The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – and the increased importance of good hygienic practices – highlights the critical importance of safe WASH services and the WASH systems that support them. The Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) – an undertaking of Welthungerhilfe, in partnership with Aguaconsult, the German Toilet Organization (GTO) and Viva con Agua – has recently published Tools for Practitioners to strengthen WASH systems (or simply the SSI-Toolbox).
Although children and adolescents rarely fall seriously ill with COVID-19, they are nevertheless extremely affected by the pandemic. Instead of playing outside, going to school, doing sports and meeting friends, they are now locked up with their parents all day, often in very confined spaces. In addition, they are worried about their family, their friends and themselves. Together, Welthungerhilfe and WASH United want to ensure that children and adolescents understand why their normal lives are being so drastically restricted and what they can do to protect themselves, their family and their friends from Corona. To this end, we have worked closely with an expert from the Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin to develop a comic strip that can be used around the world to educate children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 about Corona.
As the COVID-19 situation gets more critical and all our personal and working lives become ever more restricted, at Aguaconsult, we are also adjusting to how we operate as a company. By taking measures in line with UK government’s advice, we aim to help reduce the spread of the virus, maintain business operations and continue to deliver services to our clients. COVID-19 has created significant challenges for all companies. However, we want to reassure you that we are in a strong position to carry on operating effectively with established working practices that make us well placed to ensure continuity, while supporting efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
Strengthening WASH systems is a core focus of Agenda for Change, in their efforts to help governments to meet the WASH-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
But what does Agenda for Change mean by ‘WASH system’? What examples do they have of efforts to strengthen it? And what have been the experiences of the various Agenda for Change members on progressively applying a systems approach in their programming?
WASH systems thinking has, over the years, been arguably more focused on water supply than sanitation and hygiene. Will Tillett (Aguaconsult) has collaborated with Robert Gensch (German Toilet Organisation) in the development of a discussion paper seeking to adapt systems concepts and conceptual frameworks to better represent these WASH sub-sectors.
Following on from the engaging session entitled Beyond collaboration: learning from national and district-level collective action efforts in WASH held during the All Systems Go Symposium, in March this year, Jonathan Annis of TetraTech and Harold Lockwood of Aguaconsult have developed this reflection on the session and key takeaway messages about how collective action works in practice.
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