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Skat Foundation, Water Mission and Aguaconsult are members of a consortium led by The Aquaya Institute that has been awarded a five-year, $18.9 million Cooperative Agreement from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the Rural Evidence and Learning for Water (REAL-Water) program. REAL-Water will evaluate strategies for expanding access to safe and sustainable rural water across the developing world.
Eight out of ten people without basic water services live in rural areas. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires a thorough understanding of rural water supply challenges and solutions.
The Rural Evidence and Learning for Water (REAL-Water) program will support research on three primary topics:
1. Professionalization of rural water service delivery
2. Strengthening of water quality monitoring in rural areas
3. Improved planning for water resources
REAL-Water will support policy makers, development partners, and service providers to make strategic decisions and implement best practices for water management through implementation research. It will also ensure coordination with related USAID programs that contribute to the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and Water Resources Management (WRM) knowledge base, in alignment with the USAID Water for the World Implementation Research Agenda.
REAL-Water is an initiative of the Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene (CWSSH) in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security with support from the Office for Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health.
Autonomisation des femmes par le biais d’activités d'approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural : Un guide pratique par et pour les praticiens du Réseau d’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural (RWSN) combine les apports et les exemples des ingénieurs avec le langage et l'expertise des spécialistes des thématiques de genre, et vise à faire le pont entre ces deux mondes. Le guide est le résultat d'un processus de co-création avec les membres du RWSN (atelier virtuel, e-discussion, édition d'une première version du document) et d'une consultation avec des spécialistes des thématiques de genre tout au long du processus pour s'assurer que le produit final équilibre à la fois les concepts clés et le jargon des spécialistes, ainsi que les contributions et les besoins des praticiens. Le guide est désormais disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.
The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) is a leading global knowledge network on water and development.
RWSN needs to be ambitious, responding to real needs at local and global levels; reaching as many rural water practitioners as possible; connecting, inspiring, and motivating; building capacity and knowledge; connecting people for joint learning and action; and supporting and amplifying the innovative and transformative work of our members.
This is an invitation to all those interested in rural water supply, and connected issues, to help us shape the future of the network over the next 10 years.
In 2021, for the third consecutive year, RWSN is running its mentoring programme for the water sector. Hundreds of our members have already participated in the RWSN mentoring programme in previous years. This year, it will be run slightly differently as we are using an online platform for mentors and mentees to be able to find each other directly, and we are expanding the “mentee” category to include all women in the water sector.
How does the RWSN Mentoring Programme work? Our mentoring scheme connects a mentor and a mentee in the water sector and is expected to last at least 6 months to help mentees at the beginning of their career or during a career transition. Mentors and mentees find each other via our online platform, and then maintain communication through Skype, WhatsApp, email, messages etc.
What are the benefits of the RWSN Mentoring Programme? To get an idea of the benefits of participating in the RWSN Mentoring Programme, you can watch this video where some of the 2019 RWSN mentees and mentors shared their experience, and read the blogs from some of our mentors and mentees from the class of 2020: Byamukama Arinaitwe (Uganda) and Engineer Oria-Usifo Ehi Ekiado (Nigeria); Joshua Azaki (South Africa) and Dr. Vassiki Sanogo (USA); Janvier Ngabo (Rwanda) and Nura Boru (Ethiopia); and Amanda Mugwambi (Zimbabwe) and Susana Sandoz (Canada).
Who is the RWSN Mentoring Programme for?
The 2021 RWSN Mentoring programme is open to all RWSN members and free of charge, thanks to the financial support of SENSE Foundation. If you are not yet a RWSN member, you can join RWSN here.
• Mentees: Young professionals under the age of 35 and women of all ages are eligible to be mentees. In the past, the mentoring programme aimed at matching young professionals under the age of 35 with more senior professionals in the water sector. This year, backed by popular demand and feedback from participants last year, we have expanded the mentee category to include not only young professionals but also women of all ages working in the water sector. There is no minimum level of experience required. Students are welcome to participate. Mentees who have participated in the RWSN mentoring programme previously in 2020 and 2019 are not eligible to participate as mentees again in 2021 (but they can participate as mentors if eligible).
• Mentors: There is no age requirement for mentors (senior professionals), but they should have a minimum of 5-7 years of professional experience in the water sector. We are looking for a range of mentors with different levels of experience and a variety of skills, so don’t hesitate to apply even if you feel that you may not be ‘senior’ enough. Mentors are welcome to participate in the RWSN mentoring programme as many times as they want.
• We strongly encourage women to sign up both as mentors and mentees, as they are currently under-represented in our membership and in the sector more broadly – and we would like this to change!
Interested and want to join as a mentor, mentee, or both? Read our guidance document first (in English, French or Spanish) to check that you understand your role and are eligible, and then sign up through our online platform (register at the bottom of the page). You may find these guidelines helpful to navigate the online platform. The number of participants of the RWSN Mentoring Programme is capped at 300 this year, on a first-come, first-served basis – so sign up early to avoid disappointment!
• As primary providers, managers, and users of water, women are in an ideal spot to help drive productive change in the design and maintenance of water and sanitation systems, distribution, and policymaking.
• When women are included in decision-making on water, sanitation and hygiene issues, services tend to be more accessible and sustainable
• Water and sanitation are the important entry points to build national and local government capacity to meet the needs of women and girls.
• En tant que principales pourvoyeuses, gestionnaires et utilisatrices d’eau, les femmes occupent une position idéale pour contribuer à un changement productif dans la conception et la maintenance des systèmes d’approvisionnement en eau et d’assainissement, de la distribution et de la définition des politiques.
• Lorsque les femmes sont incluses aux prises de décisions sur les questions d’eau, d’assainissement et d’hygiène, les services sont généralement plus accessibles et durables.
• L’eau et l’assainissement constituent des points de départ importants pour donner aux gouvernements nationaux et locaux la capacité de satisfaire les besoins des femmes et des filles.
• Como principales proveedoras, administradoras y usuarias de agua, las mujeres se encuentran en un lugar ideal para ayudar a impulsar un cambio productivo en el diseño y mantenimiento de los sistemas de agua y saneamiento, la distribución y la formulación de políticas.
• Cuando se incluye a las mujeres en la toma de decisiones sobre cuestiones de agua, saneamiento e higiene, los servicios tienden a ser más accesibles y sostenibles.
• El agua y el saneamiento son un importante punto de entrada para desarrollar la capacidad del gobierno nacional y local para satisfacer las necesidades de mujeres y niñas.
This four-part series will share lessons learned from USAID partners focusing on innovative advances in approaches to operation and maintenance (O&M) of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure. Speakers will discuss their program's approaches to engineering, environmental, financial, and political-economy challenges, and aim to draw out important lessons that are more widely applicable. During this webinar series, attendees will learn more about:
Recent initiatives, advances, and thinking around community-managed WASH infrastructure and O&M
Innovative, locally-developed and sustainable solutions and new O&M resources such as guidelines and training courses
The ways in which O&M links with interventions focused on resilience, food security and integrated water resource management (IWRM)
Designing O&M systems that consider its impacts on women and youth
9:00 - 10:00 AM EST | Tuesday, March 2, 2021
USAID Lowland WASH Ethiopia
9:00 - 10:00 AM EST | Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Groundwater Management Institute, Southern African Development Community (SADC)
9:00 - 10:00 AM EST | Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Chris Hani District Municipality, South Africa
9:00 - 10:00 AM EST | Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Nobo Jatra Resilience Food Security Activity, Bangladesh
Skat Foundation is looking for a part-time co-moderator of the RWSN online platforms from the Global South. The post will be a consultancy or paid Internship position in the RWSN Secretariat. If your application is successful you will receive a contract up to 31 July 2021 (containing about 1-2 days per week) which could be extended until the end of this year and beyond if performance is good.
We are delighted that RWSN has been accepted as UN-Water Partner at the recent online meeting of the partnership on 30th September. For our network we see this as an important step for the following:
(1) Keep informed on SDG (6) progress and how rural is (or is not) being tackled across the United Nations family of organisations
(2) It provides a pathway for informing UN processes and organisations about rural water issues, for example the annual World Water Development Report, and the corresponding World Water Day & Week in 2022 will focus on groundwater, which is a topic that RWSN has much to contribute. Being a UN-Water partner we can now contribute to that drafting and consultation process that sets the agenda for water sector.
(3) It strengthens our existing relations with RWSN’s UN partners, particularly UNICEF, WHO and UNHCR, but also may open up new opportunities for rural water across the UN family that we hadn’t previously collaborated with.
Finally, we would like to encourage RWSN members to share examples of rural water supply work through the SDG 6 Action Space as inspiration for other organisations and networks. The official hashtag tagline for sharing SDG 6 actions is Let’s get #Goal6 on track!.
Chers et chères collègues de RWSN, les 4 mois qui se sont écoulés depuis le dernier Bulletin ont été riches en événements pour RWSN.
Il est désormais évident que le covid-19 sera parmi nous pendant longtemps et qu’il y a besoin d'eau pour rester en sécurité. Pourtant, alors que les pressions sociales, économiques et sanitaires de la pandémie aggravent les inégalités existantes, il n'y a toujours pas de signe suggérant un investissement à long terme, nécessaire pour assurer la durabilité des services. Le 28 juillet marquait le 10e anniversaire de la reconnaissance du droit humain à l'eau et l'assainissement par l'Assemblée générale des Nations unies. Dans sa déclaration pour l’occasion, le rapporteur spécial des Nations unies a conclu : "Sur le plan positif, la communauté internationale est consciente qu'elle a l'obligation, tant morale que juridique, de garantir l'accès à l'eau potable et à l'assainissement pour tous, sans discrimination (...) Toutefois, sans une augmentation rapide et considérable des efforts actuellement consacrés à l'eau et à l'assainissement, et sans une meilleure compréhension des changements juridiques et politiques qu'exige une approche de l'eau et de l'assainissement fondée sur les droits humains, la communauté internationale ne pourra pas tenir les promesses ambitieuses qu'elle a faites" (traduit de l’anglais). La dernière série de webinaires de RWSN s'est concentrée sur le droit humain à l'eau alors que de plus en plus de praticiens cherchent à utiliser les engagements en matière de droits humains comme levier de progrès.
Le point positif est que la pandémie a engendré un besoin urgent pour les agences et les praticiens de collaborer et trouver des solutions. RWSN a soutenu de nombreuses discussions par le biais de webinaires et forums en ligne, ses membres apportant un large éventail de compétences, expériences et perspectives aux défis posés par le covid et le changement climatique. Une étape importante a été la conclusion des recherches d’UPGro, ayant produit une quantité considérable de connaissances-clés sur le potentiel des eaux souterraines en Afrique et sur la manière de les exploiter, en particulier pour les pauvres. C’est le résultat d'une longue collaboration entre institutions du Nord et du Sud, avec RWSN comme knowledge broker. Entre-temps, une riche discussion sur la décolonisation des connaissances WASH a débuté au sein du groupe LNOB, déclenchée par le mouvement Black Lives Matter. Les déséquilibres de pouvoir institutionnalisés entre experts en eau du sud et du nord, et la valeur différente accordée à leur expertise, ont été exposés. Ces dynamiques sont dommageables en elles-mêmes et compromettent la viabilité des solutions développées. Je vous encourage tous à participer à cette discussion et à contester la discrimination systémique qui limite le potentiel de l'apprentissage collaboratif.
Le rôle de RWSN n'a jamais été aussi important pour relever les défis multidimensionnels liés à la garantie d'un approvisionnement durable en eau pour les populations rurales.
28 July marks the 10th anniversary of the recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation. 10 years and 12 resolutions later, this blog answers common questions on the legal status of water and sanitation as human rights in international and national law.
Le 28 juillet marque le 10ème anniversaire de la reconnaissance des droits humains à l’eau et à l’assainissement. 10 ans et 12 résolutions plus tard, ce blog répond aux questions les plus courantes sur le statut juridique de l’eau et de l’assainissement en tant que droits humains dans le droit international et national.
El 28 de julio se cumple el décimo aniversario del reconocimiento de los derechos humanos al agua y al saneamiento. 10 años y 12 resoluciones más tarde, este blog responde a preguntas frecuentes sobre el estatus legal del agua y el saneamiento como derechos humanos en la legislación internacional y nacional.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is recognised a leading international development agency in the global water sector and one that is not afraid to challenge others and itself to reflect, learn and improve. So it is to be welcomed that SDC has made public an independent evaluation of the agency’s engagement in the water sector between 2010 and 2017, including the management response .
One of the main findings was that the continuity, long-term approach and flexibility of SDC were important factors behind the relevance, effectiveness and impact of SDC’s operations in water. We can relate to this finding because the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) and SDC have been partners since the network’s inception in 1992 (as the Handpump Technology Network) and the longstanding partnership has been mutually beneficial over the years thanks to that long-term view and flexibility.
It was pleasing to see in the evaluation report itself, several positive mentions of RWSN, which are worth highlight here because they illustrate the care and passion that our network’s Theme and Topic Leaders and Executive Steering Committee members, and my colleagues in the Secretariat, put in to making the network work:
• “RWSN – the network has recently been evaluated and represents a long-term investment into support global WASH. It focuses especially on the issue of sustainability thus addressing a major area of investment and a major issue in rural water and sanitation where the GPW has had the opportunity to add value in terms of building up a knowledge base.” (p84)
Also in relation to SDC promoting sustainability of water interventions:
• "SDC’s widespread support to knowledge, learning and exchange in the various networks helps to further harmonize and strengthen approaches to sustainability globally – for instance through its support to RWSN which has sustainability as one of its core themes”, (p47)
And on enabling and strengthening partners’ capacities to implement actions and to make the case using water actions to bring about and trigger transformative gender equality:
• “Networks could highlight positive case studies, develop position papers and show how equal access to and control of water resources has led to more sustainable results. An existing positive example is RWSN, which has a “Gender and inclusion” subtheme.” (p65)
Elsewhere in the evaluation report, RWSN is used as an exemplar for SDC networking to learn from, including on “active peer-to-peer exchange through the online platforms.” (p43); the importance of in-kind contributions from members from the network to drive vibrancy (p.43); and the value of our events, notably the 7th RWSN Forum in Abidjan in 2016 (p52).
The overall and detailed findings of the evaluation show that SDC Global Programme Water (GPW) is effective and efficient and it is great to see that many, if not all, the recommended changes are being addressed in some way through the formulation of its GPW Strategic Framework 2021-2024, was shared with partners for comment earlier this month.
Thank you to the GPW team for the continued partnership to achieve our shared goals of achieving universal access to safe drinking water, sustainable water management and poverty eradication.
Achieving universal access to safe drinking water is a good thing for many reasons, but for one of the biggest is improving health and wellbeing, and this is why water supply is generally grouped with sanitation and hygiene to form the WASH (or WaSH) sector. The current pandemic sweeping across much of the world has clearly demonstrated that access to safe water and improved sanitation is still not enough – without good hygiene behaviour, individuals put themselves, their families, and everyone they encounter at risk.
There is a lot of information available on the internet, but not so much that is that is directly relevant for those working in rural areas of low/middle-income countries. However, here are some suggestions of places to start (we will add to this list as we compile more - please send us any recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter):
In 2020, thanks to the financial support of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and World Vision, RWSN is launching a mentoring programme, aimed at matching young professionals under the age of 35 with more senior professionals in the water sector. The aim of this scheme is to help develop the new generation of water experts, and to ensure the knowledge and experience acquired by senior members of the RWSN community is not lost. This follows our first RWSN mentoring programme in 2019, where we matched 240 young professionals with senior experts from our network.
The requirements for being a mentor or a mentee are as follows:
- Mentees: mentees (junior professionals) should be under the age of 35 at the time of signing up for the mentoring scheme. There is no level of experience required. Students are welcome to take part.
- Mentors: There is no age requirement for mentors (senior professionals), but they should have a minimum of 5-7 years of professional experience in the water sector. We are looking for a range of mentors with different levels of experience and a variety of skills, so don’t hesitate to apply even if you feel that you may not be ‘senior’ enough.
- We strongly encourage women to sign up both as mentors and mentees. There are not enough women in the water sector, and in our network in general – and we would like this to change!
As always, feel free to contact the RWSN Secretariat for more information, and please share this opportunity with young or senior colleagues who may be interested.
Word from the Chair: Kelly Anne Naylor, UNICEF
While we are making progress, we are not at the last mile nor the finish line yet- Rural water champions are needed now more than ever!
Fundamentally, rural water supply is about ensuring the human right to water, leaving no one behind. While global trends show a trend towards urbanization, people living in rural areas continue to make up the large majority with no services at all and overall lower levels of service. Greater attention and deliberate action to close the gaps on inequalities between rural and urban and rich and poorest populations, and better address threats that a changing climate and water scarcity pose to rural water supply.
Beyond a human survival need, we need to make a stronger case that safe, sustainable and affordable water supply is an essential part of vibrant rural economy and standard of living. On recent field visits in Chad, Yemen, Niger, Mauritania, Ethiopia, and Myanmar, I saw firsthand how innovations in solar pumping for piped water supply networks are catalysts bringing not only higher levels of service through household water connections- eliminating long distances and waiting times at water points, but also creating quality jobs, local entrepreneurship, and power supply to communities- benefits far beyond the water itself.
After three years as RWSN chair, my term is coming to an end. This has been a dynamic time in the network with development of the RWSN strategy 2018-2023, updated Governance document, new initiative on Young Professionals, and continued active engagement with network members through webinar series, publications, and e-discussions. It has been an immense pleasure to work so closely with the highly talented and committed RWSN Secretariat team- Sean, Kerstin, Meleesa, Sandra, Elodie. Also, I would like to express sincere appreciation to Skat Foundation for being stable and continuously supportive hosts and to SDC for the long-term partnership and financial support to RWSN. The Steering Committee and Theme leaders truly bring together some of the greatest professionals in the rural water community that serve the sector in a spirit of collaboration, technical excellence and of course fun!
Last but not least, I want to Thank You – the members of RWSN who are the beating hearts of rural water supply, serving courageously in countries and communities around the world, working with dedication and passion to progressively advance the quality and scale of rural water services for the most vulnerable population. As the baton will pass to a new chair in 2020, THANK YOU once again for sharing this rural water journey and I am looking forward to actively participating in RWSN as one of over 10,000 rural water champions- la lutte continue!
Word from the Chair: Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF & Dr Kerstin Danert, Skat
The theme of the 2019 World Water Day, the United Nations World Water Development Report the World Water Week in Stockholm and the early 2019 RWSN webinar series was ‘Leaving No One Behind’. What do these words actually mean, and what are the implications for us rural water practitioners, as well as those funding the programmes and projects that we implement?
‘Leave No One Behind’ is stated in the UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 entitled: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Leave no one behind calls upon us to find out who has been excluded from service provision, decision-making and development; to find out why; to explore what can be done and to take action to ensure that people who have been marginalised in the past are included now, and in the future. Secondly, it is about joining hands across disciplines and ‘development themes’ to address gaps.
Let me try to illustrate the first point with a fictitious example: “Country X has witnessed rapid economic growth over the last two decades, leading to substantial improvements in the wealth and living standards of people in three of the country’s five regions. Meanwhile, the lives of the majority of people in the other two, predominantly rural regions have barely changed over fifty years. A sizable proportion of the population there are still living in extreme poverty and have no safety net. The gap in wealth between different parts of the country has widened, and, to make matters worse, the poorest people in the poorest regions have little voice, or influence in decision-making at national level. Leave no one behind calls upon government and partners, as well as funders to understand why these two regions have remained marginalised, to explore what can be done to address the imbalance, and to take action. Addressing spatial (geographical) inequalities as shown in the above example is just one example of taking action to leave no one behind. Depending on the context, inequalities manifest themselves in many dimensions, including, but not limited to gender, ability, age, ethnicity, cast and remoteness. There may also be overlaps.
The second point, about joining hands and working across development themes is well illustrated in the interlinked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practitioners may focus on SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, but drinking water is directly embedded within SDG 1 – No Poverty (basic services), SDG 5 – Gender Equality (time spent on unpaid domestic and care work and women in managerial positions) and SDG 4 – Quality Education (WASH in schools). These are all just as important as SDG 6.
This point was also highlighted in a recent evaluation of the Rural Water Supply programme of UNICEF: if we are to ensure that no one is left behind and fundamentally tackle rural poverty, we, as rural water practitioners need to consider move beyond the confines of drinking water and ‘the WASH world’. To transform people’s lives, water infrastructures need to cater for a wider spectrum of rural needs – domestic supply, household gardens, rural businesses and rural transformation as well as drinking water. We must address gender issues so that women and children no longer ‘do the work of a pipe’ as they spend large parts of their lives hauling water over long distances. We must ensure that people with disabilities are able to meet their water needs and lead dignified lives.
By the end of 2019, UNICEF will publish new guidance on equity in WASH. We hope that this will not only contribute to the efforts that you are already undertaking, but that it can inspire you to do even more to address inequalities. In the meantime, start asking questions about who is being left behind, as well as why and what can be done. Moreover, consider reaching out to colleagues and friends working on rural transformation, gender transformation, nutrition and education to see if there are ways that you can work together to leave no one behind in rural areas.
The focus for the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) in 2018 was the approval, by the RWSN Executive Steering Committee, and subsequent launch of the new RWSN Strategy (2018-2023); renewal of the co-funding agreement with SDC, and the development of the RWSN Young Professional Engagement strategy. The RWSN Executive Steering Committee also started a review of RWSN’s governance arrangements as recommended by the 2017 external evaluation of the network.
Membership of the network continued to grow - from 10,082 to 10,883 between January and December 2018, an increase of 8%.
RWSN also organised a number of thematic knowledge-sharing and networking activities, including an online course, webinars and e-discussions, and participated in face-to-face knowledge-sharing and networking events. Almost 1700 members participated in the RWSN webinar series, which included 29 weekly dedicated sessions in four languages. Recordings and related documents are available for viewing and sharing on the RWSN website and on video platforms.
RWSN also ran several capacity-building activities, including a successful online course on professional management of water well drilling (March-May 2018).
RWSN published the following in 2018, all available on the RWSN website:
- UNICEF and Skat Foundation/ RWSN (2018) Forage d’eau: vers la professionnalisation d’un secteur
- RWSN (2018) Social accountability for rural water services: Synthesis of e-discussion
- RWSN (2018) Inclusive Rural Water Supply Management Innovations: Summary of the Rural Water Supply Network’s Leave No-one Behind Group E-Discussion 12th November – 4th December 2018
Specific in-country activities include local capacity building initiatives for entrepreneurs in Tanzania and Zimbabwe and training on drilling supervision in Zambia.
Word from the Chair, Kelly Ann Naylor (UNICEF)
Accessibility. Availability. Quality. These are the three criteria that define a safely managed drinking water service under SDG 6.1. While accessibility and availability were known challenges for rural water supply services, the scale of the problem of rural water quality was not well quantified, until last year’s WHO/ UNICEF JMP Update Report 2017 put the water quality issue firmly on the map for rural water supply. While 73% of the world’s population drinks water free from contamination bacteriological and chemical contamination, only 55% of the world’s rural population - just over half - drinks safe water. Furthermore, estimates for water quality are only available for 45% of the global population. The JMP report notes that these data suggest that levels of compliance with drinking water standards are likely to be low in developing countries.
RWSN addresses many aspects of rural drinking water services, but there had not been a specific focus on water quality thus far. Given the importance of this issue for rural people, RWSN is proud to announce a new partnership with The Water Institute at UNC Chapel Hill to tackle the quality of water in rural water services. According to Professor Jamie Bartram (Director, The Water Institute at UNC), “this partnership will leverage the powerful RWSN platform and The Water Institute’s expertise in water quality and management to bring up to date evidence and methods to the members of the network. As a new Topic Leader in Mapping and Monitoring, The Water Institute aims to bring evidence and practice closer by facilitating lively discussion and producing practical guidance on Safely Managed Water.” You can find out more about this new partnership in the section below.
Accessibility and availability of drinking water also remain critical issues for rural populations. Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 8 out of 10 households with water off premises, and 263 million people use water supplies more than 30 minutes from home. Likewise, many rural water systems face operation and maintenance challenges that can leave rural populations with long downtimes when spare parts or skilled technicians are not available to make the repair.
RWSN’s Themes and online communities remain active on addressing Accessibility and Availability as part of the new strategy 2018-2023. The Sustainable Services Theme explores service delivery models to ensure continuity and quality of services. The Sustainable Groundwater Development Theme is concerned with the overall availability of the water resource itself, while the recently-launched topic on “Solar Pumping” allows exchange on advances in solar pumping technologies and field experiences of their use and management. The Mapping and Monitoring Theme is looking at how to reinforce in-country monitoring systems of water services. The Self-Supply Theme helps define the enabling environment that enables people to invest in and improve their own water systems. And cutting across all topics, the Leave No One Behind Theme emphasizes the need to have an inclusive approach to rural water, taking gender, disability, and marginalised populations into account to fulfil the human right to water.
Next year’s World Water Day theme will be “Leaving No One Behind.” Now more than ever, Rural Water practitioners will be on the forefront to take up this challenge and address these persistent inequalities so that rural populations everywhere can drink water that is safe, available when needed, and accessible close to home.
Africa is one of the regions most in need of innovative solutions for tackling water and climate change-related challenges; yet many parts of Africa are also suffering from the lack of water-related skills and capacity as well as wide-spread institutional fragmentation. In this context, RWSN is pleased to announce that it has signed an MoU with the AfriAlliance.
The AfriAlliance project, led by IHE Delft in the Netherlands, aims to better prepare Africa for future climate change challenges by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development.
RWSN and AfriAlliance will harness the power of our networks to share knowledge and connect research on climate and water issues, to enable cross-fertilisation of the AfriAlliance Action Groups and the RWSN thematic groups, and to build lasting networks in the water sector in Africa. We will explore the opportunities and conditions to jointly provide for strategic research and innovation for water and climate in Africa by specifically looking at how mandated African institutions can be supported to facilitate research and put innovation into use.
Rural population in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to continue growing for decades to come. In spite of urbanization, rural populations are not going to disappear. Both as individuals and as organizations, we need to spend more efforts in reaching out to the people in rural areas, and we need to come up with more diversified strategies to facilitate the delivery of services to these people.