sanitation and hygiene

100 Water Heroes: Sanjay Wijesekera

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0010/Markisz

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0010/Markisz

Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Associate Director of Programmes at UNICEF

Sanjay Wijesekera is the Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Associate Director of Programmes at UNICEF, where he provides strategic leadership and oversight of UNICEF’s WASH programmes.

Prior to joining UNICEF in 2011, Sanjay worked for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) where he was in charge of leading their policy and international programmes related to the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals. His work with DFID also included being an infrastructure advisor in Ghana, where he assisted in the coordination of a Joint Assistance Strategy for donors. He was also the main donor representative for the water industry during this time.

Sanjay’s experience in the water sector also includes his work with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa, during which he helped local governments to adequately deliver water and sanitation services, as well as assisting in the regulation of public and private sector service providers.

Sanjay is one of our #100WaterHeroes for devoting his career to highlighting, and finding solutions to, the global water, sanitation and hygiene crisis.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sanjay-wijesekera-1922b598

Twitter: @SanjayWash

100 Water Heroes: Kiana Alavi

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Engagement Officer (End Water Poverty) at WaterAid

Kiana Alavi is a blogger, photographer, campaigner, humanitarian and activist. She currently works as the Engagement Officer for Wateraid’s End Water Poverty (EWP) initiative. Launched in 2007, EWP is a “global civil society coalition, campaigning to end the water and sanitation crisis.” The movement now reaches over 150 members in more than 90 countries throughout the world. In collaboration with members from a range of backgrounds, from large NGOs to community organisations, they work towards achieving universal access to WASH.

Prior to her work with Wateraid, Kiana worked as the Global Campaign Officer for Save the Children International, on their Every Last Child Campaign. Save the Children International is the world’s leading independent organisation for children. Kiana led the organisation’s Every Last Child Campaign in their goal to “ensure that 15 million of the world's excluded children have access to life-saving healthcare and quality education.”

Co-Authored by Anjani Kapoor, Kiana recently wrote a piece entitled Accountability is the Key to Unlocking the Human Rights to WASH in which she poignantly states:

Judging by the progress levels on reaching SDG 6, many governments are treating these global goals as non-binding and ambitious commitments; but they are in fact achievable, but only if we act now. Stakeholders must stop waiting to take action tomorrow or in the near future and make the necessary changes today. The thought of being asked to not use a toilet to relieve ourselves or to not drink any water until the near future is unthinkable. So why not apply the same principle to our efforts in achieving Goal 6?

Kiana is one of our #100WaterHeroes for her impactful human rights work and for her commitment to ensuring access sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene for ALL.

Twitter: @Kianavi

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/kiana-alavi-3b038a74

100 Water Heroes: Mbali Chiya

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Journalist, Alex FM

Mbali Chiya is a South African journalist whose work on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has been internationally recognised. In 2014, Mbali was named as one of their WASH Media Award winners for her feature, Human Rights to Water and Sanitation.

The WASH Media Prize is “awarded to journalists for excellence in reporting on critical water, sanitation and hygiene issues,” a competition that is entered by people throughout the world. Mbali’s winning feature was focused on raising awareness of WASH issues in Alexandra Township, Gauteng.

By engaging with community members on their WASH concerns, Mbali was able to explain their rights to adequate WASH facilities, something she believes many of them did not initially understand. In competition with a number of international journalists, Mbali’s feature won the “The Human Right to Water and Sanitation” category.

Mbali is one of our #100WaterHeroes for raising awareness about WASH issues in South Africa and for reminding citizens of their rights to adequate WASH facilities.

Listen to Mbali’s winning feature:

100 Water Heroes: Benjamin Smith

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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist

Benjamin Smith is Project Manager of the UNICEF WASH facility in Za’atari, a refugee camp with a population of almost 80 000 people. In addition to being a WASH specialist, Benjamin holds a Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and has professional experience in the fields of water and wastewater engineering, construction and project management.

Benjamin’s involvement in the Za’atari camp sees him work with both clients and contractors, leading teams in the conception and development waste and wastewater projects.

UNICEF’s support of refugee camps in Jordan has involved the provision of well-rounded WASH services, and reaches more than 100 000 refugees throughout the ares. In Za’atari refugee camp specifically, UNICEF has developed a range of WASH initiatives “to reduce cost, sustain services, and mitigate the environmental impact of the interventions.” For instance, they have drilled boreholes to lessen public reliance on external tankering, and have also built a number of mobile waste-water treatment units. WASH committees have also been put together, made up largely of Syrian refugees who “assume the responsibility for the operation and maintenance of communal WASH blocks, thereby reducing monitoring and maintenance costs.”

Benjamin is one of our #100WaterHeroes for his leadership of UNICEF’s impactful WASH initiatives in Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/benjamin-smith-573ab010

100 Water Heroes: Shama Karkal

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CEO of Swasti Health Catalyst

Shama Karkal is the CEO of Swasti Health Catalyst, a health resource centre that seeks to “transform the lives of the marginalised communities by ensuring their access to quality healthcare.” Their core focus is on improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) standards in 29 countries throughout the world. In India alone, they serve 14 states and 2 union territories.

Shama has worked in public health sector for over 12 years, with experience ranging from developmental disabilities, to maternal and child health. Prior to working with Swasti, Shama obtained her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, specialising in Social Action and Community Development.

Shama moved on to work on public health in both the USA and India, and led the highly successful Avahan India AIDS Initiative.

At Swasti, Shama takes charge of their responses to various public health concerns throughout India, and handles international communication between the government, private sector, academia and non-profit partners. In addition to her work at Swasti, Shama is also a Steering Committee Member at the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health, and a Trustee of the Catalyst Foundation.

Shama is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her commitment to bettering the public health sector, particularly through WASH initiatives

Twitter: @ShamaKarkal

Linkedin: in.linkedin.com/in/shamakarkal

100 Water Heroes: Cindy Wallis-Lage

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President, Global Water Business at Black & Veatch

Today we are honouring Cindy Wallis-Lage as one of our #100WaterHeroes. Currently, Cindy is President of Black & Veatch’s water business. Black & Veatch are a engineering, consulting and construction company and, when named president of their water division in 2012, Cindy became the 100-year-old company’s first woman president of a functional division. In addition to being president of their water business, Cindy also serves on Black & Veatch’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

Cindy is a highly influential thought leader on Water - she has unified many global players around Sustainable Development Goal 6, as she leads over 2,700 professionals in more than 75 offices throughout the world. Cindy’s expertise in water reuse and treatment are renowned throughout the industry, as she has been involved in over 100 global water projects in both municipal and industrial sectors.

Cindy’s experience in the water sector include being on the Board of Directors for both the US Water Alliance, as well as for the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation. Prior to this, Cindy also served as Chief of the Water Technology Group, “a team of technical experts focused on the development, selection and implementation of innovative and sustainable solutions in four treatment process areas – water, wastewater, residuals and operations.”

Cindy is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her expertise in the treatment and reuse of water and wastewater, as well as her longstanding commitment to achieving SDG6.

Twitter: @CWL_BVWater

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/cindy-wallis-lage-540181b

100 Water Heroes: Saran Kaba Jones

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Founder and CEO of FACE Africa

Saran Kaba Jones is the Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, “a community development organization working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa.” With particular focus on assisting those in rural Liberia, FACE Africa has raised over $500,000 for WASH initiatives, benefitting more than 25,000 Liberian people.

In their role as a community development organization, FACE Africa seeks to raise awareness surrounding WASH issues, “through advocacy, grassroots awareness campaigns, policy development and community engagement.”

Prior to her work with FACE Africa, Saran worked on the Singapore Economic Development Board and Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. Saran is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and, in 2016, was named in TIME Magazine’s Next Generation Leader. Saran has also been noted by Guardian UK as one of Africa's 25 Top Women Achievers, and her water-related work with FACE Africa has garnered widespread international media attention.

Saran is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her work with FACE Africa, and her commitment to bettering the standards of water, sanitation and hygiene in sub-Saharan Africa.

Saran Twitter: @sarankjones

FACE Africa Twitter: @faceafrica

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sarankjones

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Boston, USA | Liberia