In May 2015, WaterAid launched an ambitious new global strategy for 2015-2020 designed to accelerate transformational change towards our vision.
The new strategy marks a significant shift in WaterAid's approach, requiring that we be an agent of change, with a strong focus on an integrated and collaborative approach. The strategy has four new aims:
We will tackle and challenge the inequalities that prevent the poorest and most marginalized people from realising their right to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
We will support governments and service providers to strengthen the systems and capabilities required to deliver sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services.
We will work with others - such as the health and education sectors - to integrate water, sanitation and hygiene into their plans and policies.
We will positively influence hygiene behaviour to maximize the benefits of access to safe water and sanitation.
On September 25th, 2015, all 193 member states of the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or 'Agenda 2030', to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. For the first time in history, water, sanitation and hygiene were central in the global development agenda.
WaterAid, alongside other organisations and civil society groups, had been calling for a globally agreed goal dedicated to water, sanitation and hygiene since 2012. The inclusion of Goal 6 - and a clear reference to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation - is a major milestone in ending poverty and transforming lives.
* We did sanitation and hygiene work before these dates, but this is when we started formally recording numbers.
Wearing a broad-brimmed sun hat, teacher Mariette Razanamparany beamed as she told us that access to safe water and toilets had transformed her school in Madagascar. Attendance is up and parents feel much more positive about sending their children to school. The children are much more active and motivated and can fully participate in school. The teachers are also more committed and willing to work in schools that have access to drinking water and hygienic toilets and a learning environment where their students can thrive.
Now into its fourth year, WaterAid Canada's largest ongoing program is the East Africa School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program. It is jointly funded by WaterAid Canada and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada. This five-year program aims to reach 170 schools and 120,000 students and teachers throughout Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Together we're creating healthier school environments where children can learn and thrive.
The smile says it all for Julia, a midwife at Kiomboi Hospital in Tanzania, and these two new moms. Midwives can now wash their hands with clean, running water, reducing the risk of spreading infection to newborn babies and their mothers.
This past year, WaterAid Canada received funding from Global Affairs Canada's Partnership for Strengthening Maternal and Newborn Child Health Call for Proposals. This four-year project, led by Amref Health Africa in Canada, and in partnership with the Christian Children's Fund of Canada, and SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, will continue to contribute to the improved health of mothers and their children in East Africa. While each partner brings their unique expertise to the project, WaterAid is providing clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education to health care facilities in Tanzania.
The program is helping reduce maternal, neonatal and child mortality by strengthening health systems and improving nutrition. Over 1.7 million people are expected to benefit directly from the project, including 1 million women of reproductive age and more than 650,000 children under the age of five.
As we build momentum toward our 2030 goals, we believe that we can maximize our impact through collaborative programming partnerships. Together with OneDrop, an international non-profit organization created by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, and Rotary International's Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG), we launched the Ji Ni Beseva program in Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world.
The program will provide sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene for more than 75,000 people in the Kati and Bla regions. What makes this program particularly compelling is that, by building on the Malian tradition of storytelling and using the arts as an advocacy tool, it takes a more holistic approach to build lasting change and transforming lives.
Bringing a new life into the world should be a time of love and hope for mother and baby. But, around the world, one in every 50 births ends in heartbreak. In 2013, over 2.7 million babies died in their first four weeks of life. This is overwhelmingly a problem of the developing world - with over 99% of neonatal deaths occurring in low and middle income countries.
In 2015, WaterAid launched Healthy Start, our four-year campaign focused on improving the health and nutrition of newborn babies and children. Through this program, WaterAid is advocating for access to water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion to be integrated into health policy and delivery, locally, nationally and internationally. Just being washed in clean water and cared for in a clean environment by people who had washed their hands could prevent a newborn's untimely death.
After the devastating earthquakes that affected Nepal, WaterAid took an active part in the emergency response by ensuring that our partners and the communities we work with had access to safe drinking water and that human waste was safely disposed of to prevent outbreaks of diarrhea, cholera and typhoid.
With the help of our global team - and donations from WaterAid's amazing supporters - we were able to respond to the immediate and critical need for safe water and sanitation. We responded through 13 partners in 11 affected districts, providing emergency WASH services including distributing water purification tablets, community filters and hygiene kits, rehabilitating water supply systems, building temporary toilets in communities, schools and health facilities, and raising awareness on menstrual hygiene management.
In February 2016, WaterAid Canada hosted a panel discussion at Global Affairs Canada on Breaking the Silos: The case for WASH and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health integration in support of International Development Week. More than 150 international development experts attended the discussion which emphasized the link between water, sanitation and hygiene and maternal, newborn and child health.
The Collega for AVEDA network in Canada once again marked their commitment to clean water for everyone, everywhere by taking to the streets in 14 cities across the country on Earth Day (April 22nd). Over 1300 individuals walked to raise awareness about the global water and sanitation crisis, helping to raise $448,521 for WaterAid Canada.
On February 12, 2016, His Excellency Nicolas Chapuis Ambassador of France to Canada, hosted WaterAid’s inaugural Auction of Nations at the French embassy. The event was attended by over 250 guests from Ottawa’s business, media and diplomatic communities, and raised over $45,000 through a live and silent auction.
WaterAid Canada’s team headed to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for the first installment of the Bucket List Adventure series. These intrepid cyclists, led by Olympic gold medalist and host of CTV’s Amazing Race Canada, Jon Montgomery and his wife Darla, travelled nearly 500 km from San José, Costa Rica to Managua, Nicaragua all in support of safe water, sanitation and hygiene. Participants had the opportunity to meet local partners, see our work in action and learn first-hand from local residents what safe water means to them.
A big thank you to our riders and their many sponsors who helped raise nearly $45,000 in support of WaterAid.