Afghan Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation (SWSS)

Speeches Shim


Only 27 percent of rural-based Afghans have access to clean drinking water and fewer to safe sanitation (Source: MRRD, Jan. 2010). SWSS is a services delivery tool of the government and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) whose designs, installation and sustainable training of system operators together with hygiene promotion lead to improved health outcomes and impact. USAID is building the capacity of the Afghan government and local communities to promote community self-empowerment though hygiene promotion and behavior changes that lead to communities building their own safe and clean places to go to the toilet. The SWSS project’s community mobilization and sustainability unit lays the groundwork for community potable water to alleviate waterborne illnesses. Begining in October 2009, USAID tasked Tetra Tech ARD to manage SWSS for 36-months until September 2012.


  • Potable water – The ground and spring sources of water need no treatment for domestic purposes (drinking, cooking and bathing) which reduces diarrheal and other waterborne diseases
  • Hygiene promotion – Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) engages all members of the village to be aware of the dangers of open defecation. More than 100 villages have been certified as Open Defecation Free (ODF) as a result of continuous community engagement by SWSS and its stakeholders.
  • Improved sanitation – Villagers need to help one another build their own household toilets to achieve and maintain ODF status for community health and pride
  • Village pledge – For each subproject site, villagers through their governing community Shuras, commit to uphold the newly installed infrastructure by contributing their labor and resources to community-appointed well caretakers and hand pump mechanics that SWSS trains

How does the process work?

  • PRT/Field Project Officers or Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development representatives sign off on Project Nomination Forms (PNFs) after asking communities for their needs
  • The PNFs are vetted and evaluated by SWSS together with governmental officials, community leaders and residents to verify community acceptance and cooperation – to achieve sustainability
  • SWSS supervises its subcontractors to ensure quality and on-time implementation then officially hands over subprojects in water and hygiene promotion (ODF) to the community

Physical achievements as of September 2012

  • Signed 169 subcontracts for hygiene promotion, construction and design of pipe schemes and wells worth $16,512,881 in 25 Afghan provinces.
  • Completed 3,011 wells and 37 pipe schemes benefiting 615,725 people
  • Empowered families and communities to build 42,129 of their own new/improved latrines benefiting 294,903 people.
  • Trained 4,166 hygiene facilitators and promoters, who will then train others throughout their careers in the innovative Community-Led Total Sanitation technique for community self-empowerment and positive hygienic behavioral changes.
  • Certified 611 communities as Open Defection Free (ODF) covering 323,036 people.
  • Trained 150 Hand Pump Mechanics to be paid by community contributions for the maintenance of 3,011 wells and who are now empowered to earn additional income in a highly sought community skill.

Last updated: May 07, 2019

Share This Page