The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) launched its first Community of Practice (CoP) webinar in a series to engage cross-sector participation on integrating freshwater conservation and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) on July 6, 2017. ABCG member organizations presented their progress to date on piloting approaches to reduce watershed degradation and pollution, thereby improving the health of both communities and freshwater ecosystems. More than 25 participants from Africa, Europe and the U.S. participated in the discussion.
ABCG’s mission is to advance understanding of critical biodiversity conservation challenges and their solutions in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past five years, through its thematic working group, Global Health Linkages to Biodiversity Conservation, ABCG members have focused on understanding the linkages between global health and biodiversity, particularly the integration of freshwater conservation and WASH efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.
ABCG formed this CoP with the overall aim of establishing integrated learning between Freshwater-WASH practitioners. The CoP will:
- Provide a collaborative platform and space where global health and conservation professionals can share knowledge and expertise, learn, and solve issues together;
- Share practical front line on-the-job experiences and the applicability of implementation and monitoring and evaluation tools;
- Provide a platform for practitioners to share resources; and,
- Enable Freshwater-WASH practitioners to connect and organize around common issues
Freshwater Conservation and WASH Integration
The Collaborative’s rationale for integrating freshwater and WASH is to:
- Improve ecosystem management and conservation outcomes in tandem with improved human health for communities living in and around areas of key biodiversity; and,
- Combine health interventions with conservation activities, creating synergies and greater conservation and human well-being outcomes than if they were implemented in single-sector approaches.
ABCG members and partners in the development NGO community are helping to translate the vision for integration into tools and approaches, through:
- Researching case studies of integration in sub-Saharan Africa;
- Producing guidelines and a framework to support the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of integrated projects;
- Piloting the application of these tools with two demonstration projects and one existing project; and,
- Creating a CoP for Freshwater Conservation-WASH Practitioners
Next Steps for the Freshwater-WASH CoP
Proposed activities for the 2017-2018 year include:
- Online discussions – A LinkedIn group has been created for the CoP and is accessible here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8586958
- Online events such as webinars
- Face-to-face events in Africa and the US
The most recent Freshwater-WASH CoP webinar titled, An Integrated Vision for Health in Uganda’s Budongo-Bugoma Corridor, was hosted on July 27, 2017, and featured Dr. Peter Apell from The Jane Goodall Institute who shared results on applying the ABCG Freshwater Conservation-WASH Integration Guidelines in Uganda where population growth poses a threat to local watersheds and vulnerable megafauna. Click here for a webinar recording>
For more information, please contact Colleen Sorto, Conservation International at firstname.lastname@example.org