WSSCC achievements in 2016: paving the way for sanitation for all


One in three people in the world live without adequate sanitation – without access to toilets, handwashing facilities and good menstrual hygiene. WSSCC is working to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6.2, to provide sanitation and hygiene for all, and does this in a number of ways:

  • WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) is active in 13 countries supporting nationally-owned programmes for sustainable change
  • The Leave No One Behind initiative advocates for the rights of vulnerable and marginalized people
  • Promoting Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and policies that include MHM in national agendas is one of WSSCC’s defining programmes, leading to more girls in school and more women in the workplace
  • Through partnerships, such as with UN Women, the Swedish hygiene product company SCA and the evaluation organization 3ie, we provide a strong evidence base to advocate for better sanitation and hygiene for all

In line with the SDGs and building on previous strategies, WSSCC updated its operational strategy for 2017-2020 through a process that included 16 national consultations, with the participation of more than 1000 members and stakeholders. The new strategy will be published in February 2017. With thanks to our donors and partners, and ahead of the Annual Report, we summarize some of our 2016 achievements:

Handwashing campaign in Malawi.Credit: WSSCC

Sanitation on the Global Development Agenda In April, WSSCC welcomed Amina J. Mohammed, Environment Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as its Chairperson.  Ms.Mohammed, a strong supporter of sanitation and hygiene on the development agenda, committed to empowering 15 million people to end open defecation by 2020 in Nigeria. In December, she was nominated to serve as the Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of the United Nations, a position vital for the advancement of the SDG agenda, including WASH.

WSSCC Chair Amina J. Mohammed. Credit: WSSCC

Scaling up behaviour change for sustainable results WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) invests in collective behaviour change approaches that enable large numbers of people to improve their access to sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. GSF is demonstrating that large-scale results can be achieved in a nationally-owned, cost-effective manner. More than 10 million people have been enabled to live in open defecation free environments; 6 million have gained access to improved toilets, and over 15 million people have access to handwashing facilities. These results have been achieved thanks to more than USD 75 million to GSF-supported country programmes (read more). In 2016, the GSF led or supported the facilitation of learning events to boost impact and innovation, for example, at a Global Learning Event in Madagascar, with peer-to-peer learning exchanges in East Africa, and at Nigeria’s roundtable conference on Community-Led Total Sanitation. The Fund confirmed its role as a learning resource, releasing a series of quality knowledge sharing reports that can be found on our Resources page, and presenting its findings at a number of international conferences.

A GSF triggering session in Madagascar. Credit: WSSCC

 Advocacy advances:  menstrual hygiene management and equality and non-discrimination WSSCC continued to widen its equality perspective through issues such as human rights, menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and civil society engagement. In partnership with UN Women, the  joint programme on gender, hygiene and sanitation facilitated MHM training and policy workshops in Niger, Senegal and Cameroon, aiming to lift the taboo on menstruation. The programme promotes behaviour change, dignity and a better integration of MHM into government policies. As part of its Leave No One Behind campaign to address equity and inclusion in sanitation and hygiene, WSSCC released eight country reports in South Asia and hosted the Sanitation Action Summit in Mumbai in November. The Council also continued its work with Swedish hygiene product company SCA with the launch of the Hygiene Matters Report. Events were hosted at high-level meetings including the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York and the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen.

MHM workshop in India.Credit: Javier Acerbal/WSSCC

Engaging with members and partners WSSCC continued to grow its membership base with over 3,600 active members, who can share information and knowledge with each other on a new platform at The year also saw WSSCC increasing support to its volunteer National Coordinators, who facilitate the Council’s work in 16 countries. A National Coordinators report was released and describes activities and results from WSSCC’s national-level strategic engagement. Large-scale Global Handwashing Day activities and celebrations took place in GSF and other countries to make handwashing a habit. Partners and projects were recognized with awards:

WSSCC promoted national and local ownership of advocacy initiatives at high level events, for example at the 6th Africa Water Week, Kampala WASH Sustainability Symposium, UN Habitat III, World Water Week in Stockholm and the Global Citizen Festivals in New York and Mumbai.