Lab for Change: An Impactful Experience
Lab for Change, Lazos de Agua Special Edition was held from November 4 – 8, 2019 in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. It was a unique event attended by executing partners from One Drop’s 13 projects around the world, including those from the five projects that make up Lazos de Agua — the regional program founded by One Drop, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), The Coca-Cola Foundation and Fundación FEMSA — as well as donors, and representatives from other executing agencies, related organizations, and government bodies.
Team members of the Guanajuato Project and representatives of One Drop and Fundación FEMSA. Photo: One Drop / RECO FILMS
Over a five-day period, more than 100 participants from 17 countries exchanged learning experiences to generate new knowledge, under the theme of “Exchange. Go beyond. Change the story.” Different approaches, languages, cultures, initiatives, and expectations converged with a single focus: the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Through more than 30 collaborative sessions, participants addressed key issues related to the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, and exchanged on One Drop’s Social Art for Behaviour ChangeTM (SABC) approach. During these discussions, it became evident that there is a strong interdependence between the availability and access of WASH services, and different SDGs, particularly poverty reduction, food security, health and well-being, gender equality, and the reduction of inequalities.
The Lab’s working sessions covered a wide range of topics. Among these was the need to work in partnership with governments and the private sector, the importance of mobilizing capital and providing adequate financing for users and for the water and sanitation supply chain, the fundamentals of working successfully with indigenous communities, breaking social norms around menstrual hygiene management and providing WASH services in health care facilities. Among other subjects that were addressed was the creation of nudges, the complementarity of the SABC and CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) approaches to overcome the practice of open defecation, “Leaders of Change” and their capacity to empower communities and scale up interventions, the use of digital technologies to increase the impact of projects, and the role of storytelling and communication to generate and sustain change while sharing experiences and achievements with diverse audiences.
For the Lazos de Agua Program, Lab for Change was also the first time that representatives from all of the Program’s projects — ConvidArte, Guanajuato, Nicaragua Rural, Quiché, and Y Kuaa — were brought together along with the Program’s founding partners, and Guanajuato Project’s social artists and Leaders of Change. The event was also attended by representatives from the Comisión Estatal del Agua de Guanajuato (CEAG) — the government agency responsible for providing access to infrastructure and institutional strengthening in the Guanajuato Project — and by representatives from the Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA). We are pleased to report that a collaboration agreement was signed between Lazos de Agua and CONAGUA during the event, with the goal of increasing sustainable access to water and sanitation services in Mexico through the integration of our SABC approach.
It was a great pleasure to have been able to make this event possible, and to bring committed partners together to share their experiences and help create impactful solutions in a cooperative and inspiring environment.
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