Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Bringing ‘people’s perspectives’ to SACOSAN IV

This year, we're working hard to bring grassroots voices to the South Asian Conference on Sanitation IV which I hope will finally bring us the sincere response from South Asian governments and leaders we’ve been waiting for.

In April, political leaders and bureaucrats will be meeting for the fourth time to discuss sanitation issues at the South Asian Conference on Sanitation, an important political forum focusing on sanitation issues. Over the years, three declarations have been signed at these events but without serious follow up, these statements are not actually resulting in any change.

This is why we are empowering communities to raise their voices in a 'people's perspectives' paper which we'll present at the forthcoming conference in Colombo to highlight the huge gap between what’s being claimed by our political leaders and what is the reality on the ground.
Through face to face interviews with community leaders and members, the study is bringing together voices from the field in a cross section of opinion to gather a broad view of the real sanitation situation at grassroots level.

Through our interviews, I've heard of some good initiatives like the school toilet facilities for girls which resulted from a government initiative. But I have also heard of community members giving up hope because of the continuing promises being made and broken, for example women interviewed in the slums of Nepal  were sad and hopeless because they lack dignity due to having to share with men and they were angry and frustrated because if they complain about it they have to look for another rented place which is very painful.

It is precisely these perspectives  we want to bring to the table at SACOSAN. We want communities to get together and pressurize governments at the local, sub-national and national levels. Only then, our governments will learn to respond.

Do you have any experiences you'd like to share about sanitation on the ground? If so, please let me know using the commenting functionality below.

-Ramisetty Murali, FANSA Convenor

Need field experience

I think better, we must see the actual happening in ground and visit places to observe them. Also, blaming government is easy, I wish to see, if a difference has been made by us! Review and let others know! No figures are claimed by politicians alone, but by our bureaucrats and international agencies as well. Also they are claimed to be monitored by international agencies on laid MDG targets through a mechanism!

The real need of the hour is that, we need intellect pool of people those really understand the Water scenario in a region at least. This is great flaws in most of the networks and CSO!

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