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Achievement of SDGs 6: AfWA experts present strategies to support responses in Africa in a context of health crisis

Tuesday, 15 December 2020
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“ We all know that in the last few months, the world has undergone a very big change. And we all talk about the new normal. As AfWA Members, we have continued to keep in touch and continued to do our work as the STC during trying times, but I believe that we have made great strides.”

It is in these proud words that Dr. Rose Kaggwa, 2nd President of the Scientific and Technical Council of the African Water Association addressed the participants of the 85th STC meeting which was held from 16 to 18 November 2020 under the theme " Challenges and Opportunities of health crises on achieving goal 6 of the SDGs : What are AfWA strategies to support responses in Africa. "The second president expressed her satisfaction for the resilience shown by AfWA members during the health crisis since despite travel restrictions, the association's meetings continued in virtual mode.

Dr. Kaggwa explained that COVID 19 increased water needs and confirmed the importance of having this resource available to fight the disease. She welcomed the fact that in most countries, handwashing facilities were made available even to populations outside the supply networks. This is why she advocated that, in the context of achieving SDGs, "these facilities should be transformed into real domestic connections".

The President of the STC, Dr. Papa Samba for his part sounded the alarm: "COVID-19 risks wiping out decades of progress" and referring to the theme, he recalled that despite the health crisis that has slowed the momentum of humanity as a whole, "we have goals to achieve, because this crisis does not remove the challenges we have in terms of access to sanitation and water services for people in Africa. Africa, where 320 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water and 695 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to adequate sanitation". He invited his peers to resolutely join the move towards the achievement of the SDGs.

The opening ceremony of the STC began with a minute of silence in memory of Mr. Zadi Kessy Marcel, founding father of AfWA, died on October 13, 2020. The meeting continued with the conference of industrialists who proposed innovative technologies to accelerate access to water and sanitation services on the continent.

The second day was devoted to reflection on the reorganization of the STC, especially the establishment of specialized groups, and was presented by Dr. Papa Samba DIOP.

The last day focused on the "State of progress of the preparations for the 21st AfWA International Congress CONAKRY 2022 " and on two presentations on (1) the "Effects of non-revenue water on the technical and financial management of water utilities: case studies of Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire; and (2) the "Needs required in terms of institutional capacity building for the implementation of an inclusive sanitation project at the city level in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana".

Finally, there was also a lengthy discussion about a questionnaire for members, a satisfaction survey, which a firm recruited for the need will conduct in the coming days to all AfWA members.

The 86th meeting of AfWA' Scientific and Technical Council will take place in February 2021.