SNV video premiere to transform perceptions of leadership in WASH and COVID-19 responses

COVID-19 leadership styles that are paving the way for more resilient, sustainable and inclusive WASH services.

Delivering on and safeguarding the human right to water and sanitation is paramount. But during times of crises the right to water and sanitation – like many other human rights – is placed at heightened risk. The decisions that leaders make, and the actions they take have lasting effects for social cohesion, stability and resilience; in the present and the future.

On Tuesday 24 August 11:30-11:55 CET, during World Water Week, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, the Institute of Sustainable Futures of the University of Technology Sydney, and Water for Women Fund will premiere six short videos on gender transformative leaders from Bhutan, Lao PDR, and Nepal.

In their respective videos, the featured leaders reflect on actions they took to curb the spread of COVID-19. Their stories demonstrate a range of inclusive leadership styles that are essential to build resilience fast and make equitable development a reality. The Gender Transformative Leadership: voices from Asia premiere comes on the heels of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris. Held from 30 June to 2 July, the forum concluded with a historical pledge of nearly US$ 40 billion in a ‘bold and revolutionary move to accelerate gender equality by 2026.’ Also read the UN article, Landmark gender equality forum concludes with concrete commitments, plan to advance parity by 2026

The video premiere will be introduced by Megan Ritchie, who in addition to her role as Managing Director of WASH at SNV, is Managing Director of SNV’s 24 country offices. Reflecting on the disproportionate impacts of the effects of COVID-19 on the world’s most vulnerable, marginalised, and underserviced groups, Megan commented:

‘Our applied research on gender equality and social inclusion during COVID-19 is showing that more equitable responses and a fairer distribution of resources are possible. Such notions do not have to remain far-fetched pipe dreams. We’re seeing examples of leadership that are ‘leaving no-one behind.’  She added, ‘True leadership is successfully practised by people with identities and approaches that have oftentimes traditionally been marginalised from, and by, positions of power.

The premiere will feature the voices of:

  • H.E. Dechen Wangmo, Minister for Health of the Royal Government of Bhutan and President of the 74th World Health Assembly

  • Namgay Pelden, Gup, sub-district elected official in Dagana district, Bhutan

  • Chomsy Ngamvilay, Deputy Head for the Savannakhet District Health Office in Lao PDR

  • Toumkham Phetsalath, Deputy Head for the Champhone District Health Office in Lao PDR

  • Rajesh Sinahi, Youth leader and member of a Disabled People Organisation’s network in Nepal

  • Ambika Yadav, District Coordinator for Sarlahi, SNV in Nepal

All six leaders are participants of a broader research study conducted by SNV and ISF-UTS. Engaging with 19 leaders across Bhutan, Lao PDR and Nepal, the study explored leadership styles during the challenging times of COVID-19 and how these have ensured that the needs of marginalised and vulnerable groups are represented and heard.

Megan continued, ‘The narratives shared by these leaders are inspiring us to stretch our imaginations, reflect on our assumptions of effective and inclusive leadership, and take action to match this wave of gender equal and socially inclusive leadership with much-needed resources. There’s never been a more vital time for a reset.’

The research study is an initiative funded by Water for Women and implemented by SNV and ISF-UTS on behalf of the Australian government. Findings of the research will be shared a day before the video premiere during World Water Week, Monday 23 August, 07:00-08:00 CET. Registration to the World Water Week virtual event is still open. Register now.

Banner photo: H.E. Dechen Wangmo, Minister of Health of the Royal Government of Bhutan during an interview with SNV's Gender Advisor in Bhutan, Tshering Choden (SNV/Tsechu Dorji)

For further information on the research and the Beyond the Finish Line programme, please contact Gabrielle Halcrow at: ghalcrow@snv.org.