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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Conservation in Africa
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS


WASH projects can play a greater role in improving the lives of people while protecting freshwater dependent species and resources. Given the existing disparities in access to clean water across the globe, this project focuses on African countries. While globally incredible progress has been made towards achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) concerning access to safe drinking water, huge disparities still exist. This MDG also includes a sanitation target to halve the proportion of people without access to sanitation by 2015, but unfortunately that is lagging behind and is even considered one of the most off track of all the MDGs. At the same time, Africas environmental sustainability is under threat, with natural resources under intense pressure due to human-induced threats such as population growth, human migration, water scarcity, and unsustainable natural resource management practices.

The goal for this task was to build the evidence base for how Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and freshwater ecosystem conservation projects can achieve simultaneous health and environment goals through more holistic, integrated approaches. Since World Water Day in March 2011, several conservation organizations, including CI, TNC and WWF, have been collaborating with a number of development organizations specializing in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to promote integrated approaches to improve freshwater conservation and human well-being. The rationale underpinning this multi-sectoral collaboration is that humans depend upon healthy freshwater ecosystems for sustaining the provision of multiple services over the medium and longer termincluding providing drinking water, sanitation and hygiene benefits. Ecosystem services support some 126,000 species, and these systems can be affected by WASH projects either degraded or enhanced depending on how they are designed and implemented.

With input from ABCG members, the InterAction WASH Working Group, and other connections within those networks, CI drafted a Terms of Reference and outline for a consultant to produce a white paper with syntheses of conservation NGO, USAID and other development group or agency case studies that make a compelling case for integrating conservation and WASH projects to USAID and WASH advocacy groups initially. David Bonnardeaux, a consultant based in Zimbabwe who has worked with both the WASH and biodiversity conservation sectors, was selected to write the white paper.

Activities & Achievements

FY 2014 Activities and Accomplishments:

With the Task's stated goal of "... improv[ing] the ability of organizations working in sub-Saharan Africa on WASH and freshwater ecosystem conservation to plan, monitor, implement and evaluate the outcomes of integrated projects intended to achieve simultaneous health and environment goals." the team, including Conservation International (CI), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) set out to convene a brainstorming workshop with counterparts in the WASH and development sectors from countries including Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The objective was to generate and disseminate integrated M&E indicators for freshwater conservation and WASH programming.

CI, AWF and TNC convened and concluded a successful workshop resulting in participants reacheing agreement on a draft M&E framework and indicators for integrated programming, producing the report 'ABCG Freshwater Conservation and WASH Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and Indicators'. In addition, the complete workshop report is available as 'USAID and ABCG—Integrated Indicators for Freshwater Conservation and Wash Workshop Report'.

FY 2013 Activities and Accomplishments:

CI and TNC have shared the lead in preparing a two-day workshop in Washington, DC in May 2013. Participants included ABCG member organization representatives, WASH practitioners, and other NGOs working in Sub-Saharan Africa. The workshop raised awareness of integrated approaches and to gather content for the guidelines. After the workshop, several participants drafted the guidelines chapters, with the final product being launched at an event in early December 2013 titled: “Freshwater Conservation and WASH Integration Guidelines: A Framework for Implementation in sub-Saharan Africa”.

During the summer, the guidelines were featured at two international conferences in multiple events. The first was at World Water Week 2013 in Stockholm where the guidelines were featured in two seminars, Nature Based Solutions: Opportunities for Collaboration and Collaboration in Watershed Management and Conservation. The guidelines were also highlighted in the Monday World Water Week Daily. The second event was the WILD10 conference in Salamanca, Spain in October 2013. A workshop titled Nature for Health was sponsored by WASH Advocates, the Millennium Water Alliance and CI and outcomes were featured on the WASH Advocates blog.

FY 2012 Activities and Accomplishments:

Key results in FY2012 include:

News & Related Resources

November 2020 Quarterly News Digest

The November 2020 Quarterly News Digest features the latest news of The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG). This issue highlights how organizations can and should embrace integration to help people and nature build back better from the effects of Covid-19.

Eight Steps for Creating an Effective Advocacy Strategy for Positive Conservation Outcomes

Water, poverty and environmental quality are closely linked. Across Africa, vulnerable groups are exposed to environmental risk factors such as unsafe water and climate change. Recognizing that the sustainability of freshwater resources and safe drinking water projects depend on conservation of the watershed, many conservation, health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) actors have come together to address the need for integrated planning processes for freshwater conservation and WASH at the district level.

USAID and ABCG - Integrated Indicators for Freshwater Conservation and WASH - slide presentations

30 December 2014

Welcome presentations:  1. The ABC’s of ABCG, Kamweti Mutu Integrated projects – objectives, partners and indicators used: 2. Tuungane Project - Petro Masolwa, The Nature Conservancy 3...

USAID & ABCG - Integrated Indicators for Freshwater Conservation & WASH Workshop Report

9 October 2014

Full workshop report held at AWF, July 15 - 17th 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya

Highlights from the Integrated Freshwater Conservation and WASH M&E Workshop

ABCG members AWF, CI and TNC held a workshop for African conservation, health & development practitioners to design a Monitoring & Evaluation framework for projects that integrate WASH and freshwater conservation. Highlights from the workshop, including the draft Integrated Freshwater Conservation and WASH M&E Framework and Indicators were presented with disucssioins.

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