Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster, Afghanistan:
The Afghanistan WASH Cluster was activated in 2008 and currently has 51 member organizations comprising donors (5), government line ministries (3), UN (8) and national (9) and international NGOs (26). The Cluster meetings are organized on a monthly basis. Based on the long experience and expertise in the WASH sector in Afghanistan, the Humanitarian Coordinator in 2008 assigned UNICEF to take the cluster leadership role. However the leadership by UNICEF was also discussed in the rolled out meeting among the Partners and agreed. DACAAR being a major player in the WASH sector in Afghanistan was originally the Cluster deputy for three years and stepped down in early 2011. From May 2011 this responsibility was passed to OXFAM-GB and carried until early this year as the MOU signed between management of both agencies was for one year. UNICEF had assigned one of its senior national WASH staffs as Cluster Coordinator since the beginning in 2008. The Cluster deputies during their turn also assigned deputy cluster coordinators from their senior WASH staff to spend part of their time supporting the cluster based on agreed TOR. The WASH Partners agreed and proposed transition of the Cluster to Sector Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WSG-led by MRRD ) by end of 2013 or 2014 depending on an assessment during 2014 to find out where WSG will stand. At present the cluster works based on co-leadership with DACAAR and MRRD.
The WASH Cluster at present conducts regular monthly meetings and special meetings as the need arises. In addition to national level the WASH Cluster has been rolled out in seven regions and although planned it could not be rolled out in the south due to insecurity and the impossibility for conducting gatherings and meetings in Kandahar.
The WASH sector situation in 2014 and needs:
The WASH cluster undertook a meta-analysis of existing information in 2013 and mapped potential WASH vulnerability due to a range of factors, including the prevalence of diarrhoeal disease, access and use of improved water sources, and observations of hygiene and sanitation behaviour. The end 2013 cluster analysis identified Kunar in the East, Sari Pul in the North and Ghor in the West as having very high-ranking vulnerability with regards to WASH. The same analysis also found eight provinces, namely Baghlan, Badakhsahn, and Jawzjan in the north and north east, Daykundi in central highland, Nuristan in the east, and Urozgan, Hilmand, and Nimroz in the south, as high ranking WASH vulnerable provinces.