7th Rural Water Supply Network Forum 2016

Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, 29 November - 2 December 2016

The 7th Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) Forum will run from 29 November to 2 December 2016 in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire. This year’s theme is ‘Water for everyone’, and the forum will centre around the practical implications of aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Target 6.1 to achieve universal access to safe, affordable water by 2030.

About the network and forum

Water supply professionals and practitioners came together to form the RWSN, aiming to raise standards of knowledge and evidence, technical and professional competence, and practice and policy in rural water supply.

Occurring every five years, the forum is a unique event. It provides a chance for professionals from all types of organisations and at all levels – including manual drilling entrepreneurs, government ministers, and academics – to come together.

The forum is bilingual – discussions will be in French and English. The aim of the forum is to explore as a sector:
  • How are we going to reach the SDGs in rural areas and small towns? 
  • What has worked well in the past? 
  • What needs to be done differently in the future?

WaterAid has been part of the RWSN since its inception. The network has provided opportunities to share our work, learn from others, and to interact. It has enabled practitioners to become published authors through peer-review mechanisms, driving forward critical reflection and thinking.

WaterAid and RWSN

WaterAid is part of the RWSN steering committee and is a key sponsor of the forum. Discussions will be cross-cutting around five RWSN themes, covering:
  • Accessing self-supply 
  • Sustainable groundwater development 
  • Equality, non-discrimination and inclusion 
  • Sustainable services 
  • Mapping and monitoring

We are excited to be part of the forum and share experiences with professionals and practitioners who are passionate about the issues around rural water supply. We look forward to widening our perspective and improving knowledge in our areas of work.

The forum will provide an opportunity to enrich work in the sector and align our work with that of others, rather than working in our own silos. The cross-sharing will help ensure that practitioners are not re-inventing the wheel, and that reinforcement of messages from past experiences and learning will continuously add value.

Below are the key highlights of what WaterAid staff will be presenting:

  • WaterAid UK’s Louisa Gosling, Quality Programmes Manager, and Jane Wilbur, Equality, Inclusion and Rights Advisor, will lead on the theme of equality, non-discrimination and inclusion. WaterAid, WASH United and other partners have prepared new guidance for local government officials and community to make clean water and sanitation a reality for everyone. They will launch this guidance at the forum – it will provide an opportunity to share and help to dispel the myths around human rights in WASH. 
  • Jane Wilbur will present a paper co-authored with Chelsea Huggett (Regional Programmes Manager at WaterAid Australia) and Ray Norman (World Vision). In 2015 the RWSN’s Equality, Non-discrimination and Inclusion theme meant the inclusion of e-discussions and webinars on ‘Reducing Inequalities in WASH’. These covered: practical approaches to improve participation of everyone; inclusive infrastructure designs; and information, guidance and support in regards to addressing inequalities. Disability, gender, menstrual hygiene management, rights to water and sanitation, and school WASH were covered, with experiences shared from West, East, and Southern Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Central America. This report synthesises the online discussions, captures practical tools, draws on relevant content from the webinars, and highlights experiences and lessons learned.

  • Edith Veromaminiaina, Research Officer from WaterAid Madagascar is presenting a paper on WaterAid Madagascar’s experience of working with the national platform for persons with disabilities to support their advocacy for rights to WASH. 
  • Shahrukh Mirza, Strategic Support Specialist- Programmes from WaterAid Bangladesh is presenting on the experience of using a rights based approach to strengthen demand for WASH services and greater accountability by the local government. 
  • Issaka Ouedraogo, Rural Programme Manager from WaterAid Burkina Faso is presenting the country’s experience of using the opportunity of social uprising to raise water and sanitation as rights into the country’s new constitution.

Many other organisations have also contributed papers under this theme so we expect to come out of the conference with some strong recommendations for the sector on how to reach those who are still left behind. 

  • WaterAid, WASH United and other partners have prepared new guidance about the Human rights to water and sanitation. This guidance is specifically aimed at local government officials who have the responsibility for ensuring water and sanitation services reach everyone They will launch this guidance at the forum – it will provide an opportunity to dispel some of the myths around human rights in WASH and show how human rights can provide a practical framework for practice and advocacy – helping to focus on reaching the most marginalised whilst promoting more accountable services.
  • Jacinta Nekesa, Head of Integrated WASH at WaterAid Uganda, will present a paper on the corrosion of hand pump components, and also present WaterAid Uganda’s experience of sand dams.
  • Joshua Briemberg, Country Representative, WaterAid Nicaragua, will present on delivering sustainable services in difficult environments drawing on experience from Nicaragua. He will also talk about use of WASHTech technology applicability framework (TAF) in Nicaragua and Colombia. TAF is a decision support tool on the applicability, scalability, and sustainability of a specific WASH technology to provide lasting services in a specific context, and on the readiness for its introduction.
  • Vincent Casey, Technical Support Manager for Water Security at WaterAid UK, will also share experience of using WASHTech in different countries where WaterAid works. We will also be promoting the videos produced in collaboration with RWSN on higher standards of drilling.
  • WaterAid is also co-leading on the theme of mapping and monitoring. As part of this, Ellen Greggio, Programme Advisor for Mapping and Monitoring will present key lessons from WaterAid’s past experiences in supporting district-level water services monitoring and mapping. We will also present discussion opportunities for WaterAid and other sector stakeholders to address the key challenges and bottlenecks of country-led monitoring processes. Key among these are district government access and use of information, and the availability of human and financial resources for regular data collection. These emerged from a recent review by WaterAid country programmes, and inform our work priorities.

    We will share some examples of ongoing projects in Rwanda and Burkina Faso, where WaterAid is testing some sustainable simple data collection processes that will support evidence-based decision-making and intervention prioritisation for the future. We will also share the new development around WaterAid’s water point mapper and integration of mWater technology, the mobile data collection and analysis platform, for meaningful maps generation. 
  • We will also make a poster presentation on WaterAid’s approach to post-implementation monitoring surveys (PIMS), giving a brief overview of WaterAid’s journey so far with PIMS. In the past year, WaterAid has reviewed the indicators and questions used in post-implementation monitoring, to integrate sector best practice and learning and enable standardisation across our country programmes. The poster will summarise our partnership with mWater.

At the forum, we will be exhibiting mWater, our WASH stats platform WASHwatch, and our virtual reality documentary film ‘After Shock’, which presents the challenges faced by villagers in restoring access to water in the aftermath of earthquakes in Nepal in 2015.

Press release: New guide makes rights to water and sanitation 'real'

WaterAid and WASH United, together with partner organisations the Institute for Sustainable Futures, End Water Poverty, UNICEF and the Rural Water Supply Network, have launched new guidance for local government officials in developing countries, to show how they can become real heroes in helping people realise their rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals for Rural Water Supply

WaterAid Bangladesh (WAB) is one of the eight countries piloting a human rights based approach to WASH as part of WaterAid’s global HRBA Action Learning Initiative (HRBA-ALI). This paper presents how the project has evolved from a partial concept to an organised, grounded intervention that is shaping the local context in two Union Parishads in northern Bangladesh.

WaterAid's approach to support national and subnational WASH service monitoring processes

In an effort to guide WaterAid’s future work in support of national WASH service monitoring, a review of previous assistance programmes has been carried out, focusing on five countries (Liberia, Malawi, Swaziland, Mali and Kenya). This paper presents the findings of the review illustrating WaterAid’s approach to support national and subnational WASH service monitoring processes.

Monitoring sustainability at WaterAid poster 

This poster gives a brief overview of WaterAid’s journey so far with Post-Implementation Monitoring Surveys (PIMS). In the past year, WaterAid has reviewed the indicators and questions used in post-implementation monitoring, to integrate sector best practice and learning and enable standardisation across our country programmes. It also summarises our partnership with mWater.