Beyond the Finish Line: Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All

Water for Women partners with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in delivery of Beyond the Finish Line - Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All to improve the health, gender equality and social inclusion, and wellbeing of and estimated 212,400* people in Lao PDR

Read SNV's end of project brief

Lao PDR: A sanitation journey to 2025


Lao PDR's population is 6.9 million and whilst the country has made significant and progressive advances in its national development over the past two decades, with increases in economic, health and social development indicators, it still faces huge challenges in terms of increasing access and usage to sanitation and hygiene services. 

Some 2.4 million people (38% of the population) continue to practice open defecation. Progress towards universal access to safely managed sanitation services and ending open defecation, together with the adoption of key hygiene behaviours, delivers significant benefits to the country in terms of health, wellbeing and increased productivity.

“Our ambition is that by the end of the project, the three districts will be able to demonstrate successful models for District WASH planning, budgeting and implementation for the achievement Universal Sanitation and Hygiene coverage that can be replicated in other districts. Our goal is to support the government to achieve “Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All” using the Government’s own system with the resources available… The government’s team of district officials will be the lead agencies for the implementation of all project interventions with the support of SNV’s technical assistance through a learning by doing process.”

– Allert van den Ham, Country Director, SNV Lao PDR and Myanmar


The project aims to improve health, gender equality and social inclusion, and wellbeing of an estimated 212,400* people by 2022 by equitably increasing access and use of safe sanitation and hygiene, for all.  Three districts of Savannakhet Province targeted are:

  • Atsaphone
  • Champhone
  • Xonbuli

Regional map of Lao PDR


The Project approach integrates five key components


SSH4A Diagram

Component 1: Inclusive WASH governance and investment

Improved capacity of government agencies (one provincial and three district) to practice inclusive planning and investment.  This includes multi-stakeholder processes, social inclusion strategies and women’s leadership activities.

Component 2: Tailored sanitation demand creation

Improved capacity of provincial and district agencies to steer, implement, monitor and follow-up using tailored Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) methodologies with attention to inclusive processes and facilitation in rural households and institutional settings.

Component 3: Social and behaviour change communication

Improved capacity for evidence-based SBCC around key behaviours such as hand washing with soap, menstrual hygiene management, safe emptying and usage for households, schools and health facilities and broader social change.

Component 4: Sanitation and hygiene supply chain development and marketing

Strengthened provincial/district supply chains responding to changing consumer needs and service levels, including accessibility, menstrual hygiene products, safe management, and promoting female entrepreneurs with private sector actors.

Component 5: Performance monitoring, learning and dissemination

Improved performance monitoring, evidence-based learning and uptake of innovations of field teams, the national WASH sector as well as contributions to the learning of the WASH sector in wider region including in applying rights-based approaches, climate change resilience and monitoring gender and social inclusion outcomes.


The expected outcomes by 2022 are:

Outcome 1: Strengthened decentralised WASH systems with greater emphasis on sustainability, gender and social inclusion and safely managed sanitation and hygiene services. 

This outcome will be measured by: 

  • Number of national and/or sub-national government line agencies achieving benchmark or above
  • Increased financial commitment by government to delivering WASH services
  • Number of national and/or sub-national government line agencies with budget lines allocated to climate adaptation for sanitation
  • Number of alliances established with women’s rights organisations, disabled people’s organisations, sexual and gender minorities and other representative groups

Outcome 2: Increased equitable universal access to and use of sustainable sanitation services and adoption of hygiene practices, particularly for potentially disadvantaged groups.

This includes an estimated target of:

  • Approximately 85,000 people using basic sanitation services (disaggregated)
  • Approximately 15,000 people having access to safely managed sanitation (disaggregated)
  • A number of institutions providing basic or above sanitation
  • Approximately 80,000 people with basic handwashing facilities in their household (disaggregated)
  • A number of institutions with basic handwashing facilities
  • A number of communities with all public institutions that have universally accessible basic or safely managed WASH facilities
  • Approximately 50 Schools with adequate toilet ratios; number of schools with improved access to safe menstrual hygiene management facilities
  • Approximately 15 Health care facilities with premise level solid waste management for health care facilities

Outcome 3: Strengthened gender equality and social inclusion in local bodies, CSOs, communities, and households.

This project will aim to have women and/or people with disability supported to take on WASH leadership roles and/or technical roles at the community, provincial and/or national level

Outcome 4: Strengthened use of new evidence, innovation, and practices in gender and socially inclusive, sustainable safely managed sanitation and hygiene services by sub-national and national stakeholders, CSOs and international WASH sector actors.

This outcome will be measured by:

  • WASH knowledge products that are accessible, relevant and inclusive
  • Field reports, case studies, briefing notes
  • Knowledge products that have been used by WASH actors (beyond the Fund) to inform policy and practice

 Innovation & Impact


In 2021, this project was awarded an Innovation and Impact grant to further strengthen the use of new evidence, innovation and practice in sustainable and inclusive WASH and, in doing so, contribute to improved learning and practice globally.


Led by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, this Innovation and Impact project is supporting local governments in Lao PDR and Nepal to overcome barriers preventing them from addressing climate change impacts to become climate action champions for inclusive WASH.


Learn more


 A water and WASH response is a COVID-19 response


In 2020, the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene was underscored as the globe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from Australia's Partnerships for Recovery, our partners pivoted their projects and worked collaboratively to support countries in their COVID-19 responses and to embed COVID-19 preparedness into their WASH projects.


In Lao PDR, SNV focused on messaging and communications, particularly to vulnerable communities. Supporting the government's response, SNV produced content (radio songs/poems and stories) to raise awareness on preventative behaviours that were broadcasted in rural/remote areas without access to internet or electricity. This campaign printed posters on COVID-19 facts and preventative measures, radio spots in four different languages (Lao, Hmong, Khmu and Bru) nationwide, on village loudspeakers and mobile trucks and two video clips with a COVID song (featuring celebrities) and an animation that reached an estimated 1 million people


SNV collaborated heavily with partners during their COVID-19 response including the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Home Affairs, the Communication Taskforce for COVID-19, provincial/district health departments, KAONA as the creative agency, Lao National TV and Lao Youth Radios, the UN Community Radio program and civil society/community organisations.


Australia continues to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities across the Indo-Pacific region to secure our region's health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times.

An unprecedented crisis requires a coordinated response. Through our water resources management and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects, we are not only delivering safe, equitable and sustainable water and WASH, we are also building healthy, inclusive and resilient societies. We're supporting individuals, communities and countries to endure, and recover from, the COVID-19 crisis as well as to future extreme events and natural disasters. 



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*Project targets are based on partner Civil Society Organisations (CSO) baseline studies. Project targets are updated periodically in response to changes in context as appropriate. To see our latest progress towards targets, see our progress.

Photo by SNV/Aiden Dockery

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