On 27 July 2011, more than 20 leading international water and development organizations signed and launched the WASH Sustainability Charter. This Charter is a collaboratively-developed mission and set of guiding principles to advance lasting solutions in water, sanitation and hygiene education (WASH). The Charter is available to read and endorse at www.WASHCharter.org.
Globally, nearly 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and more than 2.5 billion do not have access to a toilet. While much progress had been made meeting these critical global needs, ensuring that projects last long-term has been challenging. Approximately 30% of all hand-pumps installed in Sub-Saharan Africa have failed prematurely, according to the Netherlands-based IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. Other studies suggest similar failure rates in various regions and across diverse WASH interventions.
In response to this challenge, leaders have developed a set of guiding principles that offer a “road map” to ensure that the impacts and value of WASH projects span generations. Implementation of the Charter’s principles will help lower risk of failure and increase project success in the long-run.
The development of this Charter was initiated at a series of WASH Sustainability Forums hosted by Global Water Challenge (GWC), IRC Water and Sanitation Research Centre (IRC), Aguaconsult, Water For People and the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP). From the collaborative work at these events, a draft Charter was created. Following several rounds of public feedback, the final document is now being launched.
Other endorsers of the Charter include major international development donors, implementers, and coalitions with a global reach in over 100 countries. By bringing together diverse stakeholders, the Charter builds consensus around key sustainability principles and establishes a foundation for continued learning. In order to improve sustainability on the ground, endorsers will work together towards the development of best practices through an online portal at www.sustainablewash.org and other forums.
Early endorsers of the Charter include Africare, Aguaconsult, Blue Planet Network, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Engineers Without Borders Canada, H20 For Life, Global Water Challenge (GWC), Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), Living Water International, Millennium Water Alliance (MWA), Triple-S – IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Project WET, Save the Children, USA, WASH , Advocacy Initiative, Water 1st International, Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG), Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), Water and Sanitation Supply Collaborative Council (WSSCC), Water For People and World Vision.