19.11.2015, Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. Toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school.
Access to water and sanitation is a human right. Schoolchildren washing their hands in front of the toilet facilities at the Ruware primary school in Chiredzi District, Zimbabwe. © Andreas Steiner, SDC

Today, around 844 million people have no access to safe drinking water. The SDC is working to ensure that people have reliable supplies of drinking water and adequate sanitation. Recognised as a human right since 2010, access to drinking water and sanitation are essential to meeting basic human needs.

SDC focus

Water is common property, and access to drinking water and sanitation is a human right. The SDC works to ensure that people have adequate supply of drinking water and access to sanitation and treatment plants enabling them to maintain adequate hygiene. Switzerland has extensive expertise in the field of water that is recognised across the globe and supports a range of activities:

  • applied research and innovation
  • financing to improve access to water and wastewater disposal worldwide
  • developing new approaches to services and new partnerships with the private sector (water stewardship)
  • upscaling of infrastructure programmes. It also provides capacity building and training to ensure that facilities function properly.

The SDC brings the practical experience it has gained to political dialogue between governments, the private sector and civil society in order to promote mutual learning and support the implementation of workable, sustainable solutions.

Background

According to the UN, around 844 million people currently have no access to drinking water. Furthermore, 2.3 billion people live without adequate sanitation facilities and 892 million still practice open defecation. Poor sanitation conditions alone cause 80% of the diseases prevalent in developing countries. Around the world, 1,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhoeal diseases as a result of drinking contaminated water. However, in many cases the problem is not due to a shortage of water as such but rather to the absence of national and international funding commitments to provide access to water of suitable quality where it is needed. For that reason, the SDC seeks to cooperate with all stakeholders in developing a system that in the long term will enable everyone to enjoy access to clean drinking water.

Documents

Current projects

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UNICEF, EMOPS Geneva, Core Contribution 2024-2025

01.01.2024 - 31.12.2025

The Office of Emergency Programmes (EMOPS) ensures that the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) role in complex emergencies is clearly defined, the organization properly equipped and prepared to deliver its mandate to support the needs of children. SDC’s support to EMOPS in Geneva enables UNICEF to lead inter-agency humanitarian coordination, response and standard setting in Water and Sanitation (WASH), Education, Nutrition and Child Protection.


Colombia: MIRE+, Assistance to Victims of Violence

01.10.2023 - 31.03.2025

The humanitarian crisis in Colombia continues despite growing efforts towards peace. Armed groups fighting for territory and valuable natural resources inflict extreme harm on rural and ethnic communities. In line with the Swiss interest to respond to humanitarian crises, SDC remains dedicated to supporting these communities, enhancing their individual and collective resilience. The project integrates humanitarian action with a developmental and peace orientation (nexus).


Humanitarian assistance to people affected by the protracted crisis in Venezuela

01.09.2023 - 31.12.2024

Despite a moderate recovery in some economic indicators during 2022, the Venezuelan economy continues to contract during 2023. Meanwhile, there is no improvement in the structural causes of the humanitarian crisis. As a result, the needs of the most vulnerable are still high. Therefore, Caritas aims to facilitate access on health, nutrition, food security and livelihoods, for vulnerable families in eight states according to the Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022-2024. 


Peru, SEDAPAL: Emergency Water Supply in Lima

01.08.2023 - 31.12.2027

Lima with a population of over 12 million is subject to the highest seismic vulnerability in Peru. Hence, ensuring Lima’s water supply continuity in case of a major earthquake is crucial. The initiative aims at contributing to strengthened preparedness capacities of Lima’s water service provider (SEDAPAL) by improving its technical, financial and logistical capacities, knowledge exchange and inter-sectorial coordination together with key partners from government, academia, and the private sector.


Multisectoral response to the humanitarian needs and protection risks of children, adolescents, and their families in the Orinoco Mining Arc.

15.06.2023 - 31.12.2024

The NRC intervention seeks to provide assistance in the sectors of Protection, Education, Food Security and Livelihoods, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, to 6,483 direct beneficiaries, including children, adolescents, and their families in communities and schools of the Orinoco Mining Arc; a hotspot area for illegal mining and high levels of violence in Bolivar state, near the border between Venezuela and Brazil, a priority area for the SDC Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022-2024.


Sanitation Solutions for underserved Communities in Jordan

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2026

Switzerland will build a decentralised wastewater treatment plant in Azraq. Proven Swiss know-how in wastewater management will be applied to increase the efficiency of the treatment plant and to demonstrate how wastewater can be converted into physical and financial resources. The chosen approach for reducing freshwater consumption in agriculture by replacing it with safely treated waste water, in one of the most water-scarce countries, will be promoted based on the implementation of this flagship project.


Provide support to multi-sectoral needs for vulnerable families in the states of Bolivar and Sucre States

01.06.2023 - 31.12.2024

In cooperation with national and international stakeholders, RET will provide multi sectorial assistance for a total of 7’331 direct beneficiaries in Sucre and Bolívar states, by addressing their basic needs and strengthening opportunities in the sectors of food security and livelihoods, nutrition and health services, as well as in water, sanitation and hygiene; in line with the Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela 2022 – 2023 and the SDC Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022 – 2024.


Multisectoral response to the humanitarian needs of vulnerable people in Amazonas, Zulia and Bolivar states

01.06.2023 - 31.12.2024

Amid the protracted crisis in Venezuela, Action Against Hunger will provide humanitarian assistance in the sectors of Food Security and Livelihoods, Health and Nutrition for a total of 15’961 direct beneficiaries, identified as the most vulnerable population in Amazonas, Bolívar and Zulia states – border states with Colombia and Brazil; in line with the United Nation’s Humanitarian Response Plan for Venezuela 2022 – 2024 and the SDC Guidance Note for Venezuela 2022 – 2024


Climate-sensitive Water Resources Management in Central Asia

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2027

The Climate Sensitive Water Resources Management in Central Asia project strengthens national and regional organisations responsible for water resource management in Central Asia to implement climate-sensitive integrated water resources management in a regionally coordinated manner. Switzerland will contribute to this initiative which is designed in the frame of the German led, GIZ implemented Green Central Asia High-Level Platform. 


Nigeria, Action Contre la Faim, Provision of life-saving nutrition and WASH services to reduce morbidity and mortality in Northwest Nigeria

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2024

Nigeria’s Northwest region has the highest rate of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country, with more than half of local government areas classified as food insecure and nearly 3.9 million children aged 0-59 months expected to suffer from acute malnutrition by April 2023. With this contribution, the SDC supports Action Contre la Faim to provide life-saving nutrition and WASH services to reduce morbidity and mortality attributed to acute malnutrition in Northwest Nigeria.


MOZ HA SI Nexus Water Supply System CD

01.06.2023 - 30.06.2025

To address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado Province in northern Mozambique, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will support the provision and improvement of basic water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, more specifically the N’tamba Water Supply System Network (NWSSN) rehabilitation, ensuring resilient infrastructure for internally displaced and resident population.


Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium (SWSC)

01.03.2023 - 31.12.2027

The Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium includes 10 non-governmental organizations and contributes to improving the livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities in least developed countries in West and East Africa and Asia by increasing drinking water, sanitation and hygiene coverage in schools and health care facilities. It also contributes to triggering innovation and knowledge sharing between the Swiss NGOs as well as strengthening the Swiss profile in advocacy and policy.

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