Viewpoint: It’s Time To Bring Equity to the Fore in WASH Programming
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the large, persistent inequities in access to WASH services based on geography, income, gender, disability, and minority group status. Vulnerable groups have borne the brunt of COVID-19, with a higher likelihood of exposure, severe disease, and secondary impacts. If the push to reach everyone with available and sustainable WASH services by 2030 becomes a competition between implementers to find the lowest hanging fruit, and governments are graded only on aggregate achievements, inequality will only worsen. The Joint Monitoring Program should be applauded for focusing with renewed intensity on inclusive access to WASH services in the Sustainable Development Goals, but equity requires strategic and operational changes by governments, funders, and practitioners alike to ensure that no one is left behind.
Putting the focus on WASH for all
World Vision’s 2021-2025 Global WASH Business Plan considers equity at its very core, aiming to achieve transformative WASH services for the most vulnerable by taking a district-wide universal coverage approach to WASH access. Our goal is to partner with governments to develop more than 300 district plans in 38 countries over the next five years, pushing for safely managed access wherever possible and choosing to open new operating areas only in the areas of highest need. Our current business plan commits us to not go after the lowest hanging fruit — for example, the easiest locations to access or areas where progress may be easier to achieve. Instead, we are using high-resolution population data and GIS to reach the most vulnerable communities.