Paul Shanahan, SWA Secretariat Coordinator was SWA’s representative at an event marking WaterAid Australia’s 10th anniversary. The gathering was attended by the Foreign Minister of Australia, the honourable Ms Julie Bishop MP, and the partnership’s Vice-Chair also had a virtual participation through a video statement. In her address, Catarina de Albuquerque underlined that, “The Pacific is of course a region where so much is possible if the fundamentals of human and economic development are addressed, and there is nothing more fundamental than access to clean safe water and adequate sanitation.”
Ms Bishop stated that access to safe, clean water, adequate sanitation and hygiene are critical to her Government’s efforts in addressing the needs of women and girls, in particular in the Pacific region. The Foreign Minister noted that “the impact of lack of access to clean water and safe sanitation is perhaps greatest on women and girls. Clean water and safe sanitation underpin almost everything else we are trying to achieve. Investing in community-based sanitation and hygiene programs is one of the most effective ways to improve the health, self-esteem, education prospects for girls and women”.
During the event, WaterAid Australia also distributed the recently-published Water for Women report. This report, co-authored by Unilever, SWA partner WaterAid, Oxfam, Sunlight and social enterprise Next Drop, sets out to demonstrate why the interlinkages between water, sanitation and gender equality must be recognised at every level from government, civil society, business to community.