Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Global Water Challenge: A Discussion of Solutions

Last week the Chamber of Commerce held a forum in Washington DC on water and corporate social responsibility. Good attendance, good speakers, good focus on 'best practices" in corporate/nonprofit partnerships. Encouragingly the event focused not just on the gravity of the problem, but on the solutions, and particularly the corporate sector's small but meaningful role (if done right) in those solutions.

Corporations aren't the end game when it comes to solving the global water and sanitation challenge, but they can be part of the game if partnerships are designed well.

Here is the Chamber's write-up of the event.

The Global Water Challenge: A Discussion of Solutions

February 25th, 2010

On Friday, Feb. 19th BCLC launched its 2010 Global Corporate Citizenship Issue Series with a forum dedicated to water and sanitation challenges (audio recording and photos available online).

Water scarcity, lack of clean water, and sanitation problems plague communities all over world, even in the United States. Take a look at these statistics (source: ONE Campaign):

- 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation; 884 million people do not have access to clean water.
- Every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates $8 worth of saved time, increased productivity and reduced health care costs.
- 4,100 children die each day from severe diarrhea, which is spread through poor sanitation and hygiene.

Forum keynote speaker Ambassador Hattie Babbitt emphasized that long-term partnership solutions are critical to the water challenges we face today. She also discussed how water plays such a vital role in addressing food security, economic development, and health (topics the GCC series will cover later in 2010).

Featured during the forum were global water partnerships between Dow Chemical and Global Water Challenge; ITT Corporation and Mercy Corps; and Diageo and CHF International.

The following suggestions for how to create and implement water programs resulted from panelists and audience members sharing their experiences and practices:

  • Programs should be demand driven and meet the local needs
  • Programs should cater to the local culture, especially as it pertains to girls and women.
  • Programs should create an enabling environment for local residents
  • Scalability is essential to program design
  • Partnership programs should have a systems approach

It’s important to recognize that many people simply don’t know about the challenges faced in the water sector, so raising awareness is just as critical. Two campaigns aimed at raising awareness are the DOW Live Earth Run on April 18 and World Water Day March 22.


Rotary / Water / Summit / Montreal / June 19, 2010

For those of you who can swing by Montreal on June 19, 2010, the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG)'s World Water Summit is shaping up very nicely, keynoted by WSSCC's Jon Lane, one of the global water sector's rockstars.  See below - hope you can all make it, Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.

More details from an update I received this morning:

Wasrag and WRG are pleased to announce that Jon Lane, Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), will be one of the keynote speakers and also lead a workshop at the World Water Summit in Montreal, June 19, 2010.

The workshop: Rotary's Role in Bringing Stakeholders Together - is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the perspective of large governmental and non-governmental organizations: how are we progressing, what large-scale initiatives are being undertaken, what works and doesn't work, and where do smaller scale initiatives fit in?

Jon's experience in the field serves him well as leader of the WSSCC (or Collaborative Council), a group that is "putting people at the centre".

The focus of the Collaborative Council is to facilitate:

• Networking and collaboration between sector professionals
• Applied research and knowledge management
• Advocacy and communications, notably through the concept of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene for all).

The Collaborative Council is an independent entity hosted within the UN system and mandated by a UN General Assembly resolution in 1990 - it has one foot inside the UN and one foot out. It has 3,000 members in 90 countries. Most are senior professionals concerned with water and sanitation in developing countries.

Click on "To Register" to learn more.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

USAID Webinar on Access and Behavioral Outcome Indicators for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

I watched/listened to the previous webinar in this series. Certainly worth your time if you are a water/sanitation practitioner or thinking about becoming one...

The USAID Hygiene Improvement Project (HIP) is pleased to share a new publication, Access and Behavioral Outcome Indicators for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.

HIP developed this publication for USAID and other organizations to measure progress for hand washing, household water treatment and storage, and sanitation activities and provide guidance to implementers of WASH programs on what indicators to use to measure their programs’ achievements. This new document is available on HIP's website at:

You are also invited to participate in a webinar about this new publication on March 2, 2010, at 10 am Eastern Standard Time (Washington, DC). Orlando Hernandez, HIP's monitoring and evaluation specialist, will discuss this new publication and how program managers can apply these indicators to their WASH programs.

To register for this webinar, go to:

If you are unable to join us for this event, a recorded version of the webinar will be available on HIP's website at

Questions? Contact Patricia Mantey, USAID Hygiene Improvement Project, 202-884-8960, pmantey (AT)

Please forward this information to other colleagues who may be interested in this topic.

Water, Baseball, and the Dominican Republic - coolest event ever

This event in Boston is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend attending. Plus Water For People is doing some of the most interesting work in the global water/sanitation sector currently.

People, especially children, in developing countries like the Dominican Republic suffer from unsafe drinking water and spend a large portion of their day collecting it.

Go the distance for clean water at:

Fenway Park on Saturday, May 1, 2010, 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm

Save the date! Join New England Water For People, the New England Water Works Association, the New England Water Environment Association, and local Dominican Republic community leaders at a special Gala Celebration.

The Goal: To raise funds for sustainable projects that provide safe drinking water, health and hygiene education, and basic sanitation facilities to the people of the Dominican Republic.

The Place: Fenway Park, State Street Pavilion

Some of the world's greatest Dominican baseball players from Juan Marichal to Big Papi, David Ortiz, have gone the distance in this beloved ballpark.

The Festivities: Tour the park. Warm your heart and souls with a taste of island cuisine, cocktails, music, and guest speakers.

Your Contribution: $125 per person (and to a really good cause!)

Proceeds from this event will be used to fund Water For People's program in the Dominican Republic.

Better idea:

Be a Sponsor

Ask your employer about being a sponsor (click here for list of opportunities) or volunteer to help our Gala Committee.

For further information or to register online, visit or contact New England WFP Gala Committee Co-Chair, Rebecca Jenkins, 978-577-1415, rebecca.jenkins (AT)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Natural Resources Defense Council asks Congress to fund the Water for the Poor Act

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has just asked its members to urge Congress to fully fund the Water for the Poor Act (to the tune of $500m).  Awesome.

Please visit NRDC's Action Center and get busy with those letters to Congress.

You might also want to visit Heather Allen's blog at NRDC here.  Quoting from her latest post:

It's budget season in Washington, an opportunity to help shape how the U.S. will spend millions and sometimes billions of funds to improve the lives of the poor around the world.

Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation can have the most profound impact on improving lives and preventing disease, allowing people to focus on other issues like getting their children to school, growing food and doing other daily tasks.

Please take a moment to call upon Congress to increase funding for safe water and sanitation programs which promote health and healthy ecosystems.

So please do take five minutes out of your busy schedules and encourage the US Congress to do more for safe drinking water and sanitation around the developing world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Development Grants Program deadline extended to February 19

Quick follow up to my previous post regarding the Development Grants Program:

Check amendment 3 to the RFA on The new deadline is this Friday, Feb. 19.

Here is the original post for convenience:

Good news for the water, sanitation and hygiene sector: this year's USAID Development Grants Program includes $18m for water available to nonprofits around the globe. Applications due by February 12, 2010. Please forward broadly across the WASH sector.

Here is the full pdf of the RFA for the program.
More information:

Dear DGP Colleagues:

I am pleased to inform you that the Request for Applications (RFA) for the 2009 Developments Grants Program (DGP) was released on on December 22, 2009.

You can find the RFA in two places:

1) On the PVC website at Keyword DGP, and
2) On at and click Full Announcement at the top.

You may find it useful to mark your calendars with the following important dates from the RFA:

February 12, 2010 - Deadline for receipt of Concept Papers (Step 1)

March 19, 2010 - Applicants notified of decisions by USAID Missions. Invitations to selected Applicants to submit Full Applications (Step 2)

April 30, 2010 - Submission deadline for Full Applications

June 11, 2010 - Applicants notified whether they are recommended for awards

Additional information about the DGP program can be found at the following link:

Market-driven solutions for water and sanitation - Letters of Interest

Does your organization use market-based approaches to help solve the global safe drinking water and sanitation challenge? Are you based in the U.S. (501c3) but operating internationally? If so, please review the Laird Norton Family Foundation's recently-issued open call for Letters of Interest.

From their website:

The objective of this open call is to identify strong organizations working in innovative ways to address water and sanitation challenges in the developing world. We will consider funding programs that 1) use market-based approaches to address water and sanitation challenges, particularly those developing replicable or transferable solutions; or, 2) engage in efforts that advance your organization's field of work or build your organization's internal capacity to offer water and sanitation solutions in new or innovative ways.

Let me know how it goes...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

March 3: Capitol Hill Briefing on a New Water & Universities Initiative

Please join us for a Capitol Hill Briefing on a New Water & Universities Initiative

March 3, 2010. 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m
Room SVC 203/202
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE
Washington, DC

Join the CSIS Global Water Futures Project, Water Advocates, and prominent university and college leaders working on international water, sanitation, and hygiene (“WASH”) issues for a congressional briefing on a new University-WASH initiative. Presentations will feature the variety of ways in which U.S. colleges and universities are already addressing the global WASH crisis and will highlight how their role can be enhanced, especially through a new informal collaboration among U.S. institutions of higher education. The presentations and briefing are open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, and interested members of the public.

Please RSVP to

Please direct all questions to Katryn Bowe at kbowe (at) or (202) 775-3156.

See you there!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Haiti / Port au Prince / Water System Map

I have just received an updated version of USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) water system map for Port au Prince. This map has been compiled from multiple water sources including GoH/CAMPED, International Action, Metcalf & Eddy. IDP location points were created by UNOSAT and have been verified over satellite imagery from various dates in late January. The base map layers were created by MINUSTAH.

It is a handy tool for those of you active in PauP, including camps, operational and non-operational (i.e. could be repaired) water points, lines, junctions, etc.  Let me know if you need it as I technically can't post it here and don't have a weblink. 

Water / Schools / Girls / Sanitation / Ghana - must read

It's times like this when I wish this blog had a billion readers instead of just several hundred million. Below is an important piece from Voice of America on sanitation / hygiene / water / girls in school (or NOT in school) in Ghana. You put a bunch of taboos in a room together (human sexuality, girls, bodily fluids, poverty) and you get few people interested in tackling whatever the issue is. That's why more folks need to see this reporting and take action. Sanitary pads and safe water: enablers of girls' education as important as a teacher, textbook or schoolhouse.

Ghana - Keeping Girls in School May be a Matter of Better Sanitary Protection

When boys and girls reach puberty, their bodies go through many physical changes. But for girls in Africa, the onset of menstruation can bring with it discrimination, unwanted sexual advances and the end of their education. Now a pilot study in Ghana says it doesn’t have to be that way.

The study says when free sanitary protection is provided to secondary school girls there is a sharp drop in absenteeism and increased participation in household chores and socializing.

Oxford University Professor Linda Scott led the study, which involved more than 180 girls in four remote villages in Ghana. She says menstruation is often a taboo subject.

“I think it’s a combination of its links to sexuality and its links to bodily outputs. We don’t usually like to talk about bodily outputs or sexuality. And of course the fact that it affects females also has a tendency to make it more stigmatized, particularly in a developing nation context,” she says.

Cost and lack of availability are two reasons rural girls in poor countries go without sanitary protection.

Scott says, “It’s so much something that people take for granted. And even in the poor nations, people who would be middle class, and therefore government workers and NGO workers, they also would tend to take it for granted.” Also because it’s a taboo subject, it’s not something people talk about. So it tends to be invisible.

Perceptions change

What’s more, Professor Scott says girls are perceived differently once menstruation begins.

“Part of the problem is that the onset of menstruation in remote areas of Ghana is taken as signifying the coming of actual adulthood in a way that we don’t recognize it in the West. We don’t think of a 12 or 13-year-old girl as being marriageable or sexually available. But actually in this context it’s a signal that she’s both,” she says.

A girl without sanitary protection faces serious consequences.

“Her biggest problem is that if people know about this it’s not just an embarrassment and a laughing matter. It’s something that may actually put her in danger. And at this time also families often feel it’s time to withdraw their economic support for the girl to continue in school. So she suddenly starts having quite a bit less support for her continuing education,” she says.

Many of the girls, she says, simply get discouraged and drop out of school. But they face a physical risk as well.

“Sexual harassment and sexual predators are a big problem even for very young girls. Once they’re known to be sexually ready, from that perspective, they may be the victims of unwanted sexual advances. And unfortunately, very, very often it might come even from their teachers,” she says.

In the long-term

Scott says the long-term consequences are “huge.” While education for both boys and girls is critical for a nation’s development, ensuring girls remain in school can bring many benefits.

“There is quite a lot of data at this point to show that it has positive impact on economic development and productivity. But in particular, very quick impact on fertility rates, infant mortality, disease transmission, nutritional level and of course just generally improve the individual girl’s chances of having a happy and prosperous life,” she says.

The Oxford professor says government and NGO programs providing free sanitary protection could be a cost-effective way of ensuring girls’ education. But she says it would have to be done in such a way that is culturally sensitive. Also, she says communities need to be made aware of the importance of secondary education for girls.

Similar but longer studies are being considered for other African counties, as well as Muslim countries in Asia.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

USAID / Water / Indonesia - diarrheal disease reduction

USAID helps improve clean water, sanitation

Fri, 01/22/2010 2:27 PM

JAKARTA: USAID has helped Indonesia reduce diarrhea in communities where clean water and sanitation practices were adopted, the agency said in a release Wednesday.

USAID said the number of people suffering from the often water-borne illness dropped from 18.3 percent in February 2007 to 7.7 percent in June 2009, in Aceh, North Sumatra, West Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java, East Java, Jakarta and Papua.

Mission Director Walter North noted that USAID's Environmental Services Program (ESP) made a large contribution to the improvement of better health through improving water resource management and expanding access to clean water and sanitation services.

The ESP was a sixty-four month program that worked with the government, private sector, NGOs, community groups and other stakeholders to promote better health through improved water resource management and expanding access to clean water and sanitation services.

"Unsafe drinking water is the major cause of diarrhea and the second leading killer of children under five.

"Three out of every ten Indonesians suffer from water-borne illnesses," North said.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Business Civic Leadership Center: Focus on Water

Leaders from corporations, private foundations, and safe water nonprofits are all welcome at this Chamber of Commerce event on water - February 19, Washington DC:

U.S. Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center

Global Corporate Citizenship Issue Series: Focus on Water

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

1615 H Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20062

February 19, 2010
8:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

The Business Civic Leadership Center, in partnership with CHF International, is hosting the first of the Global Corporate Citizenship Issue Forums. The focus of this first forum will be on water.

Water is not only a global CSR issue but, it is one that penetrates the core operations of businesses every day. Many companies are providing services for clean drinking water and sanitation programs and also establishing internal sustainability programs to diminish their water usage.

Join us to hear from Diageo, Dow Chemical, ITT Corporation, and their partners who have established an integrated approach to water programs. Listen as they share their experience working in specific regions and provide perspectives on the ethical debates that organizations face when working in the sector.

Click here to register.

USAID / WASH Training Package for the Prevention of Diarrheal Disease

Handy training tool on WASH/Diarrheal Disease from USAID:

WASH Training Package for the Prevention of Diarrheal Disease

The "Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Improvement Training Package for the Prevention of Diarrheal Disease," provides information for organizations worldwide that seek to add WASH activities to their current programs or to start a diarrhea reduction program. It is intended to support the training of local outreach workers and their work in communities to promote improved WASH practices to reduce diarrhea. The Training Package consists of three separate parts: (1) a step-by-step "Guide for Training Outreach Workers," (2) an "Outreach Worker’s Handbook" for community outreach workers to use during and after training, and (3) a "Collection of Resource Materials" to use as a source for visual aids.

--To request a free copy of the WASH Training Package on CD, please send an email to hip (at) aed (dot) org.

You can also listen to a recorded webinar here:
Webinar on WASH Improvement Training Package for the Prevention of Diarrheal Disease
Recording of HIP's webinar on the "WASH Improvement Training Package for the Prevention of Diarrheal Disease," held January 28, 2010. Presented by Elizabeth Younger, HIP senior behavior change advisor.