1. What is the Global Sanitation Fund and what kind of relationship does it have with the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and with UNOPS?
The Global Sanitation Fund is a pooled fund designed to increase financing in the sanitation sector. It is open to contributions from all sources, and accessible to all countries meeting eligibility criteria. The Global Sanitation Fund is one of the three "pillars" of WSSCC.
The WSSCC Steering Committee (its democratically elected board of governance) is the ultimate decision making body for WSSCC's work, including the Global Sanitation Fund, while the WSSCC Secretariat in Geneva is responsible for the overall management of the Global Sanitation Fund. UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) provides the legal structure and administrative framework for the WSSCC and hence for the Global Sanitation Fund, which legally speaking, is a UNOPS trust fund.
2. Why is the Global Sanitation Fund needed?
The Global Sanitation Fund is needed because access to sanitation is not being improved. It is estimated that still 2.5 billion people, which make up 35 per cent of the world's population are without access to basic sanitation. Despite increasing recognition of the issue, funding sources in the sanitation sector remains pitifully small. There is a need to find new money.
3. Why is WSSCC well-suited to operate the Global Sanitation Fund?
National ownership of development work is critically important, as is an on-the-ground network to support that work. WSSCC knows and respects this. Because it has WASH Coalitions labouring daily with the issues in nearly 40 countries, WSSCC can target GSF funds effectively to support national efforts to help larger numbers of poor people attain sustainable access to basic sanitation and to adopt good hygiene practices, and to provide financial boost to already-existing national strategies. In short, WSSCC can reach the organizations that can implement the work.
4. What is the definition of sanitation used by the Global Sanitation Fund?
The Global Sanitation Fund uses a broad definition - including sanitation at the household level, solid waste management and environmental protection. There are no restrictions and the definition of basic sanitation and good hygiene practices must be considered according to the cultural context of each country.
5. What kind of work will the Global Sanitation Fund be supporting?
Fundamental to the Global Sanitation Fund is the principle that it exists only to help poor people. The GSF Results Framework articulates four outcomes which the programme GSF supports have been designed to contribute towards. These Outcomes are: (1) People achieve better hygiene outcomes and changed sanitation behaviours, (2) Capacity is created for the sustainable spread of improved sanitation and hygiene, (3) Existing and new government and support agencies put more resources into sanitation and hygiene work, and (4) Successful and innovative approaches in sanitation and hygiene are identified, proved and spread. There are four ways it will do this: 1) by working at scale, and not through pilot projects; 2) by raising awareness of the issues and creating demand for toilets; 3) by promoting sustainable services; and 4) by supporting work that is demanded by the people and which does not require or accept subsidies.
6. Who can donate to the GSF?
The Global Sanitation Fund is a single pooled fund, open to contributions from any source, including governments, foundations, individuals and the private sector. UNOPS guidelines govern the Global Sanitation Fund's interaction with commercial enterprises. A strength of the Global Sanitation Fund is that its contributors agree that their funds can be used for the purpose decided by WSSCC and do not impose operational restrictions on their use. This enables WSSCC to most effectively target use of funds.
7. Which criteria determine a country's eligibility for GSF funding?
Six conditions must be met for a country to be considered eligible for funding. First, the national government must approve of and welcome the Global Sanitation Fund. Second, there must be a large number of poor people without sanitation. Third, there must be a high incidence of disease related to water, sanitation and hygiene. Fourth, economic and social development indicators must be low. Fifth, there must be an existing but under-funded and under-implemented national sanitation policy or strategy. And sixth, an active WASH Coalition or other WSSCC partner must be present in the country.
8. What is meant by 'active WSSCC presence in country' in the country selection criteria?
This normally means that there should be a National WASH Coalition, but in some countries the coalition itself might not be active but there might be a number of active individual WSSCC members who can join the core of the GSF Coordinating Mechanism. The important underlying principle is strong leadership by colleagues in the country itself rather than by the staff in Geneva.
9. Is there a difference between government strategy and policy?
These are different words that come to the same meaning: the country's leadership must demonstrate that the government and major stakeholders have clear ideas about sanitation and the way to implement it in their country and need financial assistance in order to fully achieve their ideas/plans.
10. Who judges the quality of the strategy and based on what criteria? Is there a framework for good strategy?
There is no framework and evaluations are made case by case. But the government must demonstrate a track record of strategy/policy design and implementation.
11. What is the relationship of the Global Sanitation Fund with the national government of any given country?
The relationship is fundamental. The national government sets national sanitation policy and strategy and insures that the Global Sanitation Fund scope of work is aligned with it; approves Global Sanitation Fund activity in the country; provides active leadership for the Coordinating Mechanism; and promotes collaboration and synergy between different actors in the government.
12. Will the Global Sanitation Fund open offices in countries?
The work of the GSF will be accomplished through the Executing Agencies and the Sub-grantees that must be registered in a given country and able to operate in the whole country, and not only in one specific region. Therefore the GSF will not open country offices. Progress will be monitored from the Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland with the participation of several monitoring, coordination and auditing mechanisms.
13. Can the Global Sanitation Fund support municipal sewage systems?
This is not excluded, but the main emphasis of funding is on hygiene promotion and demand creation, not construction of (either on-site or off-site) infrastructure. The latter would be rarely funded and would have to be specifically pro-poor and sustainable, plus they usually already have other funding sources.
14. What is the Executing Agency and how is it selected?
The Executing Agency operates the Global Sanitation Fund in a given country. There is one Executing Agency in each country. It is selected by the WSSCC Secretariat through a competitive tender process which is initiated by a formal Request for Expression of Interest. In operation, the Executing Agency is advised by the Coordinating Mechanism in the country and the GSF Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Executing Agency must be a legal entity registered in the country and must have the mandate to work anywhere in the country. It must have a legally-defined purpose that is clearly different from the policy-setting purpose of the national government, to avoid conflict of interest. The Executing Agency could be any type of organization that fulfils those criteria, except that it may not be UNOPS or an agency of UNOPS. The Executing Agency:
- receives funds from WSSCC
- selects and contracts with Sub-Grantees to implement Global Sanitation Fund work programmes
- supervises and supports Sub-Grantees implement work programmes
- monitors and evaluates the work of Sub-Grantees
- participates in the Coordinating Mechanism
- reports to WSSCC and to the Coordinating Mechanism
15. How, and to whom, are Global Sanitation Fund applications submitted?
Potential Executing Agencies should respond to the Request for Expression of Interest (applications) directly to WSSCC and UNOPS in Geneva. Once the Executing Agency for any given country is selected, its contact details will be posted on the WSSCC website and the potential Sub-Grantees in that country should direct their expression of interest to the Executing Agency itself and not to the WSSCC Secretariat in Geneva or to UNOPS.
The Global Sanitation Fund does not accept spontaneous expressions of interest/applications from individuals or organisations.
16. Can a consortium of different organisations become an Executing Agency?
17. What criteria exist for Sub-Grantees?
Each Sub-Grantee must be a legal entity registered in the country. The common underlying principle governing Sub-Grantee selection is that the Sub-Grantee's operations must be equitable, open and transparent. There is no limit to the number of Sub-Grantees in each country. Each selected Sub-Grantee receives funds from the Executing Agency to implement Global Sanitation Fund work programmes according to agreed criteria and reports to the Executing Agency.
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