2020 Volume 4 Issue 3 Pages 37-60
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s strategy for WASH 2016 to 2030 indicated water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as central to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because of its implications for nutrition, health, education, poverty and economic growth, urban services, gender equality, resilience and climate change. At the SDGs initiation, the United Nations pledged to ‘leave no one behind’, with special consideration to the least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa who had performed poorly in accomplishing the just ended Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is in this regard that this paper highlights the past and current status, performance and policies of three sub-Saharan countries; Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia in reference to WASH. These countries were selected due to their similarities in a bid to uncover trends, best practices, and means for improvement of WASH towards the attainment of SDG 6: universal, sustainable, and equitable access to WASH, and an end to open defecation by 2030. Only Malawi attained its target for citizen access to safe drinking water at MDG level, whilst all three countries failed to meet targets for sanitation and hygiene. Causes for success and failure in the improvement of WASH across the three countries were linked to the implementation and sustainability of WASH policies and programs. These findings highlight the importance for full stakeholder engagement from the government to the individual in all sections of WASH. It also recommends the engagement to take part in all WASH sectors, from construction to maintenance, for the overall creation of workable WASH structures and frameworks.