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Women Deliver – day by day

Posted 18 May 2016 by Tiffany Langston

Women Deliver, the largest global conference about the rights of women and girls, is taking place in Copenhagen this week. Tiffany Langston, Communications Manager at WaterAid America is our eyes and ears at the event. Read her daily updates to find out how we’ve been bringing water, sanitation and hygiene to conversations.

Day three – Wednesday 18 May

We kicked off the third day of the Women Deliver Conference by hosting a breakfast event that explored the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities. It was an early start but after a little coffee we had an excellent and active discussion.

Attendees were very receptive to WaterAid’s Parallel Lives film, which compares a day in the life of a midwife in Kiomboi hospital, Tanzania, with a midwife in Liverpool in the UK.


Key takeaways: we all know that we need quality maternity care, but we also need to get the infrastructure ready – and make sure it’s used. Governments need to increase their commitment to WASH, and we need specific WASH targets, with a plan to integrate basic health services.

Then it was time for a little fun! Our giant poo was interviewed for a segment on Women Deliver’s live conference broadcast. We also encouraged delegates to play the WASH Lottery and see if they were one of the lucky 60% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa who give birth in a facility with safe water, or one of the 40% who are forced to deliver without that live-saving resource.

Tomorrow, Policy and Advocacy Director, Lisa Schechtman, will be featured in the Women Deliver Speaker’s Corner, where she’ll engage the delegates on newborn and maternal health.

Day two – Tuesday 17 May

Today was the first full day of Women Deliver 2016 and it started off with an experiential activity with our partners at Girls’ Globe.

We invited some of the Young Leader delegates to strap on a life-sized baby doll and attempt to carry a jerrycan full of water, weighing 25 kilos (that’s 55 pounds!) Watch our Facebook Live to see how they handled the challenge: 


After the experience, men and women shared with us how difficult it was to complete this challenge which is a daily reality for women in developing countries.

Elsewhere at the conference, we were delighted that the WaterAid booth was one of the most popular in the exhibition hall. People dropped by to try out our handwashing station and learn more about our work.

And esteemed delegates – from African pop royalty to a true princess – joined us for a #pooselfie. Take a look on Twitter to see HRH Princess Sarah Zeid, WHO Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustero, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Tedros Adhanom and African pop icon and advocate Yvonne Chaka Chaka, among others, posing with a giant poo.

We ended day two with an incredibly successful panel discussion on the importance of women and girls having access to menstrual hygiene management and education programs. The room full of attendees explored the lack of a menstrual hygiene SDG and offered solutions on how to tackle the taboos surrounding menstruation around the world.

Tomorrow morning WaterAid will host a breakfast event focusing on the lack of WASH in healthcare facilities and how that affects mothers and children.

Day one – Monday 16 May

Every three years, Women Deliver hosts a conference for thousands of attendees, from all over the world to gather and discuss the progress of women’s rights, health, education and empowerment.

This year is the fourth such event and a small contingent of WaterAid staff have descended upon Copenhagen, Denmark to make a splash and demonstrate the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for women and girls, in healthcare facilities especially.

Day one of the conference started off slowly, but ended with a bang. We loaded in and set up our WaterAid booth equipped with information about our work, games and gimmicks to engage delegates with our messaging throughout the conference.

In the morning, WaterAid Policy and Advocacy Director Lisa Schechtman gave a great talk at the #BabyWash Coalition pre-conference event in which she outlined the different ways in which WASH is crucial to ensuring healthy children, especially in the first 1000 days of life.


By mid-afternoon, Miriam and Lizzie from the UK events staff arrived to turn up the volume. Dressed as a giant poo and toilet, they roamed the exhibition hall to entice folks to take a #pooselfie and share the message that nearly 40% of all healthcare facilities do not have access to WASH.

Tomorrow, our stand will officially be open for business! We’ll encourage attendees to play the WASH Lottery, visit our handwashing station, take part in some fun, experiential activities and view some of our most impactful video content that explores how women are negatively affected by lack of WASH. We’ll also be hosting an event around menstrual hygiene management.

Watch the conference live >

Follow @wateraid to get updates from Women Deliver as it happens, and visit www.wateraid.org/womendeliver for more information, blogs, films and more.

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