Faith and the WASH Agenda

Author: Katherine Marshall

January 22, 2013

Water, indisputably essential to health and well-being, livelihoods, humanitarian operations, and all human activity, is a central element in all development policies and programs. Water is also an integral part of rituals and the beliefs and teachings of virtually every major world religion and spiritual tradition. Faith leaders and institutions are active on water issues, often in ways that are little known and celebrated. But they have the potential to play far larger roles than they now do in advancing water and sanitation advocacy and programs. This is true at global, national, and local levels. The operational question is how better to leverage this potential, given fierce institutional and disciplinary complexity. This brief, drawing on a 2012 Berkley Center/World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) report “Water and Faith: Rights, Pragmatic Demands, and an Ethical Lens,” aims to further a conversation about what might be done, concretely, to bridge gulfs in understanding and cooperation and to build solid and resilient partnerships that deliver WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) services to those most in need.

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