World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Ecumenical Water Network - Africa

Water for Life

11 November 2005

Water for Life

7-11 November 2005, in Machakos/Kenya

Their commitment to work together in support of community based initiatives and for the human right to water was underlined by 75 representatives of churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society groups from 17 countries in Africa, and from six countries in Asia, Europe and Central and South America who gathered on November 7-11, 2005 in Machakos/Kenya to attend the first conference of the emerging Ecumenical Water Network1.

The conference was opened by the General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), Rev. Dr Mvume Dandala with a fervent call on secular and faith based organizations to focus their agenda on programs relevant to people of Africa from the perspective of local communities. Water is essential for life and a key issue in any effort to eradicate poverty. It is unacceptable for the vital needs of the poor to be neglected due to lack of resources or to be turned into a matter of profits for stockholders of private companies.

Inspired by the opening remarks of the AACC General Secretary the participants in the meeting shared their experiences with community based initiatives in their various home-countries and discussed water politics in Africa and the human right to water. Exposure visits to the Utooni Self-Help Group in the rural area close to Machakos, the Kibera informal settlement in Nairobi and a couple of other communal projects were important opportunities to engage with and learn from the local situation.

The participants resolved to stay in contact with each other and to exchange information, engage in common advocacy, and share best practices. They extended a formal invitation to the AACC and the Sub-regional ecumenical organizations in Africa to accompany them and entrusted a committee with the task to prepare for a follow-up meeting with the involvement of new partners. The committee will work on the basis of the Framework Document of the emerging Ecumenical Water Network that states fundamental convictions, the theological and ethical basis and issues for advocacy and action.

 


1 This meeting was sponsored by the following partners in the Ecumenical Water Network: World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, Bread for the World (Germany), Church of Sweden and Norwegian Church Aid and hosted by NCA Kenya with Kenyan partners.