ANEW, a regional networking body of African CSOs dedicated to ensuring that the diverse voices of African CSOs on water and sanitation are represented and heard in the development and implementation of WASH plans and policies; committed to build capacity of East African CSOs through peer to peer learning after the East African Civil Society Forum on ‘tracking progress on WASH commitments’ organized in Kampala from 16 to 18 April 2013.
From April 16th to 18th, 2013, the East African Civil Society Organization Forum on ‘tracking Progress on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Commitments’ was held in Kampala, Uganda with an assistance of over 47 civil society representatives from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Ghana, South Sudan, Tanzania, UK and Switzerland. This Forum organized by ANEW, WSSCC, UWASNET, SWA, WaterAid and EWP aimed at:
- Tracking progress on commitments made by Government leaders during the High Level Meeting (HLM) held in Washington DC in 2012 to ensure water and sanitation for all in the region and
- Reinforcing the capacity of East African WASH civil society networks and organizations to influence national and regional policy to improve access to WASH.
ANEW has been playing a leading part in the building of this event, both organizing as well as facilitating. Mrs. Catherine Mwango, ANEW Vice Chair was one of seven panelists of the Panel discussion on the 2012 High Level Meeting and progress on the commitments. Mr. Baker Yiga, ANEW Executive Secretariat has facilitated the CSO reflections on the 2012 High Level Meeting and provided the CSOs with a feedback from the Sanitation and Water For All SWA Partnership meeting 2012 and CSOs consultations for next SWA steering Committee.
During this meeting, ANEW’s role in tracking and implementing WASH commitments in East Africa has been emphasized; mainly for its coordination work and the sector information it provides to its members, which have respectively been categorized as strength and opportunity for CSOs in East Africa. However, Mr. Baker Yiga feels that, “ANEW, an autonomous African CSO forum for dialogue, sharing, cooperation and coordination can be utilized more strongly by the CSOs for sector performance monitoring” noting that “ANEW’s success depends on action and capacity of its members to provide CSOs data and useful critique of reports”.
In order to move forward and improve the tracking of process on WASH commitments in East Africa, the CSOs committed to engage and support ANEW which was requested to support the CSOs, key partners to monitor progress and implement commitments, by undertaking the following activities:
- Support the peer to peer learning
- Target support to lift CSOs networks that are not doing well
- Provide capacity building in communication for countries that lack communication strategy
- Follow-up the CSOs network in the selection of their focal persons in order to enable performance measurements of the CSOs network
- Continue to communicate effectively with the National Focal Points
- Assist in the process of National Level Action Planning
- Review plans earlier submitted by national networks
After these three intense days of discussions and learning, all the participants left the forum were energized and more eager to engage in ANEW’s work and tackle WASH issues in East Africa where nearly 120 million of people do not have access to safe drinking water and about 200 million do not have improved sanitation.
The African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) is a regional networking body of African civil society organizations (CSOs) actively involved in the field of sustainable water management, water supply and sanitation. To learn more about ANEW, please visit: www.anewafrica.org or follow ANEW on Twitter @anewafrica and like our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/ANEW-Africa/499884933406592#!/pages/ANEW-Africa/499884933406592
By Balkissa Idé Siddo, Bilingual Communications and Information Officer of ANEW, the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)