What does End Water Poverty (EWP) do?
EWP is a global campaign coalition with the specific remit of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). We have a global membership made up of INGOs, national networks and small CSOs which join together to campaign for realisation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. This means we go beyond demanding just ‘access’ to water and sanitation as a function of charity or need, but we demand our right to water and sanitation that is accessible, available, affordable, acceptable and of good quality, and framed by equality, non discrimination, participation and all other human rights principles. We do this by a number of ways, for example mobilisations we facilitate around World Water Day in the ‘World Walks’ campaign (the largest worldwide mobilization for universal access to water and sanitation), or through advocacy focused on ensuring the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) are in line with human rights.
Why are you gathered here in Nepal?
Every year we hold an annual planning meeting so our steering committee members, who guide the coalition, can come together face-to-face to plan our work for the year ahead. We change the location each year to try and maintain fair representation for our members – we always try and bring extra members from whatever region the meeting is in. And we always make sure that we go on a local exposure trip so we can learn about situations and challenges in countries we might not be familiar with.
What was your main takeaway from this week?
This week has been a great reminder of some of the joys and challenges of coalition work – there are plenty of both! I’ve been reminded of the importance of local context and the challenges this can bring to global campaigning. When engaging in international processes it’s important to never forget the key role of elevating the local to the global – and vice-versa. In the SDGs, it’s very easy to get lost amidst the technicalities, procedures and big political names. But we must always remember the communities on whose behalf we campaign – they must be in the lead, we must demand, rather than request, what is theirs by right, and we must be led by and accountable to them.