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GSF: Bringing an end to open-defecation

“In 2014, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) supported the national efforts in 13 countries to increase access to improved sanitation and adoption of good hygiene behaviours. During the year, GSF programmes significantly raised the number of people living in open-defecation free (ODF) communities, while also increasing hand washing and use of improved toilets.”

 Established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) in 2008 to boost finances into countries with high needs for sanitation. Currently operational in 13 countries in Asia and Africa, GSF supports national programmes developed through a consultative process led by governments, with involvement of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), associations, academic institutions, private sector companies, and international development partners. All programmes supported by GSF address the problem of inadequate sanitation and hygiene by focusing on methods of changing behaviour.

 GSF country programmes reported impressive results for 2014. Higher results achievement was anticipated during this period as several GSF programmes have moved beyond their start-up and early implementation phases and are now fully operational.

 Through GSF, WSSCC had committed close to $105 million by December 2014 in 13 national sanitation and hygiene programmes. This commitment is yielding results across Africa and Asia and is shared by national partners, WSSCC and GSF donors. Key results as of December 2014 are as follows, with end 2013 results presented as well:

  • 4.2 million people with improved toilets, up from 2.7 million in December 2013
  • 7 million people in more than 20,500 communities now live in cleaner environments free of open defecation, up from 3.7 million in 14,400 communities in December 2013
  • More than 37,300 communities have participated in demand creation / triggering activities, up from 24,500 in December 2013

These results demonstrate significant overall performance of the GSF country programme portfolio and progress towards reaching 2016 targets as set out in the WSSCC Medium-Term Strategic Plan (MTSP).1

Additional efforts will be made during 2015-2016 to reach the ambitious MTSP targets, particularly related to use of improved toilets, while also addressing the issues of sustainability and monitoring. Further review on progress towards reaching MTSP targets will be conducted in early 2015.

These results have been achieved due to the work of 13 Executing Agencies, and more than 200 Subgrantees. The efforts of these organizations have been guided by Programme Coordinating Mechanisms in each country, composed of representatives of multi-sector stakeholder and partner agencies from governments, international organizations, academic institutions, the United Nations, and civil society. In-country programmatic and financial verification continues to be conducted by Country Programme Monitors.

GSF funding to date is as follows:

  • Close to $105 million has been committed for 13 country programmes and expansions in four countries by the end of December 2014 (up from $86 million at the end of December 2013).
  • $26 million has been invested in hosting agency costs, management, development of operations, country support activities, and other costs related to GSF implementation.

Key Developments in 2014

The Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK have contributed to the GSF since 2008.

The 13 national programmes supported by the GSF have shown consistent and strong growth, with seven million people now living in an open-defecation free (ODF) environment and nearly eight million having access to handwashing facilities, as reported by the Executing Agencies (EAs). The GSF is therefore on track to attain two of the main targets set in the 2012-2016 WSSCC Medium- Term Strategic Plan.6 Climbing up the sanitation ladder remains, however, more challenging: some 4.18 million people are reported having access to improved sanitation facilities.

At the country level, a number of highlights can be mentioned:

In Cambodia, a partnership bringing together the Ministry of Rural Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) and the GSF to set up a national monitoring and evaluation system is a prime example of the GSF’s impact on sector collaboration. In India, sanitation came increasingly into the spotlight. The GSFsupported programme experienced significant success with more than 85% of people in programme areas reported to be washing their hands with soap and water at critical times. Sustaining ODF status remains a challenge, including addressing the issue of slippage.

In Madagascar, expansion of the Fonds Appui pour l’Assainissement (FAA) began so that it is now present in all districts in the country; some 10.4 million people live in target areas. There is an increased focus on supply side activities to achieve improved sanitation, which remains challenging.

The programme continued to provide peer-to-peer support to other GSF supported programmes, most notably in Togo and Uganda, through exchange visits. In addition, highlevel advocacy efforts in Madagascar mobilized support for the national roadmap to become an ODF country by 2018. In Nepal, the programme gained significant experience in implementing at scale and building political support.

A reprogramming exercise was conducted and allocated part of the resources to post-ODF interventions and intensifying work in urban areas.

Nigeria became a GSF priority, and a series of efforts enabled the programme to remain on track, with emerging results delivery on core indicators by year end. A major achievement was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in which the Government of Nigeria committed to match the GSF investment and cover six additional Local Government Authorities, thereby doubling the programme’s target area.

In Uganda, expansion of the Uganda Sanitation Fund (USF) began and several high level discussions on how to leverage the USF results took place between the government, WSSCC, the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others. Also in 2014, new GSF programmes began in Benin and Kenya.

At the global level, key developments in 2014 included:

  1. restructuring of the GSF staff in Geneva with the objective of improving fund management efficiency;
  2. initiation of the mid-term evaluation process in seven countries and the identification of achievements and challenges for key GSF determinants; and
  3. review of the approach for vertical and horizontal expansions of GSF programmes, with a view to completion of a programme proposal in a new country in 2015, and to consolidate the transition phases for mainstreaming of GSF country programmes.


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