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7 Effective Strategies for SDG6: Sustainable Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Solutions

In today's rapidly changing world, where global issues such as climate change and resource scarcity loom large, there is a growing movement of individuals committed to sustainable efforts. One of the most pressing global challenges is ensuring access to clean water, adequate sanitation, and good hygiene practices in developing countries. This mission aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), which aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation

for all by 2030.

To effectively influence water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) efforts in developing countries and meet the targets of SDG 6, a range of strategies and approaches are recommended. In this article, we will explore these strategies with a focus on localized solutions, resource mobilization, innovative systems, effective monitoring, integrated management, addressing gender inequality, and promoting education & awareness.

1. Understanding Local Context

A fundamental pillar of successful WASH initiatives in developing countries is a deep understanding of local contexts. This includes gaining knowledge about the practices, perceptions, and challenges related to WASH in specific communities. By tailoring interventions to the unique circumstances of each region, we can ensure that the solutions put in place are culturally sensitive and effective.

An excellent example of this approach is seen in the case of Indigenous Shawi communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Researchers have demonstrated how localized knowledge and practices can be integrated into WASH programs, leading to more sustainable and culturally appropriate solutions [1]. (Torres-Slimming, 2019)

2. Resource Mobilization

Aggressive mobilization of resources is another critical factor in achieving universal WASH services by 2030. This is particularly crucial for African countries, where many communities are still struggling to meet SDG 6 targets. Adequate funding and resource allocation are essential to building and maintaining the necessary infrastructure and ensuring the sustainability of WASH services [2]. (Nhamo, 2019)

3. Innovative WASH Systems

Traditional water and sanitation practices may not always be suitable for the unique challenges faced in developing countries. To address this, innovative WASH systems that integrate various components such as rainwater harvesting, waterless toilets, and self-cleaning ponds have proven effective. These systems offer sustainable alternatives that can reduce reliance on scarce resources and enhance overall WASH practices [3]. (Han, 2016)

4. Monitoring and Evaluation

Implementing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms is key to the success of WASH initiatives. Innovations in WASH impact measurement, including the use of remote sensing and local sensors, can enhance the effectiveness of interventions. These tools provide real-time data that can help identify areas that require immediate attention and track progress toward SDG 6 targets [4]. (Thomas, 2018)

5. Integrated Management and Collaboration

Addressing water and sanitation challenges in developing countries requires integrated water-resources management, including transboundary cooperation. This approach emphasizes recognizing and promoting the role of civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and technical and informal cooperation. Collaboration among various stakeholders is essential to achieving lasting improvements in WASH services [5]. (Hussein, 2018)

6. Addressing Gender Inequality

Ensuring that WASH programs address gender inequality and empower women and girls is crucial. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by inadequate WASH facilities, and their involvement in decision-making processes can lead to more sustainable and inclusive solutions. By focusing on gender equality, we can create WASH programs that benefit entire communities [6]. (Kayser, 2019)

7. Promoting Education & Awareness

Education and awareness play a vital role in advancing WASH efforts in developing countries. A study titled "Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Research Priorities and Learning Challenges Under Sustainable Development Goal 6" highlights the need for learning and training opportunities in WASH. It emphasizes that improved knowledge and understanding among WASH professionals and communities are essential for achieving Goal 6 [7]. (Setty, 2018)

In Summary

Achieving SDG 6 in developing countries is a complex but achievable goal. It requires a combination of localized solutions, aggressive resource mobilization, innovative systems, robust monitoring and evaluation, integrated management, and a focus on gender equality. These strategies should be tailored to the specific needs and challenges of each region and community.

As educated individuals who believe in sustainable efforts, we can play a crucial role in supporting and advocating for these strategies. By working together, we can contribute to a world where clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are accessible to all, and where the goals of SDG 6 become a reality for every community in need.


[1]. Torres-Slimming, P., Wright, C., Cárcamo, C., García, P., Team, I., & Harper, S. (2019). Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: A Mixed Methods Study of Health-Related Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) for Indigenous Shawi in the Peruvian Amazon. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16.

[2]. Nhamo, G., Nhemachena, C., & Nhamo, S. (2019). Is 2030 too soon for Africa to achieve the water and sanitation sustainable development goal?. The Science of the total environment, 669, 129-139 .

[3]. Han, M., Hashemi, S., Joo, S., & Kim, T. (2016). Novel integrated systems for controlling and prevention of mosquito-borne diseases caused by poor sanitation and improper water management. Journal of environmental chemical engineering, 4, 3718-3723.

[4]. Thomas, E., Andrés, L., Borja-Vega, C., & Sturzenegger, G. (2018). Innovations in WASH Impact Measures. World Bank Publications, 1-123.

[5]. Hussein, H., Menga, F., & Greco, F. (2018). Monitoring Transboundary Water Cooperation in SDG 6.5.2: How a Critical Hydropolitics Approach Can Spot Inequitable Outcomes. Sustainability.

[6]. Kayser, G., Rao, N., Jose, R., & Raj, A. (2019). Water, sanitation and hygiene: measuring gender equality and empowerment. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 97, 438 - 440.

[7]. Setty, K., Jiménez, A., Willetts, J., Leifels, M., & Bartram, J. (2018). Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Research Priorities and Learning Challenges Under Sustainable Development Goal 6. Decision-Making in Public Policy & the Social Good eJournal.


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