Global Sanitation Fund reports improvements in sanitation and hygiene for millions of people

Date: 28th June 2017

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People-centred, nationally-led programmes empower millions to end open defecation, improve sanitation, and increase dignity and safety

Geneva, 28 June 2017 – A new report shows that WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) has supported governments and thousands of partners across 13 countries, stretching from Cambodia to Senegal, to enable over 15 million people to end open defecation.

GSF has enabled 20 million people to access handwashing facilities. Credit: Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement

As the funding arm of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), GSF-supported programmes are contributing to the Council’s vision of universal access to sustainable and equitable sanitation and hygiene across countries throughout south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Focused on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.2, GSF focuses on improving sanitation and hygiene in the poorest and most marginalized communities, thereby contributing to associated development goals for education, health, women’s empowerment, climate change and urban development.

The 2016 GSF Progress Report highlights activities and results achieved from the inception of the Fund to the end of the year. Cumulative results to 31 December 2016 include:

  • 15.2 million people have been empowered to live in ODF environments, just over the target of 15 million.
  • 12.8 million people have gained access to improved toilets, 16% more than the target of 11 million.
  • 20 million people have gained access to handwashing facilities, 81% more than the target of 11 million.
Photos: The 2016 Progress Report highlights the diverse people and partners across the GSF network, spanning 13 country programmes. Credit: WSSCC

Together with WSSCC partners and stakeholders, GSF invests in collective behaviour change programmes, and strengthens enabling environments to achieve large-scale results. By demonstrating that sustainable and equitable access to sanitation and hygiene is possible at a large scale, GSF serves as a catalyst to attract additional attention and resources to address the global crisis of inadequate sanitation and hygiene, so that no one is left behind.  A WHO study calculated that for every $1 invested in sanitation, there was a return of $5.50 in lower health costs, more productivity and fewer premature deaths (WHO, 2016).

“The significant results reported by GSF show that the Fund is strongly placed to contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals,” said Chris Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC. “GSF is most strongly placed to help nations address the second target of Goal 6: achieving universal access to equitable sanitation and hygiene and ending open defecation, while focusing on the needs of women, girls and the most vulnerable. All of these aspects are central to the Fund’s work.”

“GSF ensures that results achieved at the subnational level can inform the decisions of national and global policy makers in areas such as public investment, coordination, and monitoring,” said GSF Programme Director David Shimkus. “Through its work on sustainable behaviour change, GSF supports nationally-owned and community-led sanitation programming to achieve sanitation for all in entire administrative areas, and building a movement to do the same nationally and globally.”

GSF has enabled 12.8 million people to access improved toilets. Credit: RUSHPIN

Why sanitation and hygiene?

Access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is both a human right and daily need for everyone, everywhere, at all times throughout the day. Yet, 2.4 billion people still live without this access, including nearly one billion people who still practice open defecation. Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene claims approximately 842,000 lives yearly, exacerbates malnutrition, and hinders economic growth and development (WHO, 2016).

In addition to preventing a significant amount of diseases, improved sanitation and hygiene are closely associated with human dignity and safety, especially for women and girls, while also affecting school attendance, particularly among girls (UNICEF, 2016). Furthermore, effective tools and participatory methods to improve sanitation and hygiene behaviour are readily available, but the world still faces a prevalent sanitation crisis. It is therefore necessary to scale up and roll out these models.

GSF’s impact

As the funding arm of WSSCC, GSF addresses the global sanitation crisis and remains the only global fund dedicated solely to sanitation and hygiene. In 2016, GSF focused on aiming for sustainable and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all; ensuring that equality and non-discrimination are systematically integrated throughout GSF programming; and determining the cost-efficiency of its supported programmes. GSF-supported programmes are designed by in-country stakeholders with the deliberate intent to address sanitation at scale, with quality. Moreover, all programmes include central roles for country governments and are designed to be catalytic in nature.

In 2016, 10 inter-country learning exchanges took place, involving 12 GSF-supported programmes. These exchanges helped build new skills and provided fresh ideas and emerging best practices for country programmes. Innovations for climbing the sanitation ladder, developing low-cost technologies, establishing financing mechanisms and addressing extra-household sanitation were the focus of the exchanges.

The Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to GSF since its establishment in 2008. Over $117 million has been committed across 13 countries.

Download the 2016 Progress Report in English or French to read more about GSF’s results, impact and activities

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