Message from our CEO, Valentin Post

High school students in India become entrepreneurs for safe WASH at schools

It is clear that for COVID-19, as for many illnesses, the healthier you are, the better positioned you may be to fight it. The work we do on access to safe sanitation and improving hygiene contributes to a decrease in waterborne illnesses and therefore, has gained even more importance.

We must adjust the way we work, our activities and account for shifting budgets and attention. Toilet construction is still going strong in some FINISH Mondial countries (working with necessary safety guidelines e.g. social distancing) but have halted in others. On average, over 5,000 SDG 6-proof toilets were constructed per month in 2019. In early 2020, construction tended to increase to over 10,000 constructed per month, however, the subsequent slow-down from the pandemic has brought that figure down to just 4,500. Simultaneously, more specific COVID-19 response measures have been undertaken and linked to existing hygiene promoting activities. In our July newsletter, we share some of these innovations.

COVID-19 has severely affected financial systems and partners in various ways. Group meetings (an essential feature of many microfinance operations) have come to a halt in many places. However, many of us quickly adapted to this, and microfinance institutions are finding new ways to conduct business. Likewise, innovating and adapting is of top priority in the coming months. We will continue to look for ways to share best practices between regions and partners. As a global team, we host bi-monthly webinars, connecting our extensive 6-country teams. We have invited many of you, our peers, to learn and share with us through our external webinars, hosted by our Faecal Sludge Management-Circular Economy (FSM-CE) Working Group, which has provided a unique platform to share best practices and innovations together.

As some countries are beginning to open up, we strive to keep toilet and hand washing facilities’ construction ongoing to make sure as many people as possible get access to safe sanitation in these difficult times. The circular sanitation economy (including faecal sludge management) remains a priority—the leading article below explains this evolution in greater detail. This also means that we are expanding our footprint. Our partnerships with WaterWorX and the Toilet Board Coalition are a few examples of recent prominence highlighting this growth. Enjoy reading our second newsletter of 2020!

With warm regards,
Valentin Post
WASTE, CEO FINISH Mondial

Valentin accompanying the FINISH Mondial Uganda team on site visits, checking in with the local masons trained by FM, in early 2020 .