From Half-Time Huddle to Victory: Sanitation’s Race to 2030

Half time is a good time to take stock – so let’s:

Sanitation entrepreneurship is becoming mainstream – we are not only receiving more applications than before, but we are also receiving them from more countries, with diverse business models. The ecosystem is showing unmistakable vibrancy – and this innovation pathway is organically integrating with water and food security, health, human rights and of course climate change resilience.

Businesses are scaling up – back in 2018 very few thought that sanitation businesses were investible – that has changed substantially. Millions of dollars have been invested and more are on the way. Not only volume, but diverse investment instruments are also fueling the sanitation entrepreneur’s ambition. A sanitation business with 100% year-over-year growth is not rare.

Public-private partnerships – there is a clear consensus within governments that innovative business solutions coming from the private sector are critical to building the new infrastructure needed for safely managed sanitation coverage. These innovations are drastically reducing the cost and are rapidly deployable while being environment friendly. These dividends and their wins are uniting civic society, bureaucracy, and politics.

Clearly, much has been done – the needle is no longer stuck, it is moving – but more lies ahead.

To all of us in the sector – let’s take a refreshing sip, wipe off the sweat from the first half – and along with it, the doubts, and the weariness – let’s clear out the baggage and refresh, re-energize and simplify. At half-time, as we look around through these renewed eyes, we will see that billions are watching us, rooting for us to win.

The goal is clear and in sight – the players are awash with purpose; their positions are well set – their unique skills integrating them well as a team – and however slow, the ball has started to roll. And it can go all the way.

It needs numerous collaborative passes in the direction of the goal – it needs a united resistance at times, when despite all efforts, the ball starts to move back. Through this relentless choreography of reaching and consolidating, the ball will land in the goal.

Not too long ago, 12 billion vaccines were conceived and delivered in a span of 24 months – 12 billion units of products + services, delivered within 24 months to the remotest corners of the world.

How about 3.5 billion units of sanitation products and services in 7 years?

This year, Global Goals Week introduced the Half Time Campaign, urging a huddle signifying the halfway point in our journey toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, as all games are ultimately won in the second half – and sanitation is no different. 

Author: Venu Gupta, Managing Director – Acceleration at the Toilet Board Coalition

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