Journalists Trained Ahead of Afwa International Conference
Twenty journalists from across Africa are undergoing a two-day training ahead of the 21st African Water Association International Congress and Exhibition-7th International Faecal Sludge Management Conference to be held from 19 to 21 February 2023 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Speaking during the opening of the training on Friday here in Abidjan, Director of Programmes for African Water Association (AFWA) Dr. Simeon Kenfack emphasized the importance of people having access to clean water and sanitation, saying it contributes to social-economic development.
He says there is a need for journalists to share knowledge and skills gained from the workshop to educate and share information on the importance of universal access to clean water and good sanitation services.
On the other hand, Senior Sanitation Coordinator for AFWA Dr Mbaye Mbeguere highlighted the coordination between water and sanitation, saying most cities in African countries have a challenge of poor sanitation.
He observed that a lot of people are moving from rural areas to urban areas hence limited resources in accessing water and sanitation services.
Dr Mbaye said there is a need for governments and Africa at large to prioritize sanitation with figures showing that Nigeria tops the list of countries where people practice open defecation.
Malawi has over one million people using open spaces for defecation.
“Talking about the role of the government, they could create an enabling environment in order to ensure that water and sanitation services are delivered correctly,” he said.
According to a report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF published on 1 July 2021, by 2023, billions of people around the world will not have access to safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene, unless much effort is given to improve the current rate of progress.
In order to address this challenge, the African Water Association, whose vision is to be recognized as a leading organization in improving the performance of actors in the water and sanitation sector in Africa, is advocating for water and sanitation issues to be included in the agendas of governments.
Among others, the conference will seek to strengthen the capacities of African Water operators for better performance and service delivery, discuss the challenges faced by African countries on issues of water and sanitation and find possible solutions.
Apart from journalists, officials from Lilongwe Water Board are in the delegation from Malawi attending the conference.