Skat Foundation celebrates its 20-year anniversary

The Skat Foundation celebrated its 20-year anniversary with an event filled with reflection, appreciation, and inspiration. Held on May 25 at the SQUARE, University of St. Gallen, the anniversary celebration was a momentous occasion that brought together an extraordinary lineup of speakers and panelists, each showcasing their work and expertise. The event focused on the pressing issue of climate justice, featuring an insightful conversation that emphasized Skat Foundation’s commitment to vulnerable populations affected by climate change. 

20 years of impact

The event began with opening remarks from Dr. Rolf Leutert, Chair of the Board, setting the tone for the proceedings. Following him, Prof. Dingwerth Klaus from the University of St.Gallen presented his research on the topic of “Feasible Climate Justice” offering profound insights and perspectives on how to approach the climate crisis with a different mindset. He highlighted the significance of addressing existing challenges and envisioning solutions through collaborative action. 

Prof. Rob Hope from the University of Oxford then inspired the audience with his presentation titled “Global Climate Risks, Local Water Action” where he showcased the contributions made by the REACH program and the Uptime Catalyst Facility’s 2023 to water security for the poor, highlighting the role of the Rural Water Supply Network in facilitating knowledge sharing and learning between researchers and practitioners.  

Prof. Dingwerth Klaus from the University of St.Gallen during his presentation “Feasible Climate Justice”

Prof. Rob Hope from the University of Oxford during his presentation “Global Climate Risks, Local Water Action”


Panel discussion

An engaging panel discussion formed an integral part of the celebration event. The panel moderated by Bertha Camacho, Managing Director of the Skat Foundation consisted of Water Sector experts who provided unique perspectives under the topic of water and climate justice:

Dr. Aline Saraiva Okello, PhD – Global Network Manager at RWSN, shared her experiences as a Mozambican and water professional, highlighting how water issues affect health, economies, and education. She emphasized that water should be at the center of discussions when addressing the development of rural societies. 

Ms. Cesarina Quintana Garcia de Paredes, International Coordinator of the Sustainable and Innovative Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program (SIRWASH) at the Inter-American Development Bank, highlighted the importance of networks and south-south exchange to strengthen government capacities for informed and intersectoral decision-making, promoting progress towards SDG6. 

Mr. Gergino Chounna Yemele, Environmental Engineer and Africa Lead at UNESCO Groundwater Youth Network (GWYN), highlighted the role of youth in sustainable development and encouraged intergenerational dialogues. He emphasized the importance of empowering youth and leveraging mentorship to share knowledge and experiences, especially in the face of the climate crisis.

Dr. Kerstin Danert, Director of Ask for Water Ltd. and Theme Leader for Groundwater Management at RWSN, shared her personal and professional experiences from Uganda to Scotland in addressing climate justice and water issues. She discussed the results of the initiative “Stop the Rot” on how corroded hand pumps affect access to safe drinking water in rural communities. 

Panel discussion on water and climate justice, comprising (from the left to the right): Bertha Camacho, Aline Saraiva Okello, Georgino Chounna Yemele, and Kerstin Danert.


Skat Foundation – Our Present and our Future

Matthias Saladin, International Program Coordinator presented Skat Foundation’s vision for the future, encapsulating the organization’s commitment to sustainable development and inspiring others to join its cause. With a focus on the foundation’s core competencies in the Water, Renewable Energy, and Waste Management sectors, Matthias Saladin reiterated Skat Foundation’s commitment to strengthening local actors and their ecosystems through collective action. 


The evening ended with a performance by the Kuziem singers and was followed by an inviting apéro. 

Skat Foundation’s anniversary celebration was an occasion to honor the valuable partnerships and collaborations forged over the years. The event recognized the contribution of Skat Foundation’s partners and friends in jointly working towards improving the living conditions of vulnerable populations in developing and transitioning countries, by promoting sustainable development practices. These collaborations have been instrumental in amplifying Skat Foundation’s impact and extending its reach. 

The event was well attended and counted by over 85 participants from different sectors.