SWA is organising a series of dialogues on COVID-19 and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The series seeks to achieve a balance between quick turnaround times to take into account the urgency of the COVID-19 emergency, reliability, accuracy and timeliness of information being shared, applicability of findings and approaches from one setting to another and the participation of key political leaders and decision-makers. Additional webinars may be added on demand.
Key links between COVID-19 and WASH will be explored over the coming few weeks to:
- Enable WASH systems to be more effective tools in the fight against COVID-19;
- Ensure that WASH systems are further strengthened to provide services during COVID-19;
- Empower systems to contribute to post-emergency recovery and prepare for future pandemics.
Webinar 3 : Eliminating Inequalities in the Water, Sanitation
SWA and its co-conveners, WaterAid and WSSCC, organized a dialogue on Eliminating Inequalities in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Response to COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities which already exist and are deeply ingrained in some societies are exacerbated even further, particularly when it comes to access to water and sanitation. Good hygiene practices, such as handwashing, are key to preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, handwashing is only possible when water and soap are easily accessible. And while many utilities and governments are ensuring that access to water is continuous and cost barriers to services are removed or deferred, questions about who benefits, sustainability and what happens after the threat of the pandemic has passed, loom overhead. Public health messaging and calls to stay inside are hard to follow for people who have little or no access to WASH facilities; those who rely on daily wages to survive; those living in densely populated informal settlements or refugee camps; and street dwellers.
The reality of the current pandemic necessitated a discussion to consider how partners are:
- Identifying the most vulnerable populations
- Creating policies and taking water and sanitation actions which target the vulnerable
- Working with communities to put policies into practice
Listen to the webinar here:
Webinar 2: Making WASH a political and financial priority
The second webinar focused on "Making WASH a political and financial priority in the time of COVID-19." The webinar was in conjunction with the World Bank, UNICEF, Africa Development Bank and InterAmerican Development Bank. The webinar brought together 14 Ministers responsible for water, sanitation, and hygiene and Finance Ministers who have highlighted the steps they are taking to ensure that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a high political priority in the times of COVID-19.
The webinar can be viewed below:
Webinar 1:COVID-19 and WASH featuring WHO, UNICEF and Government
The dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities worldwide and has put water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at the forefront of all messages. This outbreak demands global cooperation among governments, international organizations, civil society, private sector, research and learning, and all professionals in the sector, to strengthen the systems and make sure that the human rights to water and sanitation are respected.
In this context, SWA has organized a webinar focusing on COVID-19 and WASH featuring UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Governments.
The webinar featured:
- A presentation from WHO and UNICEF on WASH Preparedness and Response for COVID-19
- Interventions from senior Government officials in Cambodia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Peru, leading their countries’ WASH preparedness and response
- Discussions from participants on how the WASH Sector can use existing processes and systems to maintain and ensure continuity of services for all including the poor and most vulnerable.
The webinar can be viewed here: