African Parliamentarians unpack Africa’s Sanitation problem

African Parliamentarians unpack Africa’s Sanitation problem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

By Laetitia Badolo

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 19 October 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/-  Access to water and sanitation remains a luxury for most people in Africa. African parliamentarians are ensuring that this luxury effectively became what it really is, a basic human right. The biggest hindrance to improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Africa is the absence of coherent legislation and inclusive policies in most parts of the continent. 

Taking place ahead of World Toilet Day in November, international advocacy firm Niyel hosted a webinar to unpack how to achieve more sustainable sanitation systems in Africa. It also prepares the ground for the first United Nations conference on water and sanitation in nearly 50 years to be held in 2023. 

The rest of the world is already taking notice of an incredible African initiative. 

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) has developed groundbreaking African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) which can be easily tailored to each African country. They represent a tool made for Africa in Africa and by Africans. The Guidelines were launched by AMCOW on June 11, 2021 to help governments ensure access to adequate and inclusive sanitation for all. An early success in this regard was already achieved in the recent adoption of the Guidelines by a first African country, Kenya. This now provides a precedent for other countries to follow. 

The webinar panelists consisted of African parliamentarians and experts: the Honourable Halidou Sanfo, President of REPHA-Afrique and a parliamentarian of Burkina Faso; the Honourable Jacqueline Amongin, Chairperson the WASH Alliance of African Parliamentarians; Kitchinme Bawa, sanitation project manager at AMCOW (the initiator of the Guidelines); and myself Laetitia Badolo, a Senior Advocacy Officer at Niyel as I focus on leading a multi-year sanitation advocacy initiative. CSOs, NGOs, social movements, individual companies working in the field of water and sanitation were also participants in the webinar.

 Assessment of what needed to be done 

Africa’s Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) have unfortunately not been achieved. Nonetheless, ASPG provides a platform for the SDG for sanitation to finally be met, albeit belatedly. 

Since 2013, AMCOW with support from the Gates Foundation has worked with six countries from west, central and eastern Africa on developing their WASH policies. The wide variety of sanitation approaches in these countries showed the need for a rethink. AMCOW broadened the project to reach about half of Africa. It found that not one country had a set of policies that was comprehensive enough to meet Africa’s SDGs. 

The idea of having a set of uniform guidelines for all countries was born, and parliamentarians were identified as the key role players in implementing and monitoring the necessary laws and appropriate budgeting by governments. ASPG would ensure implementation of large-scale sanitation programmes capable of providing access to safely-managed sanitation to improve the livelihoods of people. African parliamentarians aim to ensure that legislation and policies relating to WASH are integrated as a priority – just like health and education policies – into national laws, and filling policy gaps wherever needed. 

The webinar was co-organised by the seven-member REPHA-Afrique, which is the Network of Parliamentarians for Drinking Water, Hygiene and Sanitation in Africa. It was established in 2020 and aims to grow its membership to 15 countries in the coming months, aided by Niyel. 

Its concept was that with around 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to sanitation services, the continent must pull as one. The current members of REPHA are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Chad, Mali and Senegal. The purpose of this organisation is to provide support to national networks through the sharing of experiences to address common issues more effectively.

The role of ASPG 

ASPG is a guideline as to what is an inclusive national sanitation and hygiene policy. Sanitation focuses mainly on the safe management of fecal sludge; hygiene on hand and menstrual hygiene. One aspect is a comprehensive and inclusive WASH policy; the other a step-by-step roadmap of implementation. It has been designed to trigger and guide the necessary reforms needed to accelerate progress, including funding. 

At the 12th General Assembly of the Council of Ministers of the African Union in February 2021, the final draft of the ASPG was officially adopted and the AMCOW Secretariat mandated to launch ASPG and coordinate its adoption and uptake by member countries in terms of an ASPG Rollout Strategy. A high-level Champion was appointed – the First Lady of Sierra Leone, Fatima Maada Bio, with a mandate to involve high-level institutions and persons. 

The future 

In some countries, Water and Sanitation have been ‘constitutionalized’ as a human right, making its implementation much easier. For now, what is important is to develop and/or implement inclusive national policies. The period until the UN conference in 2023 is anticipated to be one of capacity building, budget allocation by some of the REPHA-Afrique membership towards implementation and reinforcing advocacy work. The coming year will see the ASPG made ever more accessible to national parliaments – less technical in its language. All stakeholders in the sanitation sector will be contacted to be included in discussions. 

Parliamentarians, through their roles in parliamentary committees have access to relevant government ministers. Domesticating the ASPG to each country in Africa involves support for governments through a mechanism to deliver services to the people. These people are not faceless numbers, but our neighbours and people we know.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of NIYEL.

REPHA-Africa is the Network of Parliamentarians for Drinking Water, Hygiene and Sanitation of Africa. It was created in 2020 with the support of Niyel, and is intended to be a framework for influencing decision-making and the effective implementation of public policies for a better political and social commitment for the promotion of equitable access to drinking water, hygiene and sanitation in Africa. 

Founded in 2008, Niyel is an international advocacy and campaigns firm based in Dakar, Senegal. Niyel works to promote public policies conducive to the development of all, and to influence practices to ensure that as citizens, individuals and communities, we understand the social, political and cultural issues related to our daily lives.

Media Contact:
Meganne Boho

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Become our partner

want more info, fill in this form.

Conférence de Presse en Ligne

Les frontières terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles à la dissémination de votre message. Grâce à notre service de conférence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunité de vous rapprocher des médias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.

Nos services comprennent:

Digital Communications

Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.


Communication​ digitale

Les réseaux sociaux représentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’œil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualité de votre contenu pour l’inciter à aller plus loin. Nous créons pour vous une stratégie de communication précise et adaptée sur les réseaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et améliorer la réputation de votre marque en interne et en externe.

Promotion​ d’événements

Le succès d’un événement réside en moitié dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beauté de l’événement, la qualité des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre événement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons à façonner votre récit et à créer un engouement autour de votre événement. De l’annonce de l’événement à la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflétons sur toutes les plateformes médiatiques.​

Formation​ Médiatique

Nous fournissons à vos porte-paroles les outils nécessaires pour présenter vos principaux messages et répondre avec confiance et cohérence aux questions. Notre formation est organisée soit à distance ou en présentiel, avec des études de cas réels et des répétitions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’être à l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.

Veille​ Médiatique

Nous mesurons votre portée en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activités de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majorité des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille médiatique complète et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune référence à votre marque, que vous êtes constamment informé de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous êtes prêt à saisir les opportunités et à réduire les risques en temps opportun.

Relations​ Média

Peu importe le lieu où ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui écrivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crédible qui les aide dans leurs tâches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les médias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu

Nous créons des stratégies de communication intelligentes, bien documentées et spécialisées destinées à vous aider à construire un récit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rédiger des communiqués de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le récit de votre entreprise. Notre équipe a une expérience approfondie dans la création de récits et le développement de contenu multimédia.


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiqués de presse auprès des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprès des journalistes américains et européens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchés émergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

Event Promotion

Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training

We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring

We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations

We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development

We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.


This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available