Svayam’s Founder encourages Financial Institutions to support ‘Accessible Rural Sanitation’ at Water.org Forum
“Accessible sanitation leads towards Independence, Safety, Dignity & Empowerment of all; it is a human right, and when Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan converge, it benefits all,” said Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder-Chairperson, Svayam, while delivering her Special Address during the session, ‘Leaving no one behind–WASH solutions to people with special needs’ at the ‘India WaterCredit Forum’, organised by Water.org on 28 January 2020, in New Delhi. She spoke on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) & crucial need of ‘Accessible and Dignified Sanitation for All’.
The annual forum of Water.org brought together over 100 participants including policy framers, financial institutions, multilateral development institutions, NGO’s, and other stakeholders from the water & sanitation and financial sectors to discuss the opportunities, challenges, solutions and best practices for enabling safe water and sanitation for all.
Shri Parameshwar Iyer, Secretary, Department of Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt. of India, was the chief guest at the event. He enlightened the audience on the crucial need of clean water and sanitation and said that its benefits should reach everyone. Also present were representatives from various government, financial and development organizations who had joined for this important Pan-India deliberation on alternative financing for water and sanitation. Leaders from all water.org’s partner organizations included Satin, Muthoot, Cashpor, Dhan Foundation, Adhikar, Gram-Utthan, Sanghamitra, World Bank, UNICEF etc.
Ms. Jindal empathized that Accessible sanitation leads towards Independence, Safety, Dignity & Empowerment of all; it is a human right. “When Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan converge, it benefits all,” she added.
Svayam’s Founder further said: “Accessibility benefits not only persons with disabilities but also elderly, pregnant women, children, injured & sick. So build infrastructure not just for some but for all. This will lead to Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas”.
She also briefed the audience about how Svayam-Water.org’s three-year project ‘Accessible Rural Sanitation’ is transforming the lives in 5 States: Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka & Odisha.
Ms. Jindal also encouraged financial institutions (FIs) to spread awareness in the community and self-help groups about the need of AFTs and encourage members to avail the easy and affordable interest loans to self-help group members for meeting their WASH needs as this would help bring upliftment of the most marginalized communities which eventually unlocks financing opportunities and accelerate progress towards the achievement of SDGs.
Ms. Vedika Bhandarkar, Managing Director of Water.org India, provided the welcome address and an overview of Water.org India in 2019 as well as what lies ahead, while Mr. Manoj Gulati, Executive Director of Water.org India, provided insights and key learnings from various studies done by Water.org.
Svayam’s two brief videos on accessible sanitation and role played by financial institutions in realising the dream of accessible toilet also attracted attention and appreciation at the Forum