Letter from the Water Office

Over the last 50 years, USAID has brought safe water and sanitation to tens of millions. We have learned to select effective partners, target needy beneficiaries, and foster real change. But how do we guarantee that this change lasts? This issue of Global Waters looks at some of the key ingredients for sustainable success, from community mobilization to trailblazing approaches that harness cutting-edge technology.

Our cover story looks at the USAID/Afghanistan Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation project's efforts to mobilize citizens in rural Afghanistan to build their own latrines and monitor their own wells. This is a captivating story about the commitment of rural Afghans to secure continuous access to clean water and to ensure that their communities become and remain open defecation free.

Sustainability and food security are intrinsically linked. This month’s “In Focus II” story looks at how USAID provided sustainable agricultural relief to post-flood Pakistan. By empowering farmers to restore their own irrigation systems and regain their harvests, USAID prevented a deadly cycle of food shortages, poverty, and underdevelopment.

Pioneering approaches can also offer sustainable solutions to water problems. We look at how new technology like cell phones can empower communities and bring real change. We also interview the architects of the U.S. Water Partnership and gain insight into how partnerships lead to sustainable development.

Finally, the announcement in March 2012 that we have met the Millennium Development Goal to halve the number of people without access to water has made waves in the water sector. Incoming USAID Water Office Director John Pasch provides some ideas on how we can capitalize on these gains and make sure they last.

There are no easy answers, but through working together, learning from experience, and embracing innovation, we can make a difference for the next 50 years.

The Water Office

Last updated: September 18, 2013

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