Satoko Kishimoto is a firm believer in the power of public ownership of services. She has spent years tracking how communities take back control of their water systems from privatizers. Cities and municipalities have overcome huge obstacles and hostile environments to bring water services back into the commons. And, she says, “once water management comes back into the public domain, then you can democratize it; you can make it much more sustainable for the long term and also climate resilient.”
Kishimoto conducts this research at the Transnational Institute (TNI), which helps to build power by providing a nexus where democratizing movements can connect to, learn from, and empower each other.
She brings this expertise to her partnership with Corporate Accountability. In our joint campaigning to prevent the privatization of water in Lagos, Nigeria with Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Kishimoto co-authored “Lagos water crisis: Alternative roadmap for public water sector.” This pivotal 2016 publication lays out exactly how the government can advance the human right to water for Lagos residents.
For Kishimoto, this ongoing campaign is a hallmark of strategic organizing. It brings together three critical perspectives and expertise—via a local organization, an international organization, and a policy organization—to collectively advance policy. And she’s excited by the campaigning this year to challenge water privatization across the Africa region, calling it “absolutely important work.”
Watch a short excerpt from our conversation with Satoko Kishimoto.