Participation is a central element in realizing the human rights to water and sanitation and key to inclusive, equitable and sustainable services. People are at the core of Sustainable Development.
SDG 6.B calls for the support for and strengthening of the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management. The SDGs strive for a socially and environmentally just world in which all people can live a life in dignity. People are the actors in development processes, not only as citizens that want to have a decent life in which they receive good quality water, sanitation and health services, but also as workers that provide these services. These workers want to do a decent job. They play a crucial role in achieving the SDGs, becuase they are the ones that are “doing the job”. Governments have a role in creating the enabling environment in which workers can do the job in santation and water services and in all other sectors that depend on good quality water and sanitation services, like hospitals, schools, public places, shops and in industries.
To enable workers in water and sanitation services it is essential that they can participate in decision making processes and in how, where and when projects will be implemented. Workers’ participation is not only an imperative to ensure a strong basis, but workers are also the people that have the knowledge and skills in what is their daily job: provision of water and sanitation. They have to participate at the local level, knowing the (geoghaphical, social, economical) situation and to share their skills and knowledge (technical, organsational) with colleagues around the world.
Water Operator Partnerships are a good example in which workers share their skills in international cooperation. EuSAIN supports and strives to increase workers’ participation in decision making processes and design of projects. We help to build inclusive partnerships in which workers play their role at all levels. EuSAIN does research to increase the knowledge base of organisations, raises awareness and advocates for worker participation and organises workshops or trainings to strengthen workers’ capacities to participate in decision making processes and increase capacities of the service providers to ensure sustainable and good quality services.