The Millennium Water Alliance Convenes and Influences Governments, the Private Sector, and Non-Governmental Organizations to Accelerate Global Progress in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene


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Member Spotlight

“Member Spotlight” focuses on the work and mission of an individual member organization of the Millennium Water Alliance. This month: One of MWA’s newest members, Action Against Hunger (also known as Action Contre la Faim).

Action Against Hunger is a global 7,700-employee humanitarian organization that takes action against the causes and effects of hunger. Begun in France in 1979, known as Action Contre la Faim, the organization has grown to a global network with eight independent headquarters and satellite locations and programs in more than 45 countries.

Because water, sanitation, and hygiene are so strongly linked to effective programs in nutrition and food security, the organization direct implements WASH interventions in 37 of its missions. Action Against Hunger joined MWA in December 2019.

Action Against Hunger USA became an independent headquarter office in 1992 and currently manages programs in eight countries. Through its multisectoral approach, the organization conducts WASH activities in Haiti, Cambodia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. Their research projects focus on the effects of poor WASH conditions on acute malnutrition. Last year, Action Against Hunger USA’s WASH interventions directly reached 1,323,277 people in need.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Action Against Hunger has been very active in focused programming to help populations at risk to adopt mitigation strategies, and is very vocal with media and others in its advocacy for WASH implementation to help prevent and mitigate future epidemics:

Action Against Hunger’s Country Director for Somalia, Ahmed Khalif, was quoted extensively in an April 2020:

“All our country offices are working on COVID-19 emergency preparedness and response plans, with a focus on Health and WASH,” says the organization’s Senior WASH Advisor Bram Riems.

“We gathered together all available guidance on COVID-19 and developed SOPs for infection prevention and control in Health facilities in line with WHO recommendations (hand washing at entrance, waiting area, consultation room and in-patient rooms, personal protective equipment, triage, isolation where feasible, waste management). We have developed WASH technical guidance to adapt, reorient, or develop new interventions regarding COVID-19.”

Current examples of Action Against Hunger’s response:
* In Haiti, cholera rapid response teams will be reoriented towards COVID-19 prevention, mitigation and control, with mass sensitization on hand washing, social distancing, case detection and early recognition of symptoms in the areas where cases have been reported.
* In South Sudan, a rapid response team has been deployed for COVID prevention and control.
* In Somalia, Action Against Hunger is supporting case management in the nutrition sites and health centers it supports:
* In Kenya, Action Against Hunger is working on an updated WASH and Health approach.

Also, the organization’s international network worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine early in the outbreak to develop rapid tools to increase hand washing practice at community level, in schools and other public places (improving effectiveness of risk communication).

Action Against Hunger USA is also a member of the steering group of the Clean, Fed and Nurtured (formerly BabyWASH) coalition, a member of the Global Handwashing Partnership.