Celebrating World Water Day

The 10th anniversary of WECF’s “Water and Sanitation Safety Planning” programme (WSSP)

Key words: water, sanitation, health, menstrual health, school sanitation, water source protection, small scale water supply systems, climate change, SDG6, SDG5, SDG12, SDG13

22 March 2024

22 March is World Water Day, and this year, we want to highlight the 10th anniversary of our successful programme on Water and Sanitation Safety Planning, which we have implemented with partners in the Eastern Europe and Western Balkans region. Our activities on water and sanitation in this region date back the year 2000, when WECF started working with regional partners because of our concern about infants developing ‘blue baby disease’ from drinking water containing very high levels of nitrates.

For years, WECF has been in close and fruitful collaboration with Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), from North Macedonia, Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development (EASD) from Serbia, Women in Development (WiD) and Milieukontakt (MiA) from Albania, Aquademica from Romania, and Ekotim, from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Through 10 years of joint efforts, the following results and new initiatives were developed and achieved:

Educational Impact

Through the WSSP programme, more than 2000 students were successfully educated. These students came from approximately 130 primary and secondary schools in both rural and urban areas in the four countries. In addition, nearly 450 teachers have been involved so far. In more than 60 schools the programme was accepted as part of the standard curriculum. Notably, two-thirds of these schools are situated in rural areas, while one-third is in urban settings.

Students’ and teachers’ engagement in WASH initiatives, visiting water sources and nitrate sampling

In the last four years the online tool ‘Water Classroom’ was created by our partner Aquademica and helped interested educational authorities and stakeholders to take part in the WSSP process. For more info, look at WiD, MiA (Albania), Aquademica (Romania), JHR (North Macedonia), EASD (Serbia).


Among the programme a comprehensive Compendium A,B,C – Developing a water & sanitation safety plan in a rural community has been prepared, updated and published, which aims to enable communities to develop a WSSP for small-scale water supplies and communities, e.g. dug wells, boreholes, springs and piped centralised water supply systems, and as well as to assess the quality of sanitation facilities such as school toilets.

Training of Trainers in Serbia and Albania, and WASH club pupils’ activities from North Macedonia. Source: WECF

A Special chapter: How to reduce and prevent the spread of infectious diseases in schools is also prepared. The World Health Organisation (WHO) initiated Water Safety Plans (WSP), which are considered being part of the WHO drinking water guidelines and EU directives on water intended for human consumption.

The WECF Plastic-Tool an interactive teaching material on micro plastics, translation, and adaptation was prepared in Albanian, Serbian, and Macedonian.

WECF, together with partners, has been actively participating in World Water Day, Toilet Day, the Day of Environment, and Menstrual Health Management (MHM) Day. Additionally, we have been working on water and sanitation-related activities under the UN, WHO and UNECEF.

The WSSP Programme makes significant strides in promoting education, awareness, and sustainable practices regarding water, sanitation, and environmental issues in the Eastern European and Balkan region.

The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Water for Peace“.