conference, gender, international, sanitation

#wwweek Talk Brief: Gender, Water, and Food Security

The second event I tuned to was the Concrete Actions: Advancing the Integration of Gender, Water, Food Security talk. The theme of this seminar was exciting because I had previously grappled with developing a tool for measuring gender equality and empowerment in water and sanitation. And as Hon. Bigombe so eloquently said, “If you want to go fast, travel alone. If you want to go far, travel together.” This talk focused on gender, water, and food security with a feature on the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) Gender Strategy. The AMCOW Gender Strategy is a model that could be adapted by other regions because it addresses gender equality in “water-livelihood spheres” while identifying minimum targets for gender, water, and food security. The aim of the talk was to have multiple experts review methods of gender, water, and food security measurement to find common measurement tools. As I have experienced, measurement of gender equality and empowerment for water can difficult because gender and water cover multiple scales (household, community, political) and multiple dimensions of interaction (access, planning, and management). So I was excited to learn from these women.

Empowerment Measurement Meinzen-Dick
Above Photo: Domains of Empowerment for Water by Dr. Ruth Meinzen-Dick, IFPRI

The esteemed speakers presented ways for understanding and measuring gender equality and empowerment. Dr. Dikito-Wachtmeister from GWP said the AMCOW gender mainstreaming process gathered comments from stakeholders and developed key targets. Their approach honors qualitative data and participatory action. Dr. Sisto from FAO outlined four national gender-sensitive indicators: 1) management of land/water, 2) access to paid employment, 3) access to education, and 4) institutional empowerment. FAO also developed a checklist for organizations to use while mainstreaming gender in agriculture. Dr. van Koppen from IMWI identified gender-sensitive indicators for different water realms including livelihoods, uses, control over technologies, and control over resources. Her talk is featured on YouTube here. Dr. Meinzen-Dick from IFPRI reviewed a WEAI tool to measure empowerment in agriculture within five domains: 1) productive decisions, 2) control over resources, 3) control over income, 4) leadership opportunities, and 5) adequate time. She made comparisons of these domains to the water sector (see above image). Overall, I’m excited to scour the presentations again to improve my understanding of gender equality and empowerment measurement in water and sanitation. Scalable is important – yes, but socioeconomic conditions have to inform any model. I’m curious to see if “a one size fits all” approach is practical.

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conference, general, international, measurement, politics, sanitation

#wwweek Talk Brief: Sanitation and Water for All

The first event I tuned to was the Sanitation and Water for All: Global Decision-makers Unite on WASH talk. Volunteering with PHLUSH, I wanted to get some info on global sanitation initiatives, and I liked the way this group includes sanitation first in their title. The Sanitation and Water for All partnership is over 80 country and organization partners with a goal of universal, sustainable sanitation and water through mutual trust and accountability. They believe in three avenues for action: 1) political prioritization, 2) evidenced based decision-making, and 3) robust planning. They meet alternate years at a High Level Meeting (HLM), and over 400 sanitation and water commitments were made in 2012 with cross-cutting themes of open-defecation, equity, private-sector engagement, and climate change.


Above Photo: SWA

This talk hosted multiple presenters who work with the partnership. They emphasized the value of monitoring HLM commitments, “a big problem in the sector is monitoring and real-time results related to services.” But each country is responsible for measuring such independently. One presenter, Baker Yiga from ANEW, says countries in his region act on commitments by coordination at the national level, sector working groups, and popularization of commitments with civil servants. Another presenter, Bai Mass Taal from AMCOW, says it’s important to bring sanitation to the highest political level and ensure ministers translate commitments on-the-ground. One Twitter comment called for more “tangible examples related to WASH monitoring like Waterpoint Mapping.” For more info on the talk, Twitter comments from this session at #sw4all were compiled into Storify. If you have any updates, send me a message.

conference, international

God dag! from Water World Water Week

Greetings from World Water Week in Stockholm via my computer, that is. This week, August 26 to 31, is the highly-regarded water conference held each year by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). This event is a “unique forum for the exchange of views, experiences and practices between the scientific, business, policy and civic communities” in global water and sanitation arenas. This year’s theme is Water and Food Security, and here is some food for thought. Water is used to grow food, land rights often determine who has water access, and water-intensive food diets are becoming more common. With around 850 million people w/o enough food and 780 million w/o safe water, it’s essential people get together to talk water and food. This year’s conference is hosting a number of neat workshops to allow for knowledge sharing.


Above Photo: World Water Week, SIWI

If you’re like me and can’t travel to Stockholm, you might be wondering how to get more info about World Water Week happenings. The SIWI folks have made it pretty easy this year. They created a Social Media Hub with a stream of select conference seminars at www.watermedia.org. They also have a YouTube channel with videos and interviews. I like the inspiring video feature of the WASH Media Award Winners there. In the Twittersphere, they created an event hashtag at #wwweek. You watch the #wwweek chatter on Twitter or online to learn more and meet new people. I created a #wwweek stream on the lower right-hand side of this blog, if you’d like a sneak peek. My experiences attending World Water Week virtually have been pretty awesome so far. I’ve tuned into two talks, and brief summaries will be posted shortly. Hejdå.

conference, hydrogeology, outreach, restoration

Live Tweets on Urban Ecology and Watershed Restoration

Portland, Oregon is a hotbed of ecosystem restoration in a highly urban area. Today, I am attending the 2011 Urban Ecology and Conservation Symposium at Portland State University. For the first time, I am tweeting from a conference with a focus on topics related to watersheds. Keep an eye on my twitter for updates. This conference is hosted by the Urban Ecosystem Research Consortium of Portland/Vancouver.

conference, politics, water events

Water, Sanitation, and the 2010 G8 Summit

From June 25 to June 26, leaders from eight of the “major advanced economies” in the world will converge for the G8 Summit in Canada to discuss important matters. PM Harper from Canada said this year’s Summit will focus on “key challenges related to development, and international peace and security.” All priority issues for the Summit – development, the health of mothers,/newborns/children, food security, Africa, and peace/security – relate to water and sanitation.

The Canadian G8 Website states that health issues “will be accomplished by helping developing countries strengthen their health systems and improve access to: health care, trained health workers, family planning, attended childbirth, better nutrition, clean drinking water and sanitation, and the means to prevent and treat diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.”

One problem with past G8 Summits is the difficulty of deciphering what has been discussed during the private meetings and how this information will ‘trickle down’ to policies in both participating and non-participating nations. One group, called the G8 Research Group, is working to provide more information on proceedings of G8 Summits. Maybe this year they will cover some of the discussions on water and sanitation? Their website states:

“Unlike other multilateral meetings, leaders at the G8 Summit meet privately behind closed-doors; there are no aides or intermediaries and there are few scripts or protocols. The decisions made by the G8 have global ramifications and the reach and scope of its influence in the world cannot be denied.”

Still, each year, G8 Summits provide an opportunity for civil-society organizations to coalesce and urge respective governments to talk about issues that matter to them. A number of groups are focusing on water and sanitation at the G8 in 2010. Interaction, a coalition of 180 NGOs working to alleviate global poverty, has prepared a brief on water and sanitation that calls for the US Government to be vocal on water and sanitation at the Summit.

Canadian organizations including UNICEF Canada and Care Canada and Plan Canada and RESULTS Canada and Save the Children Canada and World Vision Canada state that the Canadian Government should “…address preventive measures such as adequate diet through breastfeeding, nutritional supplementation/fortification and access to clean water and sanitation.”

And a G8 World Religions Summit of global religious leaders began yesterday at the University of Winnipeg. Leaders represent Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Islamic, Shinto and indigenous faiths. This alternative Summit will be aired live online here. They hosted a water-ceremony on the opening day of this alternative Summit. For more information on last year’s G8 Summit and water (and sanitation), please see this blog post. Updates on water and sanitation discussions at the Summit will be added as they become available.

UPDATE (29 July 2010):

On the 26th of June, leaders from G8 countries wrapped up the summit and issued a Declaration. They pledged support towards meeting Millennium Development Goals. They affirmed a common desire to achieve aid-effectiveness for development in Africa. They discussed the importance of meeting MDG 4 reducing child mortality and MDG 5 maternal health, but did not indicate water and sanitation as integral to such efforts anywhere in the main Declaration.

They launched the Muskoka Initiative to further progress on meeting MDGs 4 and 5  and linked this Initiative to MDGs 1 (childhood nutrition) and 6 (HIV/AIDS, malaria). They mentioned the importance of drinking water and sanitation once stating “relevant actions in the field of safe drinking water and sanitation” among other things are important towards meeting the aforementioned MDGs. But they did not identify a link between MDGs 4 and 5 to MDG No. 7 to halve the population without drinking water or sanitation.

Many NGOs including World Vision feel the Muskoka Initiative is under-funded with 5 billion pledged towards meeting these commitments with half of that amount from Canada). Here is a good review of different NGOs and their take on the Summit and subsequent Initiative.

conference, international, sanitation

Water and Sanitation Crisis at the White House

“The White House was given a shocking makeover by international charity WaterAid and global campaign group End Water Poverty. The makeover took place to mark the first ever High Level Meeting on Sanitation and Water in Washington on 23 April. Gone are the immaculate White House lawns, in their place a squalid otherworldly scene where children collect water from a filthy rubbish-strewn water hole and long queues form at the standpoint. Except that this isn’t another world. Having to use a contaminated and potentially fatal water source is a daily reality for 884 million people. Then there are the 2.6 billion who have no access to a toilet. At this meeting Ministers and policy makers from 30 developed and developing countries had the opportunity to commit to financial and political action to tackle this forgotten crisis.”

conference, outreach

Live Blogs and Tweets from the Water Harvesting, Storage, and Conservation Conference

For the next three days, YOU can virtually attend a conference on Water Harvesting, Storage, and Conservation (WHSC) by reading and commenting on blog posts and tweets posted in real-time by Praveena Sridhar on the India Water Portal here.

The conference, at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, India, will focus on the technology, policy, and implementation of solutions to some of the world’s most pressing water problems. Some topics of discussion will include:

  • National policy support for planning by basin.
  • Water harvesting for agriculture.
  • Storm water management.
  • Participatory water management.
  • Water conflict and management.
  • Groundwater recharge and remediation.

“WHSC-2009 invites delegates and experts working in the area of water harvesting, storage and conservation from global institutes and industries to participate in this event. The conference aims at the synergy between Academics, Researchers, Industrialists, Policy-makers and Implementers.”

Enjoy!