Reaching the urban poor: WaterAid at the African Water Association Congress 2018

2 min read
Image: WaterAid/Tara Todras-Whitehill

How is WaterAid helping to build urban water utilities' capacities to reach poor and marginalised people? At the African Water Association (AfWA) Congress this month, we will be discussing and sharing examples of how African utilities can reach more people in cities and small towns.

The AfWA Congress is a technical and political forum for discussing development of Africa’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, attended by water utility managers. It is a unique opportunity for WaterAid to learn about African decision-makers’ concerns and ambitions around water and sanitation.

Held this year in Bamako, Mali, from 11–16 February, the theme is ‘Accelerating the access to sanitation and water for all in Africa amidst climate change’.

Utility capacity building

Building on the conversations we began at the 2016 congress, on 14 February we are hosting a side event on utility capacity building models and initiatives. We will present different models by which utilities in Africa can increase their capacity and thereby improve their network and reach more customers, especially the poorest.

At the side event presenters will introduce their utility partnership models, including the ITP-SUWAS training programme in Uganda, the partnership between Yorkshire Water (UK) and WaterAid for the 20 towns capacity development in Ethiopia, and a Global Water Operators Partnership Alliance (GWOPA) -supported partnership between Uganda and Zambia focused on low-income customer service units.

In addition to the side event, WaterAid delegates will present papers on:

  • Urban sanitation planning and experiences of inclusive urban sanitation.
  • Experience of low-cost sanitation solutions for low-income communities from WaterAid India.
  • How the human rights to water and sanitation can be a powerful tool for local institutions responsible for water and sanitation services.
  • Vulnerability to climate change assessment at district level in Burkina Faso.
  • Sanitation experiences in both urban and rural Burkina Faso.

We are excited to be part of the congress and share experiences with utility professionals who are passionate about urban water and sanitation issues. We look forward to supporting them in growing their understanding of pro-poor WASH service provision, and to widening our own perspective and improving our knowledge.

We will be reporting back after the congress to share highlights and WaterAid delegates' presentations.