Social Watch Philippines: Capacity building workshop on budget and policy advocacy and campaigns for water, sanitation, and hygiene

Social Watch Philippines (SWP) - Alternative Budget Initiative Health Cluster (SWP - ABI) held a three-day capacity-building workshop on budget and policy advocacy and campaigns for water, sanitation, and hygiene at Hive Hotel and Convention Center, Quezon City on November 23-25, 2022. The activity was also accessible online via Zoom. The workshop training was participated by civil society organizations working on health, environment, and human rights, and those representing persons/children with disability, older persons, and urban poor communities.

The training workshop, underpinned by human right to water and sanitation that governments must respect, protect, and fulfilll, aimed to deepen the understanding of civil society on key health governance issues related to WASH, develop the civil society capacity to campaign WASH at the national level and in communities, and develop a six-month campaign plan on WASH.

Ms. Maria Victoria Raquiza, co-convener of SWP opened the first day of the training by giving her opening message. She emphasized that what will continue to guide civil society in doing this campaign is that accessible water is a human right and we have duty-bearers who have the responsibility to respect and protect this right. She also remarked that there is no substitute for commitment and solidarity in reclaiming people’s rights using evidenced-based analysis and policy and recommendations.

The presentations began with National Economic and Development Authority Infrastructure Staff Director Kathleen Mangune discussing water governance and regulation. She talked about WASH sector situationer and the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan (PWSSMP). Afterwhich, there was a discussion on ways forward, particularly about where civil society cna provide support in terms of the advocacy.

The second part of the first day of the activity was meant to ground the participants on some framework engaging their head, heart, and hand. Dr. John Ponsaran of University of the Philippines Manila provided the WASH campaigners an orientation on the Kaginhawaan Framework and facilitated a Body Mapping Workshop through his presentation entitled “Making Sense of WASH through Bodymapping: Critical Frameworks and Reflections.” This allowed the participants to have a self-understanding, other awareness (kapwa-orientedness), and place sensitivity about WASH. Mr. Art Letim from CBM Global Philippines facilitated a discussion and mini-workshop on disability-inclusive WASH, which provided a new learning for the participants.

The first day was capped off by Ms. Justice Fernandez of Medical Action Group, who provided a session and workshop on psychosocial support for civil society advocates and campaigners, which aims to equip the participants in some capacities to care for themselves and their co-workers and co-advocates.

On the second day, key campaigns were showcased in order to help the participants identify success, challenges, and learnings from other networks pursuing a particular reform. The presentations were from: Ms. Jo-Ann L. Diosann of the Sin Tax Coalition (on the Sin Tax Law); Ms. Ana Maria “Princess” Nemenzo (on the Responsible Parenting and Reproductive Health Law); Ms. Jenina Joy Chavez of the Right to Know Right Now Coalition (on Freedom of Information); and lastly, FDC and Sanlakas through a video interview (on the Pattak Campaign on Water). The recording of the presentations will be shared publicly later.

Later in the afternoon, Engr. Sonabel Anarna of the Department of Health (Philippines) discussed Universal Health Care and WASH, including the creation of the Interagency Committee on Environmental Health and the situationer on WASH-related health outcomes; Mr. Alce Quitalig of Social Watch Philippines shared his experience on crafting budget proposals for advocacy and shared some helpful tips in looking at the budget documents for WASH. Lastly, Mr. Paul de Rosario of UNICEF Philippines shared the organization's experiences, lessons and challenges on doing WASH advocacy at the national and local levels including WASH in schools. After the presentations, the participants worked in teams for the first part of the workshop on the development of the WASH campaign plans at the national and local levels by Mr. Joel Saracho.

The last day of the training was dedicated to continuing crafting and refining the plans. An input related to campaign communications was provided by Ms. Nini Matilac who shared effective campaigning using traditional tri-media and the internet. The final part was the participants’ sharing of their campaign goals, milestones, and plans. This training was organized in partnership with UNICEF Philippines.

Source: Social Watch Philippines.