André Olschewski will be leaving Skat and handing over his role as Theme Leader for Accelerating Self-supply (ACCESS) to Matthias Saladin. André reflects on the last five years:
There is widespread recognition that many people particularly rural dwellers improve their water supplies with their own investments. This was barely part of the discourse when RWSN launched the Self-supply theme and term in 2004 under the leadership of Dr. Sally Sutton, supported by WSP and UNICEF. As with any innovations, taking the concept of Self-supply from the periphery towards mainstream development has not been simple or an easy journey.
Skat took on the role of coordinating the Self-supply theme in 2011, led by myself. In this time we have witnessed the term “Self-supply” increasingly being used in the sector and the organizations trying to understand, support, or accelerate Self-supply have grown from a few individuals to numerous agencies. The importance of developing the private sector as one key actor in supporting Self-supply has been recognized, with efforts evolving in a number of countries such as Sierra Leone, Uganda and Ethiopia and including the SMART Centre initiative (www.smartcentregroup.com). In the RWSN 2015 webinar series, Léo Heller, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human right to safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, recognized that Self-supply is a valid approach in trying to realize the Right. Last but not least, there has been progress on building the evidence base for the relevance and effectiveness of supporting Self-supply in a number of contexts, particularly within Africa (e.g. in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi).
I want to inform you that I will leave Skat by end of October 2016. It was a great experience working with you on the Self-supply theme. So I want to thank all of you who I had the chance to work with, to exchange and to discuss. Thank you very much for your ongoing interest and efforts.
Given the RWSN Forum 2016 in November, followed by one more year under the current RWSN Strategy, the Members of the Executive RWSN Steering committee accepted the proposal that Matthias Saladin of Skat Foundation will take on this leadership role. Matthias has been increasingly involved in the RWSN Secretariat and has been supporting the rainwater harvesting topic within the Self-supply theme, including a study on the success story of promoting rainwater harvesting in Thailand (http://rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/759). Matthias, whose professional background is Environmental Science and Engineering, has first-hand experience of Self-supply, particularly related to Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS). He lived in Bolivia and Spain for twelve years and thus brings in an understanding of Latin America context and Spanish to the network. Over the coming weeks I will handover to Matthias the various dossiers so that he is fully prepared to take over the thematic leadership at the RWSN Forum. Sean Furey, who had been part of the WASHTech project will take over the part on the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) within the Self-supply theme (www.washtechnologies.net).
I am fully convinced that Matthias and Sean will bring in new ideas and efforts and I hope, together with your ongoing active support and enthusiasm you will take the theme further, providing more visibility for supported Self-supply, better understanding within the sector and stronger recognition as complementary service delivery approach – as without properly supported Self-supply we will not manage to achieve the SDG 6 by 2030!
At the RWSN Forum in Abidjan there will be a meeting of the ACCESS group. This will be a first opportunity for you to meet with Matthias and to explore ways on how to strengthen Self-supply and the collaboration and exchange within the theme in future.
Dear “Self-suppliers”, let me wish you all the best, success and endurance. As I will work in the water utility sector in Switzerland I might not be able to follow up as close as before, however I will follow up from remote and will enjoy the progress you will achieve.
Matthias Saladin is a Water & Sanitation Specialist at Skat Consulting and is a specialist in household water treatment, particular Solar Disinfection (SODIS):
I would like to introduce myself to the group. André already announced in his message that he will be moving on to a new job, and I would like to use this opportunity to thank him for all the work and effort over the last five years. As several of you already pointed out, the concept of Self-supply has evolved a great deal over the past years from a small niche topic into a solid and increasingly well-recognized theme, and a part of this evolution is due of the way André facilitated a network of people and organizations to gather around it and help it grow.
For me, it is a great pleasure to take over the leadership of the Theme “Accelerating Self-Supply” and start connecting with this part of RWSN. Obviously, as always with networks, the results will not depend on a single player but on how well we connect, communicate and coordinate, and how much each of us is willing to contribute. For the moment, I am still very new to this topic and do not know most of you, but I will try my best to “jump into the water” as quickly as possible.
Hopefully I can meet many of you at the RWSN Forum in Abidjan this year, and also hear and read from you at some of the virtual activities we are planning. Information on our next webinar series will follow soon. As André mentioned, we plan to have a meeting specifically for ACCESS group members (that is, you!) at the Forum and we soon will be sharing information on this on Dgroups. In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you have ideas, suggestions, complaints, or any other issue you want to discuss.
Looking forward to hearing back from you