The Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) invests in behaviour change activities that enable large numbers of people in developing countries to improve their sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. Established in 2008 by the UNOPS-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the GSF is the only global fund solely dedicated to sanitation and hygiene. The GSF is community-based, government-supported and commercially operated. Households and local governments work with local entrepreneurs and a network of hundreds of partners. Together, they create the conditions for tens of millions of people to live in open defecation free environments and access adequate toilets and handwashing facilities. Discover the 10 reasons to partner with the GSF below or download the publication.
1- Together with partners, we address one of the most important issues of our time – the sanitation and hygiene crisis
Poor sanitation and hygiene claims millions of lives, exacerbates malnutrition and hinders economic growth and development. Yet, much of these human and economic losses are preventable. Deaths from diarrhoeal diseases, often linked to poor sanitation and hygiene, outnumber those from malaria and tuberculosis, which are better-known and funded. According to the World Bank, poor sanitation costs countries approximately $260 billion annually. Effective tools and participatory methods are readily available. Yet, improving sanitation and hygiene remains a challenge for 2.4 billion people, about a third of the world’s population.
2 – We focus on efficiency and cost-effectiveness to achieve large-scale results
Achieving adequate and equitable sanitation for all by 2030 requires acceleration and expansion of efforts at the country level. With a focus on collective behaviour change within communities, the GSF supports national and local governments, and a range of other stakeholders, to effectively achieve universal and sustainable sanitation coverage.
3 – The programmes we fund are designed, implemented and adapted locally
The GSF supports collaborative processes driving national sanitation and hygiene improvement programmes. While building on global experiences and proven approaches, GSF-supported programmes are designed by in-country stakeholders. Governments and external donors are encouraged to contribute to and build upon the GSF model. Furthermore, GSF-supported country programmes learn from each other and share experiences for continuous improvement.
4 – Together with partners, we strengthen sector coordination
The GSF requires collaboration between water, sanitation and hygiene actors in a country – including government bodies, NGOs and international agencies – as a prerequisite for funding. This collaboration results in a nationally-coordinated plan that can be readily scaled up because key stakeholders are invested in the work. It also strengthens existing national planning platforms, ensuring sanitation and hygiene are policy priorities.
5 – Our partners build a sanitation movement to achieve impact
Sanitation is everybody’s business. Open defecation creates health risks for everyone in the community. GSF-funded programmes reach out to all sanitation and hygiene stakeholders to encourage them to participate and play their part. Nurturing champions at every level accelerates the movement to improve sanitation and hygiene.
6 – We aim to achieve collective behaviour change inclusively, sustainably and on a large scale
The GSF focuses its resources on supporting collective behaviour change approaches, most notably through community-led total sanitation. Our carefully designed activities ignite change within communities through awareness raising and engagement, ensuring the inclusion of all people, particularly women and girls, children and youth, the elderly, the disabled, and disadvantaged groups. Sustainable behaviour change is carefully monitored and independently verified. Through smart design and engagement with governments at all levels, GSF-supported programmes work in thousands of villages and achieve results in relatively short timeframes.
7 – Our approach can transform people’s lives and achieve benefits beyond sanitation
The GSF‘s people-centred approach engages households in thousands of villages, enabling people to make informed decisions about their sanitation and hygiene behaviour that can positively impact their health, education, productivity and dignity. Communities drive their own development by making substantial investments in their sanitation solutions. In addition, the local advocates and natural leaders that emerge often use the skills acquired and experience to address other issues, such as education. These mobilized communities can also attract additional funding for sanitation and hygiene or serve as a springboard for delivering effective programmes in other areas.
8 – The results of our work provide opportunities for financial mobilization
When country governments experience first-hand the value for money of collective behaviour change through GSF-funded programmes, they have an added incentive to invest financial resources into these activities. In addition, building upon the coordination mechanisms, decentralized delivery and solid monitoring systems in place, donors can use existing GSF funding structures to provide more efficient financing for collective sanitation and hygiene programmes, at a lower transaction cost.
9 – We build upon WSSCC’s strengths
As a central part of WSSCC, the GSF is able to achieve further impact on sanitation and hygiene by drawing upon WSSCC National Coordinators, utilizing its large network of partners, and benefiting from the Council’s dedicated focus on equity, results and sustainability. Furthermore, we channel WSSCC’s strengths in policy advocacy, networking and coordination. National ownership of development work is critically important, as is an on-the-ground network to support these initiatives. WSSCC knows and respects this.
10 – Our model is conducive to global investment needs for sanitation and hygiene
The United Nations system has identified global funds as an important tool to enable member states to achieve their national development targets and the Sustainable Development Goals, including those focused on sanitation and hygiene. As a multi-donor trust fund, the GSF over the next 15 years will further accelerate access to sanitation for tens of millions of people. It will also put in place effective systems for coordination, implementation and monitoring, mobilizing public investment and private capital to enable member states to achieve their goals.
How to partner with us
The GSF is open to contributions from a variety of sources, including governments, foundations and the private sector.
Collaborate with us
Learn more about collaborating with the GSF and WSSCC here.
Reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about partnership opportunities.
WSSCC gratefully acknowledges the donors that, through its lifetime, have made the GSF’s work possible: the Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Through peer-to-peer learning, the Global Sanitation Fund is harnessing the immense amount of knowledge.
The study provides insights and recommendations for sustainability of open defecation free communities in Nepal
GSF workshops support programmes to monitor progress towards and beyond Open Defecation Free status.