This programme and policy conference was held prior to the official launch of the International Year of Sanitation in November 2007. The conference brought together staff from WaterAid’s London office and many of its country programmes, along with external sanitation experts, to discuss how WaterAid’s sanitation work could be improved.
The main purpose of the conference was to share knowledge on sanitation in order to identify ways in which WaterAid’s sanitation programmes, policy and advocacy could be optimised. The conference combined external presentations on state-of-the-art thinking on sanitation; presentations on WaterAid activities; and debates in plenary sessions and in working groups. One critical objective was to develop a process for arriving at an organisation-wide understanding of WaterAid’s strategy and guidelines for sanitation.
This report outlines the key topics that were discussed at the conference. It sets out a way forward for the organisation, reflecting the commitments that have been made at country programme and UK levels, as well as the areas where further research and policy development are required. In terms of importance, effective sanitation was stated as being the single biggest improvement that can be made to people’s lives in developing countries. Benefits include significant improvements in health due to the reduction in diarrhoeal diseases, economic benefits, increased school attendance, improved gender relations, environmental benefits and benefits for the disabled. Further development of appropriate solutions for urban contexts and tailoring programmes for the needs of vulnerable groups is required.
Priorities were defined and are presented in this document.