India’s Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today between the Representative of UNICEF in India, Louis-Georges Arsenault and H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Co-Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and President of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, one of India’s largest interfaith organizations.
The agreement signed today at UNICEF Country Office in New Delhi, follows the launch of GIWA on 25th September 2013, at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, under sponsorship of USAID and the Government of the Netherlands.
At the signing ceremony, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji called for an increased focus on improving the situation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in India.
“We have worshipped the creator for long, now it is time we take care of His creations, so that life may be improved for all” said the spiritual leader, while adding that changing mindsets is crucial to address the sanitation crisis in India.
Pujya Swamiji highlighted the role of children as active agents of change. “Children are the ones who can really make the difference. They can change the views of their families and, thus, help to bring about a positive change,” he stated.
“Working together – in a strong partnership, we will drive positive change” pointed out Louis-Georges Arsenault, Representative of UNICEF in India.
GIWA and UNICEF aim to engage different faiths as allies in the efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.
As a first step, GIWA India with technical support from UNICEF, plans a ‘Worship to WASH’ summit in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand later this year. The Summit will bring together India’s most eminent faith leaders to identify what each can do to accelerate the pace of change.