WASH Futures 2018 Themes

As the global agenda shifts to emphasise the universality and sustainability of WASH, the need for collaboration among WASH organisations is becoming more apparent and more urgent. Ensuring everyone has water, sanitation and hygiene at all times and everywhere, is a large task, and will not be achieved by any one actor alone. How can governments, businesses, investors, development partners, academia and civil society work together to close the gaps in WASH service delivery? How do we meet the WASH needs of women and girls, people with disabilities, impoverished urban populations, and all marginalised populations, while empowering them to further improve their lives?

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, re-enforces the importance of sector-wide collaborations, but further attention and innovation is needed to find effective ways of working together, particularly in ways that can affect large-scale change.

The SDGs also emphasise the need for collaboration beyond traditional WASH actors, acknowledging the dependencies and influences between WASH and other aspects of poverty reduction and sustainable development. With water at the very core of sustainable development, SDG 6, WASH and water resources management not only have strong linkages to all the other SDGs, they also underpin them. Multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approaches can produce synergies between WASH initiatives and water security, nutrition, food security, disaster risk reduction and emergency recovery.

Building on the success of past WASH Futures conferences, the WASH Futures 2018 conference brings together WASH actors from around the globe to share innovations and evidence about ways to achieve a WASH future in which the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of all in society are sustained.

Wash Futures 2018 Abstract Topics
1. Financing and investing to achieve universal and sustainable WASH systems


  • Incentivising investment in large-scale/universal WASH by governments and private sectors
  • Effectiveness and strategies guiding Multilateral agency investment in WASH, including the SDGs and learning from the MDGs
  • Managing the risks of WASH investments (e.g. through output-based aid investments)
  • Allocating government WASH investment s (e.g. across institutional/public WASH and subsidising household WASH (– to urban, rural, remote, poorest-of-the-poor populations)
  • Expanding scale and reach through bottom-of-the-pyramid businesses
  • Value of social enterprises and impact investment in bringing in private sectors
  • Cost-benefit analyses of WASH interventions
  • Motivating household investment in WASH
2. Collaborative and effective WASH enabling systems
  • Strategies for sector collaboration and coordination
  • Enabling environment actors, roles and functions
  • Influence and application of SDGs on national WASH enabling systems
  • Enabling accountability of governments and service providers
  • Building effective work forces and upskilling /practitioners
  • Monitoring and research to improve evidence-based wash
  • Participation of communities in WASH governance
  • Effective government planning processes for WASH in the context of SDG6
3. Equitable WASH
  • Practical and scalable approaches to achieving universal access,
  • Social inclusion strategies
  • Pro-poor support mechanisms
  • Approaches to including disability in& WASH
  • Innovations in or evidence of effectiveness of financial mechanisms and incentives
  • Use of targets, data and monitoring to drive equitable WASH outcomes
4. Women and sustainable WASH
  • Empowering women through WASH: Meeting the specific WASH for women and girls, such as WASH for child-birth, menstrual hygiene management
  • Approaches to integrate gender-equity strategies: strengths and challenges of mainstreaming and targeted gender objectives in WASH initiatives
  • Understanding and working with WASH decision-making dynamics within the household
  • Improving WASH sustainability through women’s participation and leadership beyond the community level
  • Women’s participation and leadership in WASH within and beyond community levels
  • Leveraging WASH initiatives to empower women and achieve gender outcomes, such as, reducing gender-based violence, improving gender relations, improving reproductive health and fertility, improving women’s economic empowerment, livelihoods & education opportunities,
  • Use of targets, data and monitoring approaches to drive improvements to gender and WASH
5. Sustainable WASH for rural populations
  • Addressing the challenges of scale and sustainability of rural WASH systems
  • Achieving and sustaining open defecation in challenging climates
  • Service delivery models for rural, remote and small communities
  • Strategies for Ddemand & supply approaches for rural WASH outcomes
  • Roles of enabling actors in rural WASH
  • Sustaining and continuous improvement of sanitation post-ODF (open defecation free) achievements
  • Safe rural sanitation technologies and management
6. Urban water and sanitation systems
  • Planning, service delivery models and technologies for systems achieving sustainable water provision and sustainable waste management
  • Interactions with drainage & solid waste management
  • Routes for transitioning from rural WASH systems to urban systems
  • Phasing and transitional technologies for sanitation in informal settlements
  • Integrating nature-based solutions to urban water and sanitation systems
  • Integrating recycling of human waste to urban water and sanitation systems
7. WASH service delivery beyond households
  • Collaborative approaches to achieve and sustain WASH everywhere outside the household, such as in schools, health facilities, public spaces, work places
  • Service delivery approaches that can be achieved and sustained at large scales
8. Hygiene for personal health and wellbeing
  • Evidence-based and scalable WASH-related hygiene promotion and behaviour change;
  • Menstrual hygiene management in different settings (households, communities, work places, schools etc);
  • Approaches to community environmental health (linking human health to environmental conditions);
  • Beyond access to wellbeing outcomes
  • Measuring hygiene and environmental health improvements from WASH initiatives
9. Integrating WASH with, water security and integrating with other sectors
  • Climate change and WASH
  • Community-scale WASH + water resources management
  • Development and disaster WASH
  • WASH-related nutrition
  • Integrated approaches to WASH and nutrition, health, food production
  • Leveraging investments between WASH and health and education sectors e.g. integrated programming, and cross-subsidies and incentives
10. Achieving SDG6 in Pacific Island Countries
  • Achieving climate-resilient and affordable WASH
  • Synergising efforts to meet immediate WASH needs, emergency WASH and climate-resilience WASH
  • Community engagement in integrating WASH and water resources management
  • WASH with remote and small populations
  • WASH and WRM in rapidly urbanising, multicultural populations
  • Working with limited resources and capacities