The United Nation’s, under the Sustainable Development Goal 6, encourages collaboration between civil society organizations and government in expanding water research and development in order to ensure access to clean water and sanitation. The importance of water, sanitation and hygiene have become even more relevant today, as countries strive to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection. The pandemic has revealed the importance of access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene especially among communities with urban poor living in slums and informal settlements. Furthermore, the World Health Organization has consistently emphasized that proper hand washing is one of the most effective ways against infectious diseases such as COVID 19.
In line with this sustainable development goal, Xavier Ateneo has been in the frontlines in engaging with the local government and the private sector in capacitating localities through the Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Hubs created by the Department of Interior and Local Government to support its program of providing water supply and sanitation to the region. Specifically, Xavier Ateneo serves as the Secretariat for Region 10 composed of the following institutions namely, Rio Verde Water Consortium Association, Safer River Life Saver Foundation, Group Foundation, Seeway, Inc, Cagayan de Oro Water District, and Malaybalay City Water District.
The Department of Interior and Local Government through the Water Supply and Sanitation Project Management Office organized a 2-part virtual training program entitled, ‘Strengthening of Regional WATSAN Hubs on Sector Assessment and Planning’. The goal of the virtual training is to re-train and strengthen the capacity of the Regional Hubs in assisting the LGUs in the assessment of water, sanitation and hygiene, and formulation of their WASH Medium-Term Investment and Long-Term Development Plan. The first batch of training sessions were conducted last 24-28 August 2020 which focused on Sector Assessment while the second batch of training sessions were conducted last 21-25 September 2020 which focused on Sector Planning. The training sessions were participated by the Regional Hubs of Regions VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, and XIII.
Xavier Ateneo is represented by Engr Dexter S Lo (Director of Institutional Societal Engagement under the Social Development Office), Dr Gina S Itchon (Director of the Center for Global Health under the Dr Jose P Rizal School of Medicine), Engr Edwin Richard R Ortiz (Chairperson of the Chemical Engineering Department of the College of Engineering), Therese Rhea Rose M Baliwag (Projects Manager of Institutional Societal Engagement under the Social Development Office), and Victoria Melissa C Pulido (Program Officer and Formator of the Service Learning Program under the Social Development Office). The team will lead the roll out of the sector assessment and planning to identified LGUs in the Region.