Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

Harnessing political will for WASH in Pakistan

Syed Shah Nasir Khisro

I am pleased to share news of FANSA Pakistan’s recent campaign success mobilising our political leadership around the elections to commit to the improvement of WASH.

Sadly, here in Pakistan, sanitation and water provision remains poor causing suffering to many people. WASH challenges are yet to be gauged by our political representatives, particularly in rural and remote locations. It was disappointing to note that none of the political parties included sanitation in their manifesto or showed any commitment to work for WASH related MDGs in the run up to this year’s elections.

File 2009On April 15th 2013, a month before the general election, the FANSA Pakistan Secretariat developed a Charter of Demand, which was then sent or handed to hundreds of candidates contesting in national/local elections, asking them to commit to the improvement of WASH. Our members also sent a letter with a similar request to the heads of the political parties standing in the elections.

 

So far, the campaign has proven really successful. A total of 600 candidates standing in provincial and national assembly elections have signed our Charter of Demand! Another 500 candidates have been handed the charter with a request to sign it and return later.

As a candidate of a National/Provincial Assembly, I hereby recognise the importance of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for a healthy nation and environment.  As part of the political system, I will support the efforts made for the betterment of the WASH Sector.
– declaration included in the Charter of Demand


From what we have seen to date, we believe that the campaign will bring great results. During the meetings we held with some of the candidates, it was felt that politicians recognized the vital importance of WASH and are willing to work for its improvement.


But most importantly, a number of candidates that signed the charter became elected (two became federal ministers, one became the provincial minister and bunch of others were elected as national and provincial assembly members), which is greatly encouraging, as it will now allow us to lobby them to fulfil what they had promised by signing the document.

 

Download a full report of the campaign (PDF 2.3 Mb)

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