2019: A year of progress,
Leading indicators of WSSCC progress
The global challenge to provide proper sanitation and hygiene worldwide is vast and the progress is not fast
enough to meet Sustainable Development
Goal 6.2 target of providing everyone access to safely managed
sanitation by 2030. Indeed, at current rates, the world will only reach that goal in the 22nd century.
“I am now convinced more than ever, of the foundational importance of WASH services and behaviours.
Having understood the lagging nature of sanitation and hygiene, I am equally convinced that WSSCC is
focusing on the right SDG target, 6.2, sanitation and hygiene, and specifically for those left
Hind Khatib-Othman, WSSCC Chair
The rapid and devastating emergence of COVID-19 worldwide is shedding light on the life-and-death importance
of sanitation and hygiene – especially proper handwashing, which can halt the spread of an infectious
The crisis is also illuminating how sanitation and hygiene are an alarmingly weak link in global health.
Globally, 2 billion people live without access to basic sanitation, 3 billion lack basic
facilities at home and hundreds of millions of menstruators lack the means to ensure menstrual dignity and
health. And the burden falls disproportionately on vulnerable populations, particularly people living in
rural areas, which comprise 91% of the 673 million people defecating in the open and 70% of
those who still
lack even basic sanitation services.
That’s why WSSCC, through its 10-year-old Global Sanitation Fund, has worked in countries with designated
Executing Agencies and National Coordinators to implement water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programming.
Its objective is to give more people in more places around the globe access to sanitation and hygiene which
every human being deserves and needs to survive and thrive, and to ensure sustainability– not just for the
benefit of this generation, but for many more to come. It is also why WSSCC will during 2020 evolve into
the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund.
Progress in WSSCC-supported countries
In most Global Sanitation Fund-supported programmes, at least 80% of households in previously verified
continued to access improved sanitation. WSSCC’s new outcome survey methodology and follow-up activities
help countries identifies “slippage” – or declining sustainability of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. ODF
follow up activities –
such as those adopted in 2019 in Benin – typically include shaping sanitation and hygiene behaviour and the
use of more hygienic facilities.
Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) investments triggered additional momentum to make progress nearby and
nationally, as in Nepal, which
declared itself open defecation free in October 2019.
WSSCC’s new outcome survey methodology helped member countries identify and prevent slippage in GSF programme
progress. The surveys independently verify country programme results, measure the sustainability of results
achieved and examine how those activities contribute to latrine use and hygiene behaviour change.
For household handwashing, there is widespread use of tippy taps and similarly simple devices, though they
are too often not durable, unreliable and subject to theft or damage.
A survey showed that in most GSF programmes, sustainability of the sanitation facility is more likely than
sustained access to a handwashing facility after an ODF declaration.
Uneven handwashing practices
Across countries, the practice of handwashing at critical times varies highly and too often does not involve
the use of soap – which is highly effective in reducing the risk of diarrheal disease and a range of other
Menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) encompasses both menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and the
systemic factors that link menstruation with health, well-being, gender equality, education, equity,
empowerment, and rights. These systematic factors have been summarized by UNESCO as accurate and timely
knowledge, available, safe, and affordable materials, informed and comfortable professionals, referral
and access to health services, sanitation and washing facilities, positive social norms, safe and
hygienic disposal and advocacy and policy.
Menstrual health and hygiene (MHH)
In 2019, WSSCC adopted “menstrual health and hygiene” to broaden its focus beyond menstrual hygiene
management to include other factors linking menstruation with health, well-being, gender equality,
education, equity, empowerment, and rights.
WSSCC advised technical leaders in Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, and Tanzania to create national
policies, costed plans and monitoring frameworks for effective, large-scale implementation of MHH
2019 activities around WSSCC’s thematic focus areas
Menstrual health and hygiene
In 2019, WSSCC’s leading role in a national MHM Coalition contributed to Tanzania’s National Health Policy.
In India, WSSCC worked with the state governments to establish MHM guidelines and strategy and help train
local and regional master trainers. And it worked with leaders in Kenya to advocate for inclusive national
MHM policies. Regionally and globally, WSSCC was engaged with the African Coalition
for MHM and helped
co-create a new global Menstrual Health and Hygiene Collective, which advocates for greater worldwide
investment in MHH.
WSSCC has long sought to build momentum of support and progress around Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2
by convening and participating
with like-minded partners. In 2019, WSSCC worked productively with two partners in India – the Global
Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), which highlights
influential faith-leaders to speak out about the rights of
women and girls to menstrual health and hygiene, and Youth Ki Awaaz, a user-generated
youth media platform
on social justice issues – to tap into the energy and networks of growing social movements.
Elevating the voices of those left behind
With GIWA and Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) in India, WSSCC also helped
amplify the voices of
those systematically denied opportunities and essential resources available to other members of the
community – including water and sanitation service provision – because of social, economic, cultural and
political barriers. Elsewhere with UNICEF, WaterAid and other regional partners, WSSCC
supported a Regional
Civil Society Organization Advocacy Strategy for South Asia, in collaboration with FANSA. The strategy aimed
to strengthen CSO’s role in supporting a regional and national Leave No One Behind agenda.
Country Spotlight: Madagascar
Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement (FAA), the GSF programme in Madagascar addresses matters of
sustainability by strengthening local traditional community governance structures and involving
community actors, “triggers” demand for improved latrine technologies, strengthens supply chains of
services and products and ensures all efforts are anchored in local institutional structures. By the end
of 2019, these sustainability measures had been implemented in more than 17,000 out of the 21,000
villages declared ODF.
Advocacy and communications
WSSCC aims for members and others in the wider international development sector to know what we do and why.
Each is an influencer and advocate that can reverberate our messages calling for progressive change. To that
end, in 2019 a total of 53 media articles both in English and French featured WSSCC’s activities. To
maximize its international exposure, WSSCC engaged, for example, with UN News and
Global Citizen, which
published pieces about the benefits of ending open defecation on World Toilet Day, and a human-interest
story related to WSSCC-supported activities in Madagascar. Additionally, ahead of Menstrual Hygiene
International Institute for Sustainable
Development featured an op-ed piece by WSSCC. Online, WSSCC has experienced the rapid growth of its
and engagement on digital platforms such as Facebook and
Twitter, as well as its own website. Also, as part
of Stockholm World Water Week, WSSCC live-streamed mini talk
shows, produced feature videos and generated
other content for social media distribution.
Knowledge, learning and innovation
Partners around the globe have come to rely on WSSCC for its exceptional capacity and expertise to gather and
share data and best practices. In 2019, through GSF, WSSCC programmes provided partners and sanitation and
hygiene practitioners with information about new innovations and proven approaches. Twelve out of 16
countries reported that they adopted and applied GSF-supported delivery approaches beyond the targeted
areas, with 11 of them indicating replication in areas with increasingly difficult contexts. WSSCC continued
to contribute knowledge and learning opportunities at international forums around issues such as equality
and non-discrimination, sustaining ODF and moving towards improved sanitation and MHH
We are members of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership, and through our support to country
processes, actively foster the development of strong systems and adequate capacity, accountability and
monitoring to achieve transformational change. Through this, we can drive toward the targets of the SDGs and
of the partnership’s vision of sanitation, water and hygiene for all, always and everywhere.
New strategy and forward look
A bold organizational reset
In November 2019, WSSCC’s Steering Committee, with support of our host UNOPS, determined to evolve into a new
entity by 2021: the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund.
Our aspiration is to build a Fund capable of sustainable investing, at scale across a larger footprint of
countries in need. The scale of investment will give the Fund a louder voice and the ability to catalyze
government action and commitments at the country level.
“In 2019, we took stock of our own situation and how we contribute to reducing disparities and the
global sanitation and hygiene burden. We critically asked ourselves whether we should and can do more.
If WSSCC is to honour its heritage and make a transformational contribution to the sector we serve, it
is time to do our business differently. Following a Mid-Term Strategic Review and the advice of our
Steering Committee… we agreed upon a bold organizational reset.”
Sue Coates, Executive Director, a.i.
We are currently taking steps to make this exciting opportunity a reality, which would not have been possible
without the tireless work of our members, partners, donors, staff and advocates worldwide. We thank you all
for your continued support and look forward to a bright future together.
The Fund will focus on countries most left behind and least able to respond, based on greatest need and
factoring in a country’s income level. It will be guided by an emphasis on initiatives that are:
Country-led and owned
Impact and results-driven
High burden focused, assisting those least able to respond
Catalytic and leveraging domestic resources; it will complement, not duplicate
Promoters of equality, performance, sustainability and value-for-money
Enable better donor coordination
Be an efficient and scalable mechanism with a strong business and operational model
The new Fund will also focus on four primary objectives. It will:
Scale-up household sanitation and hygiene services
Address Menstrual Health and Hygiene gaps while promoting empowerment of women and girls
Increase sustainable water, sanitation, hygiene and MHH services in schools and Health Care Facilities
Support innovation towards safely managed sanitation, hygiene and MHH
During 2020, to deliver at scale and provide early learning, the Fund will be shifting its current
investments in several countries to better align with its revised strategic goals. From 2021, the Fund has
identified a number of high priority countries with a strong emphasis on countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and
Southern and Eastern Asia, that need urgent, catalytic funding. This will require a major reset of funding
levels for WSSCC, increasing over the next five years as new countries are progressively brought on
For the full annual report, including the financing report, visit