UNICEF, Strengthening WASH Response in Humanitarian Action, Geneva – 2018-2019

In 2019, the Global WASH cluster will continue the implementation of the four strategic objectives set out in the 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan. The Swiss contribution will focus on Capacity building, Advocacy as well as Knowledge management, three strategic objectives which have received only limited attention in the last years. The Swiss contribution will contribute to ensuring predictable, timely and effective WASH response by the WASH cluster partners in humanitarian crises through direct and indirect field support.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Water sector policy
Water resources conservation
Disaster risk reduction DRR
01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021
CHF  200’000
Background The cluster approach was adopted to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian responses. It clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities of the various agencies and provides a framework for partnership among host governments, local authorities, humanitarian actors, local civil society agencies and affected populations. Globally, UNICEF is responsible for leading the global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cluster GWC.
Objectives The overall goal of this SDC contribution is strengthening the WASH humanitarian coordination through capacity building of and knowledge managemen among the GWC partners In order to strengthen the delivery of WASH Coordination to lead humanitarian response for affected populations.
Target groups All partners of UNICEF and more globally all humanitarian actors active in the Water and Sanitation sector, which provide emergency assistance after a natural disaster or during a conflict situation. This can include local authorities, local and international NGOs as well as other UN agencies.
Medium-term outcomes

Ensure that key WASH stakeholders (sub-national, national and global) have the capacity to coordinate and deliver an appropriate and timely response in emergency;

Influence and advocate for an effective humanitarian WASH coordination response and funding;

Provide to the Humanitarian WASH actors a timely access to appropriate and accurate knowledge on coordination and response.


Expected results:  

Development and implementation of training package targeted to coordination practitioner

Development of evaluation protocol and research plan as well as development  of an online repository of WASH technical documents in collaboration with Tufts

Delivery of annual GWC meeting with specific focus on Capacity of the WASH Sector and collaboration with Inter-Agency WASH Group

Results from previous phases:   SDC/HA funded the position of a deputy GWC coordinator as well as the manager of the Field Support Tea. UNICEF decided in 2018 to create a second deputy GWC coordinator position and to fund it with own resources, a very positive evolution.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Children’s Fund

Other partners
Coordination with other projects and actors The GWC has been tasked to maintain a sufficient coordination capacity in the WASH and acts as provider of last resort of WASH coordinator for large emergencies.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    200’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    200’000 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   350’000 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   550’000
Project phases Phase 3 01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)