Monday, March 10, 2014

WASH Awards Ceremony on Capitol Hill: March 12, 430-600pm

Please join us for the 2014 WASHies! 

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible for the WASHies: Wednesday, March 12, 430pm – 600pm, Senate Russell 485.

Please see below and RSVP if you can join us.

The event will begin promptly at 5pm with several awards to our congressional champions, so please join us at 430 to make sure the room is packed for the 5pm start.

All the best, and thank you in advance for your attendance at what promises to be a very interesting and fruitful event.

John 

From: csnyder@washadvocates.org [mailto:csnyder@washadvocates.org]
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 2:27 PM
To: John Oldfield
Subject: You Are Invited: Celebrating Leaders in WASH | Wed., March 12, 4:30-6:00 Russell Senate Office Building SR - 485

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_left.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_fb.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_twit.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_linked.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_divider.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_more.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_drw_right.png
http://img.constantcontact.com/ui/images1/shr_btn_like_sm.png
http://r20.rs6.net/on.jsp?ca=833f65e4-5d2c-4b96-b08c-1a61c5ba3740&a=1115032642543&d=1116776868006&r=3&o=http://ui.constantcontact.com/images/p1x1.gif&c=2e925c90-40e1-11e3-9323-d4ae5275b1a5&ch=301af860-40e1-11e3-947b-d4ae5275b1a5
Website  |  About  |  Learn  |  Act  |  Connect  |  News  |  WASHBlog  |  Contact

http://img.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif

http://img.constantcontact.com/letters/images/1101116784221/S.gif

http://www.washadvocates.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/WASHlogo1.jpg


   
Please Join Us in Celebrating
Global Access to Safe Drinking Water, 
Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

WASH Advocates is a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative dedicated to increasing private and public support for access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  

You are invited to join us on March 12, 2014, to recognize the leadership of key Members of Congress in providing $365 million in the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill to implement the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005.

When: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.          

Where: Russell Senate Office Building SR - 485

2 Constitution Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Enter Constitution and First   
Take your first elevator to the right to the fourth floor   
Take a right   
SR 485, the Committee on Rules and Administration Event Room, is halfway down the hall.    

Light hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served.

A select number of Senators and Members of Congress have been invited for their role in helping provide the resources that will allow the U.S. Department of State and USAID to provide safe, affordable, and sustainable drinking water and improved access to sanitary facilities in the poorest regions of the world.

Invited guests include:
Rep. Blumenauer (confirmed)
Sen. Coons
Sen. Corker (confirmed)
Rep. Culberson (confirmed)
Sen. Durbin (confirmed)
Sen. Graham
Rep. Granger
Sen. Leahy
Rep. Lowey
Rep. Poe (confirmed)
Rep. Hal Rogers (confirmed)
Rep. Chris Smith

Mrs. Patricia Derge Simon, wife of the late Senator Paul Simon, will host the event. We hope that you will be able to join us for this celebratory evening, honoring leadership and significant achievement on this important issue.  

SPACE IS LIMITED. Please RSVP to Cecilia Snyder csnyder@WASHadvocates.org  or202.293.4003 to confirm your attendance.

This event is designed to comply with the Rules and Guidance of the Senate and House ethics committees.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

World Toilet Day 2013 - looking for ideas?

http://www.washadvocates.org/events/world-toilet-day/

World Toilet Day


World-Toilet-Day-logo_big

Every November 19, international and civil society organizations all over the world have celebrated World Toilet Day. But until 2013, it was not formally recognized as an official UN day.

This year is different!!

In July 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 November as World Toilet Day, urging changes in both behavior and policy on issues ranging from enhancing water management to ending open-air defecation.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson issued a statement immediately following the Assembly’s action, noting: “This new annual observance will go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation.”

See below for a list of celebrations and events commemorating this important day!


This World Toilet Day sing #ThankYouToilet with WaterAid!
This World Toilet Day sing
#ThankYouToilet with WaterAid!
Louie Loo video promotion
Date: Begins week of November 11th, 2013
Link: http://www.wateraid.org/news/news/say-thank-you-toilet-this-world-toilet-day
Meet Louie the Loo, our unsung hero this World Toilet Day, as he finds his voice and asks people to say “thank you, toilet!”. The short film created by WaterAid sees a seemingly normal toilet come to life in the middle of the night and sing its heart out for some recognition. Use the hashtag #thankyoutoilet
Contact:
Alanna Imbach, WaterAid
aimbach@wateraidamerica.org
212.683.0430


Toilets USA: Why we need to speak out
Date: November 11-19, 2013
Link: http://www.phlush.org/toiletsusa-why-we-need-to-speak-out/
Toilet Advocacy Toolkit:  http://www.phlush.org/world-toilet-day-toolkit/
Toilets USA’s social media campaign will share concepts and tools to encourage World Toilet Day celebrations in local communities. In partnership with The POOP Project we’re asking US-based practitioners, researchers, entrepreneurs, and activists to “talk toilets” and tell the world about their work. Our goal is to mobilize a broad advocacy network to champion toilets for all globally, while tackling key sanitation issues that challenge the United States.
Please use these hashtags and handles: #ToiletsUSA #LiftTheLid #CelebrateTheToilet @PortlandPHLUSH @Poop_Project
Contact:
Carol McCreary, Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
carol@hplush.org
(503) 984-4081

Celebrating the Toilet at Be the Change Exposition, 2013
Date: November 12th, 2013
Link: http://sochinaction.com/btc-2013-activity
Be the Change Exposition is an annual children’s event that aims to extend children’s learning & awareness about society and inspire them to make positive changes in the world they live in. The World Toilet Organization will be hosting a unique booth featuring interactive activities, including the Toilet Wall of Love and Instapoo Booth. Children can sit on our exclusively hand-painted portable toilets, have their photos taken and spend their ‘toilet time’ thinking about solutions to the global sanitation crisis. The event will be attended by over 800 children from schools across Singapore. Use the hashtags #celebratethetoilet #toiletthoughts
Contact:
Divya Chandran, Communications Manager, WTO
divya@worldtoilet.org

Meet Shawn Shafner, Founder of The POOP Project
Meet Shawn Shafner, Founder of The POOP Project
Lift The Lid” Video Series
Date: November 15, 2013: Series Premiere
Link: http://www.goflushyourself.com/
Don’t let shame, embarrassment or a prudish grandmother keep you from talking about the most important medical intervention since 1860. This World Toilet Day, #LiftTheLid with The POOP Project and FLUSH: The Documentary. Beginning Nov. 15, check out our short videos to discover just some of the reasons to talk toilets. Then tell us why you think toilets are important! Upload your own video with the hashtag #LiftTheLid, and help us really make a stink this World Toilet Day. Use the hashtags #LiftTheLid #CelebrateTheToilet #ToiletsUSA
Contacts:
Karina Mangu-Ward, Director, FLUSH: The Documentary
karinamw@gmail.com
(617) 308-9523
@karinamw
Shawn Shafner, Creator, The POOP Project
shawn@thePOOPproject.org
(347) 385-5186
@poop_project


“Celebrate the Toilet!” Berlin
Date: November 15, 2013
Congratulate the toilet on the virtual toilet stall wall www.celebratethetoilet.org. Toilet Parties are invite-only; please email contact person for invite request. The humble toilet is one of the greatest inventions in the history of humankind. And yet, globally, 4 out of 10 people still have no access to a safe and hygienic toilet. In July 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated World Toilet Day – established by the World Toilet Organization (WTO) 12 years ago – as an official United Nations Day, making this November 19th the toilets first official day of honor. Come, drink, dance and mingle, and celebrate the life-saving value of the toilet on its big day!
Post a photo of your toilet celebration with the hashtag #CelebrateTheToilet or Instagram @WASHUnited, Facebook @Celebrate the Toilet or Twitter @WASHUnited. The best picture will be awarded a 1 year’s supply of Looloo Paper, toilet paper that saves lives!
Contact:
Julia LaKaemper
julia.lakaemper@wash-united.org

Unveiling ceremony of World Toilet Day monument (Marina Barrage, Singapore)
Date: November 16th, 2013
The World Toilet Day monument will be unveiled on November 16 at the Marina Barrage to commemorate the Government of Singapore and the World Toilet Organization’s historic milestone in tabling the Sanitation for All resolution at the UN General Assembly and designating November 19 as UN World Toilet Day. Use the hashtags #wtdmonument #toiletdayeveryday
Contact:
Divya Chandran, Communications Manager, WTO
divya@worldtoilet.org

World Pneumonia Day/Toilet Day Game Night  (Washington, DC)
Date: November 18th, 2013
Pneumonia and diarrhea are two of the leading killers of children globally. There are simple solutions to prevent and treat both illnesses, and some of these solutions fight both diseases at the same time. Come see the impact of US investments to end preventable child deaths and to learn about the interventions required to prevent 2 million child deaths by 2015.
Monday, November 18, 2013
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Rayburn Foyer, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC
Contact:
Lizzie Cohen
advocacy@path.org
202.822.0033


Do Epic Shit
Date: November 19th, 2013
Links: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/do-epic-shit
 and 
http://www.crowdrise.com/DoEpicShit
On World Toilet Day, Toilet Hackers and Expedition Everest will launch a joint campaign to inspire the world to “Do Epic Shit.” Led by Steve Obbayi, the first Kenyan climber to attempt the summit of Mount Everest in March 2014, the campaign will not only rally global citizens around sanitation issues but also fuel a hand washing campaign in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum.
For every meter that Steve climbs, Toilet Hackers will provide hygiene education and access to sanitary hand washing facilities to two people living in Kibera. With Everest standing at 8,850 meters, that’s nearly 18,000 people living healthier lives in Kenya. Expedition Everest founder and climber Toby Storie-Pugh will kick off the Indiegogo fundraising campaign to support Steve’s Everest climb and the Kibera hand washing project on Nov. 19 by walking the length of Manhattan and then camping each night in the city until the commitment is completed. Anyone who wants to Do Epic Shit with Expedition Everest and Toilet Hackers can join the team on Crowdrise. Use hashtag #DoEpicShit

Cocktails, Dancing & Sh*t Talking: “Celebrate the Toilet!”  (New York City)
Date: November 19th, 2013
Link: http://www.celebratethetoilet.org/ – Congratulate the toilet on the virtual toilet stall wall
Toilet Parties are invite-only; please email contact person for invite request. The humble toilet is one of the greatest inventions in the history of humankind. And yet, globally, 4 out of 10 people still have no access to a safe and hygienic toilet. In July 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated World Toilet Day – established by the World Toilet Organization (WTO) 12 years ago – as an official United Nations Day, making this November 19th the toilets first official day of honor.
This is why WASH United, the World Toilet Organization and Toilet Hackers are coming together to “Celebrate the Toilet!”
**Featuring MC Casey Spooner, of Fischer Spooner**
Post a photo of your toilet celebration with the hashtag #CelebrateTheToilet or Instagram @WASHUnited, Facebook @Celebrate the Toilet or Twitter @WASHUnited. The best picture will be awarded a 1 year’s supply of Looloo Paper, toilet paper that saves lives!
Contact:
Danielle Keiser
danielle.keiser@wash-united.org

“Celebrate the Toilet!” (Nairobi)
Date: November 19th, 2013
Link: http://www.celebratethetoilet.org/ – Congratulate the toilet on the virtual toilet stall wall
Toilet Parties are invite-only; please email contact person for invite request. The humble toilet is one of the greatest inventions in the history of humankind. And yet, globally, 4 out of 10 people still have no access to a safe and hygienic toilet. In July 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated World Toilet Day – established by the World Toilet Organization (WTO) 12 years ago – as an official United Nations Day, making this November 19th the toilets first official day of honor. Come together to celebrate the life-saving value of the toilet on its big day!
Post a photo of your toilet celebration with the hashtag #CelebrateTheToilet or Instagram @WASHUnited, Facebook @Celebrate the Toilet or Twitter @WASHUnited. The best picture will be awarded a 1 year’s supply of Looloo Paper, toilet paper that saves lives!
Contact:
Aparna Shrivastava
aparna.shrivastava@wash-united.org

“We can’t wait: A report on sanitation and hygiene for women and girls”
Date: released on November 19th, 2013
Link: will be made available at 12:01am on Nov 19
WaterAid, WSSCC and Unilever will be releasing a new report entitled “We can’t wait” at a UN event in New York to mark the official recognition of Word Toilet Day. The report highlights the start consequences of the lack of access to toilets for women and girls, and the need to act both urgently and decisively. Use the hashtag #wecantwait
Contact:
Alanna Imbach, WaterAid
aimbach@wateraidamerica.org
212.683.0430

World Toilet Day event at the UN HQ, New York (in partnership with Singapore Permanent Mission to the UN) – invitation only
Date: November 19th, 2013
A commemorative event at the UN to celebrate the inaugural UN World Toilet Day. There will be keynote speeches and a panel discussion toilets and sanitation followed by a reception.
Use the hashtags #toiletdayeveryday #toiletsforall #celebratethetoilet
Contact:
Divya Chandran, Communications Manager, WTO
divya@worldtoilet.org

Celebrate the Toilet exhibition (German Centre, Singapore)
Date: November 19 – November 28
A week long exhibition on the evolution of toilets and sanitation technology, in partnership with Duravit, Geberit and the German Centre. Use the hashtags  #celebratethetoilet
Contact:
Divya Chandran, Communications Manager, WTO
divya@worldtoilet.org

Brown Friday Campaign
Date: November 19th, 2013 - January 2nd, 2014
Link: (Available on Nov 19) - www.indiegogo/projects/brown-friday 
Brown Friday is a social media awareness campaign + Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for school sanitation project in South Africa. Brown Friday is the number 2 reason to spend this holiday season. We believe that every school child should have access to clean, safe toilets; because nothing keeps kids away from school like having no place to poop and pee in peace. Our first project for 2014 is to put up one toilet building for a school in KwaMashu, South Africa that desperately needs it. For this, we’re going to need $30,000.To help raise this money, we’re hijacking Black Friday and declaring it Brown Friday. While spending money on yourself, your family, and your friends on this shopping holiday, remember to get online and share some with the kids in KwaMashu. Use the hashtag #brownfriday
Contact:
Divya Chandran, Communications Manager, WTO
divya@worldtoilet.org

Charity Premiere of Film “Everybody’s Business”(Golden Village Cinemas, Vivocity, HarbourFront Singapore)
Date: November 28th, 2013
Link : (Trailer) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drKp4Jm9yV8 
The original concept of the film came from Jack Sim, founder of WTO. The film, executively produced by prominent Singaporean filmmaker Jack Neo (Ah Boys To Men) and directed by Lee Thean-jeen (Homecoming), stars stellar local comedians Gurmit Singh, Mark Lee, Liu Ling Ling, Wang Lei and Kumar. A light-hearted, satirical film revolving around the Ministry of Toilets,Everybody’s Business is about public toilets and hygiene in Singapore, and citizen engagement with the government. Tickets are at $50 each. Use the hashtag #toiletdayeveryday
Contact:
Divya Chandran, Communications Manager, WTO
divya@worldtoilet.org

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Do We Really Solve the World's Water Challenge? / Skoll World Forum

Thank you Skoll World Forum for publishing some of my thoughts about the end game for the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge...

Please do review this piece, and I very much look forward to your thoughts: 

How Do We Really Solve the World's Water Challenge?

I had the honor of chairing a session on Sustainable Water Solutions and the Rule of Law at the recent World Justice Forum IV in The Hague. During the vigorous two hour dialogue, it became clear that the street between water and rule of law runs both ways: A solid rule of law foundation will likely enhance the sustainability and scalability of water programs by increasing collaboration with and leadership from governments, and effective water programs will fortify rule of law by strengthening the social contract between citizens and their governments.

I spent years implementing democracy and governance programs in Africa on behalf of the U.S. government, and jumped at the opportunity to build this bridge between that world and my current water portfolio – two seemingly distinct development sectors. In framing the panel, I positioned rule of law – broadly defined, as in Wikipedia’s “authority and influence of law in society” – as an enabler, as a catalyst, of sustainable, institutionalized progress toward all global development challenges. On the flipside, I also see more progress on water challenges as one of many ways to strengthen the rule of law. For example, the most interesting question asked during the opening plenary of the World Justice Forum was “Is there a primary school for rule of law, or does one have to wait until graduate school to learn about it?” I assert that there is indeed a primary school for the rule of law: a village water committee anywhere in the world. The first experience many people – especially women – have in the developing world with rule of law and with participatory democracy is via their participation on local committees designed to identify and sustainably address local challenges. Tip O’Neill, a famous American politician, said “All politics is local.” Well, so are development challenges and solutions, especially those related to water. So that village water committee in rural India is a primary school for rule of law. An HIV support group in South Africa is a primary school for rule of law, solving its own community challenges, often alongside its government. A women’s neighborhood group focused on sanitation in Nairobi or Mexico City is a primary school for rule of law, as are local school boards, housing committees, and the like.

Water challenges at local, national, and transboundary levels all offer individuals an opportunity to strengthen the Social Contract between themselves and their governments. To achieve universal coverage of safe drinking water on the planet, in the compressed timeframe for which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy advocated at the Forum, governments must work hand-in-hand with their constituents.

Here are a handful of rule of law / water solutions underway, and worth tracking and supporting:
  • Community water boards by the thousands are becoming stronger throughout Latin America with the help of la Fundación Avina, making safe water more accessible to millions of Latin Americans, and at the same time creating more open, democratic societies.
  • Rule of law is making water more accessible and safer across the globe: e.g., cities are adding rainwater harvesting to building codes in India, and municipal development plans are incorporating community sanitation facilities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
  • The Nile Basin Initiative continues to strengthen the capacity of the Nile’s riparian states to stay ahead of the water conflict predicted by many for the region.
  • Water For People’s Everyone Forever effort focuses first and foremost on the interaction between citizens and their governments, with the international community playing a catalytic role; this will eventually obviate the need for any outside assistance.
  • The Sanitation and Water for All Partnership attracts Finance Ministers to its High Level Meeting every two years. Stronger political will makes it possible for those Finance Ministers to do what they already want to do: increase budgets and strengthen policies for water in their countries by making and meeting tangible, time-bound commitments.
  • Civil society organizations across the developing world are now using this toolkit “How to Campaign on Water and Sanitation Issues During an Election” to make sure that elected leaders have committed to tackling water challenges long before their terms in office. This toolkit should be used in every election tracked by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
The water challenges across the globe are grave. But they are solvable, and being solved by communities and governments as I write. My ambition is that rule of law and water communities will find more ways to work together across a number of platforms, and that both communities will emerge stronger from those collaborative efforts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Funding for Water and Sanitation / USAID / Development Grants Program



Dear nonprofit partners,

We would like to make you aware of a funding opportunity offered through USAID - the Development Grants Program (DGP):


DEADLINE: August 8, 2013
(Awards up to $2million for US and Non US-based nonprofits.)

Background
USAID has established the Development Grants Program as a small grants program to increase the number and quality of NGO implementing partners who can partner with USAID. This Program is open both to U.S.-based nonprofits and those based around the world. A total of $45m is available through this program for the estimated fifteen grantees.

In its first three years, the program funded 145 organizations in over 26 countries. Water and Sanitation is one of the DGP’s selected technical sectors for the program, having providing funding for over 24 organizations focused in this sector. "In the water sector, the DGP supports activities that directly increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation and improve hygiene. This includes investments to support infrastructure as well as activities related to organizational/institutional capacity-building needed to create sustainable management, improve service delivery or promote human behavior change."

Here are some examples of DGP-funded WASH activities:

Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Zambia
Received $2 Million to extend a WASH in schools programs that served over 320,000 pupils in over 800 schools

Alliance for Youth Achievement
Received a USAID DGP grant to implement 30 new clean water projects in Uganda

Pacific Institute
Received a USAID DGP grant to create a highly accessible communication and monitoring system that develops crowd-sourced map data to improve water and sanitation services for the urban poor in Indonesia

Palms for Life Fund
Received $1.9 M over 3 years for a WASH in schools project affecting 42,000 pupils in 120 schools in Swaziland

*** At WASH Advocates, we see this as an invaluable opportunity for WASH organizations doing vital work around the world to receive USAID funding. The August 8 application deadline is fast approaching. ***

TO APPLY:

1)     Go to www.grants.gov (or follow this link: Click Here)
2)     Left hand menu: select “find grant opportunities”
3)     Left hand menu: Select “browse by agency”
4)     Select “Agency for International Development”
5)     Select “Funding Opportunity Number: RFA-OAA-13-000020”
6)     Select “full announcement”
7)     Download the “full announcement” PDF. (See attached.)

To jumpstart this process, here are countries whose USAID Missions have prioritized water/WASH (these are listed on pages 1-3 of the Request for Applications):

Angola, Botswana, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Office of Middle East Programs, Philippines, South Africa, South Africa (regional), and Ukraine.

I encourage those of you active in those countries in particular to consider applying for Development Grants Program assistance. Please distribute this notice as widely as you can – the more WASH applications they receive, the more likely a nice chunk of the $45m will go to WASH.

US organizations: please consider applying directly, and share with your local partners.
Nonprofits in Africa, Asia, Latin America: please consider applying directly, and share with other WASH groups as appropriate.

Please, contact Ben Mann at 571-225-5823 or bmann (at)  WASHadvocates (dot)  org with additional questions.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sustainable Water Solutions and the Rule of Law



I'll have the pleasure of moderating a panel at the World Justice Forum tomorrow (July 10) in The Hague: 


In anticipation of that event, a couple of thoughts on WASH and the rule of law follow: 
 
Safe drinking water for everyone on the planet is not a controversial issue. Every political leader in every country, province, or municipality wants each of his/her constituents to have access to the safe, affordable, and sustainable drinking water they need to survive and improve their lot in life. Yet even though the world has never been richer, smarter, or more abundant than it is in 2013, there remain over 783m people without access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion people without a safe place to go to the bathroom.

So why does this fundamental global safe drinking water and sanitation challenge continue to exist, when we have known how to solve this problem for millennia? Why do hundreds of millions of women around the world continue to be exploited as water and wastewater infrastructure, and why do millions of children under the age of five die from preventable waterborne diseases each year?

My answer: a lack of political will. And that answer is typically the quickest way to end a conversation, as most people look at politics and elected officials only as part of the problem, not as a key part of the solution.

Politics are indeed problematic in many instances, yet if there are to be permanent and sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing development challenges, politics and political leaders must drive the solution, not just be invited to ribbon-cutting ceremonies to new water treatment facilities.

I had dinner a couple of years ago with a handful of other non-profit leaders and the former prime minister of a sub-Saharan African country. I asked the prime minister: “What made it possible for you to strengthen policies and increase your national budget for safe drinking water, sanitation and basic public health while you were in office?” He told me that to do so he needed two very simple things:

  •  He needed to hear about the problem from his own people.
  • He needed to see how the problem is solvable.

Using that as a benchmark, how can we make it possible for each government around the world to prioritize safe drinking water and sanitation? I suggest - as the prime minister said – that we in civil society, in developed and more importantly in developing countries, must let our governments know this is an important issue for us - their constituents - and that the challenge is solvable. And let’s take it one step further: to strengthen political commitments and rule of law for water, we need to show our governments not just that the problem is solvable, but that it is already being solved, and we simply need their support to solve it more quickly, equitably, and sustainably. We need politicians not so much to lead on this but simply to follow what their constituents are already doing by supporting and complementing our efforts with stronger policies and increased budgets.

Water is a non-controversial issue, and this approach to building political will and commitments has proven successful around the world and across the ages. Former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt was president of the United States in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, progressive leaders came to President Roosevelt and asked for various concessions, including new pro-worker policies as part of the effort to turn the economy around. President Roosevelt was quite progressive and pro-union, and he is reported to have said: “I want to do what you are asking me to do, but I can’t do it politically yet. I need you to go out there and make it possible for me to enact those policies.”

So the union leaders did just that:  In 1937 there were thousands of labor actions whose impact on the economy made it possible for President Roosevelt to do what he already wanted to do.

We do not need to strike for water and sanitation. I do however assert that the job of civil society – including my organization - in the developed and developing world is to demonstrate to governments that what was once unavoidable (millions of deaths due to waterborne disease) is now unacceptable. That simple equation will provide those elected officials with the political cover they need to do what they already want to do, and progressively realize the human right to water and sanitation to everyone on the planet in a tighter timeframe.

Today, the risk of making massive political commitments to water and sanitation remains for the most part too high, because water and sanitation compete with so many other important development priorities (roads, schools, hospitals, jobs) that are in many cases in higher demand.

The rule of law community and the water and sanitation community have an opportunity work together to be a highly catalytic part of the solution to the world’s water crisis. Access to safe drinking water strengthens rule of law, in that local water and sanitation committees often provide citizens in developing countries – particularly women – their first opportunity to be involved in a democratic process that concerns their own well-being. And as local leaders across the globe provide more clear guidance about water and sanitation governance and legal underpinnings, their constituents will have access to drinking water that is safe, affordable, sustainable, and equitable. Access will be universal and equitable, pricing will be fair for all users, infrastructure will be sustainable, and the rule of law will be strengthened as governments provide services and citizens uphold their end of the social contract.

My ambition is that rule of law and water communities will find more ways to work together across a number of platforms, and that both communities will emerge stronger from those collaborative efforts.