Strengthening Sanitation and Hygiene in the WASH Systems Conceptual Framework

Gensch, R., Tillett, W. (2020)

Published in: 2020
Pages: 32

German Toilet Organisation, Berlin, Germany.

Gensch, R., Tillett, W.

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German Toilet Organization


The Sustainable Services Initiative (SSI) of Welthungerhilfe (WHH) seeks to strengthen the sustainability of its WASH programming through adopting systems strengthening approaches and seeks to add value to wider sector efforts in systems strengthening, through participation in movements such as Agenda for Change (A4C). The SSI is primarily financed by Viva con Agua and WHH with technical support from Aguaconsult and German Toilet Organisation.

The genesis of this paper was during the kick-off workshop of the SSI, when WHH country teams received orientation to concepts of WASH systems and systems strengthening. Participants remarked on the apparent ‘water bias’ of what was being presented, and the SSI technical team was subsequently tasked to revise the tools and conceptual framework used in the SSI to better address sanitation and hygiene. Indeed, the sentiments from the workshop participants reflect the wider position of those working at WASH systems globally at the time. It was agreed that a discussion paper be developed, not only for the SSI’s internal purposes, but also to contribute to the wider sector debate around how to better capture sanitation and hygiene in WASH systems thinking and approaches.

This discussion paper reflects the SSI’s evolving thinking on this topic, particularly on questions such as: what are
key differences between water supply, sanitation and hygiene that may affect approaches to systems strengthening?; are conceptual frameworks and concepts for ‘WASH’ systems fully applicable to all three WASH sub-sectors?; if not, what adaptations are needed?, and; what examples are there of systems strengthening that are specific to sanitation and hygiene? The paper seeks to prompt and contribute to sector discussions and add to the available documentation on this somewhat neglected topic. It does not aim to be the definitive word on sanitation and hygiene systems strengthening, nor does it seek to prescribe specific concepts and frameworks to the wider sector.

Bibliographic information

Gensch, R., Tillett, W. (2020). Strengthening Sanitation and Hygiene in the WASH Systems Conceptual Framework. German Toilet Organisation, Berlin, Germany.

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Discussion paper: Strengthening Sanitation and Hygiene in the WASH Systems Conceptual Framework

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Strengthening Sanitation and Hygiene in the WASH Systems Conceptual Framework Executive Summary

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