Illustrative Results

Water for the World Wins

Sometimes success is hard-earned on the policy front. After six years of strategic education, outreach, and collaboration by staff from Interaction and its Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Working Group, the Water for the World Act was signed into law December 19, 2014. Part of the secret? Tenacious relationships.

Clean water, proper sanitation, and good hygiene are critical to the success of virtually every aspect of international development – and very worth six years of collaborative effort. The act helps ensure that water and sanitation funding is directed to the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world, that the funding produces better results, and that the related decision-making and investments are more transparent.

Clean water, proper sanitation, and good hygiene are critical to the success of virtually every aspect of international development.

Worldwide, 748 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation. Each dollar invested returns about $4.00 through increased productivity and decreased health care costs – underscoring why InterAction and members created an enduring force for change that helped press the legislation to passage.

Interaction and staff from over 80 non-governmental and faith-based organizations provided advice and expertise to the House and Senate champions drafting the legislation, shared input on specific legislative language, and guidance on the impact that legislative language would have on programs for people around the world in need of potable water. Staff built sector and public support through focused discussions and outreach. They assuaged concerns by communicating field needs and realities to USAID and the State Department. They raised congressional awareness and support to the point that over 100 congressional offices agreed to co-sponsor the legislation. And they convinced House and Senate leadership to move the legislation forward. This effort spanned input from aid workers lending their expertise regarding field impact to legislative liaisons of NGOs engaging with Hill staff, and board members and CEOs participating in targeted outreach to media and grassroots.

Photo: Sofia Martins