Professor Anna Tibaijuka takes over as WSSCC Chair

Date: 18th March 2011

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At the end of the first day of WSSCC’s March Steering Committee meeting, Professor Anna Tibaijuka formally assumed her post as Chair of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), succeeding Dr. Roberto Lenton.

Dr. Lenton served illustriously for two consecutive terms, beginning in 2005. Among many accomplishments during his period as Chair, he led efforts to develop a new sanitation-focused strategy. This  resulted in the launch of the Global Sanitation Fund in 2008, a new area of work that complemented and reinforced WSSCC’s traditional strengths in advocacy, networking, knowledge management and membership-related work. 

Prof. Tibaijuka (photo: front row, left, in red, seated next to Dr. Lenton during the “Donor Accountability Meeting”) grew up in rural Tanzania, and knows first-hand the impact of poor sanitation and hygiene on the health and economic well-being of a community. She has seen the benefits that small changes can make: installing a separate toilet in a school can improve girls’ attendance; providing soap and water for handwashing can reduce the spread of diarrhoea, the second leading cause of death among children under five years old; and ensuring clean drinking water can help reduce outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera.

In her role as Chair of WSSCC, Prof. Tibaijuka plans to draw on her experience and network of contacts in politics, business, academia and within the UN system, to raise awareness about the need for concerted action. Under her leadership, WSSCC intends to continue its current growth, notably in the Global Sanitation Fund, a programme of WSSCC, which supports sanitation work in many of the world’s poorest countries.

In Tanzania, Prof. Tibaijuka is Member of Parliament, elect, for the Muleba South constituency and is running unopposed in the general election set for 31 October. She was an Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT between 2002 and 2010 and has served on a number of distinguished international panels, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa and the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. She was also co-winner of the 2009 Göteborg Award for Sustainable Development.

Prior to the Steering Committee meeting, WSSCC’s annual “Donor Accountability  Meeting” took place. The Steering Committee meeting continues today.

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