Is the Water & Sanitation sector being hijacked by fringe interests with high media/commercial involvement?

  • muench
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Re: Is the Water & Sanitation sector being hijacked by fringe interests with high media/commercial involvement?

Hi Kris,

You are much closer to the ground than I am and have much more experience with those WASH clusters. So your impressions and gut feeling are really important. Nevertheless it would be super interesting if someone could back that up with numbers - one way or another.

For example you said:

alienating various important contributors to WASH projects

Could you provide some examples of that? (and not juse the case of someone staying away from WASH cluster meetings because they feel there is too much talk about taboo topics that he or she is not comfortable with; as that wouldn't count as diverting funding away).

You had said in an earlier post:

As a result some engineering minded experts stopped coming to these meeting, which made matters even worse. I also suspect that quite a few of our local colleagues felt very uneasy participating in these discussions. This is of course not necessarily a good thing (and should be slowly improved), but these cultural barriers are a fact and alienating these people who can give vital contributions to other topics has a very negative impact.


This is really interesting but still doesn't convince me that it would mean less funding for the WASH sector. It would only mean fewer engineers in certain WASH cluster meetings? Are these WASH cluster meeting the place where funding decisions are made or rather the place where people inform each other about what everyone is doing, i.e. more of a coordination meeting but without real decision-making power? Please provide more examples if possible.

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Is the Water & Sanitation sector being hijacked by fringe interests with high media/commercial involvement?

muench wrote: This is really interesting but still doesn't convince me that it would mean less funding for the WASH sector. It would only mean fewer engineers in certain WASH cluster meetings? Are these WASH cluster meeting the place where funding decisions are made or rather the place where people inform each other about what everyone is doing, i.e. more of a coordination meeting but without real decision-making power? Please provide more examples if possible.


True, they are primarily coordination meetings. But especially in the early phases after a disaster they often play a quite important role in setting priorities of intervention (both thematic and geographic) and this information is fed back to the funding organisations' decision making bodies and is usually a crucial factor for the second round of funding after 3-6 months.

But I think just looking at emergencies (where distribution of sanitary pads very often is really needed regardless of which sector does it) doesn't show the whole picture. Yes I can't really back up my gut feeling / anecdotal evidence with hard data, but looking at the year to year data from washfunders.org (2006-2016; no idea how accurate those are), I see a more or less stable funding base. So it is reasonable to assume that additional topics take away funds from "older" ones. But maybe anyone knows a better source on global WASH funding data?

Krischan Makowka
Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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