WASH conference kicks off

More than 100 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), local governments, ministries and aid donors are meeting in Harare to share experience and knowledge on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects.

According to a statement by the Australian embassy, these projects are being carried out in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho and Mozambique by World Vision, WaterAid, Plan, Red Cross, Welthungerhilfe and Concern Universal.

The four-year projects are funded by the Australian aid program’s Civil Society (CS) WASH Fund and are set to directly benefit almost 1.2 million people in the region through improving sustainable access to drinking water sources, sanitation facilities and knowledge of hygiene practices.

“The theme of the learning event will focus on how project teams are working with local ‘transformation agents, such as government, private sector, local water authorities, for a long-term sustainable impact,’” said the embassy.

Harold Lockwood, a WASH expert, will present and facilitate sessions throughout the conference that started today.

The Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Suzanne McCourt, will give the welcome speech and shed light on her government’s support for WASH projects in the region.

Kudzai Chatiza, the director of the Development Governance Institute in Zimbabwe will give the keynote address.

“The CS WASH fund projects aim to improve conditions for women and girls by helping to embed gender-sensitive approaches and greater representation by women in the sector,” read the statement

Said Bronwyn Powell, the knowledge and learning manager at Civil Society WASH Fund: “Women and girls have the most to gain from improved WASH services. When water is delivered to the house, hours are saved in collecting and carrying water. Holistic planning is essential for sustainable WASH services: involving both women and men in decision making is a step towards addressing both hygiene behaviour change as well as infrastructure itself.”

In addition to supporting the WASH needs of women and girls, the Fund also aims to give voice to the specific needs of people with disability by helping to establish policies and inclusive service delivery.

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