The SHF is focused on investments and opportunities to deliver better sanitation and hygiene services, the ‘SH’ element of WASH - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Our starting point is to see sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health as having value and opportunity for individuals, the economy and the environment. Knowing this value helps governments and investors to see the task of improving sanitation and hygiene as not only an opportunity for building human capital but also for accelerated economic growth and jobs.
The SHF brings together the development and finance worlds and we play a key role in assisting countries to navigate and benefit from innovative financing opportunities therein.
We use the potential value that can be created within the sanitation economy as a driver for achieving scale and securing government commitments to co-financing and system strengthening as a foundation. Our next step is to facilitate the development (or refinement) of a national investment case and financing strategy, with a pipeline of investable propositions, that can attract a new range of investors previously not involved in the sector. The SHF seeks to utilize its grant financing innovatively to help to de-risk their entry into the sector.
We can also support market-based sanitation interventions that work in unison with consumer demand generation for sanitation goods and services, and which strengthen the domestic private sector. We do not work on drinking water infrastructure unless in the context of sanitation and hygiene in schools and healthcare facilities. Similarly, the SHF focuses on off-grid, rural and peri-urban rather than large scale, centralized urban infrastructure. All of our investments and activities are climate resilient and incorporate nature based solutions where possible. Our investments also demonstrate financial sustainability, wherein we support the provision of affordable and appropriate options and choice, rather than provide commodities such as free sanitary pads to women and girls.
Gender equality is a founding value of the SHF. Alongside our contribution toward strengthening the sanitation economy, an ecosystem that menstruators depend upon, we are also focusing on helping to shape sustainable menstrual hygiene marketplaces, building gender and climate responsive, scalable markets and enterprises that can unleash the power of women as leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, suppliers and informed consumers.
We complement the work of other actors in menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) and with social and political leaders and champions, we call for increased investment and advocate for global MHH targets in the run up to 2030 and beyond. We firmly believe that investing in women will accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the benefit of everyone. Read our approach to MHH here.