There are many Rotary Action Groups involved with Rotary International, but the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group (WASRAG) is the most active and organized. Each year, prior to the Rotary International Convention, WASRAG hosts a one-day World Water Summit to which anyone who is passionate about clean water and sanitation issues is invited to attend. This year, celebrating 10 years, the World Water Summit was held in Toronto, Canada on Friday, June 22nd and had the highest participation yet, with over 300 people in attendance.
The Summit hosted keynote speakers: Peter Lochery, Senior Fellow on WASH research and advocacy at CARE; Chris Dunston, Safe Water Strategy at the Conrad N. Filton Foundation; and Silvia Gaya, Senior Advisor on WASH at UNICEF. Additionally, there were numerous workshops and presentations held throughout the day.
Carolyn Meub (PWW’s Executive Director) has been very involved in the WASRAG committee since its inception. When the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group was established, in 2007, Carolyn was on the Board of Directors. She then held the Chair position for the first World Water Summit in 2009. In the following years, Carolyn attended several of the summits but had to curtail her high level of involvement due to her obligations with PWW.
In 2017, Carolyn was able to take on a larger role, once again, accepting the position as a panel moderator at the World Water Summit in Atlanta. There, she was asked to be the Program Chair for the 10th Annual Water Summit (to be held in 2018), to which she agreed, not fully taking in the amount of time and effort that would be required!
As the Summit’s Program Chair, Carolyn was responsible for working with the Planning Committee to develop the program and select the speakers and presenters for the Summit. She worked closely with Ron Denham, Chair Emeritus of WASRAG, and the programming volunteers to bring in speakers from all around the world.
Carolyn deeply enjoys being involved with the World Water Summit and feels strongly that the summit provides an invaluable opportunity to exchange experiences and network with others, from around the world, who share similar mindsets and passions. She values the chance to learn from other Rotarians about the successes they are having with WASH programs, and she appreciates being able to share lessons-learned from PWW’s firsthand experiences.
Witnessing the increased involvement, Carolyn believes that more and more people are learning about the dire need to solve the world’s water issues, and they want to better understand what is required to implement successful and sustainable WASH programs.
In Toronto, Carolyn met many new people. She says this is “the most beneficial part of the Summit.” The event provides a venue to create lasting connections, learning and growing from one another so that more children, families and communities, across the globe, gain access to safe water and sanitation.
“It’s great to meet so many people who feel passionate about helping to bring safe water and sanitation programs to people in need,” Carolyn shares. “And, it’s also wonderful to hear that so many more people are learning about the work of Pure Water for the World. By all doing our part, we will continue to work collectively to bring sustainable WASH solutions to the millions of vulnerable children and families who lack access to life’s most basic necessities.”
When asked to reflect on this year’s Summit, Carolyn stated, “Having been on the planning committee for the 1st World Water Summit and now the 10th annual event, I am impressed with the increasing recognition that WASRAG is getting from outside of Rotary. Being able to attract well-known thought leaders in this WASH sector is an indication that WASRAG and Rotary play a significant part in finding impactful WASH solutions around the globe. I am proud to have played a part in this year’s successful event.”
Plan ahead. Mark your calendar today so you are sure not to miss the 11th annual World Water Summit to be held in Hamburg, Germany on May 31, 2019.