Providing vital funding for national programmes

WSSCC operates the world’s only fund solely dedicated to improving sanitation – the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF). The GSF funds and supports community-led sanitation programmes for the most vulnerable people, through a diverse network of stakeholders that include households, local governments, community-based organizations, NGOs, academic institutions and local entrepreneurs. Since its establishment in 2008, the GSF has committed over $117 million to programmes in 13 developing countries.

Nationally-led programmes supported by the GSF have enabled:

  • 12.8 million people to access improved toilets
  • 15.2 million people and more than 59,600 communities to live in open defecation free environments
  • 20 million people to access handwashing facilities

Global Sanitation Fund-supported programmes transform the way communities think about and practice defecation.

Read more about GSF results and achievements

The Global Sanitation Fund shows people how open defecation and poor latrines expose them to disease, and work with community leaders to create sustainable solutions – which can be as simple as building a lid for a latrine and covering waste with ashes from cooking fires. Top-down approaches that build or subsidize toilets aren’t sustainable over the long term – the GSF approach transforms community standards to create lasting change. This approach is extraordinarily cost-effective, reaching millions of people in remote and vulnerable communities with very modest investments.

Sanitation is a national crisis that must be solved on a national scale – that’s what GSF-supported programmes are designed to achieve.

Too often, national sanitation programmes fail because they are in a silo in one ministry or organization. The GSF requires coordination of all of the actors in a country as a prerequisite for funding – from government agencies to NGOs to international agencies to community leaders. The result is coordinated, efficient and effective action. GSF-supported programmes aim to demonstrate to national governments and other stakeholders that it is possible to achieve large-scale, nationally-owned results in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. In addition, the GSF model can be replicated and scaled up to achieve nationwide coverage, as envisioned in national sanitation strategies and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Sanitation Fund has a direct and lasting impact on the lives of millions of people.

Currently, 2.3 billion people, or 32% of the global population, lack access to decent sanitation. Of those, more than a billion defecate in the open.

Diarrheal disease, largely caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of malnutrition, stunting and child mortality, claiming nearly 600,000 under-5 lives every year. Inadequate facilities also affect education and economic productivity and impact the dignity and personal safety of women and girls.

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.