August 29, 2016
Image from IWMI
It is late August, which means that once again non-profits, donors, and implementers in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector are gathering in Sweden for Stockholm World Water Week.
While the opening plenary for the conference was on Monday, meetings and events occurred before the official beginning of the conference. On Saturday September 27, I attended the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance’s (SuSanA) annual meeting. At this event, I facilitated a session on behavior change and hygiene. Comprised of working groups addressing key issues in sanitation and hygiene, SuSanA is considering the formation of a working group specifically focused on behavior change. As a cross-cutting issue, behavior change is not merely under the purview of hygiene, but rather underlies many components of WASH. Likewise, it does not consist solely of behavior change communication. Behavior change is a key focus area for the PPPHW; so we support the development of a new working group that seeks to advance behavior change within this important network of WASH stakeholders. This topic is open for discussion on the SuSanA forum, so please share your own thoughts there.
I particularly enjoy SWWW because it is an exceptional opportunity to network and learn from organizations working across the WASH sector and around the world. In past years, much of my focus at SWWW has been on advocacy and raising awareness about the importance of including hygiene in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have been agreed upon, and so now we must turn our focus to implementation. A hallmark of the SDGs will be collaboration, integration, and partnerships. Hygiene is a prime candidate for integration; I hope to learn more specifics about how colleagues are addressing the integration challenge, as well as contribute some of our thoughts to this ongoing conversation.
We’d love to hear your thoughts, too. What are you looking forward to at SWWW? Let us know on Twitter—we are @HandwashingSoap. And, as in years past, stay tuned to this blog and the conference hashtag (#SWWWeek) on social media for updates from the conference throughout the week.
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