Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: In order to raise awareness and elicit commitment on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues during the World Water Week, the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) organised a virtual exhibition comprising paintings, posters and messages by children, adolescents and other community members from poor and marginalised communities.
This followed a series of events, including webinars and question and answer sessions involving experts and communities, which sought to go in-depth into the WASH-related issues of underprivileged communities.
CFAR observed the World Water Week to focus on the everyday challenges that most-at-risk communities living in the informal settlements of Bhubaneswar and Jaipur face in the context of both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual exhibition – We for Water – Jal Se Jan Tak: Value Water for Sustainable Development – brings the creative expressions of community artists and communicators across nine diverse themes, in form of posters, wall painting, rangoli, and slogans.
CFAR’s strategy around WASH
The World Water Week is organised every year by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). For the past 30 years, it has drawn the attention of the global community on key issues around WASH.
CFAR has for more than two decades worked with poor and marginalised communities in urban India, particularly big cities where they live in insanitary and cramped conditions.
CFAR’s strategy has been tap the latent energy of communities in representing themselves and solving their own problems through engagement with the government service-providers, while changing their behaviours and adopting practices which are conducive to good health, hygiene and improved livelihoods.
CFAR used the occasion of the World Water Week 2020 to bring WASH issues to the forefront by creating platforms in which the government, experts, and communities have a discussion on problems and resolutions.
The ongoing week was transformed into a virtual event this year for four days from August 24 to 27. The key objective of this global meet was to enable the development of an understanding of water – its value, function, and connection to other topical issues in order to motivate policymakers to initiate water-wise actions.
The theme of World Water Week 2020 (August 24 to 28) was Water and Climate Change: Accelerating Action.
This year, the CFAR initiative focused on developing the capacities of journalists and communicators to enable them to develop knowledge and diverse perspectives to inform their audience, engage people on the importance of water, and hold decision-makers accountable to the Sustainable Development Goals.
SDG Goal 6 urges countries to ensure universal access of all citizens to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation while SDG Goal 13 urges countries to take steps to combat the impact of climate change on human beings and develop plans to chart a safer and more sustainable future, including post-pandemic recovery plans
Chief Guest Suvendu Kumar Sahoo, Deputy Commissioner, Sanitation, thanked the CFAR team on behalf Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation for organising the event to raise awareness on water in the form of an exhibition of posters.
Basant Kumar Mishra, City Health Officer, said that the government trying to provide safe water to all slum people and CFAR has taken the very good initiative to bring awareness of securing water. It is known that water and health closely related each other.
Kasturi Pradhan of Pichupadia said that through her poster on climate change she wanted to stress the need for planting trees and to save the environment.
Minakhi Samanta Ray from Dumduma Pana Sahi said that her poster focused on collection and reuse of rainwater.