Now I am retired it is about time that I start writing new posts.
Today WaterAid is releasing to media a high resolution doctored image of the Statue of Liberty holding a glass of water and a toilet roll entitled “In Water and Sanitation We Trust” designed to show the importance of these essential services. The occasion is the 100 finance and water ministers who are discussing next steps in the Sanitation and Water for All initiative this afternoon in the USA.
It is time to free millions trapped in water and sanitation poverty – Governments convene in the USA today to collaborate on investment in water and sanitation. The charity WaterAid calls for concrete actions to free the hundreds of millions from the devastating impact of dirty water and unsafe sanitation. Universal access to these basic services would save 2.5 million lives every year.
I am curious to see in which media he image will appear.
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.