The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) scheme is a key public health essential within international development, focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to provide equitable and accessible water and sanitation for all, particularly for women and girls. To ensure effective implementation of policies addressing WASH needs, it is crucial to synchronize the identification of beneficiary segments with anticipated outcomes. This can be achieved through the following:
- Geographical and social segmentation: Targeting interventions based on urban, rural, and socio-economic factors can help address the specific needs of different communities.
- Life-cycle based approach: Focusing on the needs of beneficiaries based on their gender, age, and other factors can ensure that interventions are tailored to the unique requirements of each group.
- Multi-stakeholder participation: Encouraging the involvement of various stakeholders, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local communities, can lead to more effective decision-making and implementation.
- Strengthening monitoring and management information systems: Developing robust systems for tracking progress and evaluating the impact of interventions can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that resources are allocated effectively.
- Community participation and gender mainstreaming: Ensuring that interventions are designed and implemented with the active involvement of local communities and with a focus on addressing gender inequalities can lead to more sustainable and inclusive outcomes.
- Targeting aid to the poor and vulnerable: Directing resources towards the most marginalized populations can help ensure that WASH interventions reach those who need them the most.
In the Indian context, the Swachh Bharat Mission (SMB) has made significant progress in improving WASH outcomes, with support from organizations such as UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. By adopting a context-specific approach and focusing on the needs of vulnerable populations, the WASH scheme can contribute to improved health, reduced poverty, and enhanced socio-economic development.