Fifty-one humanitarian organizations, including Catholic Relief Services, are urging Congress to pass the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2012, which seeks to more efficiently and effectively use U.S. funds to improve programming to provide safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education (WASH). The legislation, which does not increase federal spending, was passed unanimously by the Senate in 2010, and the organizations are pressing to see it enacted into law this year.
Specifically, the Water for the World Act would make reforms to existing water, sanitation and hygiene education programs, including:
- Increasing integration of WASH with other programs, to address safe drinking water, sanitation, water resource management, and the linkages highlighted above, and ensure the greatest impact with existing funds;
- Improving targeting of WASH funding, recognizing that the poorest people stand to benefit most from receiving access to these services;
- Enhancing USAID and Department of State capacity at headquarters and mission levels to improve partnerships and technical capacity of in-country implementers and national governments, so that country leadership in planning, implementing and evaluating WASH programs can be prioritized;
- Supporting research and regional partnerships to continue our learning and support innovative and effective solutions; and
- Sharing the financial burden with private foundations, research institutions, and other non-federal sources so the US can leverage more change for the same investment.