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At a Glance

The World Sanitation Financing Facility (WSFF) is a coalition of multilateral, NGO, financial, legal, and commercial actors committed to meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in sanitation* by transforming sanitation into a vibrant economic activity. WSFF provides a collaborative platform for participants to pool expertise and identify the most effective, scalable, and sustainable sanitation solutions and related financing opportunities.

WSFF is a facility, not a fund, which seeks to marry supply and demand through proactive collaboration of all stakeholders. As such, it is not tied to any single pool of finance, nor does it push a single financing mechanism.

While there many examples of successful sanitation financing mechanisms, these are mainly at small scale and country-specific. WSFF realigns traditional financing mechanisms with innovative ones. As a neutral intermediary, WSFF provides the market mechanisms, global scope, and cross-sector partners necessary to drive the required financial resources to the market of 2.6 billion people who lack access to basic sanitation.

WSFF aims to unite the citizen sector (which has the R&D, the local innovation, and community ownership) with the traditional for-profit world of the corporates and capital markets (which have the finance and ability to scale equitably in the interests of both parties). More broadly, WSFF seeks to validate emerging forms of social innovation - e.g. blended value investing, hybrid nonprofit/for-profit structures (L3C), output-based models, microfranchising - as well as to validate a broader model of collaboration which can be applied to this issue and others.

Key questions that WSFF is committed to answering include:

  • How do you create financial incentives for systemic collaboration?

  • How do local communities participate in the sanitation market?

  • How can investors focused on social and environmental impact get into sanitation?

  • What are the social and environmental benefits of investment in sanitation, beyond the financial value of the market?

  • How viable are household toilet building, pit emptying, public toilet management, fertilizer sales, methane generation, and consumerables as activities for entrepreneurs, communities and investors?

  • How do we increase competition in the marketplace and drive costs down?

  • How can we innovate financially and achieve meaningful scale in sanitation?

  • How can we reduce fragmentation and duplication of effort in the sanitation space?

  • Can we shift mindsets from the siloed "for profit" and "not for profit" worldviews to one in which investment capital is seen as compatible with social objectives?

  • How can we leverage foundation and philanthropic capital for greater social impact?


* Target 3 of Millennium Development Goal 7, Ensure Environmental Sustainability, is to "Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation." Read more