WaterAid, NGO Partners and the Congressional International Water and Sanitation Caucus Event Launch

Posted by
Sarah Kershaw
15 September 2020
Water, Health, Toilets, Children
Ntsika, 16, on his way home with a bucket of water, in Ka-Ben, Lubombo Province, eSwatini, December 2018.
Image: WaterAid/ Nyani Quarmyne/ Panos

September 15, 2020A bipartisan group of congressional representatives launched the International Water and Sanitation Caucus with a virtual panel discussion today, calling for increased attention and investment in clean water, sanitation and hygiene around the world.

Chairs Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) formed the Caucus to bring together lawmakers concerned about the international water and sanitation challenges that affect global health, economic productivity, ecosystems and national security.

Keynote speakers included Jennifer Mack, Global Water Coordinator and Deputy Assistant to the Administrator in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, USAID; and Lisa Hook, Chief of Party for USAID Gap Inc. Women + Water Alliance and Senior Manager of Environmental Sustainability, Gap Inc.

The panel was moderated by WaterAid CEO Kelly Parsons, who highlighted the important role water, sanitation and hygiene play in all development work and in responding to COVID -19.

“WaterAid is thrilled to see this Caucus come to fruition and is grateful for the bipartisan leadership on this critical issue,” said Parsons. “Now, more than ever, clean water is saving lives, fostering economic recovery, and creating a safer world for us all.”

Event panelists included:

  • Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Section, Programme Division, UNICEF
  • Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President and CEO of Project Concern International (PCI), a Global Communities Partner 

The panel focused on how organizations are addressing the immediate need for clean water, sanitation and hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic, and long-term sustainable solutions that can prevent future outbreaks and foster inclusive recovery and development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused public attention on hygiene, particularly handwashing. However, in many low- and middle-income countries, households, schools, communities, and healthcare facilities lack the most basic handwashing and sanitation necessities – safe water, soap and decent toilets – needed to contain the coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

This caucus will serve as a way for Members and staff to share ideas and build support for Congressional activities that promote access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone, everywhere.