FY2016 Funding Recommendation:
President's FY2016 Request
InterAction's FY2016 Recommendation
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are critical to the success of virtually every aspect of international development: global health, education, food security, agriculture, nutrition, child survival, women’s empowerment, and environmental conservation. Worldwide, 748 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation.
Although the global community reached the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people living without access to safe drinking water by 2015, this same goal for sanitation is the farthest off-track of all the MDGs. At current rates of investment, the sanitation goal is not expected to be achieved until 2026. Researchers estimate $29 billion is needed from all sources (including governments and public- and private-sector donors) annually to reach the MDG for sanitation and continue improving safe drinking water sources for the world’s water-poor. Investing in WASH yields tangible results. According to recent research, each dollar invested returns about $4.00 through increased productivity and decreased health care costs.
Our recommended $42.5 million increase for U.S. WASH investment in FY2016 could provide access to sustainable drinking water and sanitation services to an additional 425,000 people. Contributions from NGOs, faith-based organizations, and corporations multiply and amplify the impact of these funds.
Together, these investments improve global economic stability and help prevent threats identified in the 2012 Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security which noted that “water problems will contribute to instability in states important to U.S. national security interests.” It also highlighted the importance of U.S. leadership in moving developing countries toward sound water management policies at the local, national and regional levels.
Water and local governance in Afghanistan
Sare Hawz, a village of 1,000 people, is three hours’ walk from the district center in northern Afghanistan, but getting closer to needed services.
Most village residents raise crops or livestock, but water is scarce. The community prioritized two basic infrastructure needs: a safe water supply and electric power.
Shair Zai leads the local committee that connects Sare Hawz to the National Solidarity Program (NSP), which Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) helps to implement through a U.S. State Department-funded program. The program is funded with $4 million from the State Department and $600,000 in-kind from AKF. By growing the skills of community leaders like Shair through training and micro-grants, the program directly touches over 11,300 people; broadly it helps 2.5 million forge better links to provincial-level government.
Under Afghanistan’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, NSP gives decision-making about resources directly to villages while it lays a foundation for local governance. Each community prioritizes requests for project funding through a community-wide planning process. Communities elect local groups known as Community Development Committees to design and execute the projects.
Four years after they organized with AKF’s help, Shair’s committee had designed and built a water supply system. “Before implementing the water supply project, we used river water,” Shair recalls, “which caused great sickness, including diarrhea, stomach ache, and cholera.”
Shair’s committee then applied to an NGO to establish a mini-hydro electric plant, which produces 50 kilowatt hours and irrigates almost 150 acres of cropland. Crop sales raised local living standards by 15%.
With project support, Shair’s community gained water and power. They addressed other local priorities too, establishing a grove of fruit trees. Now they feel they can set priorities and independently get support from public and private sources to make their initiatives happen.
Photo Credit: Aga Khan Foundation