WaterAid at WEDC 2018: sharing knowledge on sustainable and resilient services

4 min read
Image: Moustapha with a record book next to a rain gauge near his compound, showing his work as a water monitor in the village of Sablogo, Burkina Faso. WaterAid/Basile Ouedraogo

Next week academics and practitioners working in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector will meet at the 41st annual WEDC (Water, Engineering and Development Centre) International Conference in Kenya. Monique Narracott, Programme Support Officer at WaterAid UK, highlights some of the WaterAid-led events to look forward to.

The WEDC International Conference is a great platform for WASH sector professionals to meet, share good practice and learn from each other through presentations, debates and discussions. This year it will run from 9–13 July at Egerton University, in Nakuru, Kenya. The five days will be packed with presentations and discussions, side events, capacity development workshops and networking opportunities, on the theme ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient WASH services’.

Exchanging ideas and knowledge will help us all to avoid duplicating work and gain valuable insight from each other, learning from experiences so we can continuously adapt and improve.

We will be covering a wide range of topics in our presentations and workshops, including:

•    Sanitation: communal toilets; rural sanitation approaches; city-wide approach; community-led total sanitation; urban sanitation

•    Service sustainability: community-based management, water security planning

•    Accountability and rights: human rights based approach – making rights real in India; accountability and rights-based approaches in the WASH sector

•    Partnerships: participatory planning for sanitation in small towns; partnering with women’s groups and disabled people’s organisations

•    WASH in healthcare facilities: case studies and examples from Mali, Ghana and Tanzania. For a taste of what to expect read Alison Macintyre’s blog on Transforming health systems with WASH

•    WASH in the private sector

•    Menstrual hygiene management

•    Equity and inclusion: WASH for marginalised groups in peri-urban areas; tackling inequalities through inclusive approaches in WASH programmes

Some highlights of WaterAid staff presentations are:

1.    A case study on communal toilets for sustainable sanitation, examining their operation, maintenance and finances in urban India, presented by Puneet Srivastava, Policy Manager (Urban WASH and Climate Change) at WaterAid India.

2.    ‘Can direct-benefit transfer fix the Swachh Bharat Mission? Findings from three districts in Madhya Pradesh’, presented by Kanika Singh who co-wrote the paper with VR Raman, Head of Policy at WaterAid India.

3.    ‘Using immersive research to understand rural sanitation: lessons from the Swachh Bharat Mission in India’, presented by Andrés Hueso, Senior Policy Analyst – Sanitation at WaterAid UK, who co-wrote with VR Raman and others.

4.    ‘Making rights real in India’, presented by Bikash Kumar Pati, Programme Coordinator at WaterAid India.

5.    Chanchal Kumar, Interim Head of Programmes at WaterAid Uganda (on secondment from WaterAid India) will present two case studies: one on limited community-led approach in implementation of the Clean India programme in urban areas; and the other on making sanitation accessible to all with the city-wide approach.

6.    Joseph Banzi, Senior Programme Manager Research and Knowledge at WaterAid Tanzania will present a case study based on experience from Tanzania on building partnership for participatory sanitation and hygiene planning.

7.    ‘Water security planning (WSP) for sustainable water resources management in West Africa’, presented by Felix Gbevillah, Programme Officer North at WaterAid Ghana

8.    Alassane Maiga, Head of Programme and Advocacy at WaterAid Mali, will present on integrating WASH and health sectors to help bring sustainable access to WASH in health facilities.

9.    ‘Making water services last: a community-based management model for service sustainability in Ethiopia’, presented by Tseguereda Abraham, Head of Sector Capacity at WaterAid Ethiopia.

We are also co-convening side events, including:

People-centred partnerships: the critical role for women’s and disabled people’s organisations in making WASH progress with Simavi.

Reaching the hard to reach: WASH research for vulnerable groups in peri-urban areas with SHARE Consortium/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Centre for Infectious Disease Research, Zambia, and Great Lakes University of Kisumu.

Accountability and rights-based approaches in the WASH sector: what works and what doesn’t? With Rural Water Supply Network, Simavi, End Water Poverty, Water Integrity Network, Water Witness International, ISF-UTS.

Improving access to WASH in healthcare facilities with Ghana Health Service.

As part of the capacity development workshops we will participate in two capacity development workshops, delivered in collaboration with other development organisations. They will cover: adapting, combining and costing rural sanitation approaches, with Plan International and UNICEF; and tackling inequalities through inclusive approaches in WASH programmes, with WEDC and Practical Action.

...and we will present posters: 

•    WASH and the private sector and WASH in Health Centre Facilities – both presented by Abel Dugange, Director of Programmes at WaterAid Tanzania.

•    Priya Nath, Equality, Inclusion and Rights Advisor will present Jane Wilbur’s research Disabling Menstrual Barriers: Key formative research findings from her secondment to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Being part of the WEDC Conference is a great opportunity to share experiences and lessons on issues around WASH. We look forward to expanding our perspective and improving our ways of working and planning to be more effective in our work towards transformational change.

Keep up with the action at WEDC – follow #wedc41 on Twitter.

Papers and publications will be available after the event on the WEDC website and WASH Matters.