The search for workable solutions to realise universal sanitation access is a collective one. From 1-3 April 2019, WASH stakeholders gathered in San José Costa Rica for LATINOSAN: the Latin American Conference on Sanitation. Embarking on a search for region-wide solutions to increase drinking water and wastewater treatment coverage – in accordance with the SDGs – sustainable methods of management served as the focus of the discussion.
During the three-day conference, interesting experiences in policies, institutional management models and financing efforts to increase and sustain access to water supply and sanitation were shared. For sector change to be realised, key LATINOSAN take-aways include calls to improve availability of sector information, tap women’s power and knowledge, and continue fostering partnerships.
Timely and up-to-date sector information
Region-wide, information is lacking, and incremental progress in water and sanitation coverage is seldom tracked. Though important advances are being realised in some countries, limited knowledge on what has been delivered and who reaps the benefits, for example, make WASH planning for local level supply and demand cumbersome. Part of SNV’s Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) integrated approach contributes to strengthening monitoring systems and improving data collection. Following years of implementation, early this year, SNV made its performance monitoring framework for rural sanitation available to the public.
The pertinent role rural women play
Rural women have long been excluded from public decision making spaces. Not only do they have the right to influence development agendas, the traditional roles they perform make them an important source of knowledge. Rural women’s close connection with natural resources and the active role they play in the household’s/ community’s overall wellbeing and development, make them excellent managers and partners in WASH. SNV has significant regional experience working with indigenous populations, including women. Our Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP) programme, for example, help develop women’s capacities to influence and shape public policies and priorities in ways that address their specific needs. Learn more about V4CP's work in Latin America below (only available in Spanish).
Strengthening WASH alliances
During LATINOSAN, SNV joined the WASH sector in welcoming the launch of SuSaNa’s regional chapter in Latin America. SuSaNa (also known as the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance) is a global sanitation network and think tank with over 10,000 members and 330 partner organisations organisations worldwide. The presence of the SuSaNa regional chapter in Latin America is a welcome development that places WASH – once again – in the radar of the region’s development planning.
Statistics predict that universal access to improved sanitation is set to be achieved by Latin America’s urban areas by 2022. As rural areas continue to lag behind – with a forecast of 88% access by 2030 – SNV sets its hopes on renewed efforts to shape the future of WASH, placing sustainability and the strengthened role of national and local authorities high on the agenda.