Household water treatment and safe storage

3rd annual meeting of the Network

The 3rd Annual Meeting of the International Network to Promote Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage was held 30-31 May 2005, in Bangkok, Thailand. Attended by approximately 120 participants from local and international NGOs, representatives from Ministries of Health, bilateral agencies, academia, large and small companies, and international organizations, the meeting aimed to:

  • to assess Network progress to date and to identify principal objectives and Network activities for the coming year; and
  • to raise the profile of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS), globally, and in the South Asian region particularly, including building regional capacity through the 1-2 June 2005 International Symposium on Household Water Management.

The meeting built on the groundwork laid by a preliminary meeting in Geneva, the 1st Annual Meeting in Washington DC, the 2nd Annual Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the on-going contributions of Network collaborating organizations, and by the work of participants in their individual capacities.

It was felt that the Network had made progress establishing a global presence, and drawing increased attention to water management at point-of-use. Examples of Network achievements over the last year include:

  • expansion of the Network from 20 to more than 70 participating institutions, many from developing countries;
  • establishment of a dedicated website on the WHO domain that has attracted over 200,000 hits (www.who.int/household_water);
  • inclusion of HWTS and the Network in influential reports like the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme 2005 report, and the MDG Task Force Reports;
  • collection of implementation survey data and completion of initial global mapping of HWTS activities;
  • establishment of research agenda; and
  • the accomplishments of Network collaborating organizations working in their own capacity, for example, in scaling-up implementation and training activities, in engaging in new partnerships, in HWTS advocacy success, and in winning awards for particular technologies.

While there was a feeling of accomplishment, it was recognized that the Network was at a critical juncture, with the emphasis having changed from establishing and building the Network, to one of more effectively supporting scaling-up implementation. With this in mind, Network participants engaged in vigorous, open and frank discussion.

Attended by twice the expected number of participants, it was nevertheless decided to maintain a workshop style, participatory meeting. In order to do this, breakout sessions were divided into sub-breakout groups in the hopes of giving all participants an opportunity to discuss HWTS topics related to advocacy, communication, implementation, and research. These sessions, moderated by working group chairs, centred on assessing progress achieved since Nairobi and identifying future directions and goals.

Over the course of the meeting it became clear that there were several key areas where working group activities overlapped and were mutually supportive. Priorities for the coming year included developing resources and tools to support implementers, such as an on-line clearinghouse of information, fact sheets, and more specifically, a finalization of a document characterizing the costs and benefits of various point-of-use treatment approaches, establishment of a framework to better understand behavioural change and social factors, continuing work on establishing protocols to verify technologies (led by WHO), development of inexpensive tools to assess water quality, and developing and sharing better methods of promoting HWTS to a wider audience.

It was agreed that the back-to-back meeting of the Network and technical symposium in Bangkok made significant progress toward the goals of promoting household water treatment and safe storage and facilitating collaboration between members.

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