The Global Sanitation Fund-supported programme in Malawi

Date: 15th May 2015

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Executing Agency:
Plan Malawi
Programme duration:
Programme Coordinating Mechanism:
Hosted by the National Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinating Unit and chaired by the Ministry of Health

The Accelerated Sanitation and Hygiene Practices Programme (ASHPP) supports national goals to eliminate open defecation, increase access to improved sanitation and promote safe hygiene practices in Malawi. The programme works in six out of 29 districts through local and international NGOs, as well as local government actors.

2016 Highlights

Since its launch, ASHPP has helped foster a national sanitation movement through key national bodies. This includes the National Sanitation and Hygiene Coordinating Unit (NSHCU), chaired by the Ministry of Health and hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. ASHPP has supported the NSHCU to work with local government actors and ensure they are fully engaged in the national sanitation campaign. In addition, active participation in the multi-stakeholder National ODF Taskforce has helped create increased momentum for carrying out ODF verifications.

As a result of this strong collaboration, 14 Traditional Authorities (TAs) were certified ODF in 2016, bringing the cumulative total to 18 TAs. Building on this ODF momentum, conferences were held in all six ASHPP-supported districts to secure commitments from leaders towards achieving ODF districts. By the end of 2016, the programme reported a cumulative total of over 952,000 people living in ODF environments.

In 2016, the programme established its ‘Three Pillar’ model. The model is aimed at increasing the number of people living in ODF environments, increasing the number of people with improved toilets and hygiene practices, and achieving sustainability within key institutions involved in sanitation and hygiene programmes. The programme’s Sanitation Business Model was also further rolled out, to support the WASH sector’s increased focus on moving households up the sanitation ladder. Through this initiative, 172 sanitation loans were granted to households, and construction of facilities also began.


The complexity of implementing the Sanitation Business Model made it difficult to find a partner with the necessary qualifications and skillset, delaying the project’s rollout. ASHPP eventually contracted a two-partner consortium, which has since led to solid progress. In addition, government investment in WASH is still low, and national sanitation bodies still require significant capacity building. In 2016, ASHPP continued to intensify learning and advocacy activities at all levels, to promote an improved enabling environment for the WASH sector. Furthermore, in some districts where ASHPP works, the programme has extended support to non-targeted TAs that have not received sufficient WASH support. This is helping to ensure that ODF districts can be achieved as soon as possible.

Learning and innovation

ASHPP continued to champion learning by facilitating review and reflection activities with implementing partners and District Coordinating Teams. This included facilitating a partner workshop to discuss country findings and recommendations from a GSF equality and non-discrimination study. The programme also shared case studies and other documentation with these and other partners through print and online channels.

As part of the Sanitation Business Model, ASHPP’s Sanitation Revolving Fund pilot project was further developed in 2016. Through this project, selected Traditional Authorities in all target districts are supported to set up committees to manage seed funds, which provide loans to households and sanitation entrepreneurs through Village Savings and Loan Associations. With these loans, households can pay for improved facilities and entrepreneurs can provide services. The project is helping to enhance the demand and supply chain for improved sanitation. A Sanitation Technologies Catalogue has also been developed to encourage households to invest in improved sanitation technologies.

In addition, Area Sanitation Committees and ODF Taskforces were established in nine TAs, to conduct routine follow-ups, engage with and support village leaders, and reach out to households that are lagging behind. ASHPP also facilitates learning between these committees.

EcoSan toilets, which do not need water, have been promoted as a viable sanitation option in communities where water is scarce, such as those in Balaka District. These toilets are also effective for harvesting manure for agricultural activities.

Looking ahead

ASHPP will continue to intensify efforts to achieve three ODF districts by mid-2017, by actively engaging the 11 TAs that have not yet achieved ODF status. The Sanitation Business Model will also be monitored, documented and strengthened, so that it can serve as a blueprint for further developing rural sanitation financing in Malawi. The programme will also continue to champion learning and support institutional strengthening particularly at the district level, so that local structures are empowered to coordinate sanitation initiatives beyond the programme’s duration.

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