Civil Society

SWA has 5 constituencies and CSOs form one core element. The CSO constituency includes non-profit organizations or networks active at national, international or regional levels. It includes INGOs and community based organisations.

Civil society’s role within SWA 


The Civil Society constituency is responsible for:

  • Representing the views and raising the voices of citizens and communities in local, national, regional and global forums.  At the global level, examples include participation in the SWA partnership’s High-level Meetings, including the Finance Ministers’ Meeting and the Sector Ministers’s Meeting. At the national level, this includes using opportunities such as Annual Joint Sector Reviews and regular multi-stakeholder WASH Sector Meetings to ensure SWA (and other regional and global) processes are embedded in and aligned with national level commitments, mechanisms and governance.
  • Working with other sector stakeholders to support governments to prepare the High-level Meetings and implement their commitments or sector plans including those made at the SWA High-level Meetings
  • Tracking and monitoring commitments or engagements that governments have made on water and sanitation, and holding them to account for their timely delivery through advocacy and campaigning. For example, through End Water Poverty’s Keep Your Promises campaign and the global month of action each month of March.
  • Playing an active role advocating for the alignment of policies with the Sustainable Development Goal on Water, the Human Right on Water and Sanitation and the four Collaborative Behaviours and engaging with the thematic work the Sanitation and Water for All partnership does around these issues. 


Representatives of the Civil Society constituency in the Steering Committee:

The four CSO representatives represent four different regions and are responsible for gathering the voices of their region.  


The CSO national-level Focal Points


In order for the CSO representatives above to effectively consult and get inputs on key SWA documents and processes, the CSO constituency also has national level CSO country Focal Points.

The key roles of the national level focal points are to:

  • Liaise with other sanitation, water and hygiene CSOs in the country to make sure that they are regularly updated on SWA and have an opportunity to have their voices heard in SWA forums, documents and processes

  • Establish working relationships and regularly meet with SWA government and donor representatives and other stakeholders from the country to improve coordination and collaboration

  • Coordinate national advocacy and campaigning with other CSOs and established networks to ensure that governments are held to account on commitments that they have made around sanitation, water and hygiene

  • Actively monitor progress towards sanitation, water and hygiene commitments, including those made at the biennial High Level Meetings. Work with government, donor and other stakeholders to track progress towards these commitments and to develop action plans for stepping up this progress to ensure targets are reached.

  • Report back to their regional CSO regional network representative so as to share expertise with other CSOs within the region and for the regional Steering Committee representative to be aware of the different activities undertaken.

You can find the CSOs national focal point list here.


How can CSOs get involved?


There are many ways in which CSOs can engage with the SWA partnership at both the global and national levels:

Firstly, find out if your country is a member of the SWA here.

If your country is not a member of the partnership and you think that it should be, please contact the SWA CSO Advisor to discuss this further and find out more.

If your country is a member of the SWA partnership, you can engage by:

  • Calling on your government to step up efforts to work with civil society for the implementation the SDGs, and the ways they can strengthen their governance and participatory approaches.

CSOs can push governments to be included in the negotiations process towards the SDGs.  CSOs should be active stakeholders, the SWA High-level Political Dialogue is an opportunity for CSOs to push for their advocacy messages and the civil society voice to be heard.

  • Participating in the development of your country’s plan for reaching the sanitation, water and hygiene related targets of the SDGs, and pushing your government to take part to the High Level Political Dialogue

The High-level Meetings are planned to be held on the 19th and 20th of April 2017 in Washington D.C. A Sector Ministers’ and Finance Ministers’ Meetings are planned: Ministers responsible for sanitation, water and hygiene but also Finance Ministers will come together, along with heads of development agencies, and senior representatives of civil society, the private sector and research and learning institutions, to plan their approach for meeting the water and sanitation-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Make sure your Finance Minister and your Minister for sanitation, water and hygiene know about these crucial meetings and encourage them to take part! Find out if your country has started to develop its SDG plans yet and make sure citizens’ voices are heard in the process.

Have a look at the CSOs preparation guide for the HLMs.

  • Raising awareness: Inform communities and the media about your governments’ national, regional and global commitments – including those made through Sanitation and Water for All, those announced at AfricaSan, SACOSAN and LatinoSan, and the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Mobilise them to hold politicians to account on their WASH promises! For all ideas and resources to help with your campaigning, visit for ideas and resources for your campaigning.

  • Monitoring progress: Follow up with your government regarding the commitments and actions presented during the High Level Meetings – hold them accountable !

Require a detailed feedback from you government about the decisions made at the HLM and ask the strategic plan to implement these decisions. Monitor and update on your countries’ progress towards their WASH commitments using the online platform. WASHwatch gives you the latest on governments’ progress toward their promises to help you to plan and implement campaigns and policies that make a difference.


For more information


Heloise Chicou, hosted within the secretariat of  End Water Poverty, is the current SWA Civil Society Advisor. Her role is to support civil society to engage with the SWA partnership at all levels – nationally, regionally and globally. Please do contact Heloise if you would like any support at all in becoming further engaged with the SWA partnership.


CSO partners are: