Water For People (www.waterforpeople.org), an international, nonprofit development organization dedicated to addressing global water, sanitation and hygiene challenges, has announced that it will be holding a conference on the needs for water and sanitation in the Dominican Republic.

The conference will be held on April 15 in Santo Domingo and will bring together the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local government representatives to identify water and sanitation needs in the Dominican Republic and how Water For People can position itself to help address them.  As part of the conference Water For People will recognize 8 NGOs for sustainable programs with cash awards totaling $25,000. The conference is the first step in Water For People’s plan to work in the Dominican Republic.

The conference will be held at the Santo Domingo Hilton and will include presentations by key sector role players, regional breakouts and discussions which will lead to a plan for assistance in the future.  Financial and technical assistance, additional networking and training are possible outcomes. 

The conference will cost $25 and scholarships are available to assist attendees.  A “meet and greet” reception will be held on Tuesday evening.  Participants will include Water For People’s Ned Breslin, Acting CEO, Susan Davis, Chief Partnership Officer, Diana Betancourt, Latin American Program Coordinator and Robert Adamski, UN Representative and Water For People’s Team lead in the Dominican Republic. 

Ned Breslin commented, “This is an important first step in Water For People’s new program.  We look forward to meeting those working to better the water and sanitation access for the residents of the Dominican Republic.”  Over 50 NGOs as well as INAPA (Instituto Nacional de Aquas Potables y Alcantarillos) have been invited to attend.  Additional information about the conference can be found at www.waterforpeople.org.

Water For People is exploring a possible partnership with the Engineers Without Borders Chapter at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU in Brooklyn, who will be assisting with the conference.  The new Chapter will be learning program management skills and will play a supportive technical assistance role to Water For People’s program in the Dominican Republic.  The details of the partnership are being developed.  Two Chapter members will attend the conference and assist with gathering data.

The conference is a follow-up to the scoping study completed by Water For People’s World Water Corps in 2007.  The World Water Corps is Water For People’s volunteer arm that strategically utilizes the technical skills of the north American water and wastewater industry to fill identified gaps in Water For People’s programming.  A World Water Corps team visited the Dominican Republic in 2007 and found there was need for Water For People’s involvement and recommended adding the country under Water For People’s Strategic Plan.  The Board agreed and added the Dominican Republic along with Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Uganda.

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