Improving sanitation, promoting hygiene practices, and treating wastewater

Project description

Title: Sanitation for Millions
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2018-2022), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary (2019-2022), Water Unite (2019-2022), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, 2020-2023), share GmbH (2021-2022)​​​​​​​
Country: BMZ funds: Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan, Uganda; IDB funds (until June 2023): Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: Jordan: Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Pakistan: Ministry of States and Frontier Regions, Uganda: Ministry of Water and Environment, Belize: Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management – Department of Environment, Costa Rica: Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, Dominican Republic: Ministerio de Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Guatemala: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Honduras: MiAmbiente (Secretaría de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente), Jamaika: National Environment and Planning Agency, Kolumbien: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible, Mexiko: Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) / Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), Panama: Ministerio de Ambiente, Suriname: Ministerie van Ruimtelijke Ordening en Milieu, Trinidad and Tobago: Ministry of Public Utilities​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2016 to 2025

A participant in a plumber’s training in Jordan attaches a toilet lid. Copyright: GIZ/Clemens Hess.


Safe sanitation is a human right and one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, some 3.6 billion people around the world do not have access to appropriate sanitary facilities. Approximately 540 million schoolgirls and schoolboys do not have any basic sanitation in their schools and some 780 million people depend on healthcare facilities without any sanitation. Often the knowledge or financial resources required in order to build, operate, renovate or maintain sanitary facilities are missing. Furthermore, the importance of safe hygiene practices is frequently overlooked. Lack of access to safe sanitation affects particularly disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, such as women and girls.

Two Pakistani schoolgirls sitting on a staircase and talking. Copyright: GIZ/Abdul Wahid.


Two million people have been given access to adequate, gender-sensitive sanitation and hygiene. Hygiene and menstrual health practices are integral in people's everyday lives. Sanitary wastewater is properly treated and then reused or returned to the natural water cycle.


The project builds and refurbishes gender-appropriate and inclusive sanitation facilities in schools, healthcare facilities, and religious institutions, and trains specialists to operate and maintain them.

The project promotes hygiene practices through targeted campaigns and knowledge transfer, particularly in the area of menstrual hygiene.

Until June 2023, with funds from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), the project also contributed to creating a favourable political, financial, and technical framework for sustainable wastewater management.

Girls washing their hands at a sanitary facility.

Last update: October 2022

Additional information