I am very grateful to my good friend and colleague Sahana Singh, Editor of Asian Water for pointing me though Facebook to the Be Inspired Innovations in Infrastructure conference in Amsterdam. Bentley System, world leader in engineering software for information modelling through integrated projects for intelligent infrastructure organised it. I joined the Media day on 12 November and listened to four finalists presenting their projects and innovations in Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants on 13 November 2012.
Seeing old friends is always nice. Combining that with some interesting voluntary work is even nicer in the first year of my retirement. This is what I did in Ghana a few weeks ago. I went on holiday for two weeks visiting friends and I offered my expertise free of charge to our partner there: the WASH Resource Centre Network Ghana http://www.washghana.net, I asked them how they could use me. In the end it turned out that an interactiv workshop sharing my 40 – year experience in journalism and WASH communication with the Ghana WASH Journalists Network was very welcome. Continue reading
The sanitation project that I sponsor in Bangladesh is now fully funded.
It is from The Max Foundation that seeks to prevent child mortality with small-scale water projects in Bangladesh. Micro-sanitation, the combination of providing wells, latrines, and hygiene education is the most effective and efficient way to fight simple but lethal diseases like diarrhea and give children a future. The Max Foundation provides micro-sanitation in Bangladesh together with the local community.
Through a really simple reporting system I’ll be getting occasional news on progress in pictures and short films.
If you are interested to follow my example check out http://www.akvo.org and pick a project. Akvo is Esperanto for water.
Big civil society organisations in the Netherlands team up with international companies for campaigns that want to sell more products here and bring money for school latrines in Sudan and clean drinking water in Burkina Faso.
Oxfam Novib has entered a three-year partnership with SCA Hygiene Products. The Swedish multinational finances, among others, several projects on hygiene in South Sudan. The Dutch National UNICEF Committee teamed up with Spa: for every one litre bottle sold until the end of December Spa donates four litre clean drinking water in Sudan, see http://spa.nl/unicefinfo/
In the Netherlands SCA is selling the brands Edet (toilet paper), Libresse (sanitary napkins) and Tork (soap). In the coming three years the company will support several projects of Oxfam Novib’s partner MRDA in the fields of education and hygiene. For every action box sold during the campaign SCA donates an amount to Oxfam Novib. You can also click for toilets in Sudan at http://klikvoorsoedan.edethelpt.nl/.
Every 100,000 click means 3,200 dollars for one school toilet.
This weekend two mainstream Dutch newspapers carried features leading into this week’s high-level Round-Table discussing the mixed achievements of the Millennium Development Goals. It will be held from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Wednesday, 22 September 2010, at the UN headquarters in New York, United States. This session will be Webcast live via: http://www.un.org/webcast.
Dick Wittenberg in the NRC Weekblad of 18 September reported on his going back to Dickson village in Malawi where his first feature five years ago had started a readers fundraising action to help this poor village. “Use of treadle pumps increased the income in this village”, he writes.
Kees Broere in de Volkskrant of 18 September reports on improvements in water and sanitation from the Kibera slum in Kenya. “The number of flying toilets in Kibera is going down”, he writes. Continue reading
In my work I am regularly asked to facilitate communication training or media workshops. This time the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) asked me to help them with a communication planning workshop on 10 October in Maseru, Lesotho. After three days of workshops and a general assembly I had to use lots of energisers and group work to keep the attention and active involvement of the 10 ANEW communication people. But it worked.
Here one group is analysing communication products from others.
The Ecological Sanitation Research group (EcoSanRes) at Stockholm Environment Institute has launched its first Knowledge Node on Sustainable Sanitation for southern Africa during the second Africa Water Week in Johannesburg. I am there for my work. It is one of the ten planned regional nodes, the next one will be launched next week in Uganda.
“Our aim is to train groups in sustainable sanitation and develop local capacity to respond to demand for information and training in the region, says Madeleine Fogde, EcoSanRes Capacity Development Manager.” Other knowledge nodes will be established in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. Continue reading
In various countries hurt by the economic crisis discussions emerge about speeding up infrastructure investments in public works to stimulate the economy. This will create jobs and lead to assets that contribute to the social and economic prosperity of a nation. Each US$ 1 billion invested in water and wastewater infrastructure projects generates more than 47,000 jobs. “Hopefully, this emerging trend to stimulate economies through infrastructure may also directly benefit water and sanitation,” writes my colleague editor Pamela Wolfe in her commentary in World Water and Environmental Engineering of November/December 2008.
In the last week I came across two interesting media stories that touched on leapfrogging development. One on Africa being advice to leapfrog from sewers and water closets straight to eco-sanitation systems; the other one on a small, fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicle from India getting into the rich market of America
2009 will see the arrival of big emerging-market brands into the developed world, writes Tamzin Booth, European business editor of The Economist (p.127) in a special issue The World in 2009. Mahindra, an Indian conglomerate with a strong brand, which sells everything from tractors to insurance, will launch a small, fuel-efficient sport-utility vehicle in America. Strawberry Frog, the advertising company working on the launch, says that emerging-market brands such as Mahindra can leapfrog rich-world markets by using guerrilla techniques and new media.
Africa should leapfrog from sewers and water closets straight to eco-sanitation systems in the same way as they did with going straight to mobile telephones instead of fixed lines, said Rose George, author of THE BIG NECESSITY: Adventures in the World of Human Waste, in an interview in a Dutch development magazine. She travels all over the world telling stories from her book, as I reported on the IRC monitor page: IRC in special sanitation theme issue of Internationale Samenwerking magazine.
For a good definition of leapfrogging development and an example from China see The Significance of Leapfrog Development of Education in China, PDF.
Friday night 21 November I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my employer IRC in the beatiful Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. There we also did the last morning of our anniversary symposium on Urban Sanitation for the Poor. Rosemary Rop, WSP Africa Nairobi in her key note speech to the symposium identified six drivers of successful urban sanitation for the poor.
In the afternoon we had the Prince of Orange’s presence in a closing ceremony of the he International Year of Sanitation and many activities by Dutch coalitions. Around 250 visitors joined this Looking Beyond the International Year of Sanitation session, a joint activity of IRC, Simavi and the Netherlands Water Partnership.