Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Co-Founder & Co-Chair of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), was at the World Bank in Washington DC this past week for a special conference on Religion and Sustainable Development. (More details and photos of the conference will come soon as soon as we get the pictures from the organizers). During the conference, during a special Iftar organized by the World Bank Group and Islamic Relief, Pujya Swamiji met with the World Bank President, Mr. Jim Yong Kim at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC, USA.
Pujya Swamiji lauded the World Bank’s commitment and continued support for the Government of India’s massive Clean Ganga Mission, and deeply appreciated President Kim and his entire team for the great work they are doing to end extreme poverty throughout the world. Pujya Swamiji also shared with President Kim about Global Interfaith WASH Alliance’s commitment to Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission) as well as to the improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), including ways in which access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities and education can be made available, accessible and affordable to and for all. They also briefly spoke about the active engagement and role that faith has in ending extreme poverty from the world.
Pujya Swamiji gifted President Kim with a beautiful Elachi (Cardamom) Mala as a symbol of President Kim’s green leadership for the world.
Pujya Swamiji and GIWA Secretary General, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati later had a detailed discussion regarding Water, Sanitation and Hygiene with a team from the World Bank, including Junaid, K. Ahmad, Senior Director of Water at the World Bank Group; Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President of Leadership, Learning and Innovation section of the World Bank; Soma Ghosh Moulik, Senior Specialist of Water and Sanitation, World Bank and others. They spoke about innovative technologies, such as bio-digester toilets systems, in which waste and byproducts of human fecal waste, which tragically end up contaminating and polluting our water ways and soil, could be properly treated and reused to effectively meet our societies growing energy and water needs. They also discussed GIWA’s initiative and plans during the upcoming Kumbha Mela in Nasik and Haridwar to channel faith into action, inspiring the masses to rethink and rework their connection, relationship and engagement with WASH. They spoke about the great momentum GIWA’s innovative and integrative 3H program of Health, Hygiene and Harmony is gaining, bringing together faith leaders all around the world and especially in countries like India, which tragically has the most number of children under the age of five dying, estimated 1200 children, every day due to poor WASH.
These meetings took place during Pujya Swamiji’s and Sadhvi Bhagawatiji’s visit to the World Bank Headquarters for a Conference on “Religion and Sustainable Development” with the UN, UNICEF, Governments of USA, Norway, Germany and UK, which was organized jointly by the World Bank and the “Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities.”
The conference was in tandem with the flagship campaign launched by the World Bank in April this year in which Pujya Swamiji served as the respected Hindu representative, and as one of the five faith representatives, at the World Bank’s flagship event at the opening of their annual Spring Meeting on the role of faith leaders in eradicating poverty with Mr. Jim Yong Kim.
To learn more about the World Bank’s flagship programme ‘Power of Faith to Help end Extreme Poverty’, visit: http://live.worldbank.org/power-of-faith-to-help-end-extreme-poverty