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Global WASH Cluster
GWC Monthly Newsletter #5
11 / 06 / 2021
Dear colleagues,
Welcome to the fifth edition of the Global WASH Cluster’s (GWC) 2021 Monthly Newsletter! We are pleased to share in this issue news on the 25th GWC Annual Meeting and Satellite Events 2021, the launch of Water Under Fire volume 3 and updates from partner organizations including ACF, SWA, the Sanitation and Learning Hub, UNICEF, RedR UK and GSMA. A key section on WASH and Covid-19 includes news from the Covid-19 Hygiene Hub, as well as other partners.

In addition, key documents from national humanitarian WASH coordination platforms are also featured in the operational update section. Highlights this month from countries feature the Palestine WASH Cluster Advocacy Note on Access to Essential WASH Services in the Gaza Strip in Light of the Recent Escalation and the Iraq WASH Cluster Strategic Operational Framework (SOF) - 2021.

In May, more than 5 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 140,000 deaths were recorded in countries in the Global Humanitarian Overview. This is a decline compared to April, but still represents over a third of global cases and more than half of global deaths. A similar downward trend was experienced in countries with an inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) but this is not uniform. At the end of May, several countries were experiencing increasing trends in cases and deaths, including Colombia, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and Haiti (read more here).

28th May was Menstrual Hygiene Day and highlighted the need to step up action and investment in menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) now (click to see the infographic). The GWC participated in the MH Studio Day and the recording is now available here (GWC and Coordination for MHM starts at 1:57:20). We are grateful to all national humanitarian coordination platforms who engaged in MH Day 21 and continue to invest in a world where no woman or girl is held back because she menstruates, where everyone can access the menstrual products of their choice, where period stigma is history, where everyone has basic information about menstruation and how to manage it, and, where everyone has access to period-friendly sanitation facilities (read more here).

The Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) season is here and with that, it is time for National Humanitarian WASH Coordination Platforms to start preparing data sources for the People in Need (PIN) and Severity analysis. As you know, the Global WASH Cluster’s Field Support Team (FST), through remote support as well as through its helpdesk, is fully available to answer your questions, help you in designing your indicators, review your severity scale, and more for your upcoming HNO/HRP-related activities.

We value showcasing the incredible work National Humanitarian WASH Coordination Platforms and partners are doing around the world, so please send us your photos, stories, and other content to highlight the work of your team or draw attention to issues that matter to you. Read our submission guidelines here. All items can be sent directly for inclusion to the next newsletter by Friday, 25th June 2021 to
Best regards,

CAST (Cluster Advocacy and Support Team)
© UNICEF/UNI131533/Romenzi
GWC Collaborations and News
💻GWC Annual Events 2021 - Summary and Recordings

The 25th Global WASH Cluster’s (GWC) Annual Meeting was hosted virtually and online from 19th – 23rd April 2021. The meeting was co-convened by the Government of the Netherlands and the Dutch Surge Support (DSS), with technical support from MWEE. The event brought together 72 WASH partners (see Figure 1), national cluster coordination platforms, academia, and national governments from around the globe and provided an opportunity for dynamic discussions that reflected upon sectoral strategies, coordination, partnerships and leadership by reviewing progress to date, identifying gaps, priorities, and key recommendations provided valuable insights to drive the GWC’s Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025 and to shape the future of coordination.  The GWC’s Annual Meeting was co-hosted through the generous support and kind contribution from the Government of Netherlands and DSS. 

Following the GWC’s Annual Meeting, the GWC Satellite Events were hosted virtually and online from 26th – 30th April 2021. This was a first-of-its-kind event and included 18 participatory and collaborative sessions hosted by a wide range of partners representing the humanitarian WASH sector and beyond. The sessions covered a diverse array of topics, including localisation, GBV and gender, cash and markets, accountability and quality assurance, capacity building and learning, and operational research related to humanitarian coordination in the WASH sector.

In case you have missed any of these events or wish to access all the materials, click below:
GWC Membership Update
We would like to wish a warm welcome to the Arche Nova, Groundwater Relief and IHIP as new members of the Global WASH Cluster!
Archenova  GroundWater Relief  IHIP

The Global WASH Cluster operates on the principles of coordinated partnership, promoting a needs-based rather than capacity-driven response. This refocuses humanitarian response on affected populations, rather than on the organisations themselves. The Global WASH Cluster is open to actors working in emergency WASH from the UN Agencies, international humanitarian organizations, National Civil Agencies, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The membership is categorized with the following levels of involvement (see membership categories here):

1. Full members: envisioned to have voting rights and play an active role in determining the direction and role of the cluster and overseeing cluster responsibilities
2. Associate members (e.g. research institutes)
3. Standing observers (e.g. donors)
4. Adhoc/Special invitees (e.g. Governments, other clusters whether global or country level)

To apply for GWC membership, please fill the application form & membership letter, and share it with the Global WASH Cluster CAST.

Operational Updates
The Global WASH Cluster provides Operational Support for coordination platforms in humanitarian emergencies through deployments and remote support.

The support is provided by the Field Support Team (FST), a consortium of WASH agencies providing 8 staff (4 x coordinators, 3 x information managers, and 1 x assessment specialist) with the support and oversight of the GWC-Cluster Advocacy and Support Team. 

To access these services national coordinators or information managers can send an email or inquiry to (SWZ-GWC Help Desk). 

We also remind all that the GWC Coordination Toolkit is our live resource for guidance in all matters for coordination, information management and assessments. 

Stories from the Field - Access to essential WASH services in the Gaza Strip in light of the recent escalation

The longstanding closure on the Gaza Strip has had a serious impact on the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. Restricted access to fuel and materials over the years has caused the capacities of the 25 WASH services providers to deteriorate. These providers operate more than 500 water and sanitation facilities, including water and sewer networks and pumping stations, wastewater treatment and desalination plants in the Gaza Strip. According to the WASH 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview, until the recent escalation of violence, more than 1.1 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were not able to get sufficient water and sanitation services.

Impact of the current escalation

The WASH sector has been severely impacted by the current escalation in the Gaza Strip:

● Since the beginning of the escalation, more than 100 incidents were recorded against WASH structures such as water and sewer networks, water wells, water and sewer pumping stations, water desalination plants and solid waste landfill sites. These incidents are affecting access to water and sanitation services for more than 1.2 million Palestinians in Gaza.

● Due to hostilities, the power supply in Gaza dropped by more than 60 per cent (5 to 7 hours of electricity per day) following damage to electricity infrastructure. Therefore many WASH facilities, particularly the desalination plants, have decreased their operational hours by more than 50 per cent.

● The WASH service providers decreased or suspended the operations of the water and sanitation facilities. According to the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), the operational capacities of the WASH facilities in Gaza dropped by more than 50 per cent due to damaged or destroyed infrastructure and the shortage of power supply, which led to the irregularity of water and sanitation services in the Gaza strip.

Read more here

Humanitarian Needs Overview 2021-2022 and HPC Updates

HNO 2021 – 2022 | GWC Needs Assessment Guide to Key Resources
The Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) season is approaching and with that, it’s time to start preparing data sources for the PIN and Severity Analysis. As you know, the Global WASH Cluster Field Support Team, through remote support as well as through its helpdesk, is fully available to answer your questions, help you in designing your indicators, review your severity scale, and more for your upcoming HNO/HRP-related activities.

This year, we have put together a short overview of what is available in this summary and we also have a dedicated HNO helpdesk that you can reach at: The GWC helpdesk skype group can also be useful as a peer-to-peer discussion forum, to ask questions and freely discuss the HNO process amongst WASH humanitarian coordination platforms. Please write an email to in order to join the skype group.

📘 Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) 2022 Facilitation Package
The HPC 2022 Facilitation Package | Assessment & Analysis Knowledge Management Platform contain the updated version of the templates and guidance in English (French translation is in progress).   Like last year, we aim to provide a space where one can access an inclusive set of resources related to the HPC.  We would be happy to include any cluster/sector-specific guidance you would like included. Very limited adjustments were made to the 2022 HPC package.The fundamental elements of the HPC and the timing remain the same but have been updated to reflect deadlines associated with launch of the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview. 

📢 New Joint Intersectoral Analysis Framework - JIAF Website
The JIAF offers a common method, process and tools to conduct a ‘people-centred’ holistic analysis of needs. The JIAF reflects an important evolution in the humanitarian community’s ability to systematically and transparently identify the most vulnerable populations, where they are, the combination of needs they face, and their severity. Where data is available, the JIAF offers the possibility to analyze this information by any diversity characteristic [gender, age, disability, displacement, etc].
JIAF technical level information note (endorsed by JIAG 27 April)
JIAF FAQs and high level 2 page info note
Read more here.
GWC HRP Dashboards 2020
The GWC Humanitarian Response Plan Dashboards are representing the needs, the response and gaps in Humanitarian Response Plan countries for 2020. Country-level data can be selected through interactive features and show the progress of WASH Clusters/Sectors and UNICEF WASH Country Offices against HRP/HAC indicators, funding data, comparative analyses as well as direct links to cluster/sector operational websites. Access the interactive dashboards below or read more here
Resources and Tools from National Humanitarian WASH Coordination Platforms - May 2021:
We encourage all National Humanitarian WASH Coordination Platforms to send their examples, guidance, tools on coordination, information management, assessment and technical guidelines/documents directly to:
Partner Updates
UNICEF WASH - Key Updates and New Resources

Water Under Fire - volume 3 - Attacks on water and sanitation services in armed conflict and the impacts on children
In many conflicts around the world, more children die from diseases linked to unsafe water than from direct violence. On May 25th, UNICEF has released Water Under Fire volume 3, a report that highlights the issues children face in accessing water in times of war. The report demonstrates the humanitarian impact on children through case studies from Iraq, State of Palestine, Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine. It calls on all key stakeholders to protect water and sanitation systems and services, to establish better monitoring and reporting of attacks, and to strengthen advocacy to end these abhorrent violations and better protect children, including girls, affected by armed conflict. Read more here.

Guidance Note: Menstrual Health and Hygiene for Girls and Women with Disabilities
UNICEF HQ released the new Guidance Note on Menstrual Health and Hygiene for Girls and Women with Disabilities. The guidance note provides a Framework and Practical Entry Points for Reaching Girls With Disabilities. Menstruation is a natural fact of life and a monthly occurrence for 1.8 billion girls and women of reproductive age. 

Read more here.

Accelerating the Delivery of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services with Rural Communities using Real-Time Data and Rapid Response to Service Disruptions
Good practices and lessons learned in national systems strengthening using mobile technology in Zimbabwe. The country is experiencing an economic crisis characterized by hyperinflation and compounded by recent and ongoing natural disasters (floods, drought and cyclones).These crises have eroded capacities across all social sectors, including the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. Access to safe water and sanitation is a major challenge in Zimbabwe. 

Read more here.

ACF & La Sorbonne Research - Long-term groundwater resource observatory for Southwestern Madagascar

Madagascar has one of the highest poverty rates in the world and consequently the long-term monitoring of groundwater resources is not a priority for the authorities. However, groundwater is often the only sustainable resource that has a satisfactory quality to supply the population. This is especially true in the south-west of the country, which is a semi-arid region and a global change hot spot (intense land use and climate changes). In response to the lack of data, the Groundwater Resource Observatory for Southwestern Madagascar (GROSoM) was established to monitor piezometry and meteorology over the longer term as part of a humanitarian response.

Read more here.

RedR UK - Global Learning Needs Assessment - We Need Your Inputs!
Every year, RedR UK runs a global learning needs assessment (LNA) to capture information from those working in the aid sector of the skills and knowledge they need to operate effectively. We use that information to develop learning initiatives that strengthen capacity within the humanitarian – development - peacebuilding nexus. The more responses we get, the better targeted our offer will be and the better-affected populations will be served. We particularly want to receive responses from those in the Global South, as the main audience for our training as part of localisation.
We have the LNA in 4 languages and I ask whether you mind submitting them all to your networks please? Deadline 18th June for responses.

The analysed results of the survey are made public on our website and social media. All responses are anonymous.

Sanitation Learning Hub - New Resources

Local Government Leadership for Sanitation & Hygiene in West Africa (in English & French) This rapid desk-based study identifies local governments considered champions in the West African region demonstrating strong leadership in S&H; to understand why they have prioritised S&H, the support they received, the stakeholders, the management of inequalities, and the gaps in sub-national governments’ efforts.

Strengthening subnational systems for area-wide sanitation and hygiene
This Learning Brief summarises case studies capturing local government and development partners’ experiences supporting sub-national governments’ leadership and prioritisation in Saiya County (Kenya), Nyamagabe District (Rwanda) & Moyo District (Uganda). 3 online workshops followed with local governments, central government ministries and development partners to identify levers and blockages to change.

Empowering pastoralist women in Afar region, Ethiopia: the value of PhotoVoice in Covid-sensitive research - Pastoralist women in the Afar region of Ethiopia bear the burden for nutrition and WASH, and suffer more from effects of poor WASH. This blog by Christine Fostvedt-Mills, WASH and Nutrition Researcher, shows that rich participatory research using PhotoVoice is possible during the Covid 19 pandemic, helping women share their vital knowledge and to address their many challenges.

The GSMA Innovation Fund for Digital Urban Services

The GSMA is looking for start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises in Africa, South or South East Asia. These organisations should be leveraging digital technology to deliver urban services with socio-economic, commercial and environmental impact in the following sectors:

  • Plastic and Waste Management;
  • Water;
  • Energy; and
  • Sanitation.

Successful projects for The GSMA Innovation Fund for Digital Urban Services will receive an equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale their innovation over a 15- to 18-month period. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for the Fund, please read the Terms and Conditions and FAQs.

Apply Now  - Deadline: 2nd July 2021

The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) - NEW RWSN Roadmap 2030

The Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) is a leading global knowledge network on water and development. RWSN needs to be ambitious, responding to real needs at local and global levels; reaching as many rural water practitioners as possible; connecting, inspiring, and motivating; building capacity and knowledge; connecting people for joint learning and action; and supporting and amplifying the innovative and transformative work of our members.

This process is an invitation to all those interested in rural water supply, and connected issues, to help us shape the future of the network over the next 10 years. The Roadmap is structured around 4 forward-looking Milestones (+ concise look backwards).

This draft Roadmap proposes:

  • To de-centralise networking activities through regional hubs.
  • To prioritise the network in one of three ways:
    • A network of individuals
    • A network of organisations
    • A network of training and capacity development users and providers

In parallel, we also want to attract more rural water supply operators and local government staff who have responsibilities for rural water services. This is part of the 100 Milllion Initiative, with the REACH programme.

To find out more explore the Roadmap on this website (there is a menu in the top right or use the links below), or through the PDF document below. Read more here.

RWSN Roadmap – revised version 10 MayDOWNLOAD

Government of Netherlands - WASH Report 2020 and Glimpse into the Future

In the reporting period (1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020), the Government of Netherlands has provided safe drinking water for 3.6 million people and improved sanitation for 5.8 million people.The Netherlands is phasing out existing water-related programmes in Benin, Ghana, Indonesia and Rwanda and has launched new programmes in the Sahel, Horn of Africa, and Middle East and North Africa regions. UNICEF, Aqua for All, the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Dutch water utilities, FAO and the World Bank are major partners.
Learn more here.

WASH and Covid-19

Covid-19 Hygiene Hub Updates

In this issue, we highlight our webinar recordings and reflect on key events the Hygiene Hub team attended over the past month - the Emergency Environmental Health Forum, the annual Global WASH Cluster meeting and this year's Global Handwashing Partnership Think Tank. We also draw your attention to BBC Media Action’s recently updated Handbook for Media which provides useful guidance on COVID-19 programming to media and communications professionals.

Webinars and events

In last month’s news bulletin, we highlighted some of the over 40 webinars and workshops the Hygiene Hub has co-hosted and contributed to since our launch. We have reached over 6,000 participants with these sessions, and you can find recordings of many of them under Webinars in the Resources section of our website.

In our webinar section, you will also find a recent video recording of the Hygiene Hub’s contribution to this year’s Emergency Environmental Health Forum where our technical advisors from Emory University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine discuss their research into the experiences of humanitarians involved in the design and delivery of hygiene programmes during the pandemic.

COVID-19 handbook for media

The Handbook for Media: The coronavirus and COVID-19 was first put together in May last year by our colleagues from the international charity BBC Media Action to help media support their audiences in managing the challenges of the pandemic and tackling the ‘infodemic’. The English language version of the handbook has now been brought up-to-date and is currently being translated into several other languages.

Areas of technical support

The Hygiene Hub not only provides rapid support to response actors through the ‘get technical advice’ feature on our website, but we also offer more involved tailored technical assistance to response actors at the local, national and global level.

For example, the Hygiene Hub is currently engaging with the Centre for Water, Sanitation, Health, and Appropriate Technology Development (WASHTED) in Malawi to support their hand hygiene and behaviour change work in schools within Chikwawa District, and the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Zambia (CIDRZ) - another technical partner of the Hygiene Hub - is working with the Lusaka Water Supply & Sanitation Company and the World Bank to understand the effects of COVID-19 on the uptake of sanitation services. On the recently expanded technical support section of the Hygiene Hub website you will find more examples of this type of in-depth assistance.

Technical resources
Our collection of now almost 200 technical resources is designed to support you in your COVID-19 response by giving you access to the relevant evidence and guidance. We continue to add to the collection and update the resources as new evidence becomes available. All of our technical resources are available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. Please email us at if you have requests or ideas for future resources.

Follow‌ ‌the HH‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌TwitterFacebook ‌and‌ ‌keep‌ ‌an‌ ‌eye‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌‌website ‌for‌ ‌regular‌ ‌updates‌ ‌from‌ ‌us.‌ ‌If‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌ any‌ ‌technical‌ ‌questions,‌ ‌please‌ ‌email‌ ‌us‌ ‌your‌ ‌question‌ ‌at‌ ‌ or visit

Latest WASH & Covid-19 New Updates From Partners

  • COVID 19 Strategic preparedness and response plan SPRP - Monitoring and evaluation framework - 11 May 2021 - Access here
  • Report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness & Response (IPPR) - 20 May 2021 - Access here
  • WHO - Young people and COVID-19: Behavioural considerations for promoting safe behaviours - 9 June 2021 - Access here
  • WHO - Guidance on developing a national deployment and vaccination plan for COVID-19 vaccines - 1 June 2021 - Access here
  • WHO - Operational guide for engaging communities in contact tracing - 28 May 2021 - Access here
  • REACH IMPACT - where do we stand one year after Covid-19 - latest update - June 2021 - Access here
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) - May 2021 News and Events - access here
  • UNICEF - Financing Social Spending in Lower and Middle-Income Countries during COVID-19: Monthly Update #2 - May 2021 - access here.
  • Wash'Em Newsletter and updates - New phase of Wash’Em- May 2021- Acccess here.
  • Sanitation Learning Hub - Call for contributions - Sanitation programmes throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic (webinar series) - 21 May 2021 - access here
  • RCCE Newsletter 28 - May 2021 - Access here
  • Integrated Public Health COVID-19 Learning Hub, Kaya Connect, Save the Children - June 2021 Update - Access here.
  • WHO - COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Surveillance Manual - June 2021 - Access here
Inter-Cluster Updates
IASC - Key & Latest Resources - May and June 2021

The COVAX Humanitarian Buffer Published Date: 8 June 2021
The Humanitarian Buffer is a mechanism established within the COVAX Facility to act as a measure of ‘last resort’ to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines for high-risk and vulnerable populations in humanitarian settings. Populations of concern in humanitarian settings may include refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, internally displaced persons, minorities, populations in conflict settings or those affected by humanitarian emergencies, and vulnerable migrants irrespective of their legal status.

Announcement of Mr. Martin Griffiths as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Published Date: 17 May 2021
Global Nutrition Cluster - Upcoming Annual Events and Updates
The GNC’s Annual Meeting 2021 is a two-part virtual event that will take place on 15-17 June  and 22-24 June.  Join the GNC in developing its Strategy (2022-2025) and a Road Map for NiE. Agenda now on GNC website - links to join Satellite Events (22-24 June) on the latest hot topics in NiE to follow. Keep updated here

GWC participation at Inter-Sector Satellite event - 22 June 2PM CET
Inter-sectoral collaboration: Global level update and country insights from Yemen. This ISC event is jointly organized by the GNC and global clusters for Health, WASH and Food Security to inform partners about ISC work at the global and country level. Read more here.

See all the latest GNC updates here.
Webinar/Event link Date & time Organisation

Why track WASH expenditures through WASH accounts?

15 June 10AM CET SWA


17 June 15-16.30PM CET CHA
Leaving no one behind - Inclusive WASH budget 22 June 10AM CET SWA
Regional Workshop WASH in Emergencies 2021 MENA 20-24 June GWN
Water Informatics: Introduction and case studies, 21 June 1-2PM CET IWA
5th International Conference on Ecotechnologies
for Wastewater Treatment
21-25 June IWA
Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) 2021 21 June - 2 July SIWW
Bonn International Water Conference 2021 1 July 2021 Gov. Germany
1st IWA Non-Sewered Sanitation Conference 4-8 July 2021 IWA
Data Science for WASH - An opportunity for the sector 29 July 2021 3PM CET Independent
31st SuSanA Meeting 16-20 August SuSanA
Stockholm World Water Week 23-27 August SIWI
42nd WEDC International Conference 13-15 September  WEDC
XVII World Water Congress 13-17 September IWRA

If you wish to contribute, please submit directly to:
2 June 2021 - Sake, North Kivu province, DR Congo. Families displaced by the volcanic eruption gather at a distribution of soap and buckets, run by the Red Cross and supported by UNICEF. © UNICEF/UN0472923/Acland
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