GoAL WaSH Philippines

Achieving the SDGs through the Integrated Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Approach – iWaSH Governance.


• Increase the number of households, schools and health centers with access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
• Improve national and local policies on integrated safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Millennium Development Goals progress in terms of water, sanitation and hygiene showed that use of improved drinking water sources was at 84 percent in 1990 and rose to 92 percent in 2015. Use of improved sanitation facility was measured at 57 percent in 1990 and by 2015 it was recorded at 74 percent.

Despite steady progress, it is estimated that 7 million Filipinos still defecate in the open. Additionally, there are 323 municipalities in the Philippines who continue to have no sustained access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. These municipalities are difficult to access and are clearly left behind in terms of achieving SDG 6.

Exacerbating the problem is the fragmentation of structures, policies and programs on safe water, sanitation and hygiene at the national and local levels resulting in uncoordinated and ambiguous policies for the sector.

The Philippines is a signatory of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs. These are expressed in the Philippine Development Plan 2017 – 2022, providing an opportunity to effectively sustain the implementation of the integrated safe water, sanitation and hygiene (iWaSH) approach.

Through GoAL WaSH, there is an opportunity to institutionalize iWaSH in national policies specifically in the water and sanitation roadmaps. The Regional Water and Sanitation Hubs (RHubs), composed of partner state universities, water districts, non-government organizations and civil society organizations, are organized to assist the local government units in mainstreaming iWaSH in local plans and budgets. The RHubs are tasked to support the government in preparing local government units and communities to develop local projects in establishing, improving and expanding water and sanitation systems and facilities.

The iWaSH approach ensures a complete package of interventions consisting of social preparation and community organizing, construction of water supply and sanitation facilities and behavioral change campaigns. All these interventions are implemented in an integrated manner. The project focuses on 13 municipalities that are left behind in terms of achieving SDG 6. GoAL WaSH will also support the development of policies and governance instruments to broadening access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Local citizens groups are being established to monitor the implementation of integrated safe water, sanitation and hygiene at the community level. Furthermore, GoAL WaSH is supporting coordination among WASH sector institutions at the national level.


In total, 7,169 households in six regions received improved access to water supply following the construction of water supply systems. Moreover, the provision of the water quality monitoring kits by the project has been valuable in the identification of the contaminated drinking water sources in the target municipalities. In one municipality, drinking water sources tested revealed that majority, 87 out of the 110 water sources, tested positive for E.Coli and Total Coliform. Local government authorities had the opportunity to immediately take action and communicate this to the community. 

“Before, we had a problem with tourism because most of our constituents practice open defecation, especially on the beaches. We have beautiful beaches however, they are very dirty. When the iWaSH programme was brought in to our municipality, cleanliness and hygiene were introduced. We encouraged everyone to build their toilets. Since water is also a problem, we implemented water and sanitation projects simultaneously. The iWaSH Programme has had a big impact in our municipality because we have reduced the rate of water-borne diseases, at the same time, our people have also been educated on the importance of safe drinking water and cleanliness.” – Mayor Arturo Virtucio of Aroroy, Masbate

“Through the iWaSH Programme, we will able to build toilets for everyone in Barangay Tanawan, even for the indigenous peoples. We achieved the Zero Open Defecation level. Although we have a problem with water supply, we are already working on it so that we could have safe water.” – Barangay Captain Ramil Raviz of Barangay Tanawan, Capalonga, Camarines Norte

“The integrated approach helped bring about the involvement of the different national and international agencies in implementing WASH projects. Health, primarily, was only the problem of the Municipal Health Office. With the integrated approach, health becomes the concern of the whole municipality. It also increased the awareness of the local government unit and communities on health issues related to WASH though advocacy and campaign on safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.” – Dr. Henry Novales, Municipal Health Officer, Municipality of Bobon, Northern Samar.


Emmanuel Buendia PhD.

Democratic Governance Team Leader, UNDP Philippines

Ms. Lotten Hubendick

Programme Officer