In light of this grim status and with 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation set by the UN General Assembly to help accelerate progress on sanitation, AfricaSan+ 5 aimed to contribute to this goal by bringing together high-level decision-makers and stakeholders. Their primary purpose is to take stock of progress made since AfricaSan 2002, review the actions that African countries have taken, share lessons and successes, and identify further key activities that can strengthen African sanitation and hygiene promotion programs toward achieving the MDG target.
Participants consisted of at least 250 invited and sponsored delegates including ministers and religious representatives from the region; managerial-level delegates from the public and private sectors; civil society, external support agencies, academia and professionals from the media. Delegates from Latin America and the Caribbean, South and East Asia, and the Pacific region were also expected to deliberate on critical issues and share sanitation and hygiene lessons and successes.
AfricaSan+ 5 incorporated a ministerial roundtable, which included ministers for health, sanitation, finance, decentralization, environment, and planning from participating African countries. Ministers were expected to work alongside senior decision-makers and experts to build a healthy dialogue on political and technical issues related to sanitation. The emerging ministerial declaration was refined with the participation of all stakeholders during the final open session. Other conference activities included plenary technical sessions, technical group discussions, action planning, and field visits. A knowledge fair showcased latest innovations in sanitation and hygiene experiences, products and services, publications, marketing and promotion techniques and tools.
AfricaSan+ 5 – Eight years later
Eight years have passed since that great conference, and some points have been made well and some problems that are still present. This conference showed the world that focus should be on education of the African people rather than just giving them money. This changed the way organizations and charities approached the Africa, and thus the improvement of the sanitation levels began to rise.
Conclusions of the conference pointed out the problems with simple money pumping into the building of sanitation buildings and toilets as well as other buildings. The meeting confirmed the fact that people in the Africa have little knowledge and resources to maintain those buildings and they end up not using them at all.
The AfricaSan+ 5 spawned a large number of conferences that organized a huge number of programs that helped further the goals of the conference. Many of those programs focused on education of the Africans about maintenance of the sanitation facilities and prevention of the water contamination, which are the biggest problems in the Africa when it comes to hygiene. This already helped many people in the Africa, and it saved many lives, and the trend continues with annual conferences and programs.