The Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development resolution includes a declaration which states that ‘As we embark on this great collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. Recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, we wish to see the goals and targets met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.’
Improved water resource management and access to water and sanitation for all is essential in eradicating poverty, building peaceful and prosperous societies, and ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’ on the path towards sustainable development. In order to ensure that social inclusion is properly addressed, programmes need to be designed, implemented and monitored to enhance the understanding on who does and does not have access to WASH services, who uses and benefits from the programmes, and the impact of the programmes on substantive equality and inclusion. A strong civil society is essential to improving WASH/IWRM governance and management, which remains a challenge in achieving universal access to sustainable service.
Strengthening civil society organizations (CSOs) through evident-based lobby and advocacy is therefore critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The Watershed – ‘Empowering Citizens’ project is a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo. The aim of the project is to support CSOs to lobby and advocate for improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as water resources management (WRM) services.
In the last 5 years, the Watershed Ghana partnership – IRC Ghana, Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), Hope for Future Generation (HFFG), Conservation Foundation (CF) and the Ghana WATSAN Journalist Network (GWJN) – have worked to improve WASH services and sustain water resources through evidence-based advocacy and strengthened capacity of local civil society organizations.