More Than Just Toilets: Report on USAID’s Response to the Global Sanitation Challenge, 2015. USAID.
Improving sanitation can have a significant impact on health, the economy, and personal security and dignity, especially for women and girls. Investments in sanitation reduce health care costs and boost productivity, as time available for work and school increases.
Despite these compelling benefits, the world did not meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7c of halving the number of people without access to improved sanitation between 1990 and 2015. The slow progress in sanitation access is related to some daunting challenges. Sanitation is not a glamorous topic, is often overlooked, difficult to discuss, and in many cultures considered taboo. Sanitation generally suffers from a lack of political prioritization, particularly when compared with drinking water.
USAID’s efforts to address sanitation inequalities and access issues focus on sustainably improving sanitation services beyond just the provision of latrines. Sanitation is closely linked to issues of safe drinking water and hygiene, and USAID’s programs and funding for sanitation activities are bundled together under the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) key issue.