World Water Week 2013 is upon us, and the international water community will once again gather to cooperate on water issues for greater impact. Now is the ideal time to look at innovative approaches and effective partnerships that can help us achieve a water-secure future.
Our cover story takes a closer look at how cooperation with faith-based communities is helping to promote efficient water use, stamp out water-borne disease, and foster peace. “It has never been more important for secular and religious organizations around the world to step up and cooperate,” writes USAID Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Director J. Mark Brinkmoeller in this issue’s Perspectives piece. With centuries of experience helping the vulnerable, faith-based community groups are critical partners in efforts to make the world a better place. The stories are inspiring: Hindu and Muslim religious leaders working together with secular leaders to eradicate polio in India, Egyptian Sheikhs preaching about water conservation in their Friday sermons, and Kenyan Christians and Muslims fostering peaceful coexistence by digging wells, building water pumps, and working together to govern water resources.
The USAID Water and Development Strategy stresses integrated approaches that address the competing demands of multiple water users, including households, communities, agriculture, and industry. In this issue, we take you inside the villages in Nepal’s Mid-Western region, where USAID introduced multiple use water systems that are boosting water productivity and livelihoods. Now, families are thriving as they spend their time improving their farms instead of collecting water.
Integrated approaches are also necessary when addressing devastating crises such as the food, water, health, and security crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo. To provide sustainable relief to conflict-affected victims in this war-torn country, USAID is simultaneously working to improve WASH and healthcare in camps for displaced people, repair damaged infrastructure, support local farmers with training, and bring hope to the country.
We hope you enjoy this issue. Happy World Water Week!
The Water Office
Last updated: September 04, 2013