WASH Evening 2013

University Club of Toronto, May 14, 2013,

Highlighting Cooperation in the Water and Sanitation Sector

We are continuing to steadily build on the momentum from our past events to significantly raise WASH awareness. We are also thrilled to have also created a community of practitioners that is primed for action and ready to join us in promoting global WASH access.We are so pleased to continue to add to the creation of our original graphic resources including the Digital Gallery of WASH Enthusiasts, created by our talented designer Hiu Chan.This Gallery highlights the efforts of not just organizations but of individuals in the Canadian WASH movement. Gallery identifies 30 enthusiasts and counting!

It was a great opportunity for networking, (providing students access to global experts; NGO to NGOs; donor to donors and researchers to practitioners). We garnered a few significant new partners for the WASH Canada movement, notably the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T.

Event Summary:

  • 58 attendees representing 29 Organizations including Universities, Foundations, Corporations and NGO’s
  • 6 expert speakers providing a wide definition of “cooperation” in the WASH sector: Chris Alexander, MP, MP for Ajax-Pickering; Dr. Howard Hu, President, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, U of T; Dr. Yu-Ling Cheng, University of Toronto; Nicole Darabian, Decode Global; Ron Denham, Chair Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG); Lotika Paintal, Co-Director, WASH Canada
  • Launch of our Digital Gallery of Canadian WASH Enthusiasts


Lotika Paintal,
WASH Canada

Lotika’s Welcome and WASH Canada Update




Chris Alexander, MP (Keynote)

Mr. Chris Alexander. Chris is a member of Canada’s 41st Parliament for Ajax-Pickering and serves as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence. He has spent 18 years with the Canadian Foreign Services and was Canada’s first resident Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2003. Between 2005 and 2009, he served as a Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Chris has also recently published his first book entitled, A Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace. He is a person who “gets” WASH. When we first met with Chris is February and began our “pitch” he stopped us and began to tell US how important it is. In Afghanistan he has seen the impact and importance of the WASH crisis first hand. Chris, clearly, does not shy away from a challenge, is optimistic and has extensive experience bringing people together around a what seems to be insurmountable global challenges.

Dr Howard Hu

Dr. Hu is a physician-scientist. He has had an impressive career as an environmental health specialist focusing, particularly on impacts to children, adult chronic diseases and global health. He has taken on leadership positions at many of the world’s leading universities like Harvard and University of Michigan and now we are very lucky to have him here in Toronto heading up the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He has served on many Boards and advisory groups, including the National Research Council and the National Institute for Health, has won many awards and has published over 240 original papers.


Dr. Yu-Ling Cheng

Yu-Ling Cheng is the Director of the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN)

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and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. CGEN was established in 2009 to be the focal point and major driver in preparing engineering graduates to meet challenges, responsibilities and opportunities in a globally sustainable future. She also leads several global engineering research initiatives, most notably a project under the “Re-invent the Toilet” Challenge funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She and her team of collaborators from the University of Toronto, Western University, and University of Queensland were awarded the third prize at the Re-invent the Toilet Fair in Seattle in August of 2012.


Ron Denham:

Ron Denham is Chair of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG), an international network of Rotarians working as volunteers to ensure sustainable solutions to the water and sanitation crisis. He has supported a range of water and sanitation projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, and India, and his current mission is to encourage all 1.2 million Rotarians to become familiar with world water issues, and every Rotary club (32,000) to become involved in a water/sanitation project. Ron Denham’s RemarksMay14


Nicole Darabian, Decode Global

Nicole came all the way from Montreal to share with us DeCode Global’s playful and unique way of addressing the WASH crisis. Nicole heads up Decode Global’s social impact partnerships. Through her work, she has come to believe that innovative games represent a great avenue towards helping to address international development challenges and raising awareness about global issues in a non-conventional way amongst youth.

Check out the Get Water Game here. Although targeted at the 20yr old market, it is fully endorsed by our jury of 6 yr olds as a VERY fun game!

These are far more than just games. As Nicole’s work proves, Decode Global is truly committed to social change. Nicole is currently leading a Decode Global project in India which is focused on menstrual hygiene education. She is also responsible for Decode Global’s partnerships with water and education focused organizations.