Have a say and raise your voice for water
IRC, together with its Watershed partners, launched the global campaign #VoicesforWater. The campaign calls on NGOs and governments, to support civil society organisations (CSOs) as a means of accelerating progress on national water and sanitation goals and global Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Supporting civic engagement
This campaign aims to stimulate citizens to engage in water management planning and raise their voice and claim their right to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
The idea behind the campaign is that every person in every community can sit around the table with their district government and discuss the improvement and protection of the water sources on which they draw.
Five years ago, the Watershed partnership started its empowering citizens programme, providing support to citizens in their fight to realise change in budgets, policies, and attitudes – emboldening them with the evidence and skills to defend themselves.
The partnership is a strategic alliance between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo.
Big steps ahead
‘We found there was a gap, especially when it comes to women’s needs’, says Valentine Mumbafi Keraita, chairlady of Laikipia women with disability. Keraita is a wheelchair-bound woman who speaks out for the disabled women community in the Kenyan county of Laikipia.
Keraita: ‘We did not know about public participation, we did not know much about budgeting. Women did not know anything that had to do with government.’
She welcomes the support by the Watershed programme. 'It supported us and gave us information. So when we go to county meetings, we talk about water, tell them about our problems, and how it affects women with disability. They listen and maybe they will look for a solution next time. It is a very big step ahead because they have learned to accept us.’
Now the Watershed partnership launched a global campaign that features citizens - including Valentine Mumbafi Keraita - from Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mali and Uganda who talked about their experiences.
‘Our fight to achieve SDG#6 on water is not yet over. Our fight has only just begun and we have but 9 years left to achieve fundamental human rights. So there is still time to raise our #VoicesforWater and continue the battle’, says Kitty van der Heijden, Director-General for International Cooperation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Director of the Watershed programme and IRC's Associate, Catarina Fonseca, highlights the effectiveness of citizens engagement. ‘Civil society can be the motor of development and can deliver the change we want to see quickly. Because raising #VoicesforWater is not only worth it, it's extremely effective’.
Fonseca invites everybody to join Watershed in raising your #VoicesforWater and watch the teasers of the global campaign in English and French. The teasers, that feature Pamela, Golap Jan, Nelson, Valentine, Kohinoor and Julius, can be watched on Watershed.nl.