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From Bergen to India and back 

Water on the Agenda is a project started by Mathilde Thorsen in 2018. In 2017 Mathilde was studying at the masters programme of Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen. She decided to write her master  thesis on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. This thesis took her from Bergen to India, where she spent three weeks during the fall of 2017 conducting field work. During her fieldwork she traced the official country visit by UN Special Rapporteur on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Léo Heller.

Special Rapporteur on Water & Sanitation Léo Heller and Mathilde Thorsen in Kolkata, India

The right to India has a strong tradition and it quite comprehensive compared to many other countries, but India is still the country with the most people lacking access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The water crisis is India is ongoing, it seem to be getting worse. About 200 000 people die every year in India from polluted water.  And about half of India’s population face acute water shortage. 

Following her visit to India and finishing her dissertation ‘Water & Power’  in June 2018 Mathilde decided to continue to work on water rights. Water on the Agenda started as a small project during the summer of 2018. WOA is a way to continue to spread information about water issues, and a way to challenge officials to act in accordance with the international human right to water.