11.3.4 WASH events
WASH events differ from the forums by focusing on a single identified theme. They may be local, national or international and are often given the title of ‘festivals’. An example is the annual National Sanitation and Hygiene Festival, led by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the WASH Ethiopia Movement, hosted by WaterAid Ethiopia. This event occurs in a different regional town each year; for example it was held in Dire Dawa in Yekatit 2007 EC (February 2015 GC). Figure 11.6 shows the opening celebration. The festival was created to facilitate learning and sharing experiences within the sanitation and hygiene sector, supporting dialogues between stakeholders and mobilising the media and the private sector. This was a public event that anyone with an interest in sanitation and hygiene could attend, not just invited experts and delegates. Like the forums, the festival concludes with the production of proceedings and action points for different bodies, including the government, donor agencies, the private sector and civil society organisations.
As an example of the outputs from one of these events, the 2015 Festival agreed a number of key points to be taken forward as a focus for further action in the coming year. These included:
- controversy about differences in the figures for improved access to sanitation and hygiene services in regional health bureaus administrative reports compared to the JMP report
- communicable diseases attributed to poor sanitation and hygiene are still the leading causes of morbidity and mortality
- health institutions and school WASH facilities and services are poorly constructed and unhygienically managed. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is not included within routine requirements.
Another annual event in Ethiopia is known as Hidar Sitaten, which was initiated by Emperor Menelik II in the nineteenth century. This focuses on environmental sanitation through mobilising the mass population in rural and urban settings to clean up their local areas by collecting up all their garbage and other solid waste on a day of action each year on 21 November.
In addition to these national festivals, you have already read in Study Session 3 about some WASH sector events celebrated in Ethiopia that take place on the same day all over the world.
What global WASH events do you already know of?
You may have mentioned Global Handwashing Day which occurs every year on 15 October, World Water Day on 22 March and World Toilet Day on 19 November.
In the final section of this study session, we show you how the outcomes of learning and sharing opportunities, including at WASH forums and events, can be scaled up from small pilot projects to meet national strategic priorities.