How would we tackle Sanitation Challenges in MENA

  • KareemHassan
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How would we tackle Sanitation Challenges in MENA

Salam Alikom Sanitation Heroes

A question in my mind and many people's mind: How would we tackle our Sanitation Challenges in the MENA region?

What are the steps we need to follow? and what are the institutional arrangements required?

Please share your thoughts, and recommendations for integrated solutions that would fit with the MENA's context. And let's discuss these solutions together to figure out the most appropriate approaches for the region.

Regards,
Kareem

M.Sc. Kareem Khaled Hassan
WASH expert for MENA
Managing Director of BENAA Foundation
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  • ossai
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Re: How would we tackle Sanitation Challenges in MENA

Looking at the current economic climate in the MENA region with particular reference to Africa/Nigeria, the government is grappling with many priority areas including infrastructure development and food security. Therefore, their attention is kind of diverted from sanitation which is now looked at as a personal or citizens' responsibility irrespective of what they might come to the camera to proclaim. This is evident when you look at the amount of resources that is directed at solving sanitation related challenges.
so, if progress must be made, the multilateral agencies in the region has to step up their game in working more intimately with local non-state-actors to develop, design and redesign intervention points. I must state that the key to making positive changes in the tackling of these sanitation challenges will be inclusion of private companies who must be incentivised to come on board. To this end, i will recommend that deeper engagement of the private sector is required. This can be achieved through regional and national coalitions of NGOs and Multilateral organisations focused on sanitation. This coalitions or better still, the empowerment or enthronement of Susana chapters in the continent or countries with Susana membership to fly the Susana platform in the engagement of both the private and public sector. Perhaps by holding regular national forums to drum attention on the current challenges and applicable data. Provide a platform to share information on, and celebrate contributing private companies in solving sanitation challenges.

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  • KareemHassan
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Re: How would we tackle Sanitation Challenges in MENA

Thanks a lot Ossai for your amazing input.

I agree with you, we need more actions towards empowering the community and involving the private sector.

NGOs could play a major rule in that, they are more flexible and have good connections with governments and communities. However, there is a need for building the capacities of these NGOs' members to be able to work on building this enabling environment properly.

So do you recall any examples or case studies where NGOs had done a significant impact in this regard?

M.Sc. Kareem Khaled Hassan
WASH expert for MENA
Managing Director of BENAA Foundation
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  • ossai
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Re: How would we tackle Sanitation Challenges in MENA

Thank you Kareem for the opportunity.
While working as a volunteer head of Partnership, Advocacy and Networking for the Association of Non-Bank Microfinance Institutions of Nigeria (ANMFIN; www.anmfinigeria.org ) i worked with the sanitation finance marketing department of UNICEF to design a Sanitation Financing project. The objective was to catalyse incremental financing of about five hundred thousand households to improve water and sanitation facilities. The project included training of technical support to microfinance institutions through capacity building to understand the social objective of finance water and sanitation loans, support with marketing and publicity materials as well as market penetration field activities in order to increase demand generation.
As i write, we have over 15 microfinance institutions that have commenced the financing of construction of toilets, improvement of water facilities in the rural areas, a situation in the past that microfinance institutions usually find it difficult to participate in the past. Learning from that experience, my organization, Miss Microfinance Nigeria has initiated a broad intervention program with the Delta state government to solve the water and sanitation challenges in the tertiary institutions in the first phase and escalating to the rural areas as we progress. The project aims to leverage the power of the private sector through social marketing. Though, not much progress has been made due to government bureaucracy, we have had several meetings with the state ministry of water resources, and have agreed on the terms. while the ministry officials are excited, we are waiting for the state governor to sign off the MoU which is causing the delay.
in summary, capacity building will be very necessary, however, they is need to address the fundmaental structure inwhich this platform can intervene. Can this platform provide direct support to NGOs individually? or would it be better to leverage on the existing Susana platform to drive the mobilisation of government attention towards tackling sanitation challenges? or would it be better to form a coalition of NGOs registered on this platform, for instance, SUSANA NIGERIA to take the lead in that all NGOs will come under this umbrella to submit initiatives and execute agreed agenda from time to time?

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  • Aline
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Re: How would we tackle Sanitation Challenges in MENA

Hi Kareem,

Your are right regarding the opportunities NGO's have in linking to communities and governments and creating impact on the ground. .

Very recently I came across a new organisation, a friend of mine started in Sudan: the Sudan Youth Water Parliament. SYPW is a youth network acting for water around Sudan at all levels: from local communities, where they implement concrete actions to National / International Water Debates; where they advocate for youth participation in the water sector: www.facebook.com/SudanYPWater/

They are currently kicking off with some great education and advocacy activities (e.g. hygiene promotion, household water treatment), with which they manage to reach out to large numbers of youth, including rural areas.. Although their resources are very limited, they do work that can serve as a very good example.

Do you know of similar grassroots initiatives in other countries in the MENA region? And how can we best support them in their work?
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