day, 22 March 2013, hundreds of thousands of people across the world will join together and take action to call for an end to the water and sanitation crisis.

To mark this, the World Water and Sanitation campaign have released a film to call on people everywhere to join this global movement for change.

Over 170,000 people are already planning walks in 25 countries from Bangladesh to Belgium, Nigeria to Nepal and Colombia to Cameroon. They are walking in solidarity with the millions of people – overwhelmingly women and children - who walk great distances each day to collect water for their basic needs and the billions who have no safe place to go to the toilet.

They’ll be calling on politicians across the globe to keep the promises they have made to get water and sanitation to the world’s poorest countries and communities. Politicians have made commitments at local, national, regional and global levels to end this crisis but many of these promises are not being kept, so now is the time to demand action.

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation is calling on people across the world to join in with the 170,000 campaigners already walking to call for change and get their voices heard.

Walking across the world

Details of some of the events already being planned include:

  • In Sierra Leone, over 2,500 people will be taking part in walks across the country, including in Freetown. The Minister for the recently established Ministry for Water Resources, Hon. Momodu Elongima Maligie, has been invited to attend. 
  • In Belgium almost 20,000 school children will be walking a collective distance of over 100,000 Km.
  • Over 10,000 people in Pakistan and over 20,000 people in India will be walking.
  • Liberia CSOs WASH Network is planning a three day sit-in and petition action at the Ministries of Health, Lands and Mines and Public Works. They’re planning to collect 15,000 signatures calling for promises to be kept.

A crucial campaign

Natasha Horsfield, a coordinator of the World Walks for Water and Sanitation campaign added, “We welcome all of the promises that politicians have made to end the water and sanitation crisis but we want to remind them that words are not enough!  We want to see these promises turned into action. It’s time to tell world leaders that it’s not acceptable for 2,000 children to be dying every day because they don’t have clean drinking water or a safe place to go to the toilet.”

Join the World Walks for Water and Sanitation!

We're calling on people across the world to join the thousands of campaigners walking to demand political leaders keep their promises on sanitation and water this World Water Day. Organise your own walk or join one near you. Find out more and register at

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Update: 114,270 people are already walking! Will you join them?

From Belgium to Bangladesh, and Pakistan to Peru, 114,270 people have already signed up to walk for water and sanitation around World Water Day 2013!

Walks for Water and Sanitation are already planned in 23 countries and are being organised by organisations such as the NGO WASH Forum in Zambia, Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation in Nigeria and Cirque du Soleil in the United States

Walkers are calling on governments take action to end the water and sanitation crisis which kills almost 2,000 children every single day. Politicians across the world have made promises to ensure that the world's poorest countries and communities gain access to safe water and sanitation - but many of these promises are not being kept. So, this year, campaigners are telling these politicians that words are not enough and that real action is needed.

This is a great opportunity for you to make your voices heard on an incredibly important issue, so if you haven’t already signed up visit to find out more.

We have created some fantastic tools for you to use when planning your walks, including a fantastic poster, which you can find in the Resources section of our site.  We also have a new widget which you can place on your own website to tell your supporters and partners about the campaign event and encourage them to organise their own walks.

So, sign up now and join us to make the World Walks for Water and Sanitation 2013 the biggest yet!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Children and youth in the post-2015 framework

Willice Onyango is chairperson of the International Youth Council. End Water Poverty supported him to attend the second High Level Panel meeting in Monrovia at the end of January. Here, he blogs about his experience:

The third meeting of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons took place in Monrovia between all members of the High Level Panel and seventy CSO representatives. The meeting took the format of a "town hall" event, where CSO members together with grassroots representatives shared evidence, perspectives, and recommendations on the topic of National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity and its sub-themes. This served as a framing conversation, also giving critical clarity to the vision and aspirations of ordinary citizens for the future.

This meeting has happened against backdrop of several youth consultations round the world since the second High Level Panel meeting in London. Two fundamental principles that underpinned the Youth Outreach High Level Panel meeting in London were inclusion of young people who have the agency to be the banner carriers of the new agenda and innovation that brings nuanced perspectives, fresh solutions and insights to persistent national and global challenges. There have been country youth consultations, online engagement, National Dialogues, Beyond 2015 Children and Youth Working Group and online discussions on addressing inequalities faced by children and young people on

As noted by Prof. Gita Sen during the CSO pre-consultative forum, the post 2015 agenda should give special attention to the most vulnerable people, in particular children, the youth and adolescents. The need for an inclusive framework where social inclusion and zero discrimination are key words can’t be over-emphasised. But even focusing on vulnerabilities is crucially unfair. We need to look at people's ability more than their disability if the post 2015 framework is to make a difference. People must be considered in the light of their potential more than seeing them as a burden.

The HLP have to not only hear the voices of the voiceless but clearly articulate them in their recommendations to be presented in April to the UN Secretary General.

As the largest demographic bar none, young people  will be the difference between success and failure of any global commitments made and it is incumbent upon the HLP to gather evidence from grassroots youth to frame, articulate and deliberate on a clear vision for the future that is informed by our needs and aspirations. They should  consult with youth to articulate and agree on key pillars of economic transformation, highlighting national building blocks for sustained wealth that provide us with the capacity to function. And they should create a specific platform to  voice our  perspectives.

Children and Youths visioning of post-2015

The HLP needs to consider developing a framework that addresses structural child poverty in various contexts and enables good governance and accountability around child rights and protection. In order for children to participate in the economic transformation, the new framework must prioritize initiatives that promote quality education, health care, reproductive health, information, adequate nutrition, appropriate services for children living with disabilities and must ensure that national governments provide budgetary allocations and are held accountable for the protection of children from all forms of violation and exploitation. The post-2015 
agenda should consider access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as  basic human rights that underpin health, education and livelihoods. The problems associated with lack of access to WASH impact on virtually all aspects of human development, disproportionately affecting the life chances of young people.

Youth unemployment considerably exacerbates the danger of major structural unemployment for many years to come. Unemployment is a huge inefficiency to both young people and to international society looked at in light of costs to governments, non state actors and lost potential wages. Youth as a dispossessed constituency is a threat to sustainable economy leading to a trigger for rising crime and social malfunction. There exists massive disparity of access between young women and adolescent girls for productive resources and prosperity.

Holistic international youth policies with national focus must therefore be founded on:

- The provision of more and better education, including formal education, informal education and vocational trainings; active and dignified insertion of youth in the workplace ensuring them a good wage and jobs as part of a career path, as well as liberty, gender equality, and security; the provision of career centers, knowledge exchanging facilities among youth nationally and internationally by the establishment of youth workers union and  social dialogue to facilitate a successful matching of labour demand and supply, to ensure successful programming and to foster youth hiring.

“Without young people’s ideas we the Panel would be missing the best hope for a successful set of goals.  Bring us your ideas.” Graca Machel HLP November 2012

Post MDGS should give power to children and  youth to Become Agents of Change

The post 2015 agenda must address the causes of structural and cyclical poverty among children in various contexts; good governance and accountability around child rights and protection; and enabling children to participate in economic transformation through initiatives that promote equal education for girls and  boys, health  care, sexual health, information,adequate nutrition, and services for children including those with disabilities or HIV,and protection of children from all forms of violence and exploitation including earlyand forced marriage.

Lastly, but by no means least, the framework must   realize  the potential  of the demographic  dividend through comprehensive youth policies that include provision of more and better education, support for young people to obtain decent and well/paid jobs, access to finance and knowledge to become innovators and entrepreneurs, as well  as the  ability of all young people, especially adolescents, to obtain comprehensive sex education, and sexual and reproductive services, and to empower and resource girls to prevent teenage pregnancies and violence.

If every voice truly counts then the voice of children and youth has to be heard in the development of the next set of global goals.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

First day of the High Level Panel meeting in Monrovia!

Prince Kreplah is the Chairman of the Liberia CSOs WASH Network. He is representing End Water Poverty at the second High Level Panel meeting on the post-2015 development agenda in Monrovia, Liberia. Here, he talks about his experience so far:

As the Post 2015 UN High Level Panel meeting is set to take off today, Monday 28 January, Africa wide, global and Liberian CSOs  have convened in Monrovia to agree and promote the civil society vision for the world. 

The civil society vision will be presented to the High Level Panel on 30th January 2012.  WASH civil society is very visible within these pre-meetings and and the great news is the Minister of Gender and Development of Liberia has added her voice to the call for the civil society vision to consider water and sanitation as a critical development issue that must be prioritsed by global leaders.

 The Liberia CSOs WASH Network is privileged to be represented by the National Chairman of the Liberia NGOs Network, John Jucon, and Prince Kreplah, Chairman of the CSOs WASH Network. These two representatives are working in collaboration with the WaterAid team and are focusing on amplifying WASH issues and lobbying other civil society colleagues to ensure the visibility of WASH in the civil society vision. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation Widget

The World Walks for Water and Sanitation Widget is now available! Its a great way to promote the campaign and to get others registering to walk or signing up to join the walk online. You can use it to create an easy link from your website or blog to the World Walks for Water and Sanitation 2013 website, including the walk registration form and Keep Your Promises page!

Just paste the link from the World Walks for Water and Sanitation resources page into your website and anyone who visits your page will be able to find out more about the World Walks for Water and Sanitation in one easy click.

 Don't forget to share the link with your contacts so we can make sure as many people as possible hear about the campaign and sign up! This year's World Walks for Water will be holding leaders to account on their WASH commitments and calling on them to keep their promises to improve access to clean water and sanitation. Help us make sure these promises are not left off track and unfulfilled by spreading the word to get even more people than last year joining the World Walks for Water and Sanitation 2013!

Friday, 4 January 2013

How disaster resilient is your toilet?

Claire Beck is a child health and nutrition specialist who has been working with World Vision for 11 years. With a strong background of emergency programme management in a variety of sectors, she is currently global team leader for health, nutrition and WASH in humanitarian emergencies.

The importance of having a private place to go to the toilet or wash yourself is a pretty basic instinct for all human beings. Have you ever thought what it would be like not to have this? Even in the poorest and most under-resourced communities there are systems in place that aim for sanitary practices and allow some dignity to remain for what every human being must do every day.

In my role as a health specialist for emergency situations I often experience conditions that deny people of this basic dignity. It’s hard to imagine unless you’ve experienced it. Maybe if you’ve been camping for a few days you’ve coped with digging a hole or washing in a stream, but doing this for weeks or even months, while forced to live in cramped and crowded conditions, is a very different scenario.

Enclosed latrines and clean water supply are often used as measures to calculate development, and so the vulnerability of this infrastructure to disasters, both natural and human induced, should also be part of the calculation. Even when there are sanitation facilities available they quickly become dirty and unhygienic as lots of people use them. They can also be unsafe to use due to bad construction, poor location, the wrong type for the situation or a lack of locks and screening. As a result people will stop using them – especially women and children – and they may as well not be there at all.

Given poor sanitation and limited water for washing in these emergency conditions, I am always on the lookout for rapid outbreaks of diarrhea, skin diseases, increased malaria and dengue fevers, even pneumonia, all of which could be prevented if the displaced communities had access to enough clean water, adequate sanitation facilities, disinfectant, soap and better messaging on how these diseases are spread.

It’s not only the displaced that face this problem in emergency situations. Earlier this year I attended an emergency response based on famine and food insecurity in Niger, where the rate of latrine usage is among the lowest in the world. We noted an alarming increase in cholera in some of the areas near the massive Niger River and could only put it down to the toilet habits of local communities. So we introduced crisis sanitation into the programme, working with the community health workers to identify causes and ensuring that every household had access to enough soap for their family to ensure hand washing at the critical times and water purification sachets so they could purify their water at home. In addition village committees turned their attention to the state of public toilets and began to take responsibility for disinfecting them daily.

What the residents really wanted long-term were latrines at household level. Given the threat of a further cholera outbreak, this seemed a reasonable request and I am pleased to report that work towards that goal was ongoing when I left. In fact, I would like to see household level toilets become the normal expectation for emergency response and prepositioned supplies. Using a toilet is neither a luxury nor an option. Nor are toilets particularly difficult to build given the right forward planning on what sort, how it will work and whether it will meet standards for protection from contamination, contagious diseases and invasion of privacy.

This is the sort of thinking that should be happening in advance of a disaster situation, so that children already facing extremely challenging health conditions can at least have a safe and sanitary place to go to the toilet.