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Published on: 07/07/2020

Wednesday 15 July at 0800 EST | 1400 CET | 1500 Addis Ababa

Organised by IRC and SNV as members of the SWA Research and Learning constituency, the Forum will focus on inequalities in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) service levels, the COVID-19 response and the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening inequalities in WASH, between those with and without access to services, and between those with better and worse levels of service. Those without or with low quality services, are less able to implement basic COVID mitigation measures such as frequent handwashing with soap, social distancing and cleanliness. Relief to households is more easily extended through utilities to those with relatively better services. 

This panel discussion and interactive networking session, focuses on experiences during the crisis in low-income country contexts, explores how inequalities in WASH play out in this pandemic, why the SDGs are more relevant than ever and what we should do in the short and medium term.

While improving hygiene and practising social distancing is difficult for many of us, it is harder for people with low service levels, or using communal or shared WASH services. It is a challenge in rural areas and low-income urban settlements, and within those areas even more so for women and people with disability.

Measures so far for the WASH sector have been focused on waiving bills or providing guarantees against disconnection. Furthermore, a range of handwashing stations have been placed, hygiene promotion for handwashing has intensified and soap and disinfectant has been distributed. 

All this is resource intensive and has limited durability, but most importantly, it does little for the coping capacity of people with no services, or shared services or who face difficulty using these services. If we are serious about reducing gaps, we need to prioritise household level access much more - in compliance with the SDGs - stop taking limited services as the norm, and seriously invest in high quality well-managed communal facilities where there is no other option.

The panel will be moderated by Vida Duti, Country Director, IRC Ghana. 
Opening presentation by Antoinette Kome, Global Sector Coordinator for WASH, SNV. 


  • Mr. G. Mathi Vathanan, Principle Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha, India 
  • Mrs. Rama Dhakal, Vice-President of the National Federation of the Disabled, Nepal 
  • Ms. Cucu Saidah, Disability Inclusion Advisor, CBM Indonesia, 
  • Mr. Arnauld Adjagodo, Advocacy officer, IRC Burkina Faso 
  • Mr. Godfrey Byarughaba, WASH Specialist, Ministry of Water and Environment, Lira, Uganda 

Closing reflections by Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO, Sanitation and Water for All.

This discussion will be held on Zoom in English with live interpretation in French.

Invitation with link and password for Zoom

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