The joint programme on Promoting Water and Sanitation Access, Integrity, Empowerment, Rights and Resiliency (Pro-WATER) is a collaborative multi-sectoral action supported by the Spanish Government in partnership with the UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, UN WOMEN together with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW); with selected Provincial and Municipal Governments, Civil Society Organizations, Academia, Private Sector, community groups, and women and girls. It is a strategy to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically Goal 6, Sustainable Water and Sanitation. The programme is managed at the global level by the SDG Fund, a facility set up by UNDP and the Spanish Government. The Philippines is a recipient of the fund.

PRO WATER builds on the experiences and gains, achieved in the previous two Joint Programmes (JP) supported by the Spanish Government, MDGF 1919 on Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) and MDGF 1656 on Climate Change Adaptation implemented in the Philippines. MDG-F 1656 project entitled: “Strengthening the Philippines’ Institutional Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change”, as well as MDGF 1919 “Enhancing Access to and Provision of Water Services with the Active Participation of the Poor”, with the end goal of accelerating progress towards the MDG targets on water and sanitation by 2015 and transition towards the SDGs 2030.

The joint programme is aligned with the priorities of the Philippine Government, the Spanish Government, and the UN, in promoting the principles of human rights, gender equality and women empowerment, and climate change adaptation in governance processes. The joint programme, therefore, will strengthen the local governance systems and empower communities, especially women and girls, on integrated safe water, sanitation and hygiene; improving policies, institutional systems, planning, programming and budgeting and test solutions to integrate and harmonize CCA, rights-based and gender responsive principles and actions. These solutions will be applied in the on-going implementation of the Salintubig by DILG; the Philippines Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS) and Zero Open Defecation Programme (ZODP) by DOH, the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) by NWRB and in the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) also of DILG.

Aware of the current situation of fragmentation in implementing water, sanitation and hygiene at the level of local governments, the joint programme will emphasize inter-agency collaboration and complementation at all levels. It will ensure multi-sectoral participation most especially in the communities where the integration and harmonization will happen, at the same time, mainstreaming cross-cutting themes on resiliency, human rights, gender equality, climate change, integrity and accountability. Given this, the joint programme will bring about 3 major results:

1. Improved governance of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene at all levels especially at the local levels.
2. Broadened access through improved solutions that are demonstrated in the implementation of safe water, sanitation and hygiene that will benefit most especially women and girls in households, schools, health centers and public spaces.
3. Generated knowledge utilized to aid policy advocacy, planning, capacity building based on the experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of integrated safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

The Integrated Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Systems Approach will be utilized as the framework for implementing the joint programme. To facilitate efficiently the realization of the intended results, the joint programme will be implemented in three (3) components:

Component 1: Improving Local Governance of Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Component 2: Demonstrating Solutions to Broaden Access to Safe Water Supply and Improve Sanitation and Hygiene
Component 3: Generating & Utilizing Knowledge on Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Initially on its first year of implementation, the joint programme will target approximately 2,000 households, especially women-headed homes, children and IP families, 3 schools, 3 health centers and 3 important public spaces such as markets and transport terminals, in 6 waterless municipalities in 4 poorest provinces, and 3 regional knowledge hubs, in three regions. On the second year of the implementation, the tested and refined solutions will be applied in other waterless municipalities in the other poorest provinces in the Philippines.

Through this, the joint programme will contribute in attaining the outcome of: achieving empowered citizens and resilient communities with access to sustainable safe water and sanitation services and live healthy and productive lives.