Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

November 17, 2010

Engaging civil society in SACOSAN

Filed under: Advocacy — Tags: — Shikha Shrestha @ 7:37 am

The Third South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) Delhi Declaration has been an incredible milestone of recognizing access to sanitation and safe drinking water as a basic right and according national priority to sanitation is imperative. It has aspired civil society working on the sector as well as people affected by deprivation of WASH right to work harder in realization of these basic rights. On 30 September 2010, the UN passed a resolution affirming access to water and sanitation as human right.

SACOSAN IV planned for 4-8 April 2011 in Sri Lanka is awaited with more expectations to bring changes in sanitation access. It is not only government but civil society are also working together to make this event a huge success to bring an impacting change in the sector. Preparatory meeting among civil society representatives was organized to develop common understanding on different approaches of working together for amplifying peoples voices in the SACOSAN process.

Collaboration Terms of Reference has been endorsed for promoting collaboration spirit while engaging civil society for SACOSAN IV.   It is sometime natural for people to promote visibility of their organization/network while working even as a collaborative team incorporating different institutions. Time has come to think beyond individual institution and think more of a joint credibility. It is definitely unfair to sideline some organizations if they had been a part of team to work vigorously so let’s go for a joint credibility to ensure impacting results in sanitation sector.

Pre CSO consultation for SACOSAN has been recognized as a support for consolidating recommendations from peoples perspective. Therefore, it has been planned to organize the consultation on 1-2 April 2011 in Sri Lanka. The consultation will provide open space for civil society organizations to discuss and debate on the concerns of sanitation for providing opportunity to develop minimum understanding on the sanitation agenda. Equity, inclusion and sustainable services can be major theme of discussion where peoples perspective results can be shared through interviewed people. Story of people from their own voices can carry a strong message.

Peoples Perspective Research has been regarded as a tool for amplifying peoples concerns with regard to sanitation services. The research will scrutinize peoples feeling on successful and failure sanitation services together with grievances of people who were deprived from these basic services. It will ease process of identifying key challenges/issues faced in sustainable sanitation in South Asia that will be key inputs from people towards SACOSAN IV. Traffic light papers to review status of commitment of SACOSAN III Delhi declaration and CSO Delhi declaration will add more insights to the SACOSAN IV.

Civil society and government are key wheels of development. They should play complementary role to support each other as both agencies want to accelerate pace of development in their respective countries. Common goal of ensuring  sanitation and water for all can be reached only when there is a spirit of collaboration so that simple disease like dirrohoea cannot kill 10,500 children each year in Nepal.

Written by Shikha Shrestha, Advocacy and Research Officer, WaterAid in Nepal

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