11.3.2 Forum for Learning on Water and Sanitation (FLoWS)
As mentioned earlier, FLoWS is another important forum in the WASH sector, led by the Federal Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy in collaboration with an Ethiopian NGO known as RiPPLE (Research-inspired Policy and Practice Learning in Ethiopia). RiPPLE conducts action research and organises research-focused events with other key stakeholders almost exclusively in the WASH sector.
FloWS was launched in 2008. The report from that meeting set out its goal to link research with practice in order to support delivery of the MSF undertakings. To achieve this they planned to:
- provide a series of national learning events across the year, bridging the MSFs, that enhanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in implementing the undertakings
- document the learning from these events in a series of reports and briefing notes that allows the fullest possible sharing of knowledge and information across the sector
- consult widely during this process on future learning priorities in the sector and help to consolidate national priorities in sector learning into a document presented each year at the MSF (MoWR, 2008).
The importance of learning and sharing is clearly central to these intentions. FLoWS take place regularly and can be anywhere in Ethiopia, depending on the thematic areas selected for the forum and the willingness of hosting organisations to hold the forum in their town. The scope of each FLoWS is narrower than the MSF in its themes, its duration and number and range of participants, so you can think of them as ‘mini-MSFs’. As an example, the eighth edition of FLoWS held in June 2013 took rainwater harvesting as its theme (Figure 11.4). The one-day workshop heard presentations from researchers and practitioners on rainwater harvesting experiences in Ethiopia and a range of related topics (RiPPLE, 2013).