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EditPhoto Title:Integrating Freshwater Conservation with Sanitation and Hygiene Efforts
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EditImage Description:Waterfall in Madagascar
EditPhoto Credit:© Cristina Mittermeier
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Vulnerable communities around the world directly depend on healthy freshwater ecosystems for food, drinking water, protection from damaging floods and more.


However, international development organizations and funding agencies have traditionally treated freshwater ecosystems and watershed management needs as distinct and separate agendas on the ground.

Conservation International and several of our partners recognize that water, poverty and environment are interconnected and that the long-term sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services depends on the health of the entire basin.



Our role

CI has more than 27 years of practical experience helping communities in developing countries demonstrate that human societies can live in harmony with nature. We believe that WASH projects play a meaningful role in improving the lives of people while also protecting freshwater-dependent species. Our goal is to increase awareness of the connection between community health and freshwater ecosystems at all levels through practical tools and on-the-ground examples — like our work in Bolivia, Colombia and Madagascar.



Our plan

In December 2013, CI, The Nature Conservancy and other partners released a new publication, “Freshwater Conservation and WASH Integration Guidelines: A Framework for Implementation in sub-Saharan Africa.” Funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Africa and the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG), the report provides guidance to health, development and conservation professionals in sub-Saharan Africa on how to plan, coordinate, develop and achieve mutually-supported WASH and freshwater conservation project outcomes.

The guidelines draw on the evidence base and lessons learned from integrated projects referenced in the 2012 ABCG publication, "Linking Biodiversity Conservation and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Experiences from sub-Saharan Africa,” and a workshop held in May 2013 to improve the understanding of the value of integrated programs. Many WASH and conservation practitioners contributed to the development and technical review including: Absolution Options, Africa Wildlife Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, Conservation International, FHI360, Global Environment & Technology Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Defense Council, Millennium Water Alliance, USAID, U.S. Forest Service, Water for People, WASH Advocates, Wetlands International, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Winrock International, World Vision and World Wildlife Fund.


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EditImage Alt Text:Udzungwa National Park's Sanje Waterfall overlooks farmland that depends on its water.
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:> 1,200 downloads
EditText:Using our extensive networks of professionals, we are spreading the word about these guidelines — which have been downloaded more than 1,200 times.
EditPhoto Credit:© Benjamin Drummond
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      Edit Title: Featured Publications
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        EditSection Title:Conservation South Africa’s “One Health” Initiative
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          EditYouTube Video ID:9JopuOMFWtc
          EditText:Through our work as a member of ABCG, CI has partnered with Conservation South Africa to pilot the freshwater conservation-WASH integration tools in the country’s Mzimvubu Catchment. With a focus on enhancing water management and livestock grazing practices, this project is training local volunteers to engage in freshwater restoration and water-quality monitoring efforts that address sanitation and conservation challenges.
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          More of Our Work Links

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          First Image

          EditTitle:Climate
          EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_30785027.jpg
          EditLink:/what/Pages/Climate.aspx
          EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

          Second Image

          EditTitle:Science and Innovation
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          EditLink:/how/pages/science-and-innovation.aspx
          EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond

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          EditTitle:The Ocean
          EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_16084886.jpg
          EditLink:/what/Pages/oceans.aspx
          EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse