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WaterAid regularly produces materials about policy and practice in WASH.
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Wild Water

Climate change manifests itself mainly as water change. Unpredictable weather patterns – referred to here as ‘wild water’ – mean more storm surges, ruinous flooding, prolonged droughts and contaminated water sources.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warns extreme weather events like thesewill become increasingly common.

That is bad news for the world’s poorest people.

Overflowing cities

Human beings are now largely an urban species: for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population (54%, or 3.9 billion people) lives in towns, cities and megacities. By 2050, that’s expected to rise to two-thirds.

Many new urbanites, and particularly the poorest, are not moving into gleaming apartment blocks or regenerated postindustrial areas. They are arriving – or being born into – overcrowded, rapidly expanding slums. Economic growth is usually driven by urbanization, and all industrialized countries already have a mostly urban population. This means that nearly all the current urban population growth is happening in developing countries.

UN Habitat estimates that more than one-third of the developing world’s urban population – over 863 million people – live in slums.

Often, city planning and infrastructure building have been unable to keep pace.

Menstrual hygiene matters

Menstrual hygiene matters (15MB, please allow time for download) is an essential resource for improving menstrual hygiene for women and girls in lower and middle-income countries. Nine modules and toolkits cover key aspects of menstrual hygiene in different settings, including communities, schools and emergencies. This comprehensive resource:

  • Brings together examples of good menstrual hygiene practice from around the world
  • Provides guidance on building competence and confidence to break the silence surrounding the issue
  • Encourages increased engagement in advocacy on menstrual hygiene

Menstrual hygiene matters - low res (PDF)

  • Download Menstrual hygiene matters - complete report (15MB, web-friendly, please allow time for download)
  • Download the introduction only
  • Download individual modules and toolkits from the report in low resolution:                                    

VIDEO: Making the invisible visible


VIDEO: Managing menstruation in rural Bangladesh

An agenda for change

An agenda for change: achieving universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030

The agreement of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030 requires a fundamental change in the way we in the sector work.

Delivering positive change in sector performance necessitates a system-wide approach that tackles all dimensions of the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector as whole. This will require a reform agenda, based on a sound understanding of the political economy, at three levels of decision making: city or district, national and global.

Recognising that we will achieve more by working together, this paper sets out some of the necessary principles that should guide our approach at each level, in order to ensure permanent water and sanitation services for all.

Lessons from East Asia

This discussion paper presents the findings from research in East Asian states on the political economy of sanitation and hygiene services which delivered total coverage within a generation.

Lessons from the 2015 Nepal earthquake response

On 25 April and 12 May 2015, two huge earthquakes hit Nepal, killing 9,000 people, injuring 22,000, and depriving half a million families of their homes. WaterAid provided emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support to communities. Having our staff and projects affected so deeply and deploying an emergency response are both exceptional events for WaterAid, so we conducted a learning review in September 2015. This brief presents the key lessons.

Water: At What Cost?

Today, more than 650 million people are living without access to an ‘improved’ source of drinking water. The price paid by these communities – in wasted income, ill-health, and lost productivity – is extremely high, and has a devastating impact from the family to the national level. This report reveals the worst affected countries in the world, as well as the most improved, and calls on governments to take urgent action.

Low-income Customer Support Units case studies

Over the last decade, it has become common knowledge that residents of low-income urban communities are paying for effective, affordable pro-poor WASH services. A few smart utilities have pioneered ways of providing viable inclusive services.

WaterAid has worked with some of these utilities over the last two decades, resulting in a win-win scenario for both customer and utility. In recent times, more utilities have approached WaterAid for similar support to help them establish specialized Low-income Customer Support Units.

WaterAid has compiled a set of case studies to explore how utilities have set up and sustained successful Low-income Customer Support Units in urban areas. It is hoped that this will deepen understanding and share lessons on the critical context and professional conditions necessary to establish successful pro-poor units.

We draw on the experiences of utilities through three case studies in Uganda, Malawi and Bangladesh, and desk research in Zambia and Kenya.

Briefing on Global Goals indicators (January 2016)

Malawi Country Program Evaluation