National WASH Coalition
The newly established National Hygiene and Sanitation Task Force (NSTF), as the Zimbabwe WASH Coalition is called, is chaired by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. Members are the relevant ministries, NGO partners, UNICEF, and the media. The NSTF reports to the National Action Committee (NAC) which provides overall leadership in WASH.
The new task force has a special mandate to invigorate and develop strategies for accelerated advances in sanitation improvements to reach the Millennium Development Goals, paying attention to the use of participatory approaches and capacity building.
Milestones and achievements
During a retreat in early 2010, four key ministers committed to rehabilitate the water and sanitation sector and to a new management structure for it. This was followed by a stakeholder workshop where confirmation came that a National Hygiene and Sanitation Task force would be formed. Its mandate is to develop, within 2010, a strategy to tackle the issue of slow progress towards meeting the sanitation MDG. Because of this new structure, the National Sanitation Committee was dissolved, but may be reactivated after the NTSF achieves its outcomes.
In previous years, under the umbrella of the National Sanitation Advisory Committee, members concentrated on:
- Development of the Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy, which has been approved in 2011. The development has been a consulatative process involving all mayor stakeholders in Zimbabwe.
- Strengthening Data harmonization between JMP and National adminsitrative date
- Promotion of School Health Clubs and Public Health and Hygiene Promoters: In 2009, five selected pilot schools introduced health clubs. Their activities included sanitation advocacy and training workshops for school health masters. The approach was extended by holding training sessions for community members to become Public Health and Hygiene Promoters (PHHP). In 2010, the coalition is evaluating current school and community approaches, to provide evidence-based knowledge to stakeholders for advocacy on the best approaches.
- Promotion of nationally approved guidelines for appropriate sanitation technologies: The guidelines propose various technologies suiting different situations and the coalition’s task is to create awareness and knowledge about them. In one district, the coalition promoted the construction of temporary latrines and the installation of hand washing facilities to complement the washing basins. This was also widely promoted and adopted at school level.
Advocacy for WASH has included:
- a media workshop in 2008 and a review meeting in 2009 to enable journalists to make informed reporting on sanitation;
- the celebration of Global Handwashing Day and National Sanitation Week in 2009 with the theme “Community-Led Sanitation: Key to a cholera-free environment.” The week-long celebration was held in Mutoko where communities adopted the Community-Led Total Sanitation concept.
Before 2008, the coalition’s activities included:
- an assessment of roles and responsibilities among national level actors in water and sanitation to create a basis for the formation of the NSTF;
- a media workshop to increase awareness and coverage of sanitation-related issues;
- running an extensive Participatory Health and Hygiene Education programme which ensured a high level of WASH awareness among the population;
- lobbying hard at national level. This led to the development of a National Water and Sanitation Policy, an important milestone for the country’s water sector.