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Talking clean water at the WASH Conference

Photo: Maureen Bathgate/OxfamAus

By Jane Bean, Oxfam’s WASH policy and funding adviser

One of Oxfam’s best-known areas of expertise is water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

We’ve contributed to international projects like the Sphere Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, and provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene education to some of the world’s poorest countries. When disaster strikes, we move quickly to distribute high-quality WASH equipment such as water tanks and bladders, buckets and latrine slabs. We also promote good hygiene habits among affected communities, helping to prevent the spread of disease.

As a world leader in the WASH sector, we are always keen to share our knowledge with the international community. We offer strategic suggestions, train national and local organisations, and help coordinate water and sanitation solutions. Most recently, we’ve been collaborating with the government and the Water Reference Group on the second WASH Conference 2011, taking place in Brisbane this month.

Building on the success of the inaugural Sanitation and Water Conference, held in Melbourne in 2008, this year’s edition will focus on one of the greatest challenges facing the water, sanitation and hygiene sector today: sustainability.

Among the program’s key topics will be:

  • Building water supply systems for villages, towns and cities in developing countries
  • Providing communities with household toilets, and sanitation facilities for public and shared areas (such as schools, clinics and markets)
  • Promoting hygiene education: from community to campaign-based approaches

Oxfam Australia, along with other NGO members of the Water Reference Group, will be presenting on Thursday 19 May: an Inclusive WASH workshop, covering gender, HIV and AIDS, disabilities and advocacy.

The conference is open to practitioners and professionals from government and NGOs, donors, academics and students. After all, if we’re going to tackle the global water and sanitation crisis successfully, we need to build the knowledge and skills of the people working in the field.

More information

Visit the conference website

Download the WASH 2011 program

Read a report from the Sanitation and Water Conference 2008

Contact Jane Bean by email