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Global study on external perceptions of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • Global study on external perceptions of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

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Sanitation and Water for All
Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) is a global partnership of governments, donors, civil society organizations and other development partners working together to coordinate high-level action, improve accountablity.

SWA released the findings of a global study on external perceptions of water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as barriers to driving political prioritization and investment.  

Conducted by Browning Environmental Communications, the study gathered insights from 200 decision-makers across climate, health, human rights, humanitarian response and economic development sectors. 

Catarina de Albuquerque, SWA CEO, said: "The UN Sustainable Development Goals – from climate action to gender equality and economic growth – are deeply intertwined and are intended to be achieved together. However, often decision-makers ineffectively pursue one goal at the expense of others. We can’t achieve climate goals if countries are facing water scarcity, or gender equality when women and girls are blocked from education and employment opportunities due to the lack of period-friendly sanitation. We need to change our mindsets, the way we act, the way we plan and work if we want to achieve the world we want."

In an effort to change external perceptions, the SWA-commissioned study delves into the key concerns that many external decision-makers have, from worrying that investment in water, sanitation and hygiene will detract from reaching their own sector goals to external influences like political election cycles. 

It also offers eight key recommendations to strengthen advocacy efforts with other sectors, as well as key messaging which is likely to resonate more effectively with political leaders. 

Recommendations include better reflecting the cost-benefits of investing in water, sanitation and hygiene, demonstrating how cross-sector partnerships can realize ambitious development agendas, and highlighting links to safety and security, in particular for marginalized groups such as women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other vulnerable groups. 

Catarina de Albuquerque added: “We hope this study helps improve advocacy efforts among water, sanitation and hygiene organizations worldwide. The only way we can truly achieve sustainable development and leave no one behind is by working together.

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