By DAVID GRIGGS
Los Alamos Daily Post
After months of silence, your bearded correspondent finally surfaces in Hamburg, Germany. Today I attended World Water Summit 11, organized by the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group.
WASRAG was formed in 2007 by a group of Rotarians. Since then it has facilitated many hundreds of projects – helping clubs find partners, ensuring sustainability, stressing the importance of a needs-driven approach, and developing best practices.
They encourage a holistic, integrated approach in which water is not the end in itself, but is rather the means to a better life and livelihood in the community. Most importantly, WASRAG links water and sanitation to improved hygiene, better health, and empowerment of the community – especially women, irrigation and agriculture, education and literacy and, ultimately, child mortality.
The World Water Summit brought together hundreds of Rotarians from around the world to discuss water and sanitation issues today. One of the key speakers was Dr. Maria Elena Figueroa from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Over the past 20 years, her research has contributed significantly to the field of applied communication for social and behavior change on health issues. Dr. Figueroa uses innovative research methodologies to understand WASH related behavior of people in developing countries.
The summit was held at the Handwerkskammer, the Hamburg Chamber of Crafts which represents 15,000 small and medium-sized enterprises and 120,000 people working in these enterprises in the city-state of Hamburg. It is a non-profit corporation under public law which provides a wide range of services to promote a strong and competitive skilled crafts sector in Hamburg.
Tomorrow begins the Rotary International Convention here in Hamburg, which runs through June 5. I will try to keep you posted with daily updates.