Thursday, August 18, 2016

How to Get Ahead of Zika – and the Next One

My thoughts about Zika and water security. I am grateful to OOSKAnews for the opportunity and platform. Original article here.

How to Get Ahead of Zika – and the Next One

At a recent forum on global development in Washington DC, the United States Deputy Homeland Security Advisor asserted that the U.S. government cannot merely react or respond to Zika. She is right. The U.S. and the entire global community must find ways to get ahead of its spread, and look for opportunities to prevent, or at least mitigate the severity of, the next such water-related infectious disease.

Increased focus on global water security provides such an opportunity.

In 2012, the United States intelligence community produced an Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security. The report asserts that “during the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems — shortages, poor water quality, or floods — that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important US policy objectives.”

Water scarcity leads to water hoarding, and families often hoard water in such a way as to facilitate the breeding of mosquitoes. More mosquitoes may lead to a more rapid transmission of Zika, malaria and the next water-related infectious disease. Importantly, as this progression holds true, so does its inverse. Headlines scream that water will cause wars, but the opposite has historically held true. Water brings parties together before conflict erupts. Headlines declare that unsafe water kills millions of people each year. What they don’t say is that safe water (and proper disposal of human waste) keeps billions alive, healthy, and in school or at work.

We can predict the future of water. We know when and where water scarcity will occur with increasingly accurate, granular, and long-term forecasts, even accounting for a changing climate and population growth and movement. Donor and developing country governments along with private sector stakeholders should combine this stronger forecasting ability with deployable assets – people, technology, money – to:
  • identify shared river basins where a lack of institutional capacity is likely to lead to conflict over water resources, then strengthen the capacity of those riparian states and subnational stakeholders to prevent conflict;
  • collaborate to identify the next several potential conflicts like Syria, where water scarcity is a causal element of conflict and where there are significant governance challenges, then build the water resilience of those countries and regions to make sure that water scarcity does not add fuel to the fire;
  • predict potential water-related infectious disease outbreaks (Zika, malaria, Ebola, etc.) and help communities and governments throughout those regions and countries to make sure that water scarcity or inadequate sanitation and hygiene measures do not lead to unsafe water hoarding or waste disposal and thus accelerate the spread of disease or disease vectors; and
  • prevent unnecessary mortality: droughts will occur; famines are optional. The global community has the opportunity and responsibility to manage water resources more effectively to prevent water scarcity from causing the next deadly famine.
All of these solutions are shovel-ready – they are doable with today’s technology and financing, and both donor countries and developing countries have important roles to play in this equation. We need to think less about how to react to water-related conflict and health challenges, and more about how we can collaborate to manage our individual and collective water resources more proactively.
The next U.S. President and Congress, and their allies across the globe, will have the opportunity to elevate and mainstream water across the “three Ds” of the foreign policy spectrum (Development, Diplomacy, and Defense) in 2017 and beyond. From the perspective of donor countries’ foreign policy, water is one of the most important - but under-utilized - tools at our disposal across the globe.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer Internship (paid) - Water 2017, Washington DC



Water 2017 Internship

NVF Project Name: Water 2017, an initiative of Advocates for Development Assistance

Position: Summer 2016 Intern

Location: Washington DC

Status: Non-Exempt; Part Time

Position Summary
Water 2017 is a one-year effort of Advocates for Development Assistance to elevate and mainstream global water challenges and opportunities across U.S. foreign policy. Water 2017 will strengthen actions by the U.S. government and private American citizens to improve global water security, and encourage the U.S. government and the next President to prioritize to an unprecedented level the role of water in international development and diplomacy. 

The coming twelve months – June 2016 to May 2017 – are pivotal to positioning global water security within the U.S. government for the next four to eight years. Water 2017 is intended to lead to a higher and more effective response to global water challenges by the next President, the U.S. Congress, as well as by key U.S. government agencies such as USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the State Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Water 2017 is seeking a part-time intern (preferably senior or graduate students) to assist with a wide range of projects that support our advocacy, communications, and research efforts. Water 2017 interns will support the CEO and Deputy Director.

Essential Responsibilities and Tasks
·       Research global water and U.S. foreign policy initiatives, past and present
·       Help write, edit, and format materials for Congressional and campaign meetings
·       Research new global water leadership opportunities and areas for integration between water and other development, diplomacy, and security priorities
·       Represent Water 2017 at relevant meetings, meet DC water leaders, and brainstorm collaborations
·       Support Water 2017’s education and advocacy programs. These could include learning events; high profile advocacy events; outreach to the U.S. government, businesses, foundations, civic/faith groups, advocacy partners; and/or standalone communications initiatives.

 Required Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability
Your interests should include:
·       Policy advocacy
·       U.S. foreign policy
·       International development
·       Global water security as both a threat and a leadership opportunity

The successful candidate will be a student (undergraduate senior or graduate student) in public policy, public health, and/or international affairs.

Our internships run during the summer or school semester. We expect a minimum of twenty hours per week. This internship will be compensated at $10.50 per hour. You must be eligible to work or intern in the U.S. The Water 2017 office is located in downtown Washington DC.

How to Apply
Please send résumé and cover letter detailing your interests to John Oldfield at oldfieldj@gmail.com.

New Venture Fund Careers
Advocates for Development Assistance is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. The New Venture Fund is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. The New Venture Fund's work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Position Open at Water 2017 - Deputy Director, Washington DC



Dear Friends of Global Water, 

Please consider sharing / applying for this one year position with Water 2017. It's going to be an exciting twelve months...  Water 2017 starts this week, and carries on through the first 100 days of the next U.S. Administration (May 2017).

Note application deadline of May 31, 2016. As indicated below, applicants should please send résumé and cover letter to John Oldfield at oldfieldj@gmail.com.

Many thanks.

John

Position open at Water 2017, an initiative of Advocates for Development Assistance

Position:  Deputy Director
Location: Washington, D.C.
Status: Full-time, Exempt
Reports to: CEO of Water 2017
Application Deadline: May 31, 2016

Water 2017, as part of the Advocates for Development Assistance project, is a one-year effort to elevate and mainstream global water challenges and opportunities within U.S. foreign policy. Water 2017 will strengthen actions by the U.S. government and private American citizens to improve global water security, and encourage the U.S. government and the next President to prioritize to an unprecedented level the role of water in international development and diplomacy. 

The coming twelve months - May 2016 to May 2017 – are pivotal to positioning global water security within the U.S. government for the next four to eight years. Water 2017 is intended to lead to a higher and more effective response to global water challenges by the next President, the U.S. Congress, as well as by key U.S. government agencies such as USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the State Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water 2017 will also involve private American citizens in its efforts: corporate leaders, philanthropists, civic (e.g. Rotary) and faith leaders, thinktanks and nonprofits.

Responsibilities
The Deputy Director reports to the CEO and will:
-          Ensure the effective and efficient operation of Water 2017, including managing the human resources, finance, and grants management functions of Water 2017 via a contract with a fiscal sponsor;
-          Work with CEO to develop overall one year strategic operating plan, metrics, and deliverables;
-          Lead, coordinate, and/or support Water 2017’s education and advocacy programs. These could include learning events; high profile advocacy events; outreach to the U.S. government, businesses, foundations, civic/faith groups, advocacy partners; and/or standalone communications initiatives;
-          Work with CEO to develop and implement a communications strategy for Water 2017 to raise the profile of global water;
-          Serve as a key spokesperson for Water 2017 across all outreach constituencies (U.S. government and private sector) and articulate the mission, vision and strategic direction to external stakeholders; represent Water 2017 and the CEO at appropriate conferences, meetings, and other occasions;
-          Build and maintain an appropriate public presence of Water 2017 online and offline;
-          Support the CEO when required;
-          Manage intern program;
-          Perform other duties as assigned.  

Necessary Competencies
To be successful, the Deputy Director will:
-          Have experience in managing the human resources, finances, and operations of a small organization;
-          Be highly disciplined and detail-oriented;
-          Work well in a small and highly productive team and foster collaboration among a diverse set of stakeholders;
-          Engage partners inside and beyond Water 2017 to actively participate and contribute time and resources;
-          Exercise creativity and opportunism in finding ways of raising the profile of global water;
-          Have strong and persuasive oral and written communication, facilitation, advocacy, and stakeholder engagement skills.

Minimum Education and Skills
The successful candidate will have:
-          Commitment to values, mission and vision of Water 2017;
-          8-10 years of experience in operations and international development work, with a focus on water and its linkages to other development and diplomatic challenges and opportunities;
-          Masters degree or commensurate experience in operations, project management, international development, communications or a related field;
-          Excellent advocacy and communications skills – oral, written, online/offline – and ability to use modern communications tools;
-          Excellent organizational skills, including ability to organize advocacy resources and establish priorities;
-          Strong events management skills;
-          Sophisticated political judgment, understanding of legislative and advocacy issues and sufficient experience to quickly gain in-depth knowledge of Water 2017’s substantive issues and to represent these issues publicly;
-          Strong ability to develop and foster alliances; ability and desire to support and motivate colleagues, and to work in a consensus-oriented environment with different work styles and to facilitate staff communication;
-          High-energy, love of challenge, and ability to be effective in a constantly changing environment;
-          Able to travel occasionally and to work independently and creatively.

Successful completion of a writing test will be required.

This is a fulltime exempt position located in downtown Washington, DC. Salary up to $75k with competitive benefits. Water 2017 is committed to diversity in the workplace. Please send résumé and cover letter to John Oldfield at oldfieldj@gmail.com. No phone calls please.

New Venture Fund Careers
Advocates for Development Assistance is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. The New Venture Fund is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. The New Venture Fund's work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of races, ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Happiest Room in the House, and Ending Open Defecation in India by Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday

Think about it:

When we come out of the bathroom, we are much happier than when we went in (with very few, but notable exceptions). So, according to Jack Sim of the World Toilet Organization, the host of last week’s World Toilet Summit in New Delhi, that makes the toilet the "happiest room in the house!"

Hundreds of delegates at the Summit spent two full days vigorously discussing and debating approaches and steps needed to accelerate progress toward the ultimate goal of universal coverage of sanitation in India and across the developing world. Sanitation is the most off-track of the Millennium Development Goals, and stands to gain the most from the world’s commitment to universal coverage by 2030, as espoused in the draft Sustainable Development Goals.

A key theme throughout the Summit was the balancing act between hardware and software. One cannot have too much hardware/infrastructure and not enough software/behavior change, or vice versa. The balance is important, as is the timing between the two; both tracks need to be pursued simultaneously. On this note, the inventor of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and the Founder of the CLTS Foundation Dr. Kamal Kar told a story about the many times he has seen people around the world talking on their cell phones while defecating in the open, then hopping up and riding away on their motorcycles. Clearly these people are not the poorest of the poor, but have rather made a conscious decision to defecate in the open, manifesting the need for behavior change. But once they do change their behavior, or at least express a willingness to do so, the supply chain for sustainable technical solutions to their sanitation challenges needs to be strong enough to respond quickly and appropriately.

This balancing act between hardware and software promises to be prominent in India over the next five years, and I found the World Toilet Summit in New Delhi particularly well-timed for three reasons:

  1. The Government of India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, late last year committed loudly and publicly to universal coverage of sanitation in India by October 2, 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. To succeed, this Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) will need to solve the problem of 600 million Indians who continue to defecate in the open, and do so in an appropriate, sustainable fashion.
  2. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have recently partnered with the Government of India on capacity-building for sanitation in urban areas across India.
  3. And last but not least, sanitation was a key component of the late 2014 summit between U.S. President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi, and is likely on the table during President Obama’s current visit to India as the Chief Guest of Prime Minister Modi as India celebrates its Republic Day (January 26, 2015).

So considering the success (and excellent timing) of the recent World Toilet Summit in New Delhi, and the warm relationship between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies, how about we throw a Global Block Party for Swachh Bharat, just as whole neighborhoods come together to clean up a river on a sunny weekend day: let's all pitch in and help India end open defecation and achieve universal coverage of sanitation by October 2, 2019, and wish Mahatma Gandhi a Happy 150th Birthday. How about a Global Friends of Swachh Bharat to provide additional financial and technical inputs to the Government of India’s already impressive commitment? It won't be easy, but with every single Indian involved, per the suggestion of Prime Minister Modi, and working together with many of us from abroad (perhaps a big push from the Indian diaspora), it is possible. India has killed polio; it's ready to move on sanitation now.