The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing lauds the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014. Passed by unanimous consent by the United States Senate on December 15, 2014, the Water for the World Act will improve the U.S. government’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs.
Access to improved WASH undergirds many other vital areas of global health and development—including maternal and newborn health, nutrition, education, and equity for women and girls. As such, the U.S. government’s response to global WASH challenges is particularly important. The Water for the World Act modifies the 2005 Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act and will strengthen the U.S. government’s WASH programs through ensuring increased collaboration, integration, and monitoring. It will also ensure that countries and regions most in need of improved WASH are specifically targeted for program provision. Notably, the bill also specifically commits to improving hygiene alongside water and sanitation.
“The strong bi-partisan support for the Water for the World Act demonstrates what we already know—that water, sanitation, and hygiene are universal human rights issues, regardless of political persuasion,” says Hanna Woodburn, Deputy Secretariat Director for the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. “We applaud this meaningful step in the right direction. However, in a world where 1.7 children die from diarrhea annually, girls drop out of school due to an inability to manage their period with dignity, and 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet, it is clear that more must be done. We now call upon the global community to further access to WASH by prioritizing these life-saving services in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.”