3rd SHF Board meeting welcomes progress on delivering ambitious strategy

3rd SHF Board meeting hybrid session June 2022

The Board of the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF) met for the third time in June 2022 in a hybrid format. Under the leadership of Cecilia Akintomide, Chair, the board reviewed the progress made by the Fund since becoming operational almost a year ago on 1 July 2021.

Following the first two board meetings, in December 2021 and April 2022, where the SHF Board agreed the SHF strategy and first set of countries the fund would be working with, this meeting was an opportunity to review the details of the SHF country portfolio engagements and also provide direction on proposed ways forward on innovative finance and SHF’s contribution to tackle the global menstrual health and hygiene crisis (MHH). 

“Our focus on being catalytic to drive investment into the sanitation economy is being well received with many recognizing the need for transformative change. We are seeing people quickly adopt the concept of the sanitation economy. We now need to take that to the next level and demonstrate what these catalytic approaches are through our country engagement, and importantly what these could mean for those most vulnerable, including women and girls. Even today, almost one in four of those who menstruate lack access to life-changing menstrual products. This needs to change and that change needs to happen on several levels, from breaking taboos on menstruation to scaling up local, viable and affordable solutions, all within globally regulated standards and frameworks,” stated Dominic O’Neill, Executive Director, SHF in his report to the board.

Recognizing the importance of bringing in actors and partners from various sectors to activate national sanitation economies, the board meeting included sessions by external speakers from the LIXIL Corporation, WSUP, Kenya, BeGirl and UNFPA. 

On the sidelines of the meeting, Dominic O’Neill also thanked inaugural board member Barry Greene for his dedicated service and guidance to the SHF. 

As the meeting concluded, SHF Board Chair Cecilia Akintomide commended the SHF team on the steps taken thus far, while also reminding them of the importance and urgency of the SHF mission. “The SHF has made significant strides since it was operationalized a year ago. It now needs to build on this momentum and deliver the results it is capable of, to accelerate much-needed progress on SDG 6.2 and ensure safe and sustainable access to sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health for all in need.”

As a dedicated UN fund, the SHF is committed to leverage innovative financing to support countries in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6.2: By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.