Sanitation gains prominence at the 2022 World Water Forum

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If someone says cleanliness is next to godliness, they are simply referring to the idea that people have a moral duty to keep themselves and their surroundings, especially their homes, clean.

Clean water, toilets and good hygiene have been shown to keep people alive and healthy.

This is why access to clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices not only allows people, especially women and children, to thrive, but also gives them the space necessary to live a dignified life.

Statistics

Information from UNICEF indicates that 2.2 billion people worldwide still do not have access to safe drinking water and more than half of the world’s population does not have access to safe sanitation.

UNICEF also estimates that three billion people lack access to handwashing facilities with soap, and that 673 million of the world’s population still practice open defecation.

Lack of access to good sanitation management facilities and practices puts the lives of many people at risk, including the risk of death. Indeed, according to UNICEF, more than 700 children under the age of 5 die every day from diarrheal diseases due to the lack of appropriate WASH services.

Sanitation challenges

This is why sanitation issues continue to remain a topic of interest for many world leaders and stakeholders in the WASH sector.

Many developing countries, including Ghana, continue to struggle with the issue of sanitation and waste management. This situation has been compounded by rapid urbanization, which has put pressure on land for development by individuals and businesses.

In many cities in these developing countries, rapid urban growth has greatly exceeded the capacity of local authorities to provide basic services, including adequate drainage systems. Indeed, the authorities are overwhelmed by the situation due to the lack of transparency and accountability in governance.

Most of these towns, especially the poor neighborhoods, are characterized by poor roads, clogged sewers leading to flooding when it rains, and a general sense of neglected surroundings.

The challenging nature of sanitation issues is why the topic will be one of many WASH-related topics to take center stage at this year’s World Water Forum (WWF), which opens today at Darkar, Senegal.

World leaders and stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector are meeting in Dakar from 21-26 March 2022, under the auspices of WWF, to deliberate on key issues affecting the sector, namely (1) water security, (2) cooperation, (3) water for rural development and (4) the “Tools and Means” box including the crucial issues of financing, governance, knowledge management and development. ‘innovation.

The triennial WWF, which is in its 9th edition, is an initiative of the World Water Council (WWC). WWF is the world’s largest water event. This year’s event is themed: “Water Security for Peace and Development”. The forum has been organized every three years since 1997 by the World Water Council, in partnership with a host country. More importantly, it is the first of its kind to be hosted in sub-Saharan Africa.

Although the name of the forum, World Water Forum, naturally implies that it is a forum dedicated to water, there is also a sanitation component within the forum. Indeed, water and sanitation go hand in hand and sanitation remains a major challenge for many world leaders.

Golden Sludge Campaign

That’s why Speak Up Africa, a Dakar-based policy action and advocacy group, is taking the initiative to help African countries address these challenges and create an enabling environment for safely managed sanitation in Africa. Africa.

Speak Up Africa is a political action and advocacy group dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change and increasing awareness of sustainable development in Africa.

For example, Speak Up Africa will launch its Golden Sludge campaign on March 23, 2022 to build awareness, prioritization and political commitment through the implementation of equitable and inclusive sanitation policies in Africa.

The Golden Sludge campaign aims to increase political commitment to sanitation through the development and implementation of policies that integrate gender, equity, inclusion, clear roles and responsibilities and service levels along the value chain in Africa.

Similarly, the campaign also aims to build the capacity of civil society organizations, policy makers and the private sector to maintain an ongoing dialogue around sanitation policy change.

The Golden Sludge campaign also aims to help develop and disseminate sanitation advocacy tools, as well as support the creation of an enabling environment at the national level for safely managed sanitation, including the introduction new and innovative technologies to strengthen demand for inclusive services. and equitable sanitation policies.

Sanitation village

To further stem its efforts to ensure strong advocacy on sanitation issues in Africa, Speak Up Africa, is playing a key role in this year’s WWF ‘Sanitation Village’ concept.

The concept of the “Sanitation Village” is a unique creation at WWF this year intended to strengthen advocacy and action for the implementation of concrete responses to accelerate universal access to safe sanitation.

The establishment of the Sanitation Village is a major innovation in the World Water Forums since it is the first time in its history that this event will take place.

This particular innovation will serve to highlight, over time, the issues and challenges of sanitation as well as the institutional, technological, technical, scientific and cultural responses to sanitation throughout the world, particularly in Africa.

In addition, it will be a space for the Sanitation “Answers Forum” to call for strong actions to accelerate the implementation of regional commitments and the achievement of sanitation-related SDG6 targets.

As such, the Sanitation Village will be an integral part of the great exhibition of the 9th Forum and will be a space for advocacy, awareness, exchange and learning on sanitation and hygiene, promotion of innovations ongoing in terms of sanitation and mobilizing actors for the call to action.

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