Live & Learn teams from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji attended the second annual Live & Learn WASH Forum which was held from 10th – 16th November 2015 in Suva, Fiji. Major objectives included sharing knowledge & learnings from the first phase of the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Program, and building an ongoing collaborative effort between teams. Participants were all given the opportunity to present the current status of their project, share progress and discuss challenges faced. Partner organisations International Water Centre (IWC) and International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) also attended to support and guide the teams through further training in business planning and gender and social inclusion.
Highlights of the event include:
- Sharing lessons and risk management strategies that have been learnt from the CS-WASH Fund Phase I Project and the initial stages of the current Phase 2 Program.
- Sharing the market research results and business plans for pilot sanitation enterprises, with comparisons of approaches tailored to diverse communities and markets.
- Reflecting on navigating the challenges & disruptions of Tropical Cyclone Pam, and discussing the current El Niño and how this may impact WASH situations in each country.
- Learning about how each country team is working with stakeholders to strengthen approaches, such as the People’s Community Network in Fiji.
- Considering microfinance and savings options for communities with low incomes and ability to pay, such as Women’s Savings Clubs established in Kavieng, PNG.
- Learning about successful cooperative enterprise models developing through other Live & Learn projects.
- Learning about how CLTS has contributed to the first communities to be declared open defecation free in the Solomon Islands, and what the key determinants for success are.
- Linking counterparts from each office to address issues related to specific thematic areas.
This was the first opportunity for some of the Live & Learn team members to come together in-person and share their experiences, and has been incredibly valuable not only by providing a platform for teams to share over the week, but in fostering ongoing relationships between country teams and building team spirit.