New Series of USAID Briefs Provide Technical Guidance on WASH Programming

Solar-powered pumps deliver reliable water access in South Sudan. Photo credit: Victor Lugala, USAID/South Sudan

USAID’s Water Team is pleased to introduce a new series of technical briefs that provide guidance for developing and implementing water and sanitation activities in support of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID’s plan under the strategy. These are intended to be used by staff working in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, both within and outside of USAID. The first set of technical briefs cover:

  • Rural Water Services
  • Rural Sanitation 
  • WASH and its Links to Nutrition

These briefs draw upon the latest evidence from USAID’s research and learning activities, our ex-post evaluation series, and other WASH sector studies. USAID WASH technical experts developed the briefs to highlight key considerations for activity design on a specific topic and provide recommendations for implementation and monitoring. Each brief puts current practice into context with a discussion of programming approaches that have and have not worked in the past, includes concrete examples from the field, and suggests additional resources for further reading. Readers will have a better understanding of how to put the latest technical guidance into practice in the context of a USAID activity. 

The rural water brief describes the important roles of national governments, service authorities, and service providers in delivering sustainable water services beyond first-time access. It describes various water service delivery models as alternatives to the traditional approach of volunteer community water management committees which has failed to sustain services in the past.

The rural sanitation brief focuses on how to address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors to achieve areawide coverage of sanitation. It also notes the need to leave space for failure and learning, as the sector does not yet have all the answers in this area. 

The brief on WASH and nutrition outcomes summarizes the evidence of how WASH services and behaviors affect nutrition, given recent results from the Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) and WASH Benefits trials. It recommends key approaches to achieving the type of transformational WASH that is likely to lead to benefits for child nutrition.

We hope these briefs are helpful to those designing and implementing WASH programs. Additional briefs will be released in the coming months. Look for new additions on

By Elizabeth Jordan, Water and Sanitation Advisor, USAID RFS Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene 

Publication Date
Population Focus