USAID Water And Development Strategy A ‘First Step In The Right Direction’

“It’s a big moment, and one that has been long awaited: [USAID] has released its first-ever Water and Development Strategy [.pdf] — a roadmap of the U.S. government’s approach to water programming that focuses on efforts to save lives through the provision of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services,” David Winder, chief executive of WaterAid America, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Water” blog. “[T]his strategy opens doors to better helping communities to help themselves; to saving lives by establishing water, sanitation and hygiene as strategic U.S. foreign aid objectives towards advancing health and development,” he writes, adding, “My hope is that U.S. missions around the world will now respond to the encouragement provided by this paper and launch initiatives that are sustainable and that can be taken to scale.”

“The key will be how it translates into real partnerships that provide the right services for the people who need them most,” Winder continues, adding, “That is precisely why I am setting my sights on Congressional leadership to enhance accountability towards the poorest of the poor; USAID’s strategy simply doesn’t convince me that its focus on the poor will improve upon its recent spending trends.” He notes the 2013 Water for the World Act is expected to be re-introduced to Congress in the coming weeks and concludes, “USAID’s global Water and Development Strategy is an excellent first step in the right direction and one that offers U.S. missions the opportunity to transform lives through innovative investments in water, sanitation and hygiene that really focus on the many benefits of WASH, such as to health and nutrition. As we look to the next step, passage of the Water for the World Act will ensure that the ripples begun with this strategy will really start to make some waves” (6/5).

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