Yesterday the World Water Council (WWC), parent organization of the World Water Forum, led members of the press on a tour of the Forum’s “Village of Solutions.” The Village represents an innovative new platform that highlights the central theme of the sixth Forum – solutions. After the tour, WWC President Loic Fauchon was kind enough to speak with me about making the Village a reality at the Sixth Forum. A set of low, white structures lining a wood deck thoroughfare, the Village sits at the thematic and spatial center of the forum. It consists of seven sheltered exhibits: Library, Bank, City Hall, Factory, School, Slum and Agora. Each one represents a different element of a solution-oriented approach to thinking about the world’s water. The Village is populated by a set of 70 solutions, chosen from several thousand entries submitted to the globally-oriented and newly created online water solutions platform: solutionsforwater.org. The solutions represented at the conference are concrete, obviously workable and easily-replicated while producing measurable gains, explains Sonia Birki from the WWC President’s office. In keeping with the ancient traditions of the Mediterranean, the Agora sits at the center of the Village with an open-air town square and a coffee shop. Visitors mingle and meet to discuss their opinions. Large screens in the coffee shop display information from the various exhibits in the Village. Potted palms dot Main Street and define seating areas in front of and around the Agora. A line of dry toilets stands across from the Agora provides an opportunity for coffee drinkers to experience one more solution first hand.
Student Reporter Iliana Sepulveda interviewed Ron Sawyer, Executive director of SARAR Transformacion, member of the Butterfly Effect coalition and FANMexico network at the sixth World Water Forum. SARAR Transformacion provides a methodology to make projects more sustainable. In this interview Mr. Sawyer explains the importance of education and community involvement in designing and implementing water and sanitation projects carried out by organizations from outside the community. One on the main problems is that when an external organization leaves a community, they take their knowledge with them. This leaves the community project with a high probability of failing in its maintenance.