The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) is a multi-donor partnership, part of the World Bank Group's Water Global Practice, supporting poor people in obtaining affordable, safe, and sustainable access to water and sanitation services.
We work directly with client governments at the local and national level in 25 countries through regional offices in Africa, East and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in, Washington D.C.
WSP has led or supported many of the advances made within the water and sanitation sector over the last three decades. We are able to share best practices across regions and place a strong focus on capacity-building by forming partnerships with academia, civil society organizations, donors, governments, media, private sector, and others. Our work helps to effect the regulatory and structural changes needed for broad water and sanitation sector reform.
Our challenge is to replicate successful approaches, continue targeted learning efforts, and support reforms that ensure the adoption of sustainable investments in the sector that help people rise from poverty.
The Program began in 1978 as a cooperative effort between The World Bank and the United Nations Development Program to look at cost-effective technologies and models for providing safe water and sanitation to the world's poor.
During the 1980s, much of the effort of WSP's forbearer—the UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program—involved testing technologies, such as hand pumps and latrines. By the end of that decade, however, many of the world's governments and international relief organizations were looking at the broader picture of how to develop effective models and strategies that would have a broader effect of mobilizing communities to help themselves.
In 1992, the UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Program developed a strategy replacing supply-side thinking with the pursuit of ways local communities could access water and sanitation services according to their own demands. At the same time, the concept of sustainable services—services that the communities could operate into the future—took hold in the water and sanitation sector. By the end of the 1990s, UNDP-World Bank had split its activities between field projects in regions across the world and research and evaluation efforts that could compile successes and spread the knowledge.
The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein are entirely those of the author and should not be attributed to the World Bank or its affiliated organizations, or to members of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work do not imply any judgment on the part of the World Bank Group concerning the legal status of any territory or the endorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.