Members of the Safe Water Network team were recently in Stockholm, Sweden to participate in a number of sessions during the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)’s World Water Week conference.
New Report on Women Entrepreneurship Launched During "Women and Water" Session
Safe Water Network co-convened a session with USAID, Honeywell India, and Mu Gamma Consultants entitled “Women and Water: Breaking Barriers and Transforming Lives.” Moderated by Kelly Ann Naylor, who leads UNICEF’s global water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) program, the session brought together professionals who are focused on empowering women and bringing them into the water supply value chain.
During the session, Safe Water Network India’s Pooja Singh described an initiative piloted in the Medak District of Telangana, India—supported by the District Collector of Medak, and funded by Honeywell Hometown Solutions India Foundation—that aimed to empower women and transform their lives by enhancing their role of “water carrier” to that of “water entrepreneur.” Saha Global and Water for People shared case studies on their respective programs focused on empowering women in water, and Mu Gamma Consultants provided context for the discussion by describing how gender dynamics are deep-rooted, creating cycles of disparity that can impact women for generations.
Participants also released Safe Water Network's latest Spotlight report, Small Water Enterprises: Transforming Women from Water Carriers to Water Entrepreneurs, authored by Poonam Sewak, Pooja Singh, Amanda Gimble, and others.
Consumer Session Focuses on Successes and Challenges in Marketing
Safe Water Network co-hosted a session entitled “What Do Underserved Water Consumers Really Want?” with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Jibu, the Osprey Foundation, and Water4. Session participants, including Safe Water Network's Charles Yeboah, shared lessons, challenges, and the results of work leveraging marketing practices to increase consumer engagement in water supply.
GSMA Session Sheds Light on Role of Mobility in Sustainable Water Supply
Safe Water Network's Charles Yeboah also participated in an engaging session focused on how mobile technology is transforming the water supply sector. Hosted by GSMA, the session—“Scaling Mobile-Enabled Water and Sanitation Models for Inclusion”—included case studies from Safe Water Network, CityTaps, Loowatt, and the Kampala Capital City Authority. Participants shared practical experiences that demonstrate how mobile technology is driving down operating costs, increasing convenience, and collecting critical data from consumers to facilitate sustainable service delivery.
Community of Practice Launches Partnership During Reception, Holds Working Sessions
While in Stockholm, the Small/Safe Water Enterprise Community of Practice (SWE COP) officially launched its partnership to a crowd of funders, implementers, partners, and other sector leaders. The SWE COP—which includes Safe Water Network, Danone Communities, Jibu, Water4, Water for Good, Water for People, Water Mission, and UNTAPPED—is a collective committed to addressing the barriers to sustainability and scale within the growing water enterprise sector. Priority areas for the SWE COP include advancing working group programs and drawing from the resulting findings to advocate for improved policies, practices, and funding for water enterprises among development agencies and governments.
Earlier in the day, the Small/Safe Water Enterprise Finance and Consumer Working Groups, programs of the SWE COP, met to advance initiatives aimed at bringing clarity and consistency to key concepts in the water enterprise sector. The Finance Working Group focused on defining financial sustainability and setting a plan to collect benchmarking data from participants. The Consumer Working Group discussed the establishment of common consumer definitions and advanced a scope of work for curating members’ tools and resources for consumer engagement.
Safe Water Network Represents Working Group in Finance Session
On behalf of the SWE Finance Working Group, Safe Water Network co-hosted a finance-focused discussion entitled “Subsidies, Fees, and Funding Blends that Leave No One Behind.” With input from Safe Water Network and co-hosts GIZ, the Osprey Foundation, and the World Bank, this session demystified solutions to the dual challenge of affordability for consumers and sustainable revenue models for service providers—including the smart design of subsidies and appropriate tariff structures.
Safe Water Network's Nat Paynter (pictured) discussed the financial viability of water enterprises, and the implications this has on necessary financing and subsidies