Working Group 9
Public Awareness, Advocacy and Civil Society Engagement

Sanitation competes with other agendas which are more captivating. The objective of Working Group 9 (formerly "Sanitation as a business and public awareness") is to put sanitation centre-stage for media, the public, and government decision makers and to position its products and services as attractive lifestyle choices.

Discussions of the on-going sanitation crisis have until recently involved only professionals. Decision makers and affluent classes tend to pay little attention to the situation of those who struggle daily with inadequate sanitation. Western media that regularly cover topics such as climate change and water scarcity are reluctant to cover the “taboo topic” of sanitation.  The need to reach the public, the press, and policy makers worldwide is the challenge addressed by Working Group 9.

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Working Group 9 highlights information and messages that mobilise and motivate communities and provides tools for effective advocacy. We follow awareness raising activities, highlight practices that promote sustainable sanitation options and illustrates their use in local and global markets, especially for the poor. Behaviour change and shifting attitudes in favor of sanitation are key components of this advocacy. Encouraging participation in World Toilet Day and sharing information on opportunities to join current advocacy programs or campaigns are among Working Group 9 activities.

We seek to engage communities and local governments from the Global South and the Global North on the scope and scale of the challenges, from the 2.5 billion without toilets to the vulnerability of those served by large, inadequately maintained sewer infrastructure. We support the advocacy efforts of civil society and community-based organizations by working through the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance to provide tools and information.

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Working Group Leads

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WTO, Singapore

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