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Civil Society Organizations

Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) works with partners from five constituencies, with civil society organizations (CSOs) forming one core element of this global partnership.

The civil society constituency represents the views and voices of the most marginalized within the SWA global partnership. This constituency includes national, international or regional non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and networks that support SWA’s objectives and framework.

All civil society organizations are encouraged to join SWA partner networks or be connected to existing multi-stakeholder platforms at national, regional or international level. All members of SWA partner CSO networks are partners of SWA.

What is the role of civil society within SWA?
  1. CSOs campaign and advocate for the political prioritization of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for those left behind.
    • At the global level, CSOs call on their governments to participate in the SWA High-level Meetings – the Finance Ministers’ Meeting and the Sector Ministers’ Meeting and mobilize ministers to participate and follow up at country level.
    • At the regional level, they engage in regional water, sanitation and hygiene platforms such as SACOSAN, LATINOSAN and AFRICASAN to represent the voices of the most marginalized and holding governments accountable towards progress for the sustainable development goals. Read how SWA is helping to strengthen civil society participation at the regional forums.
    • At the national level:

      a) CSOs mobilize their governments so they take strong commitments and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal on water and sanitation (SDG6). See the SWA commitments here.

      b) CSOs also take their own commitments to support, align or complement national policies to accelerate progress towards SDG6.

      c) CSOs participate and engage in national processes (such as Joint Sector Reviews, or any other multi-stakeholder reviews) related to planning, implementing and monitoring the water, sanitation and hygiene related targets of the SDGs, bringing a multi-stakeholder perspective to these processes and promoting the use of the SWA framework.

  2. CSOs call for more and better accountability in the sector: CSOs hold governments accountable for the progress made towards implementing water, sanitation and hygiene related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular of the commitments they have tabled in the context of the SWA Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM).
  3. CSOs draw from the expertise of the partners within SWA to develop evidence-based advocacy strategies, engage in peer to peer learning and exchange experiences. For instance, CSOs within SWA have jointly worked on an accountability report 'Global Review of National Accountability Mechanisms for SDG6’ which helps CSOs to influence and inform advocacy strategies at the country level in view of the SWA High Level Meetings and the commitments taken by countries.
How is the CSO constituency represented within SWA?

Five CSOs represent the CSO constituency in the SWA Steering Committee (decision making body), representing four respective regions (Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North) and one CSO represents community-based organizations.

At the national level, the CSO constituency is supported by country CSO focal point (main and alternate), whose key responsibilities are as follows:

  • Liaise with other water, sanitation and hygiene-based CSOs or networks in the country to brief them on SWA framework and represent the voices of the most marginalized in SWA forums, policy orientations and processes.
  • Establish working relationships and regularly meet with SWA government focal points, donor representatives and other stakeholders within the country to improve coordination and collaboration.
  • Coordinate national advocacy and campaigning to actively review and monitor progress and major bottlenecks towards WASH commitments, including those made at the biennial SWA High-Level Meetings.
  • Report back to the regional Steering Committee representative to share key challenges in the WASH sector in the respective country and receive an update on SWA related activities.

You can find the CSOs national focal point list here and terms of reference here.

How can your organization get involved?
  • Find out if your country is a member of the SWA, below and if it is not, fill in the application form to join the partnership here.
  • Find out if your organization is a member of SWA here, and if it is not, fill in the application form to join the partnership here.
  • If your country is a member of the SWA partnership, ask your government to step up multi-stakeholder engagement by opening up more spaces for CSOs for the implementation of the water, sanitation and hygiene related targets of the SDGs by contacting the SWA CSO and government focal points
  • Mobilize your government to participate in SWA High-Level Political Dialogue and meetings. This is an opportunity for CSOs to make their voices heard and to push for their advocacy messages.
  • Participate at the High-Level Meetings, and be part of the CSO delegation to speak out, and develop common messages. To read the common messages prepared by the CSO constituency for the 2019 Sector Ministers‘ Meeting, follow the link.
  • Share the SWA commitments of your country with media, other CSOs and actors or local people -engage in advocacy towards the implementation of commitments.
How to engage with other SWA constituencies ?

Accountability starts with you, engage with other SWA constituencies to get assessment on your engagement/advocacy efforts with the government. This would help build strong multi-stakeholder partnerships!

For any enquiries regarding further engagement with the SWA partnership, please contact Heloise Chicou, Civil Society Advisor and Anjani Kapoor, CSO Country Engagement and Communications Officer hosted within the secretariat of End Water Poverty. Their role is to support civil society to engage with the SWA partnership at all levels – nationally, regionally and globally.

SWA Partners: Civil Society Organizations

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Rural Infrastructure and Human Resource Development Organization (RIHRDO)

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African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)

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End Water Poverty (an umbrella for over 250 NGOs)

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Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA)

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Millennium Water Alliance (MWA)

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Freshwater Action Network – Central America (FANCA)

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Freshwater Action Network Mexico (FAN-Mex)

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African Water Association (AfWA)

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Arab Water Council (AWC)

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