Long Read
29 August 2015

Sharing expertise and experience at the 25th World Water Week

Leaders from all around the world gather this week for the 25th World Water Week in Stockholm to shape solutions to the water crisis. This year’s theme is Water for Development. Simavi is present to share our expertise and experience.

The programme of World Water Week 2015 consist of over 160 events and 8 workshops. During the 90-minute events, the most relevant topics relating to Water for Development are discussed, including Financing, SDGs, Gender issues, Climate Change, Energy, Sanitation, Food, Water Management.


Simavi’s WASH experts are participating in different workshops and events to discuss four important WASH topics. A picture impression and a short summary is given below.

A multi-track ‘non subsidy’ approach to create an enabling environment for WASH sustainability

Behaviour change is just as crucial in improving basic health as access to clean water and sanitation.

Behaviour change is just as crucial in improving basic health as access to clean water and sanitation. To create an enabling environment, Simavi ensures that stakeholders at community and governmental level are involved at the same time to enable change. We also embrace a non-subsidy approach in which we encourage communities to mobilise their own resources an purchase hardware (e.g. toilets and latrines) from local entrepreneurs. Micro-finance institutions and local governments are stimulated to enable the financing of WASH facilities. Local partners also undertake activities to convince local authorities and committees to invest in WASh facilities at schools, health centres and other public places.

Simavi’s Programme Manager WASH Saskia Geling explained this approach by presenting our Sanitation, Hygiene and Water (SHAW) programme in Indonesia. SHAW’s multi-track strategy implements both a bottom-up and a top-down process: we motivate and enable communities to change their behaviour and demand services, while working with district government to advocate the integration of STBM in the district development plan and budget for continuation.

People are empowered to adopt sustainable healthy behaviour and thereby increase the community’s demand for water and sanitation services. At this point we began a dialogue with the communities on how financial support for this can be found. These possibilities included lobbying at the district government, building low-cost sanitation facilities that the communities can fund themselves, or contacting other organisations that can provide facilities. To date, more than 1 million people have actually changed and sustained their WASH behaviour and practice, including contributing to construction of improved toilets, which is a great result. With this result, our local partners were able to lobby the local government to commit budget for continuation of the activities in more locations. Healthy practices among WASH are now deeply internalised in daily life.  Have a look at the presentation here.

Urban WASH in low-income communities in Dhaka

Improving WASH services in densely populated poor urban areas creates a standard of hygiene, healthcare and equality that allows every man, woman and child to live productively. Our Senior Programme Officer WASH  Sara Ahrari showed how we work towards a healthier future for people in slums by presenting our work in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Together with VEI, DWASA, DSK and DevCon, Simavi improves WASH facilities and practices for Dhaka’s low-income communities in a sustainable, replicabled and up-scalable way.  Communities are mobilised, organised and empowered to form a Community Based Organisation (CBO) that assumes responsibility for managing the water and sanitation facilities. In this model, the CBO enters a contract with the service provider, in which the service provider ensures continuous water provision to the communities. The  CBO itself is responsible for billing and collecting payment from individual households and transferring money to the service provider, ensuring community involvement and ‘ownership’ of the WASH services. View our presentation here.

Monitoring WASH in health centres and schools for sustainable results

Stronger advocacy for WASH in extra-household settings is needed to achieve sustainable impact on health.

In a joint session IRC and Simavi stated: “Access to WASH services aren’t only important in the home: to successfully improve bacis health, WASH services and education must be extended to extra-household setttings, like schools and health centres”. Simavi’s Public Affairs Officer WASH Roel Blesgraaf highlighted the importance of monitoring wash in health centres and schools for sustainable results. Stronger advocacy for WASH in extra-household settings is needed to achieve sustainable impact on health. Moverover, to ensure the monitoring of institutional WASH in the post-2015 development agenda a global indicator for WASH in schools, WASH in health centres as well as on hygiene should be included.

Social accountability as a driver for sustainable results

Simavi wants to empower communities to claim their WASH rights and implement sustainable, long-term services that can stop preventable diseases and deaths and boost social and economic development. We know from ninety years experience of that giving people a voice and advocating for WASH rights is a vital step in improving basic health for all. By working and communicating with each other, communities, authorities and service providers come together to break down social barriers and improve ineffective WASH policies. Simavi’s Director Programmes Ewout van Galen explained our social accountability strategies by presenting three examples: Budget Tracking, Community Engagement and Citizen Reports.

VIP Event: Accelerating WASH to increase impact

Realising access to water for 2,5 million people and access to sanitation for 5 million people, while declining costs per person.

The WASH Alliance International (Simavi, Akvo, IRC, Wetlands, WASTE and RAIN) launched its new Accelerating WASH approach: realising access to water for 2,5 million people and access to sanitation for 5 million people, while declining costs per person. You can watch the new Accelerating WASH film here. At the event WASH Alliance partners, governments and financial institutions shared their vision on accelerating WASH and the need for collaboration to make it a success. Pim van der Male, senior policy officer for water management of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was present to share his experiences and he reflected on the acceleration approach of the alliance.

“The Dutch government strongly supports the new approach of the WASH Alliance International. We have less budget for development cooperation, but this way we can still achieve more”, said Pim van der Male. “An additional advantage is that the system makes it easy for other financers, such as local governments or banks, to step in”.

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