Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
|Focus||Sanitation, hygiene, water supply|
|Worldwide, with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia|
Dr Christopher W. Williams, Executive Director
|Vision and Mission|
|The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council's vision is of a world where everybody has sustained water supply, sanitation and hygiene.|
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a United Nations membership organization that advocates for improved sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable and marginalized people around the world. WSSCC facilitates multi-stakeholder collaboration around sanitation and contributes to the international community's broader goals of poverty eradication, health and environmental improvement, gender equality and long-term social and economic development.
WSSCC’s main areas of focus are large-scale sanitation and hygiene behaviour change programmes through the Global Sanitation Fund; promoting sanitation and hygiene as the gateway to inclusion and opportunity; and bringing together leaders and activists to strengthen the global sanitation movement.
WSSCC works to address the sanitation crisis and promote universal access to sanitation in collaboration with a range of partners. The United Nations estimates that 2.4 billion people live without access to safe sanitation. According to the World Bank, poor sanitation costs countries approximately $260 billion annually.
WSSCC addresses a range of sanitation and hygiene-related issues within its focus areas such as:
- identifying financial and human resources gaps and overhauling financing for development in support of the Sustainable Development Goals;
- addressing issues (bottlenecks) that are slowing down implementation of sanitation systems;
- highlighting the connection between sanitation and human dignity, health, education, community empowerment and business.
WSSCC collaborates with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, civil society groups and the private sector internationally and at the national, regional and local levels. Key collaborating partners include WaterAid, the Water and Sanitation Program, and UNICEF, among others. The organization also advocates around key sanitation and hygiene international days such as World Toilet Day and Global Handwashing Day.
Global Sanitation Fund
Through the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), a multi-donor United Nations trust fund, WSSCC supports national efforts to help rural communities improve their sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. The GSF funds behaviour change activities. Community-led total sanitation is frequently utilized by GSF-funded national programmes, such as in Cambodia and Nigeria.
The GSF currently funds national programmes in Benin, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. WSSCC's Secretariat gathers funds and donations at the global level, selects the eligible countries for funding, and manages the disbursement of grants to national sanitation programmes.
Equality and non-discrimination
WSSCC advocates for equality, human rights and non-discrimination as central to ensuring access to safe water supply, adequate sanitation and good hygiene for all. In particular, WSSCC WASH advocates promote women's participation and leadership and menstrual hygiene management.
Menstrual hygiene management
A key challenge that WSSCC is addressing relates to the inclusion of menstrual hygiene management in the sustainable development agenda. WSSCC has highlighted that the taboo surrounding menstruation is a barrier to equal participation and opportunities for women. A National Public Radio article highlighted that many policy makers often admit that they had never considered questions around menstruation before.
Other focus areas
Operationally, sustaining behaviour change as well as ensuring reliable and consistent monitoring have been identified as challenges. Of particular note is the challenge related to monitoring households that return to previous unhygienic behaviours. WSSCC and its partners are addressing these issues through systems strengthening and impact evaluations.
Reports and campaigns
Notable reports and campaigns supported by WSSCC include:
- 'We Can't Wait', a report on sanitation and hygiene for women and girls produced in collaboration with WaterAid and Unilever
- The Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment report produced in collaboration with the WHO and UNICEF
- The United Nations 'End Open Defecation' campaign
- The Women for Water and Sanitation Declaration, sanctioned by the first ladies of Madagascar and Malawi, among others
WSSCC is administratively and legally hosted by UNOPS. The WSSCC Secretariat is governed by the WSSCC Steering Committee, and has three main departments: (i) Networking and Knowledge Management; (ii) Advocacy and Communications; (iii) the GSF.
The WSSCC Steering Committee decides the policies and strategies of the organization, manages the governance process, and is accountable to both the membership and the donors for its work. It is made up of a chair, regional members, partner agency members, ex officio members, non-voting invitees, and permanent non-voting observers. All WSSCC members are eligible to stand and vote in elections for the Steering Committee. The interim-Chair is Andrew Cotton, who has been in post since April 2015. Previous Chairs were: Anna Tibaijuka, 2011-2015; Roberto Lenton, 2005 – 2011; Sir Richard Jolly, 1997 – 2004; and Margaret Catley-Carlson, 1990 – 1996.
The organization currently receives or has received funding from seven governments: Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. According to its 2014 Annual Report, the WSSCC operating budget in 2014 was $43,785,079.
In 1990, a group of senior staff of developing country governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, NGOs and research institutions founded WSSCC. On December 21, 1990, the 45th Session of the UN General Assembly elected to pass resolution A/RES/45/181, which emphasized the “importance of intensifying the coordination of national activities undertaken with the assistance of all relevant agencies in the field of water supply and sanitation through, in particular, the inter-agency Steering Committee for Co-operative Action for the International Drinking Water Decade and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council”. Through this resolution the WSSCC was formally established as an independent organization with a United Nations mandate.
During the 1990s, WSSCC concentrated on sharing knowledge and convening thematic discussion groups on water- and sanitation-related topics. In 2000, WSSCC published Vision 21, a proposal for achieving universal water, sanitation and hygiene coverage.
WSSCC is an unincorporated membership organization and not a separate legal entity. From 1991 to 2009, it was hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Since 2010, WSSCC has been hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
Since 2007, WSSCC has focused on sanitation and hygiene, adding a dedicated sanitation grant financing mechanism (the Global Sanitation Fund) in addition to its networking, knowledge and advocacy work.
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