The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), a UN-hosted global multi-stakeholder membership and partnership organization to improve sanitation and hygiene at scale, has been granted approval to evolve into the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF).
The WSSCC has been partnering with the Nigerian government to end open defecation and address sanitation and hygiene issues via the Global Sanitation Fund supported Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) Programme targeted at 2 million people.
The RUSHPIN programme is based on the Nigerian National Water Supply and Sanitation Policy, which was adopted in 2000, making accessibility to adequate water and sanitation the right of every Nigerian.
According to a press statement by WSCCC on 6 May, the approval which paves way for WSSCC to become a scalable global fund to effectively support the world’s poorest and those left behind in achieving the sanitation and hygiene related Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) was given by WSSCC’s steering committee.
WSSCC stressed the lack of access to adequate sanitation and hygiene, including menstrual health and hygiene as one of the greatest impediments to the achievement of many of the SDGs, leaving large numbers of people exposed to not only outbreaks or pandemics of infectious disease.
“Women and girls are disproportionately affected by poor sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health which negatively impact 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,” the statement read.
WSSCC has already reached millions of people around the world including Nigeria 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 SHF is expected to provide support to eligible countries to increased and catalytic financing to close the gaps in their national sanitation and hygiene strategies.
“Today, we recognize 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,” says Hind Khatib-Othman, Chair of WSSCC.
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