The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – and the increased importance of good hygienic practices – highlights the critical importance of safe WASH services and the WASH systems that support them. The Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) – an undertaking of Welthungerhilfe, in partnership with Aguaconsult, the German Toilet Organization (GTO) and Viva con Agua – has recently published Tools for Practitioners to strengthen WASH systems (or simply the SSI-Toolbox).
Strengthening WASH systems is a core focus of Agenda for Change, in their efforts to help governments to meet the WASH-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
But what does Agenda for Change mean by ‘WASH system’? What examples do they have of efforts to strengthen it? And what have been the experiences of the various Agenda for Change members on progressively applying a systems approach in their programming?
WASH systems thinking has, over the years, been arguably more focused on water supply than sanitation and hygiene. Will Tillett (Aguaconsult) has collaborated with Robert Gensch (German Toilet Organisation) in the development of a discussion paper seeking to adapt systems concepts and conceptual frameworks to better represent these WASH sub-sectors.
Aguaconsult regularly collaborates with international NGO partners such as WaterAid, Water for People and IRC to address aspects of the WASH sustainability challenge; we are also core members of the Agenda For Change collaboration. We are now excited to be supporting WeltHungerHilfe (WHH) with their global Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) – WHH is one of the largest NGOs in Germany and works in around 35 countries worldwide.
The Zambia Sanitation & Hygiene Programme (ZSHP) aims to reach 3.6 million people in rural areas with improved sanitation and hygiene practices, and covers 68 districts of the country. The £23 million DFID funded programme is implemented by UNICEF and the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ). It started in 2011, and is due to finish in September this year.
In September last year, Aguaconsult was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to undertake a review of experiences in engaging the private sector in FSM services. The review focussed on cities where BMGF and DFID had funded such initiatives, which included Accra, Blantyre, Dakar, Durban, Freetown and Kampala.
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