The 33rd AGUASAN Workshop on the topic “Circular economy – transforming waste into resources” took place in Spiez, Switzerland from June 26 to 30, 2017. The main focus was analyzing successful and failed approaches for transitioning from linear to circular water and sanitation models.
Circular economy has great potential to drive the Water and Sanitation 2030 Agenda forward because it aligns directly with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.3 of improving water quality and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally and SDG 6.4 of substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensuring sustainable withdrawals.
Fig. 1: Graph Circular Economy
The Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium was present with five representatives from four different organizations: Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Swiss Red Cross, Caritas Switzerland and Terre des hommes. The following contributions were made:
- The Swiss Red Cross presented a poster on menstrual hygiene management in Nepal (poster will follow)
- Caritas Switzerland presented a poster on Blue Schools in Bangladesh: a promising way to teach reduce, reuse and recycle: Poster_Blue_Schools_Aguasan_Workshop_Caritas_Bangladesh_2017
- Terre des hommes and Caritas jointly facilitated a clinical case on Blue School 2.0. During several group working sessions, a solution was developed on how to transition from a linear Blue School to a circular Blue School and how to teach circular economy through a learning-by-doing approach in school. The results of the discussions were presented as flip charts/ diagrams, as shown below:Fig 2. Circular Flows in a Blue School
Fig 3. Circular business model for Blue Schools
Fig 4. Success criteria for Blue Schools
The third regional workshop in Asia took place from 14 to 17 November 2016 in Bardiya, Nepal. Once more, the regional workshop has provided an inspiring platform of exchange for the regional teams across Nepal and Bangladesh. The teams presented their good practices and lessons learned drawn from Consortium projects in the form of innovative videos and posters, which created an enthusiastic atmosphere of mutual learning and collaboration. The workshop has also been successful at clarifying specific technical issues related to water quality, handwashing and functionality of public latrines. For example, to improve water quality at point of use, the participants came to the following conclusion: The projects need to:
- follow the Water Safety Plan concept
- ensure the use of household water treatment systems such as filters
- induce behavior change at household level and provide private taps.
Furthermore, the teams could benefit from expert advice given by Olivier Magnin (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Global Program Water) and Manohara Khadka (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation country office Nepal), who participated at the whole workshop, and Ursula Schmid (Program Coordinator Nepal, Consortium Focal Point Swiss Red Cross), who attended the workshop during 3 days. An input on SDGs and Integrated Water Resource Management from an invited external expert of the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition in Nepal was very much appreciated by the participants and ended in enriching discussions among the participants.
On the third day, the teams visited the Joint Emerging Town Project, which aims at improving access to water and environmental sanitation in the town of Katarniya in Nepal’s Bardiya district. For planning purposes, joint action plans were developed for the year 2017 at intra- and inter-country levels. To conclude, the teams evaluated advantages and disadvantages of working as a Consortium in the Asia Region which will be evaluated in an internal review of the Consortium.
The results of a multi-stakeholder roundtable on “The importance and expansion strategy of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) at school level” have been broadcasted in the two Bangladesh journals, the Daily Kaler Kantho (link) and Daily Sun newspaper (link). The event was jointly organized by Caritas Bangladesh on behalf of Swiss Water & Sanitation Consortium and Daily Kaler Kantho. The roundtable was attended by the Bangladeshi Minister of Health, the Director of Higher Education, the Chief Engineer, Department of Public Health Engineering, the Vice Chancellor of Stamford University and Country directors of several international and national NGOs such as WASH alliance, Save the Children and WaterAid Bangladesh.
The roundtable participants highlight the importance of personal hygiene and improved sanitation for the health of children and the future of Bangladesh. Many promising ideas were shared to overcome problems related to water, sanitation and hygiene in Bangladesh:
- the formation of cleanliness committees at school
- building separate toilets for male and female students
- water and sanitation issues to be included in text books and in national academic curriculum
- conduct a handwashing campaign at national level, as this has proven successful in 83 pilot schools
- children act as change agents for the society: what they learn at school will be passed on in their families
- to guarantee that the message is shared with the families, mothers can be invited to monthly WASH meetings
- sanitary napkins provided by female teachers has proven to be very useful for effective menstrual hygiene management at schools, this approach could be up-scaled to national level