Thursday, April 8, 2010
Lots of great speakers and sessions on sustainability and how to use microfinance to propel investment in renewable energy, water and sanitation. One started off his session with this quote form Ghandi “Sanitation is more important than Independence” another said “Sanitation is Dignity”. Over 3 billion people have no toilets and the world needs a sanitation transformation. Most of us take this for granted. One example in Kenya was described where public toilets are multifunctional and you can have your shoes shined, buy mobile minutes, and charge your phone etc while you use the toilet. Another program is awaiting approved form the government to use urine fertilizer on crops. Sanitation can create many jobs for collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of human waste that can be funded by microcredit.
Grameen Shakti is an example of renewable energy program: solar panels, biogas and stoves using less wood to provide more heat. This is very successful in a number of countries and a Jordanian official outlined their solar program as well.
Water.org was represented and the spokesperson said “water is life” and everyone has a right to clean drinking water but over 1/3 of the world’s population does not have access to it.
Another session focused on sustainable cities and that 1 billion people have no adequate housing today. The discussions were around slums and how to change and renew them. They gave interesting examples from around the world on how to transform slums into viable human habitats.
The best part of the day was a reunion with people from Jamii Bora, especially Susan and Ingrid. I am so looking forward to the two days with the clients in Northern Kenya after the summit concludes on Sunday.
I joined the WPF team for a lively dinner with thought provoking discussions on numerous subjects. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this event and share my time with some extraordinary individuals.