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Published on: 31/08/2018

On the closing day of Stockholm International Water Institute's (SIWI) World Water Week (SWWW), we are sharing takeaways of IRC and partners, collected by the IRC communications team at SWWW (Vera van der Grift, Sára Bori and Dechan Dalrymple). Have you missed our blog on the first two days? Read it here.

This time we have divided the reactions of our colleagues according to the following themes: WASH systems, sanitation, social inclusion, accountability, monitoring & evaluation and safe water from a business perspective.

As Andrea Erickson-Quiroz of The Nature Conservancy at the closing plenary also emphasised, "we need to break down the complexity of WASH and make sure our messages are simplified and reach people across sectors". At IRC we aim to continue initiating and participating in WASH dialogue effectively so that we can together move faster towards reaching SDG 6 - safe water and sanitation for all!

WASH systems

Strong WASH: The Essential Element for SDG 6 Achievement 

SIWI sofa

Angela Huston: It was really exciting to hear from very different perspectives—having a donor perspective by Maria Ella Lazarte - Sr. Water and Sanitation Advisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development, our CEO Patrick Moriarty and Dr. Callist Tindimugayathe Commissioner of Water Resources Planning and Regulation, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda all talking about shared challenges. All of them were speaking out about the need for collaboration at different levels. It was exciting to hear such leadership from the commissioner, to hear his call to other governments to focus on building capacity and emphasising how NGOs, donors and other key players in the country can find their place within the government's strategy.

Vera van der Grift: This conversation clearly brought up a very strong need for continued collaboration and the inevitable need to work with government if we want to achieve the set SDGs. According to Dr Callist we need to harmonise our approaches getting away from the solo approaches - in the provision of WASH services.

Click here to watch the live stream of the session. 

Why can't a tailor fly a plane?

Why can'T a tailor fly a plane

John Butterworth: This session on Wednesday afternoon was co-organised with UNICEF Ethiopia and the Ministry of Water. But in this case the planes were multi-village piped water schemes. The session focused on the need for professionalisation to run such schemes well and ideas for piloting Ethiopia's first rural water utilities. What I really liked was that most of the speaking here was from government. Well done UNICEF for pulling this session together.

Janni Baekkelund Nielsen: I am glad to have attended this session. What particularly stayed with me was the enthusiasm of the State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity in Ethiopia for launching the One WASH tool. It's good to see such reactions and commitment from government representatives. 

Find out more about this session here


Beyond Toilets: Moving to ODF+ in Indian Cities


Ingeborg Krukkert: I really liked this session because WSUP and the CEPT University's work in India is also very much based on systems thinking. They focus on several building blocks, such as finance, monitoring, policy and legislation and by doing so are able to reach a very large number of people. In one of the states they're working - Maharashtra - we're talking about more than 50 million people. With a solidarity based tariff system they are making the system work in an equitable way.

Find out more about this session here

Accountability for scaling market based sanitation financing

Lydia Birra: This session was very interesting because it talked about how private sector organisations in Kenya are using corporate social responsibility models to support WASH development. Their approach is not pro-profit but pro-poor. What I'm taking home to Kabarole district, Uganda from this session is to make sure we invite the private sector, government and banks to a stakeholder meeting where we discuss the opportunities around incorporating such an approach in their work.

Find out more about this session here

Social Inclusion

Report Launch: Socially Inclusive WASH Programming

Social inclusion

Erma Uytewaal: As a coordinator of this study, I am very happy to see that we've been able to elevate this report to this level and present the results at the World Water Forum. As Sara Ahrari from Simavi very nicely highlighted, this is work in progress, but the document already serves as a useful resource. It is rich in methods and tools which are already being used by different organisations to enable social inclusion in the implementation of WASH projects and programmes.

Although many organisations have something around social inclusion in their policies and strategies, the big challenge remains how to apply them in practice. I think that this resource document can bring us a little bit further. It gives some insights on the tools and methods that work, but it also outlines what needs to be done to improve. The talk really emphasised that social inclusion cannot be seen as an afterthought or an add-on. It is a precondition to a sustainable project and to ensuring that no one gets left behind. Without social inclusion we cannot meet the SDGs.

For more information about the report and session click here

Accountability for SDG 6

Global Review of National Accountability Mechanisms for SDG6: Launch event


Catarina Fonseca: Accountability is still not fully understood by the sector. There is a general lack of awareness of the legal obligations and the legal spaces that exist to hold governments, duty bearers and service providers accountable for the gaps in progress for meeting the SDGs. This means that we are really missing out on the critical role civil society can play in questioning the status quo and demanding the change we want to see.

We are already beginning to see the positive impacts of the study. Fortunately Wilhemina Malima from WSSCC was present. As a representative from a CSO in Tanzania involved in the study, Wilhemina was able to share how CSOs are using the findings to push the discussion of SDG 6 accountability with government and with other CSOs in the country. The government for example has already committed to the voluntary SDG review next year. These positive developments are exactly what we want to see. Our hope is that with more time, issues of accountability are brought to the fore and we begin to see a civil society emboldened by its ability to follow-up on duty bearers.

For more information about the report click here

Monitoring & Evaluation

Are national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems necessary for the SDGs?

Ingeborg Krukkert: This session of IRC associate Nicolas Dickinson made clear that it is important to build on existing monitoring systems, but also that we should focus on who is listening. It's not about monitoring for reporting, but monitoring for action, which is something that really resonated with me.

Through this research on M&E systems, they really tried to include a couple of indicators which trigger constructive conversations around achieving the SDGs with parties such as water utilities, governments and other stakeholders. It not enough to simply say that there's no service—that's not helpful. More details and specifics initiate discussions and facilitate the development of appropriate solutions and can lead to improvements the overall situation.

I also really liked how the M&E report is also available in French. This makes sense since a lot of the work is based in West Africa, but more broadly this represents a nice link with the Francophone world. We often have difficulties connecting the Anglophone and Francophone spheres of WASH knowledge and this research represents a bridging of those two often separate spheres.

Ultimately, this session emphasised that it's not about a system or a piece of software—it's really about building partnerships, it's about trust.

For more information about this presentation click here

Safe Water

The Antenna foundation together with it partners launches the Safe Water Business Perspective toolkit


Vera van der Grift: Antenna Foundation and its partners have created the Safe Water Business Perspective with over 40 thematic factsheets paired with real-life case studies to support NGOs, entrepreneurs and impact investors in scaling up safe water business approaches in a sustainable way. This toolkit was launched at an interactive event organised during the SWWW at the SWISS partnership pavilion. The new Safe Water Business Perspective toolkit is meant to support small businesses in the initiation and building of the business. It shows the 4-stage business life cycle which allows social enterprises and NGOs to create innovative business models and market-based initiatives.

Click here for the Safe Water Toolkit. 



At IRC we have strong opinions and we value honest and frank discussion, so you won't be surprised to hear that not all the opinions on this site represent our official policy.

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