Joe Bongay, executive director of Young Volunteers for the Environment (YVE), said part of his organization’s mission as a member of the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership is to eliminate inequities in rights water and sanitation in The Gambia.
Bongay pointed this out during the opening of the two-day training for journalists and civil society organizations on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); held at the National Nutrition Agency on 11 January 2022, he said: “Our mission as members of the SWA partnership is to eliminate inequalities in the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation.
The environmental activist said this advocacy can only be achieved by building political will, ensuring good governance and helping to optimize funding.
“Our partnership focuses on the hardest to reach and most vulnerable individuals, communities, countries and regions, and puts women and girls at the center, not just as passive recipients, but as dynamic agents of change,” he noted.
SWA works by harnessing the collective power of its partners, to support government-led multi-stakeholder action at national, regional and global levels, he said.
“Water is a key determinant of health, food, education and energy and a condition for an adequate standard of living. It is essential to all the Sustainable Development Goals and must now be recognized and considered as such”, he underlined.
According to the international convention on human rights, the State is now the recognized duty bearer, responsible for ensuring access to water and sanitation for all.
However, Bongay argued that the YVE-Gambia chapter and its working partners all know that for everyone, everywhere to have water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for good, people need to feel empowered to hold leaders to account.
He added that governments must also feel responsible for realizing the human rights of their citizens.
Kebba K Barrow, Majority Leader, said climate change has had a direct impact on water resources and water services for all the economic, social and environmental functions that water supports and added that impacts affect many sectoral interests such as health, tourism, agriculture and industry.
“Water-related climate risks come from too much water, too little water, or polluted water,” he noted.
The legislator further stated that since the global water cycle is directly affected by climate change, people’s access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene solutions can be significantly affected by events. extremes such as floods and droughts, as well as increasing water scarcity.
Dr Buba Manjang, from the Ministry of Health, said social accountability for a WASH secure future is key to building and sustaining the political will to eliminate inequities in WASH while also championing multi-stakeholder approaches to achieving access. universal in effective WASH delivery.
“For good accountability in WASH projects and operations; politicians, decision makers and WASH service providers must accept responsibility for their actions; be accountable for why and how they acted or failed to act”, said he declared.