The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of adequate WASH services for the prevention of disease transmission. It has also exposed significant vulnerabilities of institutions from the global to local level when it comes to emergency preparedness and response, particularly in light of a new threat.
The African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) is an inter-governmental, Pan-African, non- budgetary institution working under the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment of the African Union, with the mandate to provide political leadership, policy direction and advocacy for the protection, management and effective utilization of all Africa’s water resources for sustainable social, economic and environmental development, and for the maintenance of the integrity of Africa’s ecosystems. AMCOW leads member states response to the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing them together to share challenges and lessons learned during the pandemic. To build on this support and provide additional tools to respond to COVID-19 and prepare for future emergencies, WALIS is working with AMCOW to develop a contextually appropriate model (i.e. a template) for the WASH sector that can be rolled out to the Member States and adapted to mitigate any impacts from the pandemic, stem further transmission and re-emergence of COVID-19, and build member states’ resilience to any future epidemic or pandemic.
A Disaster Risk Preparedness and Resilience Expert will develop an appropriate model for a COVID-19 and WASH Preparedness, Response, and Recovery plan, consisting of a resilience building strategy, that national ministries responsible for WASH services in Africa can tailor for their specific situation. The model or template should help ministries determine performance objectives, identify key vulnerabilities, and develop strategies for addressing these vulnerabilities. The Disaster Risk Preparedness and Resilience Expert will work in close collaboration with WALIS and the AMCOW team led by the Senior Policy Advisor and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Sub-committee on Sanitation. Once the tool has been developed and validated by an (extra-ordinary) TAC Meeting, the Disaster Risk Preparedness and Resilience Expert will provide support to up to two government ministries directly in applying the template to their specific context to draft a country preparedness and response plan. One of the two ministries supported will be the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) of Nigeria. The other ministry will be selected in conjunction with USAID and AMCOW. The template will also be made available to all AMCOW member states to adapt to their own use.