Watershed – Empowering Citizens programme launched in Bangladesh
Watershed – Empowering Citizens, a five-year long policy and advocacy strengthening programme, was launched today in Dhaka on 28 March 2017. The progamme aims to improve governance for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and integrated water resource management (IWRM) through strengthening civil society organisations so that all citizens, including the most marginalised, can benefit from sustainable services. It also aims to enhance citizens’ ability to obtain information so they can advocate for change based on reliable, accurate data.
Watershed is a partnership of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo. The programme is being implemented in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mali and Uganda. In Bangladesh, WaterAid Bangladesh is the lead implementer of Watershed programme with support from DORP and Gender and Water Alliance Bangladesh.
Ms. Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere, The Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands graced the launching programme as the Chief Guest. Md Sarafat Hossain Khan, Director General, Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO) and Md Mahfuzur Rahman, Additional Director General, Bangladesh Water Development Board attended as Special Guests. Md Khairul Islam, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh, Md Liakath Ali, PhD, Director, Programmes and Policy Advocacy, WaterAid and Sara Ahrari, Senior Programme Officer, SIMAVI were also presented in the programme amongst others.
Md Khairul Islam, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh in his welcome note said that the Sustainable Development Goals is a gear shift in the development paradigm, and Watershed embodies this change in its focus on empowerment of citizens for inclusive and comprehensive water, sanitation and hygiene programmes. Special Guest Mr Mahfuzur Rahman expressed his appreciation for the programme, and emphasised his support for collaboration between civil society and government.
Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere, The Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, launched Watershed officially, mentioning in her speech that the Dutch government’s long-term plans involved working in Bangladesh to support the government and the country with challenges around management of water resources in the delta context.