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MWA, WaterAid, and Other Coalition Organizations Raise WASH Issue with Trump Transition Team

 

Washington, DC – Even before the Nov 8 Presidential election, MWA, WaterAid, InterAction and other advocates in the international development community began to seek appropriate contacts within the transition staff of the incoming Administration about the future of US Agency for International Development (USAID) and State Department programs. It is normal during the transfer of power from one Administration to another for groups to present transition papers and to meet with representatives of the incoming Administration, as well as with selected members of the newly -elected Congress.

As of this posting, we are working to identify key members of the Trump transition staff who will oversee the development portfolio. We also are in contact with other policy leaders in think tanks, NGOs, and the private sector. When we have a better understanding of how the new White House team plans to engage on foreign assistance issues, we will share with MWA members and the broader WASH community.

11/11/2016

 


MWA Kenya RAPID Director Speaks at Washington Water Security Event

doris-at-wilson-centerDoris Kaberia, Chief of Party of MWA Kenya RAPID, joined a series of panels on water security October 19 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. Panelists included academia, the US government, and international organizations, and focused on the uncertainty of water availability and access with a changing climate. Kaberia cited examples of conflict prevention and remediation over water resources from MWA’s Kenya Arid Lands Disaster Risk Reduction program (2013-2014) and the new MWA Kenya RAPID program (2015-2020). See more on the event HERE…

11/11/2016


AFRICA WATER WEEK IN DAR ES SALAAM

 

20160718_120752Ambassadors and other government representatives at the beginning of the Sixth Annual Africa Water Week, July 18-22, in Tanzania. Speakers include Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Patron of Millennium Water Alliance Kenya, in his role as newly-appointed UNESCO Special Envoy for Water in Africa, who called on attendees to push for “urgent, firm, and insistent” action.

 

 


MWA PATRON MWAI KIBAKI NAMED UNESCO WATER ENVOY

The Millennium Water Alliance is very proud that our official Patron in Kenya, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of Kenya, has been appointed to be the UNESCO Special Envoy for Water for Africa.

lyn+pic
James Ekwam (National Media Group)

At a ceremony in Nairobi on June 22, the official representation on behalf of UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was made to Former President Kibaki by the Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, Cabinet Secretary of Water and Irrigation, Government of Kenya. MWA was invited to participate in the presentation ceremony.

Former President Kibaki served as President of Kenya from 2002 to 2013. As Special Envoy for Water in Africa, Former President Kibaki is expected to advocate for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, in accordance with UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals. He will be tasked with raising awareness within Africa on the importance of water education in national policies and curricula for schools and universities.

 


MWA Launches $35.5 Million 5-Year Program to Accelerate WASH Services for 450,000 Kenyans in Arid Lands

MWA Kenya Patron Mwai Kibaki (right) greets MWA Board Chairman Malcolm Morris at the Feb 18 launch in Nairobi of the new $35.5million Kenya RAPID program. In the center are special guests Ralf Heckner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, and Robert Godec, US Ambassador to Kenya.

MWA Kenya Patron Mwai Kibaki (right)  greets MWA Board Chairman Malcolm Morris at the Feb 18 launch in Nairobi of the new $35.5million Kenya RAPID program. In the center are special guests Ralf Heckner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, and Robert Godec, US Ambassador to Kenya. (Photo: KBC1)

Nairobi, Kenya, 17 February 2016 – Leaders of 14 government agencies, private companies, and nonprofits today launched an ambitious five-year program to bring better access to safe water and sanitation to five northern counties.

Funded by a range of partners, including the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), the program, called the Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (Kenya-RAPID), will increase WASH coverage from the current average of 37% of the population to more than 50% by 2020 in Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir.

Leaders of the program were joined at a special event at the Safari Park Hotel by His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of Kenya, who was also named last year as the United Nations Special Envoy for Water. The Third President also serves as the Patron of the Millennium Water Alliance Kenya (MWA-K), a consortium of nonprofit organizations working with the Government of Kenya and county governments to achieve full WASH coverage in the country by the year 2030.


Congress Approves Record $400 Million for WASH

In $1.1 Trillion FY 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill, House Legislators Agree to the Number Proposed by Senate and Requested by WASH Organizations

Washington DC, December 18, 2015 – The US Senate and US House of Representatives agreed this morning to the final appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016, including a $17.5 million increase in funding for the Sen. Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (as amended by last year’s Water for the World Act), bringing the total allocation for the year to $400 million, the highest WASH appropriation in history.


New Water Association is First for Drought-Stricken Community of Indigenous People in Colombia

Multiple Partners Join Celebration for Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for 8,000 People in Traditional Communities of La Guajira

Maicao, Colombia, August 16, 2015 – Nearly 250 members of the traditional indigenous Wayúu people in the Colombian Department of La Guajira celebrated the official establishment of their first-ever community water association, recognized by the Colombian government as the authority for new water and sanitation services in an area where thousands have endured three years of unprecedented drought, with the last significant rainfall occurring nearly nine months ago.

More than 8,000 people in communities in this remote and dusty area along Colombia’s arid north coast have benefited from a nearly three-year-old partnership with Aguayuda, a nonprofit water, sanitation and hygiene organization based in Colombia and the United States, Coca-Cola Latin America, and The FEMSA Foundation based in Mexico. Together, these partners work under Lazos de Agua, a five-country program in Latin America coordinated by the Millennium Water Alliance funded primarily by Coca-Cola and The FEMSA Foundation. Representatives of each of these partners attended Sunday’s launch event, coming from the US, Mexico, and the Colombian capital of Bogota.

The program in La Guajira includes new and rehabilitated wells, pumps, filtration systems, windmills, solar panels, and compost latrines, along with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) education led by Aguayuda with the constant involvement of the Wayúu communities, including the three in this association – Kasichi, Wayumana, and La Parcela.

Recognition by the Colombian government of the association, known as ASOAKAWAPA (Asociación de Agua de Kasichi, Wayumana y La Parcela), is the result of years of work, and signals that benefits will grow in the future with local residents taking more responsibility in partnership with government to ensure sustainable long-term service.

“We have accompanied the Wayúu communities in the whole process of creation, development and legalization of this association,” said Simón Zimmer, Program Director and co-founder of Aguayuda. “For us, it is essential to ensure the sustainability of our social investments,” said Juan Sebastián Jiménez of Coca -Cola FEMSA – Colombia. “The best way to achieve this is that communities, like the three in this association, get involved and take ownership of the project. Being empowered in this way puts their development and that of their families into their own hands, and ensures continued benefits in the future.”

The progress of the program is publicly available and can be viewed in real time via an online platform called Really Simple Reporting (RSR). The program uses an observation system in the field called “FLOW” to collect, manage, analyze and display information.

Aguayuda is a member of the Millennium Water Alliance, a consortium of 16 leading non-governmental organizations working in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to help bring safe drinking water and sanitation to millions of people in partnership with communities, governments, corporations, and foundations.

Contact:

John Sparks, MWA john.sparks@mwawater.org 202-296-1833 (US)

Bill Weaver, Aguayuda bweaver@aguayuda.org

Simón Zimmer, Aguayuda szimmer@aguayuda.org


MWA on the Environmental Impact of Menstrual Hygiene Practices

Growing coalition of US organizations Works to Help Developing Countries Recognize Hygiene Practices as Part of Sanitation Work

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Participants at DC event making pledge on action items for greater recognition of menstrual health issues.  
Photo Credit: Eric F. Long

 

Washington, D.C. – June 16, 2015 – MWA  was one of several presenters at the Menstrual Hygiene Day event in Washington DC on May 28, which is now internationally recognized as “Menstrual Hygiene Day.” MWA Program Officer Anna Pollock joined other presenters to show the link between access to appropriate feminine hygiene products and girls’ health and well-being, a critical issue in WASH. The Menstrual Hygiene Day coalition works to raise the profile of menstrual hygiene issues often ignored in both developed and developing countries because of social taboos and other reasons. See some photos and short descriptions here of the event for a quick overview of what it means!


 

WATER FOR THE WORLD ACT SIGNED INTO LAW 

 Washington, DC, December 19, 2014 –  The White House announced today that President Obama has signed HR 2901, The Sen. Paul Simon Water for the World Act, into law.

Official signing ceremonies are not common, so not surprising that one was not scheduled for this bill, especially given the crowded schedule just days before Christmas.

See the short but accurate story of how it happened here:

 

The Law Prior to Now

Before the The Sen. Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-121), there was no legislated status for WASH in foreign assistance specifically.  The 2005 law set various benchmarks fore the USAID and the State Department, and provided the framework for specific annual appropriations by Congress for WASH.

Many of the same organizations that worked hard to achieve the first WASH bill enacted into law were very much involved in the most recent campaign.

 

Pushing Water Uphill…Successfully

Passing this bill was never a given. Very little in the areas of foreign assistance and international development was done in the last two Congresses; in fact, historians consider the just-expired 113th Congress to be the second least productive Congress in American history, possibly “surpassed” only by the 112th.  The Washington Post reports that of the low number of bills enacted the last two years – 297 total – 30 were renaming post offices (though as a percentage of bills passed, a few other Congresses did even more renaming).

Given the low yield of this Congress and the infamous gridlocks associated with it with by almost everyone answering an opinion poll, it is striking that a bill like this could even get through one chamber. While WASH is pretty much nonpartisan and non-ideological in present day political terms, it is also not exactly the most urgent thing for the public at the Congressional District level. WASH is popular, as a thing for America to do in humanitarian terms, but it does not drive public opinion and certainly does not drive campaign financing.

No members of Congress win re-election because they support water and sanitation in developing countries; to support it in Congress means you care about it.

 The Chief Actors

MWA strongly congratulates the key Members of Congress and their staff who took the lead despite the odds and made it happen:

Earl Blumenauer      Ted_Poe_Official[1].jpg reduced    Edward_Royce,_official_photo_portrait_color     Dick-Durbin      corker_bob

Rep.  Blumenauer                     Rep.   Poe                     Rep.  Royce                  Sen. Durbin                  Sen. Corker

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, and tireless campaigner for US leadership in WASH, led House drafting of the bill, and with Rep. Ted Poe, Republican of Texas, a respected senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, worked to gain as many cosponsors from both parties as possible and pave the way for consideration by the  Committee. HFAC Chairman Ed Royce, Republican of California, helped build support for the bill and get unanimous consent on the House floor on December 8. Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who succeeded Sen. Simon in his Senate seat and honored that heritage by getting previous versions of the Water for the World approved on at least the Senate floor in previous years, again proved his unflagging commitment to WASH by leading the effort in the Senate with colleague Sen. Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, who who used his role as Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to get as much Senate Republican support as possible. Together, they overcame obstinate objections and brought the bill to a successful voice vote on December 15.

Those members of Congress and their dedicated staffs, joined by Senate version cosponsors  Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, and Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, and 104 other Republican and Democratic cosponsors in the House, got the job done.

”I am proud that the process that began with the Water for the Poor Act in 2005 has been strengthened and carried forward in 2014,” said Malcolm Morris, Board Chairman of the Millennium Water Alliance, who also worked on passage of the original authorization in 2005. “MWA was honored to be a partner in the effort to get the original legislation enacted, and again in this Congress with these timely amendments signed into law by the President today.”

MWA and its 16 US and international members are proud to have played a leading part. We especially thank our close colleagues in advocacy at WaterAid, World Vision, InterAction, and WASH Advocates for their dedication, creativity, and partnership. Through this teamwork for  four years, nearly 40 other great organizations became partners, and helped make this a real, and successful, coalition.

 

Tracking the Bill to Victory

HR 2901 was introduced in the House on August 1, 2013, by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ted Poe (R-TX).  A companion version (S. 2946) was introduced in the Senate on November 19, 2014, by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bob Corker (R-TN), cosponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

The House bill was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on November 20, and then passed by unanimous consent in the House of Representatives on December 8, 2014, right before the House adjourned for the year.

The bill was then sent to the Senate. The Senate version was considered in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 4.  A sudden attempt to add an unrelated rider to the bill on the use of military force in Syria and Iraq was set aside after a tense debate among SFRC members. The “water bill,” as it became known, was then approved unanimously by  the committee.

See selected media coverage of the SFRC action here:

“Nice Little Water Bill” in Selected Media

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/227263-nice-little-water-bill-hold-the-isis-passes-senate

http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/tom-coburn-faces-blowback-over-end-of-session-objections/?dcz=   (last few paragraphs of story)

http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/rand-paul-and-john-mccain-go-to-war-over-isis-vote-20141204 (this item from Dec. 4 was shared in an earlier email also)

However, the Senate did not vote on the SFRC version, only the already-passed House version, approving it by voice vote on December 15 just in the nick of time before final adjournment, completing HR 2901′s eventful journey through Congress and sending it on to the President.

Deputy Majority Leader Dick Durbin, longtime champion for WASH and successor to the late Sen. Simon in the Senate, led the effort to get the bill to the Senate floor, with lead Republican cosponsor Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who had vigorously defended the bill in the December 4 mark-up Together, they worked hard to gather support from Senators in both parties, and in the final days of the session to persuade one Senator, who had placed “hold” on the bill on December 10, to lift his hold and allow the bill to come a vote.

Sen. Corker was the Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 113th Congress, and is widely expected to serve as chairman of the committee when the new Republican-controlled Senate takes office in January.

 

The WASH Coalition

Over the past two years, the bill was endorsed by more than 80 national organizations. Over the last four years in the direct advocacy effort on Capitol Hill, about 40 organizations played a role in meeting with members of Congress, writing letters, issuing statements, and urging grassroots support for the legislation.

The coalition organized Capitol Hill Advocacy Days around World Water Day (in March) each year. members of Congress were contacted throughout the years by constituents and supporting organizations. The coalition was led by InterAction, Millennium Water Alliance, WaterAid in America, World Vision, and WASH Advocates, with tremendous partnership with other nongovernmental organizations and individuals, to galvanize support for legislation to amend the The Water for Poor Act of 2005 (PL 109-121), the authorizing legislation for WASH programming at USAID.

Thank You 

Malcolm Morris, MWA Board Chairman

Peter Lochery,  MWA Vice Chairman

Rafael Callejas, Executive Director

John Sparks, Director of Advocacy & Communications

The Millennium Water Alliance is the 501(c)(3) consortium of leading charities helping to bring safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. MWA works with governments, corporations, foundations, individuals, and other NGOs to advance best practices, share knowledge, build collaborations, and advocate for greater commitment to this global goal. MWA’s members include Aguayuda, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, Global Water, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, IRC – International Water and Sanitation Center, Lifewater International, Living Water International, Pure Water for the World, WaterAid in America, Water4, Water For People, Water Missions International, Water.org, and World Vision.

 

MAJOR ELEMENTS OF HR 2901,

THE SEN. PAUL SIMON WATER FOR THE WORLD ACT OF 2014 

  • Codifies the existing two positions (one at State, one at USAID) to make sure water issues are coordinated in the agencies among bureaus and missions, and that WASH does not get lost in the design and execution of programs – this is important!
  • Sets more criteria (but not too restrictive) for the way USAID prioritizes, and reports on, WASH activity in countries – using JMP and similar data, assuring that most assistance goes to communities and countries in greatest need, not just a small number of politically important countries; this prioritization policy is critical, and strongly supported by our Congressional cosponsors in both parties.
  • Sets deadlines for written comprehensive water strategies is for both USAID and State. Eight years after the 2005 Sen. Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act (current law, PL 109-121), USAID produced a strategy for its water programs, covering 2014-2019. The State Department has not done one. The bill outlines the coordination on strategy by the two agencies and requires them to get on task for the future.

See the Congressional Research Service summary, and full text of the bill as passed by the House on December 8, at:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2901?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+2901%22%5D%

 


 

Congress Passes the Sen. Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014

Senate Action In Final Days of Session Sends Bill to the White House

Washington, DC, December 15, 2014 – The US Senate this evening passed the Sen. Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014 by unanimous consent. The bill will become law with President Obama’s expected signature.

The last obstacle in the battle to enact this “nice little water bill, uncontroversial…”  – in the words of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – was removed at 5 pm ET December 15 when one Senator, who had filed his objection to consideration of the bill a few days earlier, lifted his objection. The US Senate later passed HR 2901, The Sen. Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014, by voice vote.

Deputy Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL), longtime champion for WASH and successor to the late Sen. Simon in the Senate, led the effort to get the bill that was approved Dec 8 by the US House of Representatives to the Senate floor.  Lead Republican Cosponsor Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) vigorously defended the bill in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a December 4 mark-up, when proposed unrelated amendments threatened to kill the bill’s chances altogether.

Special recognition goes to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and his Legislative Director, Michael Harold, and  Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), lead Republican cosponsor in the House, and his Subcommittee Staff Director Luke Murry, who worked incredibly hard to introduce the bill in 2013 and get 106 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, paving the way for final action by the Senate; and to Chris Homan and Erum Ibrahim Ali, Professional Members of Sen. Durbin’s staff, and Jennifer Healy, Health Policy Counsel to Sen. Corker.  House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (D-CA) and Professional Staff Member Joan Condon helped tremendously to work out details and get the bill to the House last week. The deft and dedicated pursuit of passage by these Members and staff made it happen!

Congratulations to ALL the advocates, in Washington and across the country, who worked to make this day possible!  The representatives of nearly 50 other organizations contributed their voices and time to get the bill done.

Congratulations to all!

 


 

Join Us for MWA Events at UNC October 13 -17!

MWA be sharing news and insights in panels and special events with hundreds of other expert colleagues at the annual University of North Carolina Water Institute Water and Health Conference  http://whconference.unc.ed/  in Chapel Hill, NC, throughout the week of October 13-17. If you are a conference participant, please join us for the events below:

Oral Presentations:

Integrating Water Resources and Demand to Improve Drought Resilience and Build Water Strategies: A Pilot Approach to Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands

Presentation by: Sarah Sparker, MWA

Tuesday, October 14, 4:00 – 5:00pm, Windflower

Building long-term resilience against recurrent drought in arid lands is one of the challenges addressed by the Kenya Arid Lands Disaster Risk Reduction – Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KALDRR-WASH) program, a two-year program supported by USAID and The Netherlands. This presentation focuses on an innovative approach developed and tested in the program, using local, participatory water planning to match water resources with water demand, using hydro-geological data at the catchment level to build storage to improve groundwater water recharge, retention and reuse.

 

Service Levels of Household Rainwater Harvesting Systems and Multiple Water Sources in Northeastern Nicaragua

Presentation by: Daniel Smith, MWA & University of Leeds

Wednesday, October 15, 9:45 – 10:45am, Bellflower

Learn about a unique case study conducted in an indigenous community in Nicaragua on the performance of household rooftop rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems used simultaneously with other sources of water.  The research and presentation address data gaps that important for WASH development programs to determine if RWH is a suitable investment and whether program M&E systems accurately account for the use of multiple water sources.

 

Outcome-based M&E: Using the Water Service Ladder Framework in the Lazos de Agua (Water Links) program

Presentation by: Anna Pollock, MWA

Wednesday, October 15, 2:30 – 3:30pm, Windflower

MWA’s Lazos de Agua program was designed to measure the impact of the water schemes built, not only using the most common indicator of  access, but also the level of service that is delivered across multiple indicators (quantity, accessibility, reliability, and quality).  All schemes constructed  by six NGOs in five countries under the Lazos program are evaluated for the level of service they provide.  Using a common M&E framework that collects data from all partners twice a year and special field research projects, MWA and the FEMSA Foundation are using comparative analysis to test the hypothesis that higher service levels are more sustainable.  We will discuss findings from baseline data collected in terms of the Water Service Level Ladder categories.

 


 

Side Event: Shared Measurement Systems and Closing the Feedback Loop – What can/should be done with the data?

Convened by MWA & The FEMSA Foundation

Friday, October 17, 8:30am – 12pm, Dogwood

Too often, data that are collected will feed directly into a donor reporting form and sit on a shelf without being discussed critically within an organization. Yet these data can be an invaluable asset to implementing partners, particularly when MEL activities capture outcome indicators.

Join us for discussion with a variety of stakeholders on improving MEL systems for the WASH sector. We will focus on developing shared MEL systems for multiple partners, the cost and design of different data collection tools and methods, data sharing challenges and opportunities, lessons learned from MWA’s experience implementing multi-country MEL, and donor perspectives.

Poster Presentations:

Assessing Functionality for Water Schemes in Select Areas of Ethiopia where Millennium Water Alliance Partners Operate

Poster by: Susan Dundon, MWA, & Matt Freeman, Emory Center for Global Safe Water

Thursday, October 16

 

Prioritization of Water Quality Indicators: The MWA Experience in Ethiopia

Poster by: Andy Karp, MWA

 

More News…