Max Foundation inspired by World Water Week in Stockholm

World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to discuss the most relevant topics relating to “Water for Sustainable Growth” – i.e. Financing, 2030 Agenda, Integrity, Gender issues, Climate Change, Energy, Sanitation, Food, Conflict Resolution, Water Management.

Max Foundation was especially inspired by the seminar ‘Upscaling the WASH-nutrition nexus for sustainable (body) growth’”, because of our programs related to WASH and nutrition. WASH is increasingly integrated in national nutrition multi-sectoral strategies. The WASH sector must understand better its potential contribution to nutrition in order to prepare WASH interventions that can easily be integrated in nutrition plans.

The World Water Week (WWW) focuses on new thinking and positive action towards water-related challenges and their impact on the world’s environment, health, climate, economics and poverty reduction agendas. While the primary focus this year was on ‘water for sustainable growth ’, the  week also followed up on the implementation of the water related Social Development Goals (SDGs) and the new climate agreement – adopted by the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris.

Max Foundation attended WWW for the second time. Joke le Poole (Director of Max Foundation) and Kaat Burbidge (Partnerships and Funding Relations) participated in several meetings and Kaat was particularly inspired by the seminar ‘Upscaling the WASH-nutrition nexus for sustainable (body) growth’, where the linkage between WASH and Nutrition was further explored. "We learned about initiatives which are building bridges between the two sectors. It was great to hear that the link stunting & hygiene is now fully acknowledged and to experience that solutions are being sought in the WASH-nutrition nexus at all levels," says Kaat. Where in the past, interventions either focussed on WASH or Nutrition, today more and more interventions integrate both areas. After all: it doesn’t make sense to provide healthy nutrition for children knowing that their ability to absorb nutrients has been reduced, due to infections caused by unhygienic living conditions. As Gerda Verburg, former Dutch Minister and recently appointed chair to Scaling Up Nutrition, put it: “The SDGs are not business as usual. We have to change our way of working.”

Kaat also noticed: "Most organizations tend to base their interventions on long-standing scientific research, while Max Foundation prefers learning by doing. Max Foundation is already working to prevent stunted growth in children through WASH, nutrition and maternal health. This doesn’t mean that Max Foundation doesn’t use profound research to base their interventions on. We developed our Stunted Free Villages approach, based on the very successful CLTS approach. This year, the Dutch Postcode Lottery granted us the funds for our ‘Growing Up Up Up’ project in Bangladesh and together we are going to reduce stunting, we are going to investigate the impact of this intervention and we are going to communicate experiences, failures and successes. All to inspire others to do the same and to give children all over the world a healthy start in life and save as many children’s lives as we can!"

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