Looking back and forward on an eventful year

Article: 22.12.21, Worldwide

It is safe to say that we didn’t expect 2021 to be much like 2020! But it was. Nonetheless, we have all tried to make the best of it yet again. We have done so much, together! And that in the midst of another year of (partial) lockdowns, working from home and for many a struggle to make ends meet.

Let's reflect on a few highlights that we couldn't have done without our supporters, partners, team and of course, the women and girls in Africa and Asia.

Simavi, a new direction

In our nearly 100 years of existence, we still, as an organisation learn every day. And we seek to what our added value is in this world. Whilst contemplating what this added value is, we know the world is facing two large global crises; the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

The women and girls facing gender inequality

Together, they deepen inequality, and disproportionally affect women and girls. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on women and access to water and sanitation and the effect of climate change on women and girls is huge. 

They are already often facing structural inequalities, due to their disproportional share in unpaid and care work, such as managing the household water resources and working on the land. Therefore, the impact and the burden of these crises' rests mainly on the shoulders of women and girls.

Redefining our strategic direction: access to water and sanitation for women and girls

Against this background, Simavi started a development process and redefined its strategic direction, resulting in the conclusion to focus our work on our core expertise area: the human rights to water and sanitation (HRWS) of women and girls. 

Simavi has years of experience in prioritising women and girls’ needs and enhancing their access to water, sanitation and hygiene and we feel confident we can add value in this area and together with like-minded organisations, can make a lasting change in the lives of women and girls.

Meet the Movers and Shakers

WASH First – 'Because doing nothing was not an option'

THe WASH First programme is a first line of defence against Covid-19 through awareness raising and improved access to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) services. The programme ran throughout 2020 and 2021 and ended in November, though it is evident that the need for investment to access to water, sanitation and hygiene remains. 

The Movers & Shakers

To raise awareness for the programme and the need for this further investment, Movers & Shakers was created.

During these very challenging times, it takes a certain kind of soul to bridge the gap between the possible and the impossible. Those among us who inspire, persevere and see the silver linings. Those with the courage to understand suffering but face it head-on, who work vigorously to make the world a better place. Movers & Shakers is about those people. We urge all of you to listen to their amazing stories

The second edition of HER Film Festival, connecting women worldwide

We are immensely proud of the 2nd edition of the HER Film Festival that kicked-off on 14th October 2021. With HER Film Festival, Simavi and partner Cinetree, draw attention to equality for women worldwide. 

Sharing stories of powerful women

The festival shares stories of powerful women because we believe entire societies benefit from empowered women and that their voices and stories should be heard. The HER Film Festival is a great opportunity to enjoy amazing movies and to get inspired by powerful women. 

HER Film Festival in 2022

We we will bring the festival back to the screen in 2022, so, stay tuned on simavi.nl/herfilmfestival for more information or subscribe to our newsletter.

The renewed Dutch Walking for Water: everything about water! An interactive learn and do progamme for kids between 6 and 12 years old.

NEW! Walking for Water

With our Walking for Water programme, we aim to teach kids everything there is to know about our own water and that of kids in other countries, through an interactive programme. Everything is covered; drinking water in the Netherlands, washing your hands correctly and, how to save and use water responsibly. 

Refreshed look and introducing splashing new educational elements

This year, we completely renewed the teaching programme in which presenters Dieuwertje Blok and Eva Cleven bring the action to the classroom! They challenge students to participate in informative water experiments, there is an Escape Game and they encourage students to write a hand-washing rap.

The programme ends with a sportive challenge: together, students walk six kilometers to raise funds for their peers in countries where they don’t have, or only have limited access to clean water.

Coming up: Walking for Water - the family edition

In 2022 we will introduce the first family edition for Walking for Water. Complete with an exciting location for the sportive challenge, and of course an interactive programme where kids between 6 and 12 years old can learn everything about water. 

Want to know more about Walking for Water or join the challenge as a class or family? 
Learn everything about Walking for Water on the Dutch website.

Human Rights Lecture Series

Our work at Simavi is women-centred, we aim for sustainable change and we put human rights at the heart of our work. We want more people to get involved with Human Rights and use their voice to influence human rights monitoring processes. That's why we - in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Law School) - developed a lecture series on human rights.

The Human Rights Lecture Series were launched on December 9th with the interactive online event 'Make human rights mechanisms work for WASH'. 

Want to learn more about Human Rights and the series? 
Take a 7-step journey (each video between 15-20 min) in understanding human rights and engaging with human right mechanisms by watching the lectures.

World Water Week 

As many events, also this years World Water Week was held as a full-scale digital event on 23-27 August. The theme was Building Resilience Faster, with a focus on concrete solutions to the world’s greatest water-related challenges. 

Hundreds of visitors from all over the world enjoyed sessions and workshops over seven days and the highlights and insights of World Water Week 2021 are numerous. 

Simavi is proud to have been able to meet so many people and share stories from our work, that of our partners, and the people we work with. We shared information about our programmes WASH SDG and WASH First. If you have missed it, don’t worry. You can re-watch several sessions here.

Oh and have your listened to the WASH SDG - voices from the field podcasts yet?

A Bloody Important Message to the Dutch government

On Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021 we raised awareness for menstrual health world wide with our Bloody Important campaign. We raised over 14.000 signatures to back our Bloody Important Message and as a result the Dutch parliament adopted the resolution therefore asking political commitment for menstrual health.

Thank everyone, and you! 

Although it was not the easiest year, we are proud of the accomplishments we have made together. We encourage you to have a further read on our renewed website: simavi.nl

Help and contribute to solutions for the water crisis.

What you can do