WASH SDG concludes with major achievements

On 21 March 2024, SNV joined Plan International, WAI, and Simavi to celebrate almost seven years of implementation of a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programme in 73 sub-national districts across seven countries.

As a testament to the partnership's collective efforts, the consortium has significantly increased access to water supply, benefiting nearly 455,000 individuals, improved sanitation for a staggering 2.2 million people, and enhanced basic hand hygiene practices for over 4 million individuals.

Coming to an official close at the end of March 2024, this seven-year, € 60 million multi-country consortium project was supported by the Government of the Netherlands.

The keynote speaker, Steven Collet, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, praised the consortium for its WASH achievements and the sense of community it created. He emphasised that connections to a water and sanitation service do not stop there.

Investments in WASH services expand these connections to schooling and better life and economic opportunities

Steven Collet, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands

He concluded his speech with a set of challenges to the WASH SDG consortium partners to continue to help break silos within development, mobilise political will for WASH at every level, improve cooperation, map out ‘agency's’ true meanings and practice for local government partners and communities, and leverage key lessons to achieve scale and deepen impact.

Event attendees during the closing session

The WASH SDG programme represents SNV’s most extensive urban resilience programme to date. With a budget allocation of approximately € 21 million, SNV – along with national/local governments and civil society – invested this fund towards improving three WASH SDG pathways of change: sanitation behaviour, governance, and services in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia.[1]

The three WASH SDG pathways were critical in securing urban sanitation programme achievements in the five SNV countries.

  1. The consortium helped increase people's access to information about timely emptying/desludging of their containments, improved occupational health and safety (OHS) standards, and increased focus on specific WASH needs of people living with disabilities.

  2. The programme also helped in stakeholder responsibility mapping across the sanitation value chain, improved data gathering approaches and digitised monitoring systems, strengthened government and private sector partnerships, and better harmonised policies and enforcement protocols between national and local governments.

  3. The partnership upgraded or constructed facilities tailored to the needs of an area, introduced the practice of informed choice and decision-making over the selection of disposal or treatment technologies, formalised the work of emptiers and mobilised them to demand their right to decent work, and introduced flexible payment schemes to sustain service demand and enable expansion.

A powerhouse of women leaders in development

According to Antoinette Kome, Global Head of SNV's Water sector, the WASH SDG programme invested significantly in the organisation's understanding of urban resilience. The programme was another important stepping stone that broadened the organisation's perspective of citywide sanitation to integrate water supply, sanitation greywater, and flooding and drought considerations.

The WASH SDG consortium has created ripples of change in the countries where it has worked, helping the Dutch government realise its pledge to increase access to drinking water by 30 million and sanitation by 50 million.

While some attendees expressed their worries that no WASH project of such magnitude and diversity exists at this moment, many remained hopeful that the partnerships created, and the learnings secured could spawn future endeavours of this kind.

[1] SNV was active in five of seven countries impacted by the WASH SDG consortium programme. Other countries where the programme was implemented includes Ethiopia and Uganda.

Celebrating WASH SDG wins

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