Good governance is essential to deliver the basic human rights to water and sanitation. We work with governments and key stakeholders at all levels to make a lasting difference.

To reach everyone, everywhere with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene by 2030, several different elements need to be in place:

  • strong political commitment
  • enabling policy frameworks
  • inclusive processes of implementation
  • mechanisms for public participation
  • effective and efficient services

Good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) governance involves making the right decisions for the sector and implementing them effectively. It requires balancing power relations and improving the processes by which decisions are made.

In many of the countries where we work, efforts to improve WASH services are held back by poor governance and infrastructure. Political and social factors often mean resources are spread unequally across districts, regions and states. And even within well-served areas, people who are marginalised, vulnerable or who live in poverty can be excluded from services. This may be because they cannot access the platforms where members of the public can provide feedback on WASH services, or because water and sanitation service providers lack transparency and accountability, or do not respond to issues.

Working with national and local governments, we make a lasting difference to people’s lives. Promoting the human rights to water and sanitation, thorough planning, good coordination and effective monitoring are all critical – and therefore key focus areas of our work.

System strengthening for inclusive and lasting WASH

Supporting strong WASH systems make good governance a reality and ensure gains deliver benefits to everyone in society, now and into the future. In this report, we share practical experiences of system strengthening for more inclusive and sustainable WASH services.

Shumail Bhatti interacting with community members in Nooh Bhatti, Province Sindh, Pakistan.
Image: WaterAid/ Sibtain Haider

Our approach

Improving governance of the WASH sector is central to making clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere. We work with governments and local partners and help build their capacity to improve WASH services and keep them running.

Through our policy, practice and advocacy work, we strengthen the sector and drive change nationally and globally. Our WASH projects, combined with our wider policy and research work, mean we can make a difference beyond the immediate areas of our programmes.

The rights to water and sanitation are enshrined in international law, so we also empower citizens to hold their states accountable for delivering these essential services and realising their basic human rights.

Latest blogs and resources

Top image: Muluken Wondirad (left), a utility manager in Debre Tabor Town Water Supply and Sewerage Services, and Fente Tadele (right) store officer, working in the utility’s store in Amhara Region, Ethiopia, February 2023.

Page last updated: April 2024