Afghan people face many difficulties, including the need for safe and reliable supplies of potable water for both urban and rural populations. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation services directly impacts the health and productivity of people and communities, especially women and children. Through the Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation (SWSS) project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tetra Tech helped design and install water supply and sanitation facilities to improve hygiene behaviors community-wide in six Afghan provinces.

We saw a SWSS project yesterday in Shuhada, and everyone seems to be quite happy with the results. Congratulations for running such a good program.

USAID Field Officer, Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan

Under SWSS, Tetra Tech used a new, evidence-based approach to establish successful and sustainable water distribution points, sanitation facilities, and improved hygiene behaviors. To achieve project goals, our approach included two sub-component programs aimed at attaining sustainable health outcomes focused on sanitation and hygiene.

The provincial program, used an integrated methodology to support hygiene and sanitation consisting of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programs and hygiene education. Tetra Tech engaged with local communities to examine and acknowledge issues with open defecation, its importance in the transmission of disease, and the effects of those diseases on well-being and household finances. We also worked to ensure that all households had access to a safe, disease-free latrine, resulting in communities achieving open-defecation-free status.

Through our successful installation of more than 42,000 sanitation facilities established under SWSS, 611 communities were certified open-defecation-free. Nearly 300,000 community members now have access to improved sanitation services.

The flexible response program aimed to provide hygiene education to beneficiaries of water supply systems constructed by the project. Under this program, Tetra Tech also constructed wells with hand pumps and pipe schemes in targeted communities that had the greatest need. To achieve long-term results, we created and led a Sustainable Health Outcomes (SHO) team that was responsible for providing hygiene education to the beneficiaries of these water distribution points. The SHO team provided training for community leaders and school teachers to help sustain the project’s efforts.

The project operated in 22 of the 35 provinces of Afghanistan, working with Afghan subcontractors on water and sanitation services. Through SWSS, more than 3,000 wells and 37 pipe schemes were built or rehabilitated. These improved water systems benefited more than 619,000 people.

Our team trained 150 community-appointed hand pump mechanics in 19 provinces. In addition, 17 district-level Community-Led Total Sanitation programs were established in 85 villages and resulted in more than 600 people receiving training. Trainees helped mobilize communities and build or improve nearly 8,000 household latrines that served more than 45,000 people.

SWSS established Family Health Action Groups in more than 950 villages. Women are at the forefront of water and sanitation issues in developing countries. To ensure sustainability of improved sanitation, female community health workers and female facilitators from non-governmental organizations trained nearly 8,700 women leaders who, in turn, demonstrated and taught what they had learned to another 45,000 women.