Providing vital funding for national programmes

WSSCC operates the world’s only fund solely dedicated to improving sanitation – the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF). The GSF funds and supports community-led sanitation programmes for the most vulnerable people, through a diverse network of stakeholders that include households, local governments, community-based organizations, NGOs, academic institutions and local entrepreneurs. To date, the GSF has committed approximately $109 million to programmes in 13 developing countries.

Nationally-led programmes supported by the GSF have enabled:

  • 8.2 million people with improved toilets
  • 9.9 million people and more than 36,500 communities to live in open-defecation free environments
  • 13.5 million people with handwashing facilities

Global Sanitation Fund programmes transform the way communities think about and practice defecation.

The Global Sanitation Fund shows people how open defecation and poor latrines expose them to disease, and work with community leaders to create sustainable solutions – which can be as simple as building a lid for a latrine and covering waste with ashes from cooking fires. Top-down approaches that build or subsidize toilets aren’t sustainable over the long term – the GSF approach transforms community standards to create lasting change. This approach is extraordinarily cost-effective, reaching millions of people in remote and vulnerable communities with very modest investments

Sanitation is a national crisis that must be solved on a national scale – that’s what GSF programs are designed to achieve.

Too often, national sanitation programmes fail because they are in a silo in one ministry or organization. GSF requires coordination of all of the actors in a country as a prerequisite for funding – from government agencies to NGOs to international agencies to community leaders. The result is coordinated, efficient action that can be readily scaled up because all key stakeholders are invested in the work.

The Global Sanitation Fund has direct and lasting impact on the lives of millions of people.

Currently, 2.4 billion people, or 40% of the global population, lack access to decent sanitation. Of those, more than a billion defecate in the open.

Diarrheal disease, largely caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of malnutrition, stunting and child mortality, claiming nearly 600,000 under-5 lives every year. Inadequate facilities also affect education and economic productivity and impact the dignity and personal safety of women and girls.

Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the GSF reported an almost 90 percent increase in the number of people living open-defecation free in target regions of 13 countries across Africa and Asia. During this same period, the GSF has also supported a 55 percent increase in the number of people with access to improved toilets in those same areas. The Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to the GSF since its establishment in 2008.