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As another productive year draws to a close, I thank you for your on-going support and membership to WSSCC. With a growing and committed membership, it gives me pleasure to be in the position to direct the organization to play a significant role in realizing Sustainable Development Goal 6.2.
Of all the SDGs, perhaps 6 has the most multiplier effects. Better sanitation and hygiene leads to improved health, a lower incidence of infant mortality and stunting, more children in schools – especially girls, an increase in community mobilization, more vibrant local governance and women’s empowerment – and much more.
Increasingly, improved sanitation is being recognized as the basis for poverty reduction. WSSCC is in the unique position to be able to support large-scale, high-quality, locally-owned initiatives for improved sanitation, hygiene and dignity for all. I am proud to be part of the process, and am committed to keeping WSSCC accountable at every level.
To streamline its response to SDG 6, this year WSSCC reflected on its work and commenced a collaborative process to update its approach and strategy. We consulted members in 16 countries and listened to their practical viewpoints. As an important and welcome by-product, the meetings provided a platform for members to define their own actions to achieve SDG 6, and firm commitments were made. We thank all who participated and look forward to presenting the strategy in early 2017.
2016 has been another year of progress and development for WSSCC. The organization continues to deliver strong results, and now has members in 150 countries. Our Global Sanitation Fund supports nationally-led programmes in 13 countries, with continuing strong results. Knowledge sharing between our members and programmes is taking a more prominent role. WSSCC supported or engaged in a number of learning events and conferences around the world, culminating with the Sanitation Action Summit in Mumbai in November, which focused on inclusiveness as part of the Leave No One Behind initiative.
In addition, to facilitate communication and learning between partners, our Membership department now has over 3,500 sanitation professionals registered, who are collaborating and sharing best practices on- line. This is a valuable resource, and I encourage you to seek practical solutions to local problems through the WSSCC member family at www.wsscc.org/membership.
I send you my best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017. Thank you for being a part of the WSSCC family!