The new 2021-2025 strategy of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has been approved by the Council’s Steering Committee, and this paves the way for WSSCC to evolve into the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF).
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council is a UNOPS-hosted membership organisation with 30 years of expertise working to improve sanitation and hygiene for those most left behind and least able to respond. WSSCC has been focusing on SDG 6.2 (sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health).
A statement by WSSCC said the SHF is a scalable and global Fund to effectively support the world’s poorest and most left behind in achieving the sanitation and hygiene related Sustainable Development Goal.
As the world grapples with disease outbreaks, ensuring access to adequate levels of sanitation and hygiene is more urgent than ever, the statement said. “Lack of access to adequate sanitation and hygiene, including menstrual health and hygiene stands as one of the greatest impediments to the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving large numbers of people exposed to not only outbreaks or pandemics of infectious disease, such as diarrheal diseases, cholera, Ebola and COVID-19, but also maternal and neonatal death, inadequate sexual and reproductive health, the spread of anti-microbial resistance, sepsis and malnutrition.”
According to the statement, “Women and girls are disproportionately affected by poor sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health which negatively impacts their safety and dignity from sanitation-related gender-based violence, mobility, freedom of choice, health and their access to employment, and social and economic power. Yet, at the current rate of progress, the Sustainable Development Goal target on sanitation and hygiene is projected to be only reached in the 22nd century.
“The Sanitation and Hygiene Fund therefore calls on global leaders, including national governments, to drastically scale up their investments in sanitation and hygiene in schools, health care centers and at the household level and to ensure the necessary innovation that supports better sanitation and hygiene.”
WSSCC said it has already reached millions of people around the world with essential and often life-saving interventions in sanitation and hygiene.
“Building on WSSCC’s achievements and the support provided by its longstanding donors and partners, the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund will support eligible countries to access increased and catalytic financing to close the gaps in their national sanitation and hygiene strategies,” it said.
“Today, we recognise the need for a global approach, a transformative approach, and a long-term approach. With the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund, we are calling upon world leaders to help us fill a void in the international response to the sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health crisis,” said the Chair of WSSCC, Hind Khatib-Othman.