Tari Bowling interview: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and implementing WASH programs in Laos

An interview with Tari Bowling, Integrated WaSH and Nutrition Coordinator for the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) in Laos. As part of her Masters in Integrated Water Management with the International WaterCentre, Tari completed a professional placement with the Theun-Hinboun expansion project and was later hired by the THPC as a consultant to implement integrated WaSH and nutrition practices.

Interview topics

  • The SDG Conference in Australia
  • Integration of SDGs in the ‘Golden Triangle’ to achieve shared goals
  • Community-Led Total Sanitation in Laos

  • Tari’s interview was conducted just after she participated in an Australian conference on the Sustainable Development Goals in Sydney, attended by Tari and other water experts to discuss meeting the goals, including SDG 6.
  • Tari discussed the impacts climate change was having on irrigation projects in Laos and a program to UNDP was running to support the agriculture sector become more resilient.
  • She suggests that a good resource for those interested in doing an internship or working in Laos is the Internet Directory of NGOs, where practitioners can get in touch with NGO networks, express their interest, provide input, and learn as well.
  • Taro also suggests following the activities of the Mekong River Commission.
  • She also mentions the work of the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program aimed towards better sanitation and hygiene outcomes in Laos.
  • The WaSH Technical Working Group in Laos meets at the Department and Environmental Health and Rural Water Supply (Nam Saat) to coordinate activities in the sector.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is involved in providing development assistance in Laos.
  • Young people play a significant role in achieving the SDGs through their creativity and innovation. A lot is being done to encourage the youth to play an active part in achieving the SDGs.
  • Tari talks about how the hydropower expansion project of the company she was consulting to required local people to use adaptive management to develop new livelihood strategies. This includes how WASH and nutrition are accessed.
  • Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is an approach used to engage communities in appraising their sanitation and hygiene situation and take action accordingly.

Glossary of terms

  • SDGs — Sustainable Development Goals are a set of seventeen aspirational goals with 169 targets spearheaded by the United Nations. All 194 member states signed on to meet the goals as of September 2015.
  • MDGs — Millennium Development Goals were set up by the United Nations in an attempt to alleviate extreme poverty in its many dimensions. These eight goals were agreed upon by world leaders at the Millennium Summit in 2000 with a deadline of 2015. The SDGs were set up after the completion of the MDG time period.
  • Climate Change — A long term change in Earth’s climate leading to a disturbance in weather patterns leading to events like global warming.
  • Mekong River Commission — Established in 1995, the MRC develops programmes and strategies that best provide effective support for sustainable management and development of water and related resources across the Mekong region.
  • Water Resource Management — The activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources.
  • World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program — A trust fund administered by the World Bank aimed at improving access to water and sanitation. The program is implemented in more than 25 countries.
  • Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) — A method for mobilizing communities to completely eliminate open defecation. Communities are facilitated to monitor the open defecation situation in their community and take action accordingly.
  • Pit Toilets — Pit toilets are toilets dug out in the ground without any water used to flush the human faeces.
  • Pour Flush Toilets — These toilets use plastic, cement or fibreglass bowl or pan set in a concrete platform. The bowl has a water trap that prevents smells and insects from breeding.

Related articles

This interview and related content was originally part of the Kini Interview Series. Kini is a retired brand of the AWP and IWCAN.

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