WASH Network and Finance Partners' Meeting

2-6 September 2019

Students at Madagasar washing their hands

04 September 2019

UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Office is hosting the Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASHNET) and Finance Partners’ Meeting in Nairobi, 2-6 September.

Bringing together key WASH financing partners in the region, including ECHO, European Investment Bank, KfW Development Bank, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the meeting presented prime opportunities for dialogue and a better understanding of the current financing landscape.

Water, sanitation and hygiene related sustainable development goals can only be met if all stakeholders work together to make the qualitative and quantitative leap needed to address critical challenges, particularly in a region like Eastern and Southern Africa, which is characterized by enormous recurrent crises, that affect efforts of both humanitarian and development partners.

“UNICEF and partners are reviewing water, sanitation and hygiene programming in Eastern and Southern Africa, particularly in the context of climate change,” said Bo Viktor Nylund, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “We all witnessed the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai and drought across our region. Our discussions with partners include how to scale up WASH programming at country and regional level, and opportunities for new financing modalities.”

He added,

“Given the current context, we know that doing business as usual, at the same scale, is no longer feasible.”

– Bo Viktor Nylund

Adequate and sustainable financing for WASH is a key factor to enable the achievement of SDG targets 6.1 and 6.2. However, without a well-coordinated effort by all WASH partners to ensure that humanitarian aid and development investments are increased, sustainable and coordinated, most countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region will fall short of their targets.

“The SDGs like the MDGs are extremely ambitious,” said Dr. Klaus Müller, Director for Eastern Africa and African Union, KfW Development Bank. “We see a trend of resources for water supply and sanitation not increasing and at the same time we’re witnessing huge population growth and challenges. KfW and UNICEF can lobby on the importance of WASH to secure more financing for this crucial sector. We should focus on sustainability and look at innovative approaches to generate greater impact existing funds. The inclusion of private sector players, using funds more efficiently and scaling up our activities is the direction in which I would like the KfW UNICEF partnership to go.”

Natalie Vaupel speaks into a microphone
UNICEF ESA/2019/Ofori-Amanfo
Natalie Vaupel, Regional Senior Advisor for Public and Private Partnerships, Eastern and Southern Africa Office, facilitates the partners’ session at the Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network (WASHNET) and Finance Partners’ Meeting in Nairobi.

The regional meeting with key humanitarian and development financing partners also looked at how to strengthen partnerships for WASH in the Eastern and Southern Africa region.

“EIB and UNICEF are looking at the possibility of working together in Malawi and regionally,” said Catherine Collin, Head of Regional Representation for East Africa, European Investment Bank. She explained, “UNICEF’s expertise and strong presence on the ground is highly relevant. As EIB is primarily a lending institution, the preparatory work we’re conducting with UNICEF is key. We need to ensure the bankability and financial sustainability of projects.”

Muhammed Sayed, Specialist for the Climate Finance Unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa said, “There is a need for us to broaden our portfolio. It’s an exciting time for us and our engagement with UNICEF has been very positive. We hope to strengthen our partnership in terms of accessing funding from the green climate funds – which is very much a programmatic approach.”

The Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Network and Finance Partners’ Meeting concludes on 6 September.