World Water Week 2014 takes place 31 August - 5 September in Stockholm, Sweden. Since 1991 it has been the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. We will be tweeting and blogging all week. You can follow the latest blog updates from WaterAid here, while we will be tweeting over at twitter.com/wateraid Over the course of the week, over 200 organisations will collaborate on over 100 events about water and development issues. We caught up with three WaterAid delegates attending from around the globe to share their thoughts ahead of the week. Mark Thomas, Corporate Relations Manager (Australia) Is this your first visit to Stockholm World Water Week and what are you most looking forward to? This is my first trip to Stockholm and the first by anyone from the Australian WaterAid office. I’m excited by the scale of the event and looking forward to making connections with corporations that are taking their responsibility to managing water as a precious, shared resource seriously. Who are the key people or organisations you are hoping to talk to and influence? I am really looking forward to the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with those corporate multi-nationals supporting WaterAid such as H&M and HSBC to elevate WaterAid’s work in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. I’m also keen to develop new relationships with those organisations that see water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as an important component in the SDG’s and engaging with the CEO Water Mandate. Tell us one interesting fact about your country or area of expertise that the people of Stockholm may not already know! WaterAid Australia celebrates 10 years this month; has a $10 million dollar income and just 20 staff. We now have three country programs – Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Cambodia. Summarise what you hope to get out of World Water Week both for yourself and for WaterAid. I’m excited to be spending time with my WaterAid Corporate counterparts – Moniqa Lofstedt WA Sweden, Kate Holme WA UK and Jennifer Colletti - Membreno WA USA – in our quest for world domination for WaterAid! Louise Whiting, Senior Policy Analyst for Water Security and Climate Change (UK) Is this your first visit to Stockholm World Water Week and what are you most looking forward to? I've been to Stockholm World Water Week before but this will be my first time as a 'WASH person'. I am really looking forward to re-connecting with all of my old colleagues in the 'big water' world and throwing some ideas around about how we can bring the WASH and water resources management domains closer together so that they can mutually support one another. What will you be doing at World Water Week? As a Senior Policy Analyst for Water Security and Climate Change it is my responsibility to look 'beyond WASH' at broader issues such as water resources management, the water-food-energy nexus and water scarcity. What better place to learn about what is happening in this broader sphere than Stockholm. Who are the key people or organisations you are hoping to talk to and influence? I have organised (an ambitious) series of meetings with professionals from a range of institutions such as the World Bank, IWMI and FAO. My aim is to secure some great new partnerships for WaterAid, and convince people who have traditionally focused on water for agriculture and energy to also consider the water needed for reliable and sustainable WASH! Tell us one interesting fact about your country or area of expertise that the people of Stockholm may not already know! I come from Australia and most people think of us as playing a leading role when it comes to water resources management. While this may be true in many respects, something I have learned by working internationally is that most of the systems we have in place at home are impossible to implement in developing countries where laws are weak and water resources are not effectively controlled by the government. Rather than trying to impose rich country solutions on nations in Africa and Asia, we need to develop unique solutions that can work in the developing country context. Neeraj Jain, Chief Executive, Wateraid India What will you be doing in Stockholm? This is my first visit to Stockholm World Water Week. I will be on the panel during the discussions of the HSBC Water Programme “Transformation through Collaboration – How Can Partnerships Maximise Impact” and participating in various other sessions. Who are the key people or organisations you are hoping to talk to and influence? I am hoping to link up and talk with other INGOs, donors, institutions and individuals that have are working in the sector. I am also looking out for learnings on monitoring sanitation usage as well as interesting insights into behaviour change interventions for hygiene since this is critical for India. Tell us one interesting fact about your country or area of expertise that the people of Stockholm may not already know! India is known for its acute poverty and its contrasting economic growth. Less well known is India’s immense human potential which, when tapped, can create sustainable transformational change. For example, India has roughly 1.4 million schools reaching to 114 million children directly, and indirectly their families. Promoting WASH in schools improves child health and wellbeing, and develops WASH professionals as informed and responsible leaders. In India there are about 800,000 trained health frontline workers (ASHA) and about 1.4 million frontline nutrition workers. There is also a new generation of WASH frontline workers being trained, who should be in place in the next couple of years across the country. Systematic engagement with and training of these people will help us nurture champions who trigger and sustain change from within. Summarise what you hope to get out of World Water Week both for yourself and for WaterAid. A platform to showcase our good work as well as things that haven’t worked. A platform to learn from other’s experiences. A platform to network with stakeholders from across the sector.