In 2010, the UN General Assembly recognized the human rights to water and sanitation which calls upon states and international organizations to enable the provision of clean water and sanitation for all. Still, billions of people lack access to clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene. It’s evident that Sustainable Development Goal 6 is seriously off track.
Access to safe water a complex issue
The learning report shares WaterAid’s practical experiences of our SusWASH program, where they have applied a system strengthening way of working to provide inclusive and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to people in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Pakistan.
It’s evident that strong systems are needed to ensure lasting change and benefits to everyone in the society. System strengthening means understanding that WASH exists in complex systems with many component parts and within different social, economic, political and environmental contexts. It involves identifying and working to address the barriers in behaviours, policies, processes, resources, interactions and institutions that block achievement of inclusive, lasting and universal access to WASH.
”We are immensely proud of the initial steps towards real systemic, long-lasting change that have been taken in the program.”Anna Johansen, Global Programme Manager SusWASH, WaterAid
“Access to water, sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights and not a privilege. But still, hundreds of millions of people around world are denied these basic rights. This has to change. Together, the H&M Foundation and WaterAid have been bold in our efforts to find innovative approaches to do so. We are immensely proud of the initial steps towards real systemic, long-lasting change that have been taken in the SusWASH program. We are equally proud to, in this report, share what we have learned, in the hope that others will join us in making lasting access to water, sanitation and hygiene a reality for everyone, everywhere”, says Anna Johansen, Global Programme Manager SusWASH at WaterAid.
Affecting all aspects of life
The H&M Foundation has a long-standing partnership with WaterAid and we are joined in our deep conviction that water, sanitation and hygiene is a human right that underpins so many aspects of development, such as health, gender equality, education and livelihoods. ”WaterAid is innovative and ambitious in their aim to create sustainable systemic change,” says Maria Bystedt, Global Program Manager at H&M Foundation. ”This goes hand in hand with our vision to be a catalyst for change, and we are thrilled to be able to support sustainable and inclusive programs that really make a lasting difference for people.”
”We are thrilled to support sustainable and inclusive programs that really make a lasting difference for people.”Maria Bystedt, Program Manager, H&M Foundation
Strengthening WASH systems takes time. However, many positive changes have been observed since the start of the second phase of our global program, SusWASH, in April 2017:
- In Cambodia, national and provincial WASH action plans have been reviewed by relevant ministries and updated on the basis of up-to-date data helping to inform investment decisions.
- In Ethiopia, a costed district WASH plan has helped to attract additional WASH investment to the district.
- In Uganda, in partnership with others, an order to improve the regulation of sewerage and faecal sludge management in Kampala was passed by Kampala City Council.
- In Pakistan, the province-wide school management information system now includes WASH indicators to enable school WASH status to be monitored and measured over time to inform decision-making.