Global Goal 6 says that all people in all countries should have access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and hand washing by 2030, but last year more than one third of the world’s population lacked access to a toilet. In Bolivia, more than five million people lack access to basic sanitation, and water is both in short supply and expensive. Since 2003, the Swedish Embassy in Bolivia has supported UNICEF Bolivia’s WASH programme. The programme centres on reaching the most excluded sectors of the population in remote, rural communities in order to reduce cultural, social, gender and geographic inequities.
The countries of the world have made good progress with regard to increasing people’s access to clean water and sustainable sanitation. In 2016, approximately 90 per cent of people in poor countries had access to clean water – compared with 71 per cent in 1990. But much remains to be done with regard to access to toilets. In Bolivia, sanitation in rural areas is critical. In 2015, Bolivia had the highest rate of open defecation in the region for rural areas (44 per cent). In addition, climate change is increasingly reducing the availability of clean water in the country, particularly in regions that are experiencing increased flooding. These natural phenomena have a direct impact on sanitation practices.
UNICEF Bolivia’s WASH programme has evolved from focusing on providing services to progressively focusing on institutional strengthening and technical assistance, promoting healthy hygiene habits and the development of eco-friendly toilets. The WASH programme supports gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, with interventions aimed at improving the exercise of their particular rights with regard to water, sanitation and hygiene, including menstrual hygiene management. Furthermore, it aims to tackle the negative effects of climate change and promote sustainable practices by closing the hydrological cycle.
Sweden is the main funder of UNICEF in Bolivia and is now looking to continue to support a decentralised strategy to scale up sanitation services, promoting eco-friendly sanitation models at local level in combination with policy work at national level.
(Source: UNICEF Bolivia)
This case relates to Global Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Read more about UNICEF’s work on water, sanitation and hygiene
Read more about what the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is doing to increase access to clean water and sustainable sanitation