Photo: End Water Poverty/Zambia’s NGO WASH Forum/Kiana Alavi
March marks many important and international days of the year. From International Women’s Day (8th March) to the start of spring to World Water Day (22nd March). It is a symbolic time to turn a new leaf and take necessary actions that ensure the sustainable world governments promised in 2015 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
March 1st also marks the start of our Water Action Month campaign. This annual, month-long campaign provides participants the flexibility to plan innovative and creative activities to raise awareness about the human rights to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
The theme of the 2019 campaign is ‘accounting for the human rights to WASH’. We are almost four years into the SDGs and yet 2.1 billion people lack safe water and 4.5 billion lack safe sanitation. Therefore, now more than ever, it is essential that we raise awareness about these basic yet fundamental human rights. A lack of access to these rights will only lead to negative implications and can hinder the achievement of the other 16 SDGs.
It is clear that long-term and sustainable changes such as access to safe water and sanitation for all requires a large time-scale and investment of resources (in WASH financing, policies and monitoring of progress). So, with less than 12 years left to reach these goals, shouldn’t we get started now and take concrete actions?
In March 2019, join our campaign to ensure that universal access to safe water and sanitation is no longer a global goal we are aiming to reach, but a reality for all. From organising a social media campaign or an advocacy workshop to even partaking in a walk for water, the campaign offers you the space to be as creative as possible to help you organise activities that are relevant to your national context.
To help raise awareness about key issues in WASH, we have divided the month of March into four thematic focus areas. Each week during the month of action, we will be organising activities based on the following themes:
- Reducing inequalities in WASH (1-10 March)
- WASH and education (11-17 March)
- Youth participation in WASH (18-24 March)
- Climate change and WASH (25-31 March)
As SDG6 was being reviewed at the High-Level Political Forum in 2018, we saw multiple global, regional and national events organised to raise awareness about the importance of Goal 6. Although SDG6 is not being reviewed in 2019, it is essential to use Water Action Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the cross-cutting nature of Goal 6.
To aid your campaign activities, the Secretariat has put together a communications pack, filled with exciting and useful tools and resources (available in multiple languages). Use this pack as a starting point as we highly encourage all participants to adapt the materials and campaign messages to their national context.
So, no matter where you’re based, this is an opportunity to make your voice be heard globally. We look forward to delivering another successful Water Action Month campaign and are looking forward to seeing the incredible, innovative and creative activities you plan on delivering.
Let’s take action for everyone’s human rights. Let’s work together to reach the SDGs by 2030. And most importantly, let’s ensure we leave no one behind.