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The goal of URBAN WASH is to generate and promote evidence for more sustainable, equitable and climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene policy and programming in urban and peri-urban areas throughout the world.

Active project


One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is safe, affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

Yet today, more than 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water in homes and 4.4 billion lack access to proper sanitation – challenges that affect health, income and security.

This issue is addressed by a field of international development known as water, sanitation and hygiene, commonly referred to as WASH.

SEI is a member of a consortium led by Tetra Tech, which was awarded in the fall of 2021 a five-year $22.4 million contract by USAID for an initiative called Urban Resilience by Building partnerships and Applying New evidence in WASH – or URBAN WASH.

The goal of the project is to generate evidence for impactful, sustainable, equitable and climate-resilient WASH and water resource management (WRM) policy and program in urban and peri-urban areas. It also aims to support WASH and WRM interventions through collaboration with researchers, the private sector, civil society groups, governments and multilateral institutions.

A growing majority of the world’s population lives in metropolitan centers and surrounding locations known as peri-urban areas. With the acceleration of urban population comes an increasing lack of reliable and affordable water and sanitation services, constricting urban economic growth and health.

SEI’s role in the project is to review existing research and literature on urban WASH policy and practice, identifying knowledge gaps on the way to establishing a baseline for maintaining sustainable and equitable access to clean water. Its researchers will explore the financial, environmental and political factors affecting the safety of drinking water sources.

URBAN WASH will incorporate gender, inclusion, and climate vulnerability considerations throughout its work. The project will ensure research methodologies address local gender and inclusion concerns, and facilitate participation of women and marginalized groups in research activities.

URBAN WASH is an initiative of the Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security.

Project partners

Profile picture of Annette Huber-Lee
Annette Huber-Lee

Senior Scientist


Laura Forni

Water Program Director


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