The WASH Foundation Joins the UN Global WASH Cluster

The WASH Foundation has some exciting news – as of April 2018, we have officially become one of the select few nonprofit organizations to be a member of the United Nations Global WASH Cluster (GWC)! It’s truly an honor to be a part of such an impactful group of organizations. The United Nations has multiple groups working under their massive umbrella, and keeping track of how everything works can be confusing. Here’s how the GWC fits in:

The United Nations (UN) is a powerful International Intergovernmental Organization with a nearly universal membership of all the world’s countries. With an agenda encompassing the broadest range of global governance issues to match, the United Nations is often regarded as the epitome of international cooperation. It was established at the end of World War II in 1945 to avoid future conflicts and promote international economic and social cooperation. The scope of the UN agenda can best be illustrated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a list of international issues to be addressed and achieved by 2030. This list tackles everything from climate change to global health to conflict resolution:

United Nations Global WASH Cluster Sustainable Goals

Think the UN has a lot on their plate? Anyone looking at this list would. However, the United Nations is made up of multiple programs, funds, specialized agencies, and clusters that come together and focus on each area in order to find solutions as efficiently as possible. The Global WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) Cluster (GWC) is one of those groups that meets frequently to tackle the SDG goal surrounding water and sanitation. The Global WASH Cluster is made up of a couple dozen international nonprofit member organizations, all with extensive knowledge and experience with everything WASH. 

Led by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) the Global WASH Cluster helps establish global protocols, priorities, and strategies for WASH efforts worldwide. This group leaves no issue unnoticed; from digging wells to distributing soap, building latrines to teaching communities proper hygiene practices, you name it! While the protocols for these WASH components are talked about, the GWC places top priority on WASH in Emergency Relief. The GWC website states: “The GWC is committed to (1) supporting agencies providing WASH services to those affected by emergencies, (2) ensuring the quality and coherence of the assistance, and (3) ensuring that the assistance is provided in a manner that is equitable, culturally acceptable and protects the dignity of the populations affected by crises.” 

In all, the GWC really takes care of business in the WASH department, and they are far reaching too. To ensure the most vulnerable are receiving the attention needed, each year the Global WASH Cluster creates a list of focus countries to prioritize work in. This year those on the list include traditionally overlooked countries such as Somalia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria, and many others. Working in areas affected by both natural and humanitarian crises, and overseeing a dozen regional clusters worldwide, the Global WASH Cluster skillfully handles international crises. 

The WASH Foundation is proud to be a member of this group and have a voice in addressing WASH-related issues and emergencies globally. We are excited to contribute to the programs and partnerships within the GWC, and we look forward to enhancing our own WASH programming as a result of the collaborations and projects that emerge.  Stay tuned in the coming months for more updates from the UN and our WASH programs around the world!

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