Ensuring quality access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all remains a global challenge, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where most of the 633 million people who lack access to improved drinking water and the 2.4 billion that lack access to basic sanitation services live.
Existing water and sanitation systems and the regulatory frameworks that apply to them aren’t making progress fast enough to address the WASH needs of a rapidly growing global population. Without breakthroughs that will allow us to make progress more rapidly, the WASH-related challenges faced by people in low- and middle-income countries — including malnutrition, missed school days, psycho-social stressors and preventable deaths — will be exacerbated.
R4D’s innovation-centric focus in WASH stems from the reality that the WASH sector has historically seen lower investments in paradigm-shifting experimental innovations — technological, policy and regulatory, or behavioral and social breakthroughs — than other sectors in development.
We recognize that local change agents are best suited to address the WASH-related challenges in the places they work, but also know that they often lack the connections to the right kinds of support to boost and scale their homegrown solutions. We focus on mobilizing opportunities for funding, learning and visibility to help bring innovative WASH programs to scale.
Photo ©Jim Holmes for AusAID