Posted on 14 March 2019
"When we talk here about WASH-systems, we are not only talking about pipes, pumps and toilets. We are talking about people", said CEO Patrick Moriarty at the opening of the jubilee symposium of his foundation that celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Moriarty explained the importance of strengthening the service delivery of WASH-systems in a wider sense than just building its infrastructure. Improvement of service delivery goes beyond business as usual Moriarty said, and are essential to reach universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.
|CEO Patrick Moriarty opened the jubilee symposium on wash systems to achieve universal access to water and sanitation in 2030 for everyone.|
The jubilee symposium takes place from 12 – 14 March in the Hague, the Netherlands. The title ‘All systems go’ refers to the corner stone of IRC’s current activities to engage local stakeholders in district level WASH planning.
One such district plan concerns Banfora in south west Burkina Faso. At the symposium Richard Bassono if IRC Wash highlighted the first findings (on top photo).
Complexity of livelihood
Moriarty told about the history of IRC Wash and the discovery by his organisation how difficult it is to implement water projects in developing countries that last. As a young civil engineer he discovered the complexity of rural livelihood and development in Zimbabwe.
He praised the inspiring local civil servants, he met in those days. "We often overlook those people. They are underpaid, under appreciated in the broader development narrative. People that, in my mind, are always dedicated to the community they serve. They are the back bones of the water and sanitation systems".
Barbara Schreiner, director at Water Integrity Network addressed the 'shadow system' of corruption that is paralysing so many good intentions.
Many interacting systems
For IRC Wash it was an obvious step to decentralise the office in the Netherlands and start offices in various developing countries, headed by those local wash people. In Uganda, Ghana and Burkina Faso, IRC’s local offices are assisting the ‘local civil servant champions’ to set up long term masterplans to achieve universal access on a district level.
"We want to move beyond our comfort zone as sector technocrats and build strong wash systems based on social, political and economic involvement", Moriarty said. To reach full access to wash services, all systems need to be addressed in order to make the service delivery possible to everybody, Moriarty concluded.
Read also on this website
● IRC 50th anniversary symposium: All systems go, 1 March 2019
● IRC Ghana participates in SDG Action Awards with multi stakeholder WASH service project, 6 February 2019
● Stockholm World Water Week 2016: Implementation of SDG6 on water gets into gear, 30 August 2016
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