The human right to drinking water and sanitation is far from universally achieved. According to the most recent JMP report 663 million people lack access to an improved water source; 892 million practice open defecation; 2.3 billion do not have access to improved sanitation; and several billion do not have soap and water to wash their hands.
Every year 35 million people die prematurely from water-related diseases. Moreover, an estimated one-third of hand pumps in Africa are non-functional; latrines are not regularly emptied; and faecal sludge and wastewater are dumped into open watercourses without or with inadequate treatment.
Sustainability is further endangered by the rising demand for water from energy, agriculture and industry, and it is estimated that by 2030, 47 percent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress. This is degrading the natural resources on which many marginalised communities depend for their WASH provision.
In line with DGIS, IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo recognise that improved governance will ultimately contribute to universal access to indefinite WASH services.
Watershed will take up the challenge to meet the targets of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) by 2030. Over the next five years, Watershed will advocate for faster results to ensure that water providers, governments and private sector take the responsibility to ensure sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services as well as the water resources on which they draw.
Improved governance of the WASH sector, responsive to the interests of marginalised groups.
In the countries where we work: competent CSOs and their networks lobby effectively for the realisation of the human right to water and sanitation and the reduction of inequalities in access to WASH/IWRM services.
Communities and citizens become capacitated and organise to demand their rights to water and sanitation and participate in WASH planning and budgeting.
In the global WASH/IWRM arena: global civil society effectively demands fulfilment of the human right to water and sanitation and equitable and sustainable allocation of water resources.
Watershed-empowering citizens is unique as it focuses on building the capacity of civil society to advocate for WASH and proper watershed management. It’s a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo.
We will deliver improvements in the governance of WASH and water resources ensuring the sustainability of WASH services. Good governance requires meaningful involvement of users (particularly women) of WASH services, service providers, water resource users and polluters.
To achieve this, a strong civil society is essential; to ensure the voices of the marginalised are heard by duty bearers and that they are effectively held to account.
Our approach recognises three indisputable facts:
- Sustainable WASH services cannot be achieved without sustainable water resources, and vice versa.
- Achieving universal access to sustainable WASH services is a governance challenge.
- A strong civil society is essential to improving governance.
Watershed lobby and advocacy activities will specifically focus on the identification and inclusion of the marginalised in WASH governance. Capacity building will focus on helping civil society organisations to identify and adequately represent women and the marginalised.
Watershed will use evidence to empower civil society to hold governments accountable and for private sector and others to engage meaningfully in service provision.
The partnership will assess, develop and implement a suite of tools and approaches for building civil society organisations capacity for evidence-based lobbying and advocacy.
Watershed will focus on areas where water resources are scarce or contested and where environmental management is at the core of the WASH sustainability challenge.
Watershed will support a global civil society that effectively demands fulfilment of the human right to water and sanitation and equitable and sustainable allocation of water resources.
Simavi will be in the lead for the programme in Kenya and Bangladesh and for the lobby activites in the Netherlands. Furthermore we will lead the activities related to creating leverage and find additional funding for the programme. In Uganda and Ghana we will contribute. We will not be active in Mali and India.
In 2019, Watershed partners in 6 countries and globally continued to improve service delivery, improving government policies, strategies, planning and budgeting processes and giving voice to the marginalised. The main activities revolved around strengthening the skills for CSOs and governments to set up formal accountability mechanisms (creating the space) and strengthening the skills for CSOs to have an effective and concerted voice while at the table with a broad group of allies (having an effective voice).