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Archived News: Activities Report addressed to the IRHA Board 2013
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Mid-year 2012

1st pillar: Project implementation

Blue Schools in Ghana (region of Tamale)
Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Started in October 2011, and will finish in March 2013. Pierrick Imhof just came from the first onsite control visit. Encouraging results (this is the second time that we have worked with this local partner). The report of this first period of execution will be ready soon (we are waiting for the financial audit of the local partner's work) and presented to the donor.

Blue Schools in Togo and Benin
Mainly private funding.
Started in April 2011 and finished on June 2012. Excellent results. The final reports are ongoing.

Blue Schools in Senegal
Public and private funding.
Part1, School Kahone 1: Started in April 2011 and will be finished in September 2012.
Part 2, School Fass Kahone: Started in September 2011, it will be finished in February 2013.
The first part is almost finished; the second one is ongoing. There will be a control visit before the end of the year.

Blue Schools in Nigeria
Funded by SDC (a small part) and by private donors.
November 2011 - March 2013. Good results. The control visit showed correct execution of the infrastructure and good work with the population. The project is ongoing.

Blue Schools in Nepal
Public Private funding: SDC and a municipality in the Swiss Alps.
A lot of difficulties working with the local partner! The information came slowly and the local budget was not realistic. Han Heijnen and Alain Dick were informed about our difficulties. Finally, we signed the contract with the local partner in order not to hinder the start of the works, but a small part of the activities are still on hold. We are in process to look for better solutions and costs.

Blue Schools in Burundi
I stopped the work on this project as the local budget was completely unrealistic. The long wait between two communications also showed that the local partner is either too busy with other projects, or not serious (in spite of the references which we had). The money collected so far is being kept for a future project in the same country, with a new partner NGO, for which the Ambassador of Burundi to the UN gives strong recommendation.
You can see several photos from the projects on:
http://www.irha-h2o.org/?page_id=48&wppa-album=21&wppa-cover=0&wppa-occur=1 and even better, on: http://www.facebook.com/IRHABlueSchoolsProgramme

Future development of the Project implementation work

• We are looking for continuous collaboration with SDC. We hope that in September, looking at the good results of the project in Ghana, we will sign a contract for another large project in Ghana.
• We are maintaining contacts with the private sector member which has already funded a few of our projects, proposing to them new actions in the same country.
• We are in contact with a senior officer from Prison Fellowship International (PFI) (www.pfi.org ), who likes our programme for schools, and who wishes to collaborate on a similar programme for prisons. It is well-known that prisons are the last item on government agendas, all over the world, and in many places, prisoners live in inhumane conditions. The plan is that we will work for the "hardware" (rainwater harvesting, sanitation, planting trees), and PFI will provide the "software" (training, medical care, etc.). I hope that funding will be found relatively easily, as the "Human Rights" Funds rarely provide funding for building infrastructure - we will have fewer competitors. The first country will be Burkina Faso.
• In Burkina Faso, we are also starting to work in collaboration with Nouvelle Planète, a reputed Swiss NGO with a very reliable local branch.

2nd pillar: Awareness raising, Knowledge sharing

a) Awareness raising
• Newsletter bRAINstorming. It has its regular editions and Hannah manages it very well. I hope that you enjoy it.
• The website: it is always updated and is maintained in French and English.
• Raindrops Geneva Award 2011. The 30 best photos from the last edition of Raindrops were prepared to be exhibited. For World Water Day we were invited to organize an exhibition of them in the University of Geneva. We are looking for other forums where we will be able to exhibit them. You can see the photo gallery at http://www.irha-h2o.org/?page_id=48&wppa-album=19&wppa-slide&wppa-occur=1
• Raindrops Geneva Award 2013: it was announced on World Environment Day on our website.
• Annual Global Youth Conference: We were invited to take part in this event. It follows the tradition of the IRHA to work young people.

b) Knowledge sharing
• Promotion of the ARCSA Conference: We prepared flyers in French and English, we are contacting networks and companies, etc. Please see Current News on our Homepage and click on the flyer which we prepared for this event: http://www.irha-h2o.org/

3rdpillar: Networking

• We created a new brand of membership for the IRHA: "Journalists for RWH" and we have already 5 enthusiastic journalists from Uganda, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and United States.
• The number of our members is already 102 from 43 countries, which is more than the 2012 indicator which we targeted in our Work Plan.
• Reinforcing the IRHA as a world leader for RWH. We won a competition (along with 7 other organizations and companies from Switzerland) for social entrepreneurship. The project which we presented was the creation of World Centre for Rainwater Harvesting in Geneva. The competition is organized by ASHOKA, an international organization (Headquarters in Washington) for developing social entrepreneurship. As a result, my entire programme for the summer is upside down, as there is a lot of work to do: delivering chapter after chapter from the future Business Plan which we are going to produce and present to a jury. Each candidate has 2 coaches to help this work, and we have 3x3 full days of training. The final awards will be given to the selected first 3 competitors. In spite of the sacrifices and overload, I think that it is worthwhile to take part in this competition.
• Reinforcing the IRHAsecretariat: as the overload on the IRHA staff is quite substantial, we are engaging 2 people to give support for the project implementation work: one is an engineer in electricity, specialist in solar energy; the other is Hydro specialist, who has worked in the field of RWH. Both of them will be interns for a period of 4.5 and 6 months, and if we secure the funding and they integrate well in the organization, we will keep them as regular staff.
• Affiliation of Private sector members to the movement: here is our weak point. We did not do a lot on this particular activity.


4th pillar: Policy work

• We took part in the Nexus meeting in London
• We were present in Marseille, for the World Water Forum (please see the website)
• We published an article for the special edition "Sustainable Cities" prepared for the Rio Conference (page 125):
http://www.sustainablecities2012.com/images/uploads/documents/SC2012.pdf
• I would like to take part in the ARCSA and the SEARNET conference, but the ASHOKA competition will keep me busy and away from all other initiatives.

Divers
• Our annual meeting is a big, big question. The best thing will be to hold it around 12-15 November, when I will have my work for ASHOKA delivered, and the oral presentation of the project in front of the jury (2 November), already done. The problem comes from the personal plans of our Board members: is everybody available on these days?
Please send your preferences for the time of the AGM.
• At the same time, the IRHA celebrates its 10th anniversary on the 15th November, so I am very much willing to organize, in spite of my charge during the summer, a small conference on Green Jobs in RWH and also, to prepare a press conference. What do you think?

Kind regards to everyone,

Vessela

9. 07.2012
Geneva

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