29 Aug Amanda Morgan
Amanda Morgan, Australia.
Bronwyn Powell is an experienced water professional, researcher and manager, and has worked in the aid and community development sectors for over 17 years. Bronwyn is currently the Knowledge and Learning Manager of the Civil Society Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Fund, a $103m initiative supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade managed by Palladium. In this role Bronwyn supports Civil Society Organisations (or NGOs) in knowledge and learning activities, facilitates the sharing of good practice and manages an innovation grants program. Prior to this Bronwyn worked at International WaterCentre for over 9 years in senior roles managing, amongst other things, interdisciplinary research projects and the WASH conference. Bronwyn is committed to building the evidence base and sectoral capacity for effective water and WASH initiatives. Bronwyn was founding member of the Australian WASH Reference Group and is an Adjunct Fellow at The University of Queensland.
Presentation Title: Why knowledge and learning are essential to achieving SDG6
Sustainable Development Goal Six sets an agenda the requires the integration of water resources management (WRM) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to achieve not just public and environmental health but also sustainable water management. Increasing connectivity between WRM and WASH is more pressing than ever in the face of increasing uncertainty from climate change. A significant investment of the Australian aid program in WASH over the last four years has been the Civil Society WASH Fund (‘the Fund’). The Fund supports civil society organisations (CSOs) to implement 29 WASH projects in 19 countries, and in addition to WASH, each project has been required to include key cross-cutting elements of gender and social inclusion, disaster risk reduction and climate change and knowledge and learning. A recent review found that a unique strength of the Fund has been explicit support to knowledge and learning which has ensured lessons have been identified and shared between CSOs. The review also found that gender equality and disability inclusiveness have been embedded into the program’s monitoring, evaluation and reporting and learning systems. Several projects are challenged by water scarcity, and four have faced climate change related emergencies (droughts, floods and cyclones). CSOs have used these events as learning opportunities, for example, to learn about resilience of pit latrines during floods (Malawi post flood), to influence sanitation policies and advocate for non-subsidy approaches (Vanuatu post cyclone) and safely manage wastewater to reduce environmental pollution through improved pit emptying services (Zimbabwe). In some cases, a lack of access to water has led some communities to revert to open defecation. In tacking the challenge set by SDG6 the WASH and broader water sectors can continue to build on lessons from initiatives such as the Fund, continuing to innovate to tackle the integration of WRM and WASH.