USAID prioritizes extending water and sanitation services to the world’s most vulnerable communities. Every year the Agency undertakes a thorough assessment to determine which countries would benefit most from its investments. Last year eight new countries—Ghana, India, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Senegal, and Tanzania—joined Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Uganda as the primary recipients of U.S. foreign assistance related to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). On November 6, 2020, USAID announced that all 18 FY 2020–designated high-priority countries (HPC) would remain on the list for the coming fiscal year.
USAID is pleased to officially launch evidence-based, results-oriented, and costed (budgets included) Water for the World Country Plans for each of its new HPCs under the Water for the World Act of 2014. The Act identifies the following criteria for selecting its HPCs: 1) their level of need; 2) the host government’s commitment, capacity, and ability to work with the United States; 3) opportunities to leverage U.S. support with the private sector and other donor partners; and 4) the likelihood of making significant improvements in the health, educational, and economic opportunities available to women and girls.
As USAID’s new Global Water Coordinator, I have had the privilege to see first hand how our Agency’s WASH country plans are being put into action to help achieve global water security and fuel greater self-reliance in the communities we serve. For instance, in Senegal this past December, I met with women entrepreneurs who are working to increase sanitation services. As trained sales agents, these women market an affordable latrine product for lower-income households. They work alongside customers every step of the way to enable them to install and pay for sanitation improvements, bringing a new-found dignity to families and communities.
While the country plans could never fully reflect the depth of the Agency’s ongoing and planned programming that I have enjoyed seeing first-hand, the plans do provide relevant stakeholders with a high-level overview of how USAID will seek to work with development partners, host-country governments, local entrepreneurs, and others to promote sustainable water and sanitation service delivery.
The plans will also serve as a critical tool to advance WASH programming to facilitate prevention and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Agency recently announced a $10 million extension of our flagship WASH finance investment, WASH-FIN, to help other countries expand access to safe water and mobilize financing to ensure adequate WASH services for all.
If you are interested in exploring the details of USAID WASH programming beyond the new plans, visit us on Globalwaters.org. You can access WASH–related data and results for each country where USAID works on our country pages and also browse country-specific USAID activities, connect with Mission social media accounts, find links to relevant publications and resources, and more.
By Jennifer Mack, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Food Security and Global Water Coordinator