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Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

Discussion on a new SNV/ISF learning paper on “Septage Transfer Stations”

Mon, 2015-06-22 18:00

On Wednesday 24 June a discussion on a new SNV/ISF learning paper, namely on Septage Transfer Stations, is starting. This discussion will be running on the Faecal sludge transport subgroup of the sanitation systems group and in parallel also on the WASH Asia urban san Dgroup.

The topic of Septage Transfer Stations has come up as one of the learning priorities, because it is an essential part of a faecal sludge management solution in cities with narrow roads and large distances to treatment facilities. In this learning paper we brought together existing knowledge on this topic, and we found out that there are only a few good examples. Through this discussion we are not only hoping to share the paper, but also to add examples and insight to it from your collective experience.

What will we discuss?

There will be 3 topics and each topic will run for one week, from Wednesday till Tuesday. At the end of the discussion, we’ll make a summary paper as input for the workshop. Below are the three topics.

Week dates topic

Week 1: 24 June- 30 June Different options for septage transfer stations

Week 2: 1 July- 7 July General considerations for septage transfer stations

Week 3: 8 July-14 July Reflections on management arrangements for septage transfer stations

After the discussion, we will share an updated version of the learning paper on Septage Transfer Stations.

How does it work?

We are making the full learning paper available to you on the Faecal sludge transport subgroup and the SuSanA Discussion Forum.

In addition to this, we will break up the information according to the above blocks. On the first day of the discussion, 24 June, you will find some questions in your inbox. Everybody is invited to share their ideas, comments and examples, responding to the message. All experiences and opinions are welcome and please don’t be shy to contribute.

On the last day of each discussion week, each Tuesday, all messages of the week will be processed and integrated into a chapter of the summary document. This will be the same for all 3 topics.

For more information please visit the SuSanA Forum.

Looking forward to hear from all of you over the coming weeks!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is holding a 3-week thematic discussion on the topic: Urban Sanitation Finance – from Macro to Micro Level

Mon, 2015-06-22 15:19

The second SuSanA thematic discussion “Urban Sanitation Finance – from Macro to Micro Level” will start today, Tuesday 23 June 2015, on the SuSanA Discussion Forum.
The discussion will look at financing sanitation in the urban area from different angles – What are current levels of public finance at national level for urban sanitation? Is local taxation a key? What role could microfinance play to support on-site sanitation and how could different financing mechanisms be combined innovatively at city level?

During the discussion six experts on sanitation finance are providing leadership and responses on questions raised by Forum Users:

  • Theme I – Public Finance (23 June – 2 July): Catarina Fonseca (Senior Programme Officer and head of the International and Innovation Programme at IRC) and Guy Norman (Head of Evaluation, Research and Learning at Water&Sanitation for the Urban Poor, WSUP)
  • Theme II – Microfinance (30 June – 10 July): Sophie Trémolet (Director of Trémolet Consulting) and Goufrane Mansour (Consultant at Trémolet Consulting) on the topic of microfinance
  • Theme III – City level sustainable cost recovery (9 July– 16 July): Antoinette Kome (a global sector coordinator for WASH at SNV Netherlands Development Organisation ) and Kumi Abeysuriya (a senior research consultant of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney)

During these periods, regular summaries of forum entries will be posted to keep you updated on our conversation.

To participate in the discussion and to get prepared with a few suggested readings, please visit the discussion on the SuSanA Forum or the SuSanA website.

For any questions, please post on the forum or contact us directly at

We look forward to hearing your contributions on this upcoming discussion!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Estimating the Potential Impact of Sanitary Child Stool Disposal: Policy Brief

Mon, 2015-06-22 13:57

Estimating the Potential Impact of Sanitary Child Stool Disposal: Policy Brief, 2015. SHARE. 

Authors: Victoria Sykes, Alexandra Chitty, Jeroen Ensink, Joanna EstevesMills, Fiona Majorin

The WASH sector has, thus far, greatly overlooked the enormous potential of hygienic child stool disposal to considerably reduce the prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases. Young children are concurrently more susceptible to faecal-oral disease transmission and an important source of infection because their faeces contain high levels of pathogens.

Based on a literature review and new research, this policy brief describes the potential impact of unsanitary child stool disposal and presents data on child faeces disposal practices in 38 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

It also highlights how the prevalence of safe disposal of child faeces differs in households with access to different types of sanitation, across rural and urban settings and with the age of the child. Finally, it offers recommendations for the WASH and health sectors on improving child faeces disposal to reduce the presence of child excreta in the household and community environment.

Filed under: Sanitation and Health Tagged: child stool disposal, children, SHARE

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF

Wed, 2015-06-17 16:39


The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015


Filed under: Policy, Progress on Sanitation, South Asia Tagged: India, open defecation, open defecation-free villages, Swachh Bharat

Global Sanitation Fund Field Trip in Senegal – Interesting points and reflections by Jamie Myers

Fri, 2015-06-12 14:00

By Jamie Myers, Research Officer at the CLTS Knowledge Hub

Photo: Alma Felic/WSSCC

Last week in the run up to AfricaSan I joined a Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) field trip and learning event in the Matam region, Senegal. Along with GSF programme managers and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) National Coordinators, we visited different villages where local NGOs have been triggering communities. Matam, in the north east of Senegal separated from Mauritania by the Senegal River, has a population of over 550,000 of which 98% are Muslim. In the region, 47.2% practice open defecation.

Following the field trip I also joined a sharing and learning event in Dakar where executing agencies presented the work they had been undertaking in their own countries.

Throughout the week there were a number of interesting points. The ones I found most interesting were use of religious leaders, support mechanisms for the most vulnerable and ways to change and sustain the hygienic management of child faeces. All three are discussed in more detail below.


As mentioned above, in Matam 98% of the population are Muslim. The sub-grantees in Senegal have made sure to not just gain the support from local Imams but make sure they play a central role in the intervention. Imams in some of the villages we visited are involved in post-triggering and post-open-defecation free (ODF) activities through their participation in village sanitation and hygiene communities. The use of religious leaders to promote sanitation and hygiene messages appears to have been very effective for collective behaviour change and hopefully the sustainability of ODF villages.

From country presentations in Dakar I learnt that a similar approach is being used in Togo and Nigeria where messages from the Koran and the Bible are used to promote hygienic messages.

In addition, it was also interesting to hear that in one village in Senegal a demonstration latrine had been set up at the mosque – a place frequented mostly by men who are often harder to convince about the benefits of stopping open defecation.

Improved latrine funding mechanism for the most vulnerable

In some communities solidarity funds have been set up. There is a registration fee along with a fee collected each month when members meet. The fund can be used for the construction of new toilets and maintenance of existing toilets for those who need it. In two villages we visited, the funds had been used to build four toilets for the most vulnerable households in the community. Over the whole project area 60 improved latrines have been built through these funds over the past two years.

I learnt that this idea had been taken from another non-sanitation related development programme that was already underway in the region. It shows that it is worth investing time into thinking more about successful programmes in different sectors and thinking about how community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and those working on sanitation and hygiene could borrow and adapt effective initiatives from others.

It is worth noting that the communities visited had the perfect environment for this kind of activity. They were very tightknit homogenous communities.

Read the full article on the WSSCC AfricaSan 4 blog. 

Filed under: Uncategorized

A toilet for 66 million people in rural Bangladesh

Fri, 2015-06-12 10:28

BRAC staff member on a household visit

In Bangladesh, the largest NGO in the world BRAC is working its way up to help the country to get proper sanitation. It has reached more than half of the population since the start 9 years ago. It is one of the world’s largest sanitation implementation programmes. IRC works with BRAC to make it happen. In this interview, IRC sanitation expert Ingeborg Krukkert tells her story about her work in Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh is well on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030,” says Ingeborg Krukkert in IRC’s headquarters in The Hague. “This is undeniably due to BRAC because it’s serving half of the country. Bangladesh is a good example for others on how to achieve so much in such a short time. It is proof that change is possible.”

IRC’s Sanitation and hygiene specialist for Asia, Ingeborg Krukkert, travels to Bangladesh every two months to work with BRAC. Working on hygiene promotion and behavior change, she complements BRAC’s groundbreaking programme with IRC’s monitoring system to measure and enhance the true impact in sanitation and hygiene.

The setting

Low-lying Bangladesh with its 230 rivers and population of 160 million people is the world’s eight most densely populated country. The country only gained independence in 1971 and its economy is largely based on agriculture. Poverty is widespread, though recently the country witnessed a rise in health and education and successfully managed to reduce its immense population growth.

When BRAC started its water, sanitation and hygiene project in 2006, most people still practised open defecation. Only 1 in 3 people had access to sanitation. Now, almost 10 years later, BRAC states it has covered at least 80 % of the people living in the 152 districts where they work, reaching more than 66 million people which equals about half of the rural population of Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh even speaks of 96 % coverage. With sanitation being in the worst state of all Millennium Developmen Goals (MDGs) around the world (1 billion people defecate in the open and another 1.5 billion do not have a safe hygienic toilet), this remarkable shift made Bangladesh suddenly a frontrunner in the region.

The key to success?

Cluster meeting in Derboalia Village

“BRAC is the entry point for the community and local influential people. BRAC created a social movement by working with village WASH committees in all districts – men and women who are appointed to oversee the water and sanitation situation,” Ingeborg Krukkert explains. “This is working as a real catalyst to empower communities, and the scope is immense: there are 65.000 WASH committees in all districts where BRAC works, 8000 field staff who visit households and do hygiene promotion, and most of them come from the area where they work. This has proven to be very effective. BRAC is a well-oiled system that successfully has triggered behaviour change and hygiene.”

Since 2006, IRC has been a partner in the programme to look beyond numbers and focuses on sustainable behaviour change. Krukkert: “BRAC wanted to measure behaviour change and was looking for a way to improve its programme. At IRC we have a track record of working on that, so why re-invent the wheel? IRC works with BRAC to adapt and implement our qualitative monitoring methodology, called QIS. It has been used successfully in many countries – including Indonesia, Nepal, Bhutan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Ghana – to measure true behaviour change.”

This Qualitative Information System (QIS) is a monitoring system that can turn qualitative data into numbers to make it possible to compare progress in behaviour and to measure if change is sustainable over time. The survey combines closed and open questions with observations by interviewers. The observations are used to validate what people in the households say. IRC helps to build the capacity of the trainers and employees from BRAC so they can continue QIS without external support.

Reaching men in teashops

Village WASH Committee Mujaffarabad Kharana Potiya, Chittagong

Krukkert: “From the QIS survey and experiences from field staff for example it became clear that men where hard to reach in hygiene promotion. They were not there at household visits or village gatherings. Hygiene promotion is crucial for people, not only to learn why it is important to cover the water they carry or what’s the role of water seals, but even more to convince them to change risky behaviour. So we drew up new ways to reach those men, which worked quite well. Holding sessions in the tea shops and using tailor-made messages (“You can save money by using compost or by repairing some things yourself”) we were able to reach more people.”

Hygiene promotion according to Krukkert should not be done solely by holding up pictures and explaining why washing your hands is crucial. “It’s more about understanding the context and problems, to then find a solution. Interviewers who do the household visits, should ask questions as: ‘Sometimes men do not use the latrine. I know that it sometimes happens in my family. Does that also happen in your household? Who in your family do sometimes not use the latrine? Or ‘I see the water seal is broken. What happened?’ Then the women would explain that without the water seal they need less water or that it broke while cleaning. It is important not to accuse people of bad practice. Convince them about the advantages of good practice. Ask why it is difficult and listen. We call that a move from ‘Telling’ to ‘Selling'”.

The design that IRC developed to measure impact, QIS, has delivered high coverage rates of people who have sustainable access to toilets. But are the high rates correct? To test this, donor Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tested it again. They checked the same area using different scientific monitoring methods. This included an infrared monitoring system to see how often a toilet is used. This allowed them to observe households and see if the behaviour change was real. And the result? The outcome BRAC and IRC claim is correct. In fact, it was said that: “BRAC has even underreported its successes, the real results are even better” (Read the full report).

Money for the poor

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) slowly change into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this year, there are 15 more years to go to reach the remaining 20 % of the people in BRAC’s area to reach. “Still, everyone knows that they are the hardest to help,” says Krukkert. “It is not only the ultra-poor we are speaking about, for BRAC’s programme has been implemented progressively across different income groups. Another challenge is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all areas.”

Still the biggest future challenge is finance. Currently the programme is sponsored by big donors like DFID, Australian Aid, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. BRAC helps the poorest people by giving subsidies. That’s the main reason why both the poor and ultra poor have steadily gained access to sanitation. “Without these grants and loans, this would not have been possible,” Krukkert says.

Want to know more? Watch the video on QIS below.

Jenda Terpstra, IRC Communication Consultant

This blog,  was orginally on the IRC website on 11 June 2015

Filed under: Hygiene Promotion, Sanitary Facilities, South Asia Tagged: Bangladesh, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BRAC, BRAC WASH II programme, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, monitoring, Qualitative Information System

SuSanA celebrates 5000 members and 100 projects introduced online with an open microphone webinar on 18 June at 16:00 CET

Thu, 2015-06-11 14:12

June 2015 is the month where the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) will meet two impressive milestones: 5000 SuSanA members and 100 sanitation projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) having been introduced on the SuSanA discussion forum. These discussion threads can all be assessed via the new sanitation project database after filtering by funding source.

To celebrate these two milestones, and to hear about ideas for the future of the SuSanA network and its knowledge management tools, all members are invited to one hour of an “open microphone” webinar on 18 June 2015.

Date & time:  Thursday, 18 June 2015 at 16:00-17:00 CET (Geneva time)

Format: Participants will be able to speak to members of the SuSanA secretariat at GIZ (Trevor Surridge, Annkathrin Tempel) and core group (Arno Rosemarin, Madeleine Fogde, Jonathan Parkinson, and Elisabeth von Muench), as well as to fellow SuSanA members.

Topics for discussion include:

To register for the webinar click here (registration is optional).

Further information about the webinar and the place to shape the agenda is here.

The webinar will use Adobe Connect and is designed for SuSanA members only. You can become a SuSanA member here (it only takes two minutes and free of charge and free of obligations).

Participants with slow internet connection can use their smart phones to participate by using an App from Adobe Connect.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Dealing with the odor problem in loos/latrines

Tue, 2015-06-09 14:19

Soon, there will be a perfume strong enough to counter stinky loos in India and Africa |Source: Quartz India |

Excerpts – Perfume chemists have devised a tool aimed at stopping foul smells from undermining the struggle to improve sanitation in developing countries.

A team from Swiss firm Firmenich—better known for applying aroma expertise to perfumes and food—has developed a system to quantify six major faecal aroma chemicals at the same time in toilet air. The technique is described in a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology last month.

“This is to help make a perfume to cover the malodour,” Christian Starkenmann, a chemist at Firmenich and one of the study’s authors, said. Such perfumes would improve conditions in public toilets that charge for use, supporting a business model for building and maintaining sanitation where it is lacking, he added.

The Firmenich scientists analysed sludge from latrines in India, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. They were unable to collect a fully representative toilet smell using the first method they tried: Holding a polymer-coated needle above the sludge to absorb odorant chemicals. Specifically, this technique could not capture sulphur-containing gases.

Read the complete article.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: odors

Jasmine Burton – Innovation to sanitation through empathic design

Thu, 2015-06-04 16:14

When an industrial designer takes an empathic approach to a problem, the result can improve millions of lives. One such breakthrough is restoring dignity and hope to many who live in countries with little or no sanitation measures.

Jasmine Burton is improving public health and solving a neglected global challenge through empathic design.

Driven by a passion for serving others, Jasmine Burton not only sought a path to an education, but also a path to becoming a humanitarian for developing nations. Through the social impact organization, Wish for Wash, Jasmine is bringing innovation to sanitation through empathic design.

In 2014, she and Team Sanivation won the GT InVenture Prize for their Innovative and affordable mobile toilet product design, SafiChoo.

Filed under: Sanitary Facilities Tagged: design, Jasmine Burton

Global Sanitation Fund reports large-scale advances in sanitation and hygiene in 13 countries

Tue, 2015-06-02 12:05

Lucie Obiokang with the toilet she built after being triggered.

A new report shows that the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) has supported governments and hundreds of their national partners in 13 countries, stretching from Cambodia to Senegal, to enable 7 million people in more than 20,500 communities to end open defecation.   

These results are published in the GSF’s latest Progress Report (link to report; link to photos), which highlights cumulative results from the start of the fund until the end of 2014. Nationally-led programmes supported by the GSF have enabled:

  • 4.2 million people with improved toilets
  • 7 million people and more than 20,500 communities to be open-defecation free
  • 8 million people with handwashing facilities

Currently, 2.5 billion people, or 40% of the global population, lack access to decent sanitation. Of those, more than a billion defecate in the open. Diarrheal disease, largely caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of malnutrition, stunting and child mortality, claiming nearly 600,000 under-5 lives every year. Inadequate facilities also affect education and economic productivity and impact the dignity and personal safety of women and girls.

Established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the GSF funds behaviour change activities to help large numbers of poor people in the hardest-to-reach areas attain safe sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. These activities are community-led, support national efforts, and bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in order to address, at a large scale, the severe deficiencies in access to sanitation and hygiene.

The GSF is a pooled financing mechanism with the potential to further accelerate access to sanitation for hundreds of millions of people over the next 15 years. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the GSF reported an almost 90 percent increase in the number of people living open-defecation free in target regions of 13 countries[1] across Africa and Asia. During this same period, the GSF has also supported a 55 percent increase in the number of people with access to improved toilets in those same areas. The United Nations system has identified global funds as an important tool to enable member countries to achieve their national development targets, including those for sanitation and hygiene.[2]

“These results prove that we are moving closer to our vision of a world where everybody has sustained sanitation and hygiene, supported by safe water,” said Chris Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC.  “This is a crucial step towards achieving better health, reducing poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability for the most marginalized people in the world.”

These GSF results have been achieved due to the work of more than 200 partners, including executing agencies and sub-grantees composed of representatives from governments, international organizations, academic institutions, the United Nations and civil society. One of the strongest success factors in the GSF approach is that it allows flexibility for countries to develop their programmes within the context of their own institutional framework and according to their own specific sanitation and hygiene needs, sector capacity and stakeholders. This implementation methodology is used to reach large numbers of households in a relatively short period of time and is vital for scaling up safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

“GSF is one of the few funds for government-led, donor-funded sanitation and hygiene programmes,” said Williams. “It can uniquely serve as a catalyst to the wider sector as a model that is replicable for others interested in large-scale behaviour change.”

Reaching scale has required that sub-grantees can identify influential, strategic communities, and make effective use of natural leaders, religious and local leaders, or hundreds of others who serve as individual sanitation and hygiene champions. GSF supported programmes apply a local delivery mechanism that engages households in thousands of villages, which enables people to make informed decisions about their sanitation and hygiene behaviour that can improve their health, education and productivity.

The report also highlights the GSF’s impact on national programmes. In Uganda, there are now more than 1.4 million people living in open-defecation free (ODF) environments, thanks to GSF-funded activities, and close to three million people have been reached by hygiene messages as a result of decentralized local government intervention. In Madagascar, over 1.3 million people are now living in ODF environments – in all 22 of the countries regions – and India’s GSF-supported programme has over 782,000 people with handwashing facilities.

“Access to improved sanitation has to be a sustainable reality for every person in the community, regardless of age, gender or disability, in order for the health and other benefits to be enjoyed by all,” said David Shimkus, Programme Director of the GSF. “This report shows that GSF-supported programmes are making major strides in achieving improved sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable, and all stakeholders will continue to work together to ensure such progress continues.”

The Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to the GSF since its establishment in 2008. Close to $105 million has been committed for 13 country programmes, which aim to reach 36 million people.

[1] Benin, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

[2] See draft outcome document for the forthcoming Addis Ababa Accord of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Financing for Sustainable Development report and its Role of Global Funds in a Post-2015 Development Framework.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: CLTS, Community-Led Total Sanitation, finance, Global Sanitation Fund, handwashing, hygiene, sanitation

African Ministers renew commitment to sanitation and hygiene

Tue, 2015-06-02 10:05

The AfricaSan4 conference (25-27 May) ended with a declaration defining the vision and aspirations of the African Ministers in charge of hygiene and sanitation.

African ministers in charge of sanitation and hygiene under their umbrella body African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) have expressed their commitment to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030. They reinforce their committment by promising to increase annually the sanitation and hygiene budget lines “to reach a minimum of 0.5% GDP by 2020″. This is contained in a declaration issued by the ministers at the closure of AfricaSan4 in Ngor, Dakar, Senegal.

The declaration acknowledges that while 133 million people living in Africa have gained access to sanitation since 1990, over 500 million still lack access and many more still defecate in the open.

The Ministers’ commitments address a wide range of issues that must be tackled to improve sanitation and hygiene including: political leadership; financing; monitoring and evaluation; equity and inclusion; research and learning among others. The Ministers also call upon all stakeholders to play different roles to achieve the vision. The commitments contained in the Ngor Declaration 2015, replace the eThekwini commitments of 2008.

By Lydia Mirembe, Communication and knowlegde management advisor | IRC Uganda

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 29 May 2015

Filed under: Africa, Campaigns and Events, Funding Tagged: AfricaSan4, AMCOW, open defecation, sustainable sanitation

USAID WASH & Nutrition Webinar

Thu, 2015-05-28 19:06

USAID WASH and Nutrition Webinar, May 2015

Overcoming undernutrition is a great challenge that will require both WASH and nutrition interventions. 

USAID’s Elizabeth Jordan and Katherine Dennison discuss the connection between undernutrition and lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and highlight opportunities for integrated programming to achieve better health outcomes.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: USAID, WASH nutrition integration

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management

Thu, 2015-05-28 14:38

WASHplus Weekly |Issue 193|May 28, 2015|Menstrual Hygiene Management| 

This WASHplus Weekly focuses on issues related to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and is well-timed, as May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day. Menstrual Hygiene Day is meant to serve as a platform to bring together individuals, organizations, social businesses, and the media to create a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence around menstrual hygiene management. 

Resources in this issue include a WASHplus MHM toolkit, a listing of upcoming and past MHM conferences, webinars on dealing with the disposal of sanitary pads, a special Waterlines issue on MHM, and recent articles, reports, videos, and key MHM-related websites.


Menstrual Hygiene Management Mini-Toolbox for Teachers and Schools in Zambia, 2015. SPLASH. Link
Menstrual Hygiene Management or MHM is an important component of a “WASH-Friendly School.” Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) designed this toolkit to help classroom teachers, guidance counselors, and other school personnel in Zambian primary schools establish MHM programs or activities in their schools as a way to improve girls’ attendance. With suggestions for incorporating the topic into lessons, the toolkit also includes games, role-plays, and pad-making instructions.

Small Doable Actions: Making Reusable Menstrual Pads, 2014. Link
This counseling card, developed for WASHplus/Uganda, shows the process and steps for making reusable sanitary pads.

Keeping Girls in Schools: Mainstreaming Menstrual Hygiene Management in Zambia. S Fry. Link
This poster displays information about the importance of MHM, small doable actions to tackle the issue, MHM challenges, and a checklist for school MHM.

SPLASH’s Public-Private Pad-Making Partnership, 2015. SPLASH. Link
In its efforts to boost girls’ attendance at school, USAID/Zambia’s SPLASH project, run by WASHplus, looks for opportunities to partner with the private sector to supply comfort kits with products such as menstrual pads for girls to access at school when in need. In January 2015, SPLASH signed a memorandum of understanding with YASH Pharmaceuticals to produce and supply reusable pads to a number of intervention schools. YASH and SPLASH had previously worked together during the 2014 MH Day celebrations when the company donated 125 MHM kits to Kabulonga Girl’s Secondary School in Lusaka.

Uganda – Menstrual Hygiene Management: Breaking the Secrecy, 2014. Link
WASHplus’s approach to menstrual hygiene management has the community talking about this previously taboo subject and enlisting men, women, and children in creating reusable sanitary pads for family members and schools.


May 28, 2015 – The Voices of Why Menstruation Matters, Washington, DCRegistration
Diana Sierra, Founder of BeGirl, tells her story and how she channeled her passion for MHM into extremely affordable, aspirational, and high performance products and economic opportunities for girls and women. Hear the voices of young women from around the world share their MHM stories. Watch creative and compelling presentations on why menstruation matters. View exciting exhibits that demonstrate solutions to the MHM challenge from global organizations.

The Top 10 Groundbreaking Events to Have on the Radar for Menstrual Hygiene DayWASHfunders Blog, May 2015. Link
Menstrual health and hygiene continue to be among the most challenging areas to address within the development arena. Not only do deep-rooted taboos and myths create the illusion that menstruation is inherently shameful or dirty, but in places such as South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, there is often a lack of adequate sanitary materials and hygienic conditions (i.e., toilets, clean water, and soap) to maintain good menstrual hygiene management.

June 4–6, Suffolk University, Boston – 21st Biennial Conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research – Menstrual Hygiene Management Campaigns & Menstrual Activists: What Can We Learn from Each Other? Link
The biennial conference will feature presentations of the latest research by members of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, an organization that strives to be the source of guidance, expertise, and ethical considerations for researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and funding resources interested in the menstrual cycle.

WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education: Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference, 2014. UNICEF. Link
This publication brings together the key elements of 16 presentations in a case study format. Each case study outlines the context in which the program or research is being undertaken, the methods or approaches used, the accomplishments realized, and challenges faced. Each case study also provides a number of recommendations to help guide future work.

Uganda: First National Menstrual Hygiene Management Conference, 2014. NETWAS.Link
Held last August in Kampala, this conference had four objectives: to raise awareness on the impact of poor menstrual management; advocate for policy review; develop strategies for operationalizing existing policy; and demonstrate sustainable good practices on menstrual management. The overall aim was to explore how best the School Health Policy can ensure girls receive the support they need to complete school and reach their full potential.


Period of Change Webinar 2: The Development of the MHM Sector in India: Disposable Sanitary Napkins: A Blessing or a Curse? 2015. The Kachra Project. | Link/Video | Listing of Other Kachra Project Webinars
Panelists, all of whom have experience in MHM, first provide an overview of the historic development of this sector, the inherent developmental challenges in the sector, and the government and nongovernment initiatives that have been taken to meet this challenge, including the provision of subsidized disposable pads. Then, the panelists debate the pros and cons of disposable pads, both commercial disposable pads as well as pads made by women’s self-help groups or social entrepreneurs.

Period of Change Webinar 3: Dealing with Menstrual Hygiene Waste, 2015. The Kachra Project. Video
India is already reeling from the magnitude of menstrual hygiene waste being produced. This growing stream of reject waste, due to ambiguities inherent in India’s waste laws, confounds researchers, social workers, and policy makers alike. In this panel, waste management experts discuss the pros and cons of various collection and disposal methods and examine the best field-­tested practices for dealing with this form of waste. An environmental lawyer also gives an overview of the laws that pertain to this form of waste.

Period of Change Webinar 4: Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Products Pros and Cons, 2015. The Kachra Project. Video
Recognizing that sustainability is linked to reusable products rather disposable products, this panel invited reusable product manufacturers as well as people outside the sector to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cloth pads and menstrual cups in the varied social landscape of India. The debate also touched on the viability of using cloth, traditionally the most common means of menstrual hygiene protection, in India.


Fixing the Global Pain Over Periods, May 2015. WaterAid. Blog post
Menstrual Hygiene Day is a chance to draw attention to the plight of the millions of girls and women who are not able to manage their periods with hygiene, comfort and dignity. Louisa Gosling, Programme Manager for Principles at WaterAid, highlights why 2015 is an exceptionally important year for talking about menstruation.

Menstrual  Hygiene ManagementWaterlines, Jan 2015. Link
This special issue on MHM presents innovative ways in which development practitioners in the field are helping girls face the challenges of managing their periods. It also captures the range of evidence-based research, advocacy, and programmatic interventions in MHM. All of the articles in this issue can be downloaded free of charge.


Putting Menarche and Girls into the Global Population Health AgendaRepro Health, Feb 2015. M Sommer. Link
It is important for the public health community to ensure that girls receive the education and support they need about menstruation, so they are able to feel more confident about their bodies, and navigate preventable health problems—now and in the future. For too long, the global health community has overlooked the window of opportunity presented by menarche. Family planning programs have generally focused their efforts on married couples, and HIV programs have focused safer sex promotion on older adolescent girls and boys. Starting the conversation at menarche with girls in early adolescence would fully use this window of opportunity.

Menstrual Hygiene Matters: Training Guide for Practitioners, 2015. SHARE. Link
This training guide builds on the Menstrual Hygiene Matters manual and presents a range of plans, handouts, presentations, and films that a facilitator could use in sessions or workshops on MHM amongst development practitioners.

Bringing the Dirty Bloody Linen Out of the Closet – Menstrual Hygiene as a Priority for Achieving Gender Equality, 2014.  I Winkler, NYU School of Law; V Roaf, advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation. Link
This article discusses how menstrual hygiene is situated in the human rights framework, in particular gender equality, how MHM can be defined in human rights terms, and how using the framework of human rights and substantive equality may contribute to giving MHM greater visibility and prioritizing the development of appropriate strategies and solutions.

Measuring What Matters: Analysis and Proposals for Indicators on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2015. WaterAid. Link
A working briefing note prepared by WaterAid for use by member states in discussions on targets and indicators.

Menstrual Hygiene Management and School Absenteeism among Female Adolescent Students in Northeast EthiopiaBMC Public Health. 2014; 14: 1118. T Tegegne.  Link
Though there is an effort to increase girls’ school enrollment, lack of basic needs, like sanitary napkins that facilitate routine activities of girls at early adolescence, are observed to deter girls’ school attendance in rural Ethiopia. Special support for girl students, especially when they have their first menstruation, and separate, functioning sanitary facilities are necessities that should be in school at all times if gender equality and girls’ empowerment is to be achieved.

Menstrual Hygiene Management – WSSCC/UN Women Studies on Behaviour and Practices in Senegal, Niger and Cameroon, 2015. WSSCC. Link
The Joint Program on Gender, Hygiene, and Sanitation combines the expertise and technical skills of two institutions with different but complementary mandates with the common goal of having women’s voices heard in order to enable women and girls to achieve their human rights. Implemented in Senegal, Niger, and Cameroon, the program aims to establish a framework within which all women and girls in this region will be able to benefit in a sustained manner from WASH services.

The Effect of Wearing Sanitary Napkins of Different Thicknesses on Physiological and Psychological Responses in Muslim Females. J Physiol Anthropol. 2014; 33(1): 28. N Mohamed. Link
Menstruation is associated with significant unpleasantness, and wearing a sanitary napkin (SN) during menses causes discomfort. In addition, many Muslim women use a thick type of SN during menses due to the religious requirement that even disposable SNs be washed before disposal. Therefore, the objective of this study was to measure the physiological and psychological responses to wearing SNs of different thicknesses during menstruation and nonmenstruation phases at rest and during physical activity/exercise among Muslim women.


Dealing with Menstrual Hygiene for Peers: My Secret, 2015. UNICEF/Bolivia. Video
In 2012, UNICEF and the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University initiated a program to support collaborative research focused specifically on exploring the MHM challenges faced by female students in Bolivia, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. The project includes developing or strengthening MHM-related programming in schools in those countries.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools, 2015. WASH in Schools. Video
This video gives an overview of MHM issues in schools.


WASH United – Link
Whether a handwashing campaign around an international football tournament in Uganda, a traveling WASH carnival across northern India, a campaign in public toilets in Kenya, or our trademark WASH in Schools program, WASH United’s interventions always harness the power of fun, interactive games, superstar role models, and strictly positive communication.

The Kachra Project – Website | Facebook
The Kachra Project is a social movement to bring awareness among the people of India and bring all stakeholders of the garbage and waste management sectors together to push for policy change.

Menstrual Hygiene Day – Links
This website contains MHM fact sheets, advocacy materials, and other resources.

Society for Menstrual Cycle Research – Link
The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary research organization. Membership includes researchers in the social and health sciences, humanities scholars, health care providers, policy makers, health activists, artists, and students with interests in the role of the menstrual cycle in women’s health and well-being.

Filed under: Hygiene Promotion, Sanitation and Health Tagged: menstrual hygiene management

#MenstruationMatters in Bangladeshi schools

Thu, 2015-05-28 10:11

26 May is Menstrual Hygiene Day. In Bangladesh, BRAC field staff are working hard to “end the hesitation around menstruation” especially in schools.

BRAC staff member (left) from Jessore district with sanitary napkins for schools. Photo: Petra Brussee/IRC

Field staff of BRAC WASH in Bangladesh talk just as easily about menstrual hygiene as they do about water seals for toilets or hand pumps. At community level menstrual hygiene messages are included in the programme for adolescent girls and young women. Since 2006 about 45 million community cluster meetings have been organised.

In rural areas rags are used by women who cannot afford sanitary napkins. Field staff discuss menstrual hygiene with adolescent girls and young women, for example on how to wash rags with soap and dry them in the sun. They are also encouraged to speak up about menstrual hygiene says Abu Taleb Biswas of BRAC WASH in Hygiene Promotion – the backbone of BRAC WASH: “Women and adolescent girls learn to speak up about menstrual hygiene issues, something that was nearly unthinkable even a few years ago.”

Menstrual hygiene poster. Credit: BRAC


Menstrual hygiene is also an important focus of the BRAC support for schools. From a study on how much a school programme costs in Bangladesh it was found that 96% of the schools supported by BRAC have facilities available for the bulk disposal of napkins.

Since BRAC WASH started with WASH in Schools in 2006, more than one million girls were reached with separate toilets for girls as well as with menstrual hygiene education. According to an impact evaluation of the first phase of the BRAC WASH programme by BRAC’s Research & Evaluation Division, the absenteeism of female students reduced from 44% in 2006 to 33% in 2011/

Menstrual Hygiene Day

IRC is proud to be one of the over 230 partners supporting Menstrual Hygiene Day, which was initiated by WASH United in 2014. The focus of the 2015 edition is to “end the hesitation around menstruation” and challenge societal norms that claim that periods are shameful or dirty.

This year, there are Menstrual Hygiene Day activities in around 40 countries. In Bangladesh, SNV is organising a week-long awareness activation plan targeting some 1000 female garment workers.

In Uganda the National Menstrual Hygiene Management Steering Committee is organising an advocacy walk to Parliament. Supported by the government, Uganda is witnessing a great effort to focus more on menstrual hygiene management. In August 2014, over 200 delegates attended the first ever menstrual hygiene management conference in the capital Kampala.

In the Netherlands, Rutgers, Simavi and Women on Wings have launched the 1weekextra campaign to improve the situation of menstruating girls and women in Bihar, India.

Ingeborg Krukkert, Programme officer | Sanitation and hygiene specialist, IRC

This blog was originally posted on the IRC website

Filed under: Campaigns and Events, Hygiene Promotion, South Asia Tagged: Bangladesh, BRAC, BRAC WASH II programme, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, Menstrual Hygiene Day, menstrual hygiene management, schools, SIMAVI, Uganda, WASH in schools

WASH champions celebrated at AfricaSan Awards

Wed, 2015-05-27 18:41

Originally posted on wsscc:


By Okechukwu Umelo

For a minute, I thought I was attending the Oscars or Grammys. The 2015 AfricaSan awards, held at the King Fahd Palace in Dakar on 26 May, was a night of glitz and glamour. A red carpet was rolled out to welcome participants who enjoyed a gala dinner and vibrant music and theater performances from local artists.

But all the fanfare was for a very worthy cause: to celebrate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) leaders who have made major strides and broken down barriers in WASH across Africa.

And the winners are:

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Review of eThekwini commitments at AfricaSan 4: Progress still slow, new commitments expected

Wed, 2015-05-27 17:07

Originally posted on wsscc:

Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

By Alain Tossounon

Seven years after the commitments made in eThekwini, The African world is meeting in Senegal for the 4th Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene. The meeting in Dakar could be the opportunity for yet another new start. However, the review of the commitments made in Kigali, Rwanda, shows that, although some countries have made significant efforts, others are still lagging behind. A spurt of effort is now needed to ensure universal access to sanitation in all countries on the continent.

In 2008, 45 African countries took up the challenge of prioritizing sanitation to achieve the MDGs. Since then, 42 countries have actually pursued the process of monitoring progress towards fulfilling the commitments made at eThekwini, and over 30 have produced action plans.

Mansour Faye, Minister of Water and Sanitation in Senegal, during the opening ceremony of AfricaSan 4. Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

Seven years on, the picture…

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Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014

Wed, 2015-05-27 13:29

WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education: Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014. United Nations Children’s Fund and Columbia University, New York, 2015.

Authors: Sommer, Marni, Emily Cherenack, Sarah Blake, Murat Sahin and Lizette Burgers.

This publication brings together the key elements of the 16 presentations in a case study format. Each case study outlines the context in which the programme or research is being undertaken, the methods or approaches used, the accomplishments realized and challenges faced. Each case study also provides a number of recommendations to help guide future work.

The virtual conference also provided an opportunity to engage in a visioning exercise during which the participants collectively brainstormed and ranked a list of priority action items to be accomplished by 2024.

The 2015 virtual conference will showcase findings from formative research on MHM in WinS that is underway in a variety of countries.

Filed under: Dignity and Social Development, Sanitation and Health Tagged: menstrual hygiene management

From eThekwini to Ngor: A bumpy road for sanitation

Wed, 2015-05-27 07:24

Originally posted on wsscc:

Photo: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

By Raphael Mweninguwe in Dakar, Senegal

The road from eThekwini, in South Africa, to Ngor, in Senegal, has been a very rough and bumpy one in as far as improving access to billions of people in Africa is concerned, experts admit.

The eThekwini Declaration was launched in 2008, when African Ministers and experts met to commit themselves to improving the sanitation and hygiene in Africa. Since then little progress has been done.

During the Opening Plenary of the 4th African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene on Tuesday, Senegalese President Macky Sall said that the road from eThekwini has not been in vain. He pointed out that some achievements have been made, but the road remains bumpy.

President Sall also explained that “as Africa now changes its road map from eThekwini to Ngor, I don‘t think we will miss another opportunity to have our people fail…

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Engaging communities in Matam, Senegal

Wed, 2015-05-27 07:23

Originally posted on wsscc:

By Alma Felic and Okechukwu Umelo

Last week, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) family, including Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme managers and WSSCC National Coordinators, visited rural communities in the region of Matam, Senegal. It was an unprecedented opportunity to engage with communities and hear about their successes and challenges related to water, sanitation and hygiene. Browse through the photos and captions below to learn more.

Achieving ODF status

Photo: Okechukwu Umelo/WSSCC

Photo: Okechukwu Umelo/WSSCC

The village of Belly Thiowi became open-defecation free (ODF) thanks to efforts led by communities and supported by GSF implementing agencies through behavior change approaches. The first photo shows the situation prior to reaching ODF status – multiple defecation zones are drawn in red between houses and trees. The second photo shows the community after achieving ODF status, with no visible open defecation zones.

Young members of the community are activated to…

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“In this room, we have the answers.” – WSSCC/GSF family gathers for global learning and sharing event

Wed, 2015-05-27 07:23

Originally posted on wsscc:

Photo: Okechukwu Umelo/WSSCC

By Okechukwu Umelo

“The discussion between you can fertilize thinking,” said Chris Williams, Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) at the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) learning and sharing event in Dakar, Senegal. “In this room, we have the answers,” he continued.

Photo: Alma Felic/WSSCC

The event was held as part of various preparation activities for the fourth AfricaSan conference in Dakar. It gathered GSF programme managers and teams from across the globe, as well as WSSCC national coordinators, implementation partners and sanitation and hygiene specialists within the GSF network, to discuss cross-cutting opportunities and challenges related to implementing GSF programmes.

In his address, Mr. Williams stated:

“How can we support countries to get to that next level? Pure exchanges and technological platforms are key. We have a technological challenge as well as a structural challenge to overcome, so that information is available…

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