Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
Improving water, sanitation and hygiene in Eswatini
Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival of Eswatini children. Water and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death for children under five years of age.
Achieving universal access to drinking water and sanitation by 2030 will be challenging given current levels of investment, coordination, national partnerships and climate variability. Influencing national behavior change toward good hygiene practice and ending open defecation remain a national challenge. Eswatini has clear gap in the access between Urban Rural communities and growing informal settlement around the urban centers.
Projections by the WASH joint monitoring programme report (2019) by The World Health Organization and UNICEF found that only 69 per cent of ESwatini’s’ population have access to basic water services and only 58% have access to sanitary services (11 per cent open defecation) and hygiene access using hand washing as a proxy indicator only 24 per cent of Eswatini households practice handwashing.
Eswatini, under Sustainable Development Goal 6, has committed itself to achieve by 2030 universal and equitable access to safe and affordable water for all; access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and by 2023 an end to open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
In 2017, the Ministry of Education reported that 11 per cent of the schools did not have access to water supply and of those with water supply 80 per cent had access to Safe water supply and 20 per cent had an undefines water source. Of the available toilets in schools are 43 per cent girls, 44 per cent boys and 12 per cent mixed.
UNICEF Eswatini Country Programme 2021 – 2025 will work to increase the proportion of households free of open defecation and increased positive hygiene behavior focusing on handwashing with water and soap including in schools and health centers. Strengthen and increase national partnership towards achieve SDG 6. The immediate work will focus on the implementation of the national policies endorsed in 2020.
UNICEF in Action, 2016 - 2020
UNICEF supported enabling environment or Sanitation by supporting development of Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy and ODF Protocol, strong advocacy for the endorsed Sanitation and Hygiene policy. Supported government to launch the End Open defecation program by demonstrating the use and quality assurance of the ODF Protocol and processes.
UNICEF advocated for the finalization and adoption of the national Water Policy which was launched in 2020. To promote hygiene behavior, change UNICEF provided technical support to the pilot hygiene behavior change operational research and the development of evidence informed communication IEC materials.
To enhance the sector accountability UNICEF has supported the SWA initiative with country with strong involvement of both sector Ministers and CO Representative. This has formed a strong base for building a national partnership for WASH to achieve SDG6.
With support from ESARO the country conducted and national WASH Financing Study which has been used to also develop a WASH budget brief which are advocacy tools to be used by sector leads to lobby for increased WASH Investment form Public and Private sector funds.