WaterSan Perspective
March 22, 2013

The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012, a new report from the UN-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), details programmatic results, reporting methodology and financial data from Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programmes in Africa and Asia.

In 10 countries – Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal Tanzania and Uganda – Global Sanitation Fund Sub-grantees have implemented sanitation and hygiene awareness-raising and promotion activities resulting in:

1.4 million people with improved toilets.
More than 1 million people in nearly 4,000 communities now live in open defecation free environments.
Almost 10,000 communities have participated in demand-creation activities.
3.8 million people have heard about the importance of good hygiene through community activities and communications campaigns.

Global Sanitation Fund Logo
Global Sanitation Fund Logo

The Global Sanitation Fund is a unique financing mechanism for sanitation programmes and is leading a drive to improve toilets for an initial target of 16.3 million people over five years.

The Global Sanitation Fund, a United Nations Trust Fund, was established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council in 2008 to inject finances into countries with high needs for sanitation. The new report reveals that 2012 was the most vigorous year of implementation to date, with more than 100 organizations and thousands of individuals involved in the work.

The Global Sanitation Fund’s model of financing action to achieve improved sanitation focuses on improved latrines through behaviour change (hygiene education, raising awareness and demand-creation) and sanitation marketing. The programme does not support subsidized hardware or construction of latrines. When communities stop defecating in the open and use toilets as part of a long term improvement in hygiene practices, the benefits are widespread.

A latrine in rural Uganda.  The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.
A latrine in rural Uganda. The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

A number of early lessons learned are analysed in The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012 in order to strengthen future country-driven programmes. For example some Sub-grantee organizations lacked capacity in sanitation, hygiene and demand creation. Therefore during 2012 support was given to training Sub-grantee staff on the large-scale (multi-state or nation-wide) behaviour-change approach which is the hallmark of a typical GSF programme.

GSF operates in developing countries with existing sanitation policies, but funding shortfalls. Civil society and national governments form a national Programme Coordinating Mechanism providing strategic oversight on the GSF programme to ensure that it is in line with national sanitation policy and international standards. GSF then appoints an Executing Agency which acts as a programme manager and grant recipient. The Executing Agency selects, supervises and supports Sub-grantees who implement the programmes. Country Programme Monitors, independently appointed by GSF, verify and report on the work of the Executing Agencies to WSSCC.

By investing in the integration of sanitation programmes within national programming, this streamlining of process is vital to avoid duplication of resources and to ensure efficient monitoring and evaluation of programmes. Thus, the GSF is a viable delivery model for achieving results at scale within national policy frameworks.

There are 2.5 billion people, close to 40 percent of the world’s population who do not have access to basic sanitation. The Global Sanitation Fund is an efficient and cost-effective opportunity for contributors to help large numbers of poor people attain safe sanitation services and adopt good hygiene practices.

The Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation is one of the most off-track. Yet good sanitation has proven to be a highly cost-effective in terms of economic development, health and education.

Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya
Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Country ownership is the cornerstone of Global Sanitation Fund programmes and local responses vary according to local needs. Here are some highlights from diverse country programmes:
In Madagascar GSF Sub-Grantee organizations are currently working on the ground in 14 of Madagascar’s 22 regions. The GSF programme will continue to foster sector collaboration to have an impact on sanitation at a national scale.
GSF-supported interventions in Malawi have enabled more than 125,000 people to access improved toilets by the end of 2012, that’s up from 52,000 at the end of 2011.
In Nepal, the GSF-supported programme has enabled more than 440 communities to be declared open defecation free in the target districts.
As a result of GSF continued expansion into districts and blocks within its target area in India, the number of people living within areas where the GSF-supported programme is working has increased from 4 million to 6 million in the last 12 months.

The numbers of people and communities reached present one view of The Global Sanitation Fund’s impact to date, but the programme’s ‘footprint’ is much larger, as the GSF is showing early signs of helping change attitudes and influence policy within the sanitation sector in ways which lie beyond the formal indicator categories. The strategic oversight role of each country’s Programme Coordinating Committee (PCM) harnesses the skills and insights of a multi-stakeholder group for effective development.

In Madagascar the PCM helped lobby the Government of Madagascar to create a Department of Sanitation within the Ministry of Water. Sanitation can sit in sub-departments of ministries so it is helpful when governments make it easier for sanitation professionals to take part in budgetary decision-making and strategic policy making, especially concerning health issues.
In Tanzania the GSF is financing part of the National Sanitation Campaign which the African Development Bank is also funding. This is an example of how PCMs can be helpful in identifying sector funding gaps and integrating financing into the national sanitation programming leading to additional government resources being invested in sanitation as results become apparent.

In The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012, WSSCC gratefully acknowledges the donors that make the GSF work possible: the Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. By the end of 2012, US$ 65 million have been committed to programmes in ten countries.

Six additional Global Sanitation Fund country programmes will be launched in 2013 starting with Burkina Faso and Togo followed by Bangladesh, Benin, Kenya and Pakistan.

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