Blog post written ahead of the Sanitation and Water for All Partnership Sector Ministers meeting by Civil Society Representative George W. Chaima, PhD, Country Director – New Restoration Plan – Malawi and Former SWA SC member for CSOs in Africa. Blog originally posted on the Sanitation and Water for All partnership website - 13 March 2016.
SWA is beginning to turn into a vibrant powerhouse for global partnership to engage and set up sustainable mechanism to achieve universal access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
The Meeting of Ministers of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene which takes place in Addis Ababa from March 15th to 16th March 2016 provides political space for dynamic knowledge generation, sharing and experience gain among stakeholders. I see this high level meeting as significant opportunity which offers a policy platform for community of practice to dialogue with policy makers, development agencies and other non-state actors on matters surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals and more specifically goal number six.
As a non-state actor institution, I will utilize the presence of my Minister of Water, Irrigation and Agriculture to engage directly with him and share some of the concerns and proposed solutions to water security challenges faced by the majority of the population in our country. I will strive to share with him and the delegation about the need to step up our efforts to improve rural and peri-urban drinking water access and availability of improved sanitation facilities, National Water Policy review, Adapting Support Strategies to Diverse context citing an example of failure to act appropriately on the offer by South Korean counterparts to support the Mulanje gravity-fed infrastructural development as a mechanism to overcome continuous challenges faced in the sector. Since the water, sanitation and hygiene sector is complex and in a state of change, I will try to enlighten the government to realise the need for the wider sector approach if we are to achieve goal number six of the SDGs. It is no secret that actors from national to community levels can jointly play significant roles and responsibilities as they interact in multiple ways.
At the end of the meeting, I am sure that everybody will realize that all actors including the CSOs have a role to play. We will further greatly feel the need to take responsibility for learning, to develop knowledge and capacities within our organisations for inter-institutional cooperation and sector learning to establish a framework for shared learning and for putting knowledge to use. The weave of diverse knowledge gain will translate into improved service delivery, spread innovation, and encourage approaches that respond to felt needs rather just being a rhetoric parlance. Eventually, it will be possible to live in a better world where inequalities are just but history.