EWB & AWA event: Humanitarianism in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Wednesday, 19 August 2015, was World Humanitarian Day – a day that celebrates people helping other people.

To commemorate World Humanitarian Day, the Young Water Professionals (Vic) hosted an event in partnership with the EWB Vic Region, focusing on Humanitarianism in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). Forty professionals from the Water sector and the wider engineering industry gathered for the night.

Rob Hughes, WASH Manager for Live and Learn International, gave the keynote address. Live and Learn is a not-for-profit organisation that EWB has partnered with for a number of years, working with communities across South East Asia and the Pacific. Rob’s presentation demonstrated the sanitation technologies that have been piloted to address the widespread lack of facilities and services in these regions. His presentation highlighted the challenges faced in changing the behaviour of communities, and the need for WASH solutions to be culturally and economically appropriate, and community driven.

The night was opened by Krish Pande from Evoqua Water Technologies who provided an introduction to the challenge the world faces in regards to access to safe drinking water. Other presentations on the night included a snapshot of the world’s progress on the water and sanitation crisis by Francis Heil (EWB), and an introduction to World Humanitarian Day by Jane La Nauze (AWA). 

Following the presentations the attendees worked in groups to complete a WASH solutions workshop. The participants were asked to develop an idea or a program to improve a community’s access to WASH. The groups each had a different community with diverse challenges, set in Cambodia – one of the countries with the lowest coverage of WASH in South East Asia.

The groups were prompted with questions as to the appropriateness and sustainability of the solutions they came up with, and following the brainstorming and collaboration each team had the opportunity to present their ideas to the wider group.

This joint event was a great opportunity for members of the Australian Water Association and EWB to network with a wider range of professional with an interest in sustainable development, with many people commenting on their enjoyment in the interactive nature of the event.

A big thank you to our event sponsors, Evoqua Water Technologies and Beca, for making the night possible.

With thanks to our sponsors
Evoqua       Beca