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Community-led Total Sanitation in Cambodia: Findings from an Implementation Case Study

Thu, 2015-07-30 13:32

Community-led Total Sanitation in Cambodia: Findings from an Implementation Case Study, 2015.

This learning brief shares key findings from a case study of community-led total sanitation (CLTS) implementation in Plan International Cambodia program areas, focusing on the roles and responsibilities of local actors. Several implications are relevant for consideration by Plan International Cambodia and other sanitation practitioners. 

The brief is part of the CLTS Learning Series, a collection of seven country case studies on CLTS implementation prepared by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as part of the Plan International USA project, Testing CLTS Approaches for ScalabilityThe 4-page brief is based on the 40-page Cambodia Country Report.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Cambodia, Community-Led Total Sanitation

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria

Fri, 2015-07-24 13:52

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria | Source: Council on Foreign Relations Blog, July 23, 2015 |

This is a guest post by Anna Bezruki, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Global Health Program. She studies biology at Bryn Mawr College.

According to the final report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) released earlier this month, more than a third of the world population (2.4 billion) is still without improved sanitation.

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

The target to halve the global population without adequate toilets by 2015 has not been reached. Consequently, sanitation has been pushed on to the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Although India is perhaps the most widely cited failure, accounting for roughly half of open defecation worldwide, it is at least making progress toward the SDG target. The same cannot be said for Nigeria. Lacking the political infrastructure to reform sanitation and faced with security and political concerns that overshadow development goals, Nigeria is struggling to reverse the trend.

Unlike in India, where the percentage of people with access to a toilet shared by only one family increased by eighteen points between 1990 and 2012, that percentage declined in Nigeria from 37 to 28 percent.

This incongruity is best illustrated by the fact that there are more than three times as many cell phones in Nigeria as people who have access to adequate toilets. This means thirty-nine million defecate outside, sixteen million more today than in 1990.

Poor sanitation contributes to diarrheal diseases and malnutrition through fecal contamination of food and water. One gram of feces can contain one hundred parasite eggs, one million bacteria, and ten million viruses.

Diarrheal diseases kill approximately 121,800 Nigerians, including 87,100 children under the age of five each year. Eighty-eight percent of those deaths are attributed to poor sanitation. Poor sanitation is thought to strain the immune system to the point that permanent stunting and other manifestations of malnutrition can result.

More than 40 percent of Nigerian children under the age of five are stunted, and malnutrition is the underlying cause of death in more than 50 percent of the approximately 804,000 deaths annually in the same age range.

The impact of inadequate toilets goes beyond hazardous exposure to feces. A survey conducted by WaterAid, a nonprofit organization focusing on providing safe water and sanitation access, in a Lagos slum revealed that the 69 percent of women and girls without access to toilets are at higher risk of verbal and physical harassment when they relieve themselves.

The effects of poor sanitation are also costing Nigeria economically. The Nigerian Water and Sanitation Program estimates that poor sanitation costs the country at least three billion U.S. dollars each year in lost productivity and health care expenditures.

While estimates vary, in 2011, Nigeria invested approximately $550 million, less than 0.1 percent of GDP, on sanitation, a number which has likely decreased since then. This is less than a quarter of the approximately $2.3 billion annually that would have been necessary to meet the MDG target.

It will take more than money and infrastructure to fix Nigeria’s sanitation. Even if investments were to sufficiently rise, the lack of a single government entity with complete responsibility for sanitation within the government, as well as widespread corruption and a lack of community support, would likely hamper efforts.

Providing latrines without first creating demand within the community has failed repeatedly, including in India, where latrines have been repurposed for extra storage. There are also other problems, like a treasury emptied by corruption and the war on Boko Haram, that top President Buhari’s agenda.

While these are immediate threats that require intense focus, sanitation is an essential long-term investment that will help Nigeria grow.  

Filed under: Africa, Dignity and Social Development, Progress on Sanitation Tagged: Nigeria

UNICEF Consultancy Assignment: Support for Private Sector Development of Low-Cost Sanitation Products

Wed, 2015-07-22 14:18

UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) has recently engaged with a global private sector partner to conduct market research and test improved sanitation products with end-users. The intended outcomes of the project are: 1) detailed market information on the needs of the “base of the pyramid” (including both functionality of the products and price point); 2) a more thorough understanding of sanitation marketing techniques and the supply chain for difficult–to-reach communities; and 3) more appropriate and affordable sanitation products available on the local market

UNICEF is now seeking a consultant to document the ESARO project, conduct a lessons learned, and develop a standard methodology that can be replicated in other regions and countries. Depending on interest and commitment from WASH staff, the project envisions applying the methodology in other regional and country office programmes and their respective private sector partners.

For for information on this 6-month consultancy and how to apply for it please go to:

The deadline is  29 July 5:00pm CET.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Can WASH deliver more than just sanitation?

Tue, 2015-07-21 11:00

Through successful WASH intervention, communities access a new service that improves their quality of life, and also learn about equity and inclusion.

Blog by development expert Suvojit Chattopadhyay

The abysmal state of access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the developing world is currently a major cause for alarm; 580,000 children die every year from preventable diarrheal diseases. This is due largely to the 2.5 billion people around the globe who do not have access to safe sanitation. Not only can an effective WASH intervention save lives, it can also engineer changes in the social fabric of communities that adopt these behavioural changes. This points to a key attribute of a successful WASH intervention – that through these programmes, communities not only access a new service that improves their quality of life, but they also learn from being part of a concrete intervention that emphasises equity and inclusion.

Let me explain how. Safe sanitation is essentially ‘total’. In a community, even one family practising open defecation puts the health of other families at risk. Also, unsafe sanitation practices pollute local potable and drinking water sources in the habitations. Together, this can undo any gains from partial coverage of WASH interventions. This much is now widely accepted by sanitation practitioners around the world. However, there remains a serious challenge when it comes to the implementation of this concept.

When a community is introduced to a WASH-focused behaviour change campaign, there are often variations in the levels of take-up in different families. This could be because of several barriers – financial ability, cultural beliefs, education levels, etc. In response, external agencies have many options. They can focus more on families in their behaviour change campaigns, offer them material and financial support or incentives, or exert peer pressure (which may in some cases become coercive, etc).

However, the best approach – whether facilitated by an external agent or not – is for a community to devise a collective response. The issue should be framed as a collective action problem that requires solving for the creation of a public good. In many instances, communities have come together to support the poorest families – social engineering at its finest. At its best, recognising the needs of every member of a community will lead to a recognition of the challenges that the typically marginalised groups face. It is this recognition that could prompt a rethink of social norms and relationships.

Read the full article on the WSSCC Guardian partner zone.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: CLTS, equity, hygiene, inclusion, sanitation, WASH, water

Breaking the Next Taboo: Menstrual Hygiene within CLTS

Mon, 2015-07-20 14:38

Breaking the Next Taboo: Menstrual Hygiene within CLTS.  Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights, July 2015.

Authors: Sharon Roose and Tom Rankin, Plan International and Sue Cavill, Independent Consultant

Most adolescent girls and women menstruate. This means that for five to seven days each month they bleed through their vagina. This monthly bleeding is often accompanied by abdominal cramps, headaches, mood changes and general lethargy all of which can be exacerbated by social stigma, myths and a lack of requisite infrastructure to manage menstruation safely, privately and hygienically. 

The accumulated impact of these issues have significant implications for women and girls and the potential to limit their opportunity for education, equality, income generation and societal participation, all of which hamper self-worth and confidence.

This edition of Frontiers of CLTS illustrates how CLTS programmes can be expanded to address menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools
and communities to alleviate these stresses on women and girls.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • Increase the awareness of policy-makers and practitioners on MHM.
  • Engender change by highlighting the synergies between MHM and
    CLTS programmes.
  • Share examples of how MHM interventions have been incorporated
    into CLTS and School-Led Total Sanitation (SLTS) programmes,
    drawing on the innovations and experiences of several organisations.
  • Summarise what can be done to improve MHM through CLTS

Filed under: Dignity and Social Development, Hygiene Promotion, Sanitation and Health Tagged: Community-Led Total Sanitation, menstrual hygiene management

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Financing

Fri, 2015-07-17 14:20

Issue 199| July 17, 2015 | Focus on WASH & Financing

Thanks to Jonathan Annis of TetraTech for suggesting this week’s topic. Resources and studies in this issue include 2015 discussion forums and webinars hosted by the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), a series of WASH financing briefs, and new USAID Urban Pathway manuals.


Urban Sanitation Finance – From Macro to Micro Level, SuSanA Thematic Discussion, June–July 2015. Link
This discussion forum was structured along three themes: Public Finance, Microfinance, andCity Level Sustainable Cost Recovery and was supported by six experts on sanitation finance who provided leadership and addressed questions raised by forum users. Summaries of the discussions are available here.

Webinar about Results-Based Financing (RBF) for Sanitation – April 29, 2015. SuSanA. Link
This webinar was organized under the knowledge management initiative of the Building Demand for Sanitation program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Peter Feldman moderated the webinar with support from Pippa Scott and Pete Cranston of Euforic Services. The Stockholm Environment Institute and the SuSanA Secretariat served as hosts.


Finance Brief 1: Domestic Public Finance for WASH: What, Why, How? 2015. G Norman. Link
This report defines domestic public finance as funds derived from domestic taxes, raised at the national or local level. Domestic public finance is only part of the solution to service delivery in poor communities; user finance and donor finance are also part of the mix. Likewise, domestic public finance forms part of a wider governance puzzle: improving WASH services requires not just more government investment, but also diverse other elements including (for example) clear institutional mandates.

Finance Brief 2: Universal Water and Sanitation: How Did the Rich Countries Do It?2015. Public Finance for WASH. Link
This finance brief briefly summarizes the history of water and sanitation services provision in the U.S., the U.K., and South Korea, and considers whether this historical experience is relevant to low- and middle-income countries today.

Finance Brief 3: Municipal Finance for Sanitation in Three African Cities, 2015. B Edwards. Link (Download free but registration required)
This discussion paper reports data on municipal public finance for sanitation in three African cities, based on in-country examination of available budget records: Ga West Municipality, part of the Greater Accra conglomeration in Ghana; Maputo, capital of Mozambique; and Nakuru County in Kenya, including the city of Nakuru.

Finance Brief 4: DRM and WASH in the Financing for Development Agenda, 2015. C Fonseca. Link
This finance brief summarizes the increasing relevance of domestic resource mobilization (DRM) in supporting the ambitious goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda. It details how DRM is understood in key documents being prepared for the Financing for Development global meeting and what needs to happen to make public and private domestic finance relevant for supporting universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

USAID SUWASA Pathways for Urban Water and Sanitation, 2015. SUWASA. Link
The SUWASA Pathways are tools developed to share experiences, deliver key messages, and provide links to useful resources such as manuals, case studies, templates, and reports. The SUWASA Pathways were developed by the SUWASA team in consultation with project partners including officials from government ministries, municipalities and regulatory agencies, utility managers, managers of dedicated funding units, private operators, commercial bank representatives, civil society, and development partners. The objective of the pathways is to communicate complicated reform topics in a highly accessible manner to a broad range of sector stakeholders and to assist with envisioning and sequencing reform efforts.

Developing Microfinance for Sanitation in Tanzania, 2015. S Tremolet. Link
This report presents the findings of a one-year action research project on sanitation microfinance in Tanzania funded by SHARE. It describes the activities carried out under the action research and extracts emerging lessons on the potential for developing sanitation microfinance through capacity building and networking.

Embedding Access to Finance into Sanitation Programmes: A Step-by-Step Approach, 2015. S Tremolet. Link
This report, initially commissioned by WaterAid East Africa, proposes a step-by-step approach that NGOs or other public actors could take to identify what role(s) they can play in increasing access to finance for sanitation. The step-by-step approach involves an analysis of the sanitation microfinance market.

Review of Results-Based Financing (RBF) Schemes in WASH: A Report to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015. Castalia Strategic Advisors. Link
This report investigates what works where, and why, in results-based financing (RBF) in WASH. In so doing, it also uncovers what does not work. It aims to create guidance for future interventions and identify areas for further research. RBF is an aid mechanism where payments are made upon verification of the delivery of desired outputs, or the performance of desired behaviors.

CO2 and H2O: Understanding Different Stakeholder Perspectives on the Use of Carbon Credits to Finance Household Water Treatment Projects. PLoS One, April 2015. S Summers. Link
Carbon credits are an increasingly prevalent market-based mechanism used to subsidize household water treatment technologies. This involves generating credits through the reduction of carbon emissions from boiling water by providing a technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. This study explores the perspectives of carbon credit and WASH experts on household water treatment carbon credit projects.

Pump-Priming Payments for Sustainable Water Services in Rural Africa. World Development, Oct 2015. J Koehler. Link
Using unique observational data from monitoring hand pump usage in rural Kenya, the authors evaluate how dramatic improvements in maintenance services influence payment preferences across institutional, operational, and geographic factors. Public goods theory is applied to examine new institutional forms of hand pump management. Results reveal steps to enhance rural water supply sustainability by pooling maintenance and financial risks at scale supported by advances in monitoring and payment technologies.

Mapping Current Incentives and Investment in Viet Nam’s Water and Sanitation Sector: Informing Private Climate Finance, 2015. N Trujillo, ODI. Link
This report summarizes findings from the application of a diagnostic tool as a first step to support governments and other stakeholders seeking to design interventions to mobilize private finance for climate-compatible development. Using this diagnostic tool in Vietnam’s water and sanitation sector allowed the authors to make two distinct sets of findings that are useful for actors who want to mobilize private climate finance.

Direct Support Post-Construction to Rural Water Service Providers, 2015. P McIntyre.Link
Community-based service providers need regular, structured support that goes beyond ad hoc technical assistance. Support can come from local government, central government, NGOs, or associations of service providers, or combinations of the above. Findings suggest that effective direct support costs in the range of US $1 to $3 per water user per year.

Economic Assessment of Sanitation Interventions in Southeast Asia: A Six-Country Study Conducted in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Vietnam and Yunnan Province (China) under the Economics of Sanitation Initiative, 2015. Water and Sanitation Program. Link
The type of sanitation evaluated in this study was human excreta management at the household level, focusing on both onsite and off-site sanitation options. Basic hygiene was also included, insofar as it affects health outcomes and intangible factors. In addition to human excreta management, the study considered interventions jointly addressing human waste with domestic wastewater management (especially in urban areas) and animal waste management (in the case of biogas generation).

Triggering Increased City-Level Public Finance for Pro-Poor Sanitation Improvements: The Role of Political Economy and Fiscal Instruments, Dec 2014. J Boex. Link
The goal of this background paper is to provide a general framework for understanding the political economy and fiscal determinants of sanitation service provision by urban local governments. The paper will review existing literature to begin answering several questions: what do we expect to influence spending on local sanitation? Do different fiscal instruments have an impact on expenditure levels? Do increased local revenues lead to increased expenditures over the long term? What role do different stakeholders play in determining expenditure levels?

Filed under: Economic Benefits Tagged: financing

Can We Finance Sustainable Development?

Tue, 2015-07-14 10:13

Huffington Post blog by Chris Williams, WSSCC Executive Director

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most comprehensive international poverty alleviation movement in history. Since 1990, extreme poverty has been cut by half; 17,000 fewer children die each day; and 2.3 billion people gained access to clean drinking water. A multi-stakeholder coalition of governments, international organizations, and civil society groups have tackled crucial issues ranging from education to improved sanitation to gender equality.

And yet, the challenge of empowering hundreds of millions more to gain access to proper healthcare, sanitary facilities, and education is enormous. As more countries have attained middle-income status, inequality has soared. The wealthiest individuals have become wealthier while growth-with-equity remains a distant prospect.

In Dodoma, Tanzania, a community group comes together every Saturday to organize their finances. Villagers earn interest on their savings and give out loans. Everyone plays a role – here three keyholders open the chest containing the loan registrations. Photograph: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

This week, the global development community will congregate in Addis Ababa to decide how to finance the next fifteen years of inclusive growth and the elimination of poverty. The positive news is that Member States have painstakingly created a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a comprehensive post-2015 plan that will strike at the heart of global poverty, and set the poorest nations and communities on the path towards equitable and long-lasting growth.

While the goals seek to augment, broaden, and expand upon the wide-ranging successes of the MDGs, the sobering fact is that the conventional model for financing development is in need of a massive overhaul. Traditional channels of overseas development assistance (ODA) from developed nations to the developing world are not only insufficient for financing the ambitious post-2015 agenda, but it’s clear that development as we know it is no longer relevant, nor desirable.

No longer relevant, because the world has changed and the expertise that will drive post-2015 growth is being cultivated in-country by capitalizing on local solutions. And no longer desirable, because much of the development assistance has been self-serving and ineffectively utilized in the first place. The system is broken and it is time to redo development, building from the ground up.

This week’s conference on how to finance development is therefore a seminal turning point for how we will solve some of the most intractable development challenges of the day. A turning point because there is recognition from donor countries that they need to be more effective in selecting funding priorities and disbursing ODA. And a turning point in that the developing countries are realizing that the solution lies at their fingertips.

Developing countries harbour a technical knowledge base within their borders – the expertise, innovations, and solutions necessary for inclusive growth are home-grown and just waiting to be tapped. Increasingly, innovative citizens are creatively devising south-south, country-to-country delivery models for development. Channelled effectively, this has the potential to finance the vast majority of sustainable growth in the developing world.

This is a radical departure from the traditional paradigm of massive donor-funded agencies issuing a loan, which often takes three years to develop, 100 staff to implement, and then is neither tracked nor delivered. Donor funds can now form a much smaller portion of the resources required to solve the development challenges in the global South. The question for governments that continue to provide official ODA is therefore how best to apply funds that can leverage these different sources of domestic capital?

One of the answers lies in innovative financing methods for development. Global multi-stakeholder partnerships have proven successful in the field of health, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), and the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI). All of these funds use ODA efficiently by leveraging community savings, public investment and private capital, therefore putting into action the principles behind the SDGs.

The GSF, a fund administered by my organization, the UNOPS-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), invests in behavior change activities that enable large numbers of people in developing countries to improve their sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. The only global fund solely dedicated to sanitation and hygiene, the GSF is light of foot and heavy on scale. Households and local governments work with local entrepreneurs and a network of hundreds of partners. Together, they create the conditions for tens of millions of people to live in open defecation free environments and access adequate toilets and handwashing facilities.

Importantly, individual household investments in sanitation mobilized by GSF programming currently amount to four times the value of its funding. A grant of $5 million can therefore yield $20 million in community savings per country. The most powerful by-product of this investment then materializes in the form of public capital, once governments realize the commitment that their people have made. Private sector engagement is yet another positive outcome, as demand for products and services is generated through the behavior change of society. This is the exact model that the development world is seeking -community-based solutions that are government supported and commercially operated.

Read the full article on Huffington Post

Filed under: Uncategorized

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives

Fri, 2015-07-10 16:32

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives | Source: Huffington Post, July 8 2015 |

Cambodia has the lowest access to sanitation in all of Southeast Asia, and as a result more than 10,000 children die every year due to diarrheal diseases, according to WaterAid. 

To help curb those figures, nonprofit WaterSHED recently released the LaBobo, a portable and inexpensive sink whose colorful design encourages kids to improve their hygiene habits.

Read more

Filed under: East Asia & Pacific, Hygiene Promotion Tagged: Cambodia, handwashing, WaterSHED

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Waste Pickers

Fri, 2015-07-10 14:08

Issue 198| July 10, 2015 | Focus on Waste Pickers

This issue contains recent policy briefs, manuals, videos, and country studies on environmental health conditions and other issues faced by waste pickers. According to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), recognition is growing that waste pickers contribute to the local economy, to public health and safety, and to environmental sustainability. However, they often face low social status, deplorable living and working conditions, and little support from local governments. 


Managing the Emerging Waste Crisis in Developing Countries’ Large Cities, 2015. Institute of Development Studies. Link
This policy briefing identifies some of the key challenges and opportunities for transitioning waste management into resource management, which engages both the formal and informal sector and provides livelihoods for the urban poor. Mainstreaming the informal sector is both economically efficient and financially beneficial for local governments as it reduces the costs of waste management as well as the need for large-scale investments in infrastructure.

Forging a New Conceptualization of “The Public” in Waste Management, 2015. M Samson. Link
This paper critically analyzes innovative approaches to including informal waste pickers in service delivery in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Pune, India, and Bogota, Colombia and argues that by mobilizing collectively to demand formal incorporation into municipal waste management systems waste pickers are expanding both the public sector and the public sphere; transforming relations among the state, formal economy, informal economy, and residents; and contributing to the forging of a more inclusive, participatory, and democratic state.

Solid Waste Management and Social Inclusion of Waste Pickers: Opportunities and Challenges, 2014. M Marello. Link
Authors explore the opportunities and challenges inherent in the model of cooperation between municipal solid waste systems and waste picker cooperatives. Enthusiasm is growing about waste picker inclusion, often as part of “integrated solid waste management.” The World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank, for example, have both funded projects to support waste picker integration into formal sector recycling.

Urban Solid Waste Management: A Compendium of Global Good Practices, 2015. National Institute of Urban Affairs. Link
This report summarizes good practices in solid waste management from more than 15 countries.

Rethinking Urban Waste Management in India: Policy Brief, 2015. STEPS Centre. Link
This policy brief proposes a number of basic guiding principles for the establishment of an alternative approach to urban solid waste management. Current waste management plans are created on the basis of a standardized model of waste flows in Indian cities. This model fails to accurately reflect the situation on the ground. As a result, attempts to address the environment, health, and livelihoods of local residents are being threatened, and opportunities for innovative solutions are being overlooked.

Myths & Facts about the Informal Economy and Workers in the Informal Economy, 2015. C Bonner. Link
Waste picking is closely linked to the formal economy. The Informal Economy Monitoring Study coordinated by WIEGO showed that in the five cities studied waste pickers are an integral part of the recycling value chain and thus are linked closely to the formal economy. More than 75 percent of waste pickers reported that formal businesses are the main buyers of their products. Waste pickers reported a range of services that they provide, including transportation, recovery of recyclables, semi-processing and, in one of the cities, also composting and biogas production.

Scenarios of Waste and Resource Management: for Cities in India and Elsewhere, 2015. A Chaturvedi. Link
With unplanned urbanization and large numbers of urban poor, local governments find waste to be a management challenge given their limited finances and capacities. However, waste management is an economic opportunity for the urban poor in the informal sector. In developing countries, waste management provides jobs for 1 to 2 percent of the population, mostly the urban poor. Evidence suggests that the informal sector not only supports local governments in waste management but also saves substantial amounts of natural resources through efficient recycling. However, city governments often prefer to contract big companies to collect and process waste.


Electronic Waste Management–A Challenge for Contemporary India, 2015. S Verma.Link
In India, informal waste pickers contribute significantly to e-waste management and resource efficiency by collecting, sorting, trading, and sometimes even processing waste materials. Several studies have shown that these informal recycling activities have some positive effects on the environment by virtue of reducing the waste destined for landfills and thereby reducing the costs of waste management systems. E-waste is one of the most critical waste streams globally, due to the burgeoning volume and the toxicity concerns. In India, the informal sector is estimated to be handling around 95 percent of the e-waste recycled.

Creating Green Jobs through Safer and Cleaner E-Waste Recycling Practice in India, 2014. Switch Asia. Link
The new e-waste management and handling rules that guide producers of electrical and electronic equipment and mainstream the informal sector into an environmentally, socially, and economically feasible e-waste management system are an eminent example of voluntary action by producers and formal recyclers alike.

Assessment of the Safety and Health Hazards in Existing Dumpsites in Kenya, 2015. K Mugo. Link
Exposure to waste-handling sites is likely to give rise to significantly increased risks of chronic respiratory illness. Focusing on three dumpsites in Kenya, this study determined  that exposure to dust and bio-aerosol in substantial proportion at composting sites likely exceeded the thresholds for the development of chronic (and disabling) respiratory illness.


Waste Pickers in Bangladesh, 2014. R Rumbold. Video
Waste pickers are exposed to a variety of occupational hazards and are living on the margins of society. However, to raise their status in society and reduce these hazards, collaborations among governments, NGOs, waste picker representatives, businesses, and multilateral organizations must be created.

East African Compliance Recycling: Facility Visit, 2015. EACR Kenya. Video
East African Compliance Recycling (EACR) has been able to prove on a small scale that its concept for e-waste recycling can work and that it changes the habits of local waste pickers in a sustainable manner. Our goal is now to create a financially viable business and therefore scale it up. EACR will source its e-waste from collection centers working with the informal sector and located all over the Kenyan territory.

How Waste Pickers Grabbed the Attention of 1000’s by Drumming, 2014. Music Matters. Video
The waste pickers of Swach, along with the members of Deep Griha Society, came together to tackle the issue of cleanliness. An initiative by Music Matters, this one-of-a-kind event in India created music out of junk to instill values of cleanliness in people.

Waste Pickers of Brazil Unite, 2015. Equal Times. Video
In Ourinhos, Brazil, waste pickers organized, exited the informal economy, and in the process managed to secure a better standard of living.


Colombia – Recycling in Bogotá: A SWOT Analysis of Three Associations to Evaluate the Integrating the Informal Sector into Solid Waste Management, 2015. C Martínez.Link
Few studies have analyzed the possibilities and strategies to integrate the formal and informal sectors of solid waste management for the benefit of both. This study conducted a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis of three recycling associations of Bogotá to understand and determine recycling from the perspective of the informal sector as they transition to become authorized waste providers.

DRC – Scavenging for Solid Waste in Kinshasa: A Livelihood Strategy for the Urban Poor in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Habitat International, Oct 2015. D Simatele.Abstract/order info
Scavenging in Kinshasa has increasingly become an important livelihood source for the urban poor. This development has taken place amidst high levels of poverty, deterioration in infrastructure, and increased civil conflict. Despite the role that scavenging for solid waste plays, it is neglected in urban development and policy planning and should be integrated to contribute to sustainable urban development.

India – Executive Summary: Waste Pickers in Pune, India, 2015. Inclusive Cities. Link
In 2012, focus groups were held with 73 waste pickers; a survey was administered to the focus group participants, as well as 77 other waste pickers. Three categories of waste pickers were involved: itinerant waste buyers, itinerant waste pickers, and fixed waste collectors. The study presents key findings and policy and advocacy recommendations, which include creating enabling conditions for occupational health and safety of waste pickers and providing incentives for informal trade and processing of secondary commodities.

India – Economics of Solid Waste in India. Economic & Political Weekly, June 2015. M Balasubramanian. Link
This article provides an overview of the economics of solid waste and related issues. Public attention to solid waste and recycling has increased in India. In response, economists have developed models to help policy makers choose an efficient mix of policy levelers to regulate solid waste management and recycling activities.

India – Recovery of Consumer Waste in India: A Mass Flow Analysis for Paper, Plastic and Glass and the Contribution of Households and the Informal Sector.Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Aug 2015. B Nandy. Abstract/order info
Both the informal sector (garbage collectors, waste pickers, waste dealers, small stores, and itinerant merchants) and households in India play a vital role in recovering consumer waste. This case study provides a better understanding of the contribution of households, garbage collectors, and itinerant waste merchants toward the recovery of consumer waste. This study shows that consumer waste is far more efficiently recovered in India than what has been reported in literature until now.

Mozambique – Solid Waste Management in Maputo, Mozambique, 2015. Cities Alliance. Link
Currently, the issue of waste collection is a symbol of a divided city; it has tangible implications for people’s self-esteem, well-being, and health. While the municipality is in the process of improving the system in the formal parts of the city, including systems for the separation and reuse of different types of trash, people in the informal settlements do not get the services they pay for and regard the waste piling up as a major problem in their lives.

South Africa – “I Would Rather Have a Decent Job”: Barriers Preventing Street Waste Pickers from Improving their Socioeconomic Conditions, 2015. K Viljoen, Economic Research Southern Africa. Link
As a result of the high levels of unemployment in South Africa, many unskilled people are forced to resort to a variety of income-generating activities in the informal economy. The activity of collecting and selling recyclables presents virtually no barriers to entry, making it a viable option. This article reports the results of the first countrywide research into the barriers that prevent street waste pickers from improving their socio-economic circumstances.

Thailand – Co-Benefits of Household Waste Recycling for Local Community’s Sustainable Waste Management in Thailand. Sustainability, 7(6) 2015. A Challcharoenwattana. Link
The study aimed to evaluate co-benefits in term of greenhouse gas reduction and avoided landfill costs by implementing a community-based management (CBM) program for municipal solid waste. Two peri-urban settlements in Thailand were investigated in case studies to compare eco-performance with and without implementation of the CBM program. The study demonstrates that by allowing local mechanisms and community involvement programs to develop with operational waste banks, the efficiency of collecting recycling waste increased. A similar system can be applied to other communities in other countries.


Global Alliance of Waste PickersWebsite
The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers is a networking process supported by WIEGO of thousands of waste picker organizations with groups in more than 28 countries covering mainly Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
WASHplus Weeklies highlight topics such as Urban WASH, Household Air Pollution, Innovation, Household Water Treatment and Storage, Handwashing, Integration, and more. If you would like to feature your organization’s materials in upcoming issues, please send them to Dan Campbell, WASHplus Knowledge Resources Specialist, at

Filed under: Dignity and Social Development, Economic Benefits Tagged: waste pickers

Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes among Women Practicing Poor Sanitation in Rural India

Thu, 2015-07-09 16:31

Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes among Women Practicing Poor Sanitation in Rural India: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study. PloS Medicine, July 2015.

Authors: Bijaya K. Padhi, Kelly K. Baker, et al.

Background The importance of maternal sanitation behaviour during pregnancy for birth outcomes remains unclear. Poor sanitation practices can promote infection and induce stress during pregnancy and may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs). We aimed to assess whether poor sanitation practices were associated with increased risk of APOs such as preterm birth and low birth weight in a population-based study in rural India.

Methods and Findings A prospective cohort of pregnant women (n = 670) in their first trimester of pregnancy was enrolled and followed until birth. Socio-demographic, clinical, and anthropometric factors, along with access to toilets and sanitation practices, were recorded at enrolment (12th week of gestation). A trained community health volunteer conducted home visits to ensure retention in the study and learn about study outcomes during the course of pregnancy. Unadjusted odds ratios (ORs) and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals for APOs were estimated by logistic regression models. Of the 667 women who were retained at the end of the study, 58.2% practiced open defecation and 25.7% experienced APOs, including 130 (19.4%) preterm births, 95 (14.2%) births with low birth weight, 11 (1.7%) spontaneous abortions, and six (0.9%) stillbirths. Unadjusted ORs for APOs (OR: 2.53; 95% CI: 1.72–3.71), preterm birth (OR: 2.36; 95% CI: 1.54–3.62), and low birth weight (OR: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.24–3.23) were found to be significantly associated with open defecation practices. The association between APOs and open defecation was independent of poverty and caste. Even though we accounted for several key confounding factors in our estimates, the possibility of residual confounding should not be ruled out. We did not identify specific exposure pathways that led to the outcomes.

Conclusions This study provides the first evidence, to our knowledge, that poor sanitation is associated with a higher risk of APOs. Additional studies are required to elucidate the socio-behavioural and/or biological basis of this association so that appropriate targeted interventions might be designed to support improved birth outcomes in vulnerable populations. While it is intuitive to expect that caste and poverty are associated with poor sanitation practice driving APOs, and we cannot rule out additional confounders, our results demonstrate that the association of poor sanitation practices (open defecation) with these outcomes is independent of poverty. Our results support the need to assess the mechanisms, both biological and behavioural, by which limited access to improved sanitation leads to APOs

Filed under: Sanitation and Health Tagged: pregnancy

SUWASA Pathways for Urban Water and Sanitation

Thu, 2015-07-09 15:31

Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) is a regional initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by Tetra Tech, with a mission of fostering the transformation of water and sanitation delivery services in Africa to achieve long-term financial sustainability through the application of market-based principles.

The SUWASA Pathways are tools developed to share experiences, deliver key messages and provide links to useful resources such as manuals, case studies, templates and reports. 

The SUWASA Pathways were developed by the SUWASA team in consultation with project partners including officials from government ministries, municipalities and regulatory agencies, utility managers, managers of dedicated funding units, private operators, commercial bank representatives, civil society and development partners.

The objective of the Pathways is to communicate complicated reform topics in a highly accessible manner to a broad range of sector stakeholders and to assist with envisioning and sequencing reform efforts. There are many possible reform paths, but the SUWASA Pathways offer viable reform routes. We hope these tools can be widely disseminated and used in the water and sanitation sector.

Available for download and viewing:


Filed under: Sanitary Facilities Tagged: SUWASA, urban sanitation, USAID, water utilities

iDE’s Approach to Market Development

Thu, 2015-07-09 15:03

Brief Overviews of iDE’s Approach to Market Development

iDE is offering two short overviews that address key aspects of market development. These reports are designed to be short, but dense with practical information resulting from our experience in building markets for sanitation in seven countries across two continents.

iDE Tactic Report: The Dynamics of Market Development

In this publication, you will find a chart that illustrates how we analyze each country on key criteria that have an impact on the market overall. 

This report reveals the diversity within our programs and points to why we replicate an approach, but we don’t replicate a specific business model.

Download the Markets tactic report

iDE Tactic Report: Behavior Change Grounded in User Insights

In this publication, we share our experience with a one-year pilot on behavior change, and outline our key takeaways for building an effective campaign. 

A handful of social games, the core of the behavior change program we developed, are shown and explained in this report.

Download the Behavior Change tactic report

Filed under: Publications Tagged: behavior change, iDE, market development

Webinar on ‘What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change’ – Wed 22 July

Thu, 2015-07-09 09:48

It is startling that there seems to be no consensus about what constitutes success for CLTS programmes. Is 30% an acceptable success rate? How can these rates be optimized? What should be our response to communities that do not become defecation free?

An upcoming webinar will ponder these questions. The title of the webinar is: ‘What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change’

It will take place on Wednesday 22 July 2015 at 15:00 London time (BST/GMT+1).

As the post 2015 Sustainable Development goals will encourage a stronger focus on behavior all along the sanitation chain we are at the right time to consider what we can do more, better or differently? We invite you to join a ‘deep- dive’ interactive webinar where experts funded will share their insights on these issues. These experts  are part of the “Building Demand for Sanitation Programme” of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  The panelists of the webinar include:

  • Ada-Oko Williams, Head of Learning and Programme Effectiveness, WaterAid
  • Darren Saywell, Senior Director, Water, Sanitation and Health, Plan International USA (CLTS research project)
  • Hans-Joachim Mosler, Head of Environmental and Health Psychology, Eawag (CLTS research project)
  • Jonny Crocker, Research Assistant at The Water Institute at UNC, Chapel Hill

The webinar will be run as a chat show format whereby a panel interview is followed by the audience  and panelists interacting. This webinar, open to all, is being organized under the Knowledge Management initiative of the Building Demand for Sanitation (BDS) program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The webinar is being organized by Euforic Services, the SuSanA secretariat and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Further information and a discussion before and after the webinar is available here on the SuSanA discussion forum.

Registration details:

  • Date: 22 July 2015
  • Time: 15:00 London time (BST/GMT+1)
  • Please check your equivalent time here:
  • The webinar will utilise Adobe Connect.
  • Please register your interest to participate here.

Filed under: Uncategorized

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Nutrition

Thu, 2015-07-02 15:23

Issue 197| July 2, 2015 | Focus on WASH Nutrition

This issue on WASH and nutrition integration features a recent USAID webinar and briefs from USAID and WASHplus. Also featured is an upcoming conference organized by Catholic Relief Services and links to a May 2015 seminar by Irish Aid. A chapter from a 2015 report by the International Food Policy Research Institute discusses evidence of the link between sanitation, child height, and well-being. Other reports/articles discuss environmental enteropathy findings and explore water, food security, and nutrition linkages.


USAID WASH and Nutrition Webinar, 2015. Link
Elizabeth Jordan and Katherine Dennison of USAID 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. Other recent USAID WASH webinars include: | Sanitation | Agricultural Water Management |Sustainability of WASH Services | Drinking Water Quality |

WASH and Nutrition Implementation Brief, 2015. USAID. Link
Positive nutritional outcomes are dependent upon WASH interventions and nutrition actions. Poor WASH conditions create an additional burden of undernutrition. Opportunities for co-programming WASH in nutrition programs exist and are discussed in this brief.

Integrating WASH and Nutrition Learning Brief, 2015. WASHplus. Link
Since 2010, the USAID-funded WASHplus project has been engaged both at the global and country levels in stimulating the discussion and improving the evidence base around integrating WASH into nutrition programming, sharing experiences and approaches to integrating the two sectors. This learning brief describes WASHplus country activities in Bangladesh, Mali, and Uganda; global knowledge sharing efforts; and other WASHplus activities.


September 14–16, 2015 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Integrated Nutrition Conference, Nairobi, Kenya. Link
CRS and members of the NGO, research, and donor community will host a two-day conference focusing on integrated solutions relevant to East Africa. Global leaders in the areas of nutrition, water and sanitation, agriculture, health, and early childhood development will come together to: bring knowledge, evidence, and experience on implementing integrated nutrition-sensitive programming; identify best practices in integrated nutrition-sensitive programs; and identify gaps that will lead to the development of a learning agenda for East Africa.

May 2015 – Irish Aid seminar – Shit Stunts: Refocusing Priorities in Nutrition and WaSH. Link
Integration of nutrition and WASH programs was the key topic discussed at this multi-sectoral panel seminar hosted by Irish Aid, the Irish Forum for Global Health, and the Development Studies Association of Ireland on May 19.


“Invisible” Crisis Scars Children for Life. CNN News, June 2015. Link
Guatemala is suffering from a crisis of chronic malnutrition, especially in indigenous Mayan communities where seven out of 10 children are stunted. According to the World Food Program, the country has the fourth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. This article features work by USAID, CARE, UNICEF, and others to combat malnutrition in Guatemala.


Stunting Persists Despite Optimal Feeding: Are Toilets Part of the Solution? 81st Nestle Nutrition Workshop, South Africa, 2015. A Pendergast. Video (Registration required to view video)
In this presentation, Prendergast explains how recurrent infections may be implicated in the aetiology of stunting. Data show that diarrhea has a significant impact on height. Children living in environments of poor sanitation and hygiene are continuously exposed to pathogenic microbes. This causes a change in intestinal structure and function. Improvements in water, sanitation, and hygiene may well address this environmental enteric dysfunction, and promote linear growth.


The Power of WASH: Why Sanitation Matters for Nutrition, 2015. D Spears. Link
This chapter concludes that water, sanitation, and hygiene can have a profound effect on health and nutrition. A growing base of evidence on the link among sanitation, child height, and well-being has come at an opportune time, when the issue of sanitation and nutrition in developing countries has moved to the top of the post-2015 development agenda.

Is Reliable Water Access the Solution to Undernutrition? A Review of the Potential of Irrigation to Solve Nutrition and Gender Gaps in Africa South of the Sahara, 2015. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Link
Interventions aimed at increasing water availability for livelihood and domestic activities have great potential to improve various determinants of undernutrition, such as the quantity and diversity of foods consumed within the household, income generation, and women’s empowerment. However, current evidence on the topic is diluted across many different publications. This paper aims to connect the dots and review the literature available on the linkages between irrigation and food security, improved nutrition, and health

The 2014–2015 Global Food Policy Report, 2015. IFPRI. Link
This report is the fourth in an annual series that provides a comprehensive overview of major food policy developments and events. In this report, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners review what happened in food policy in 2014 at the global, regional, and national levels, and—supported by the latest knowledge and research—explain why.

Water for Food Security and Nutrition: A Report by The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, 2015. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Link
This report explores the relations between water and food security and nutrition, from household level to global level. It investigates these multiple linkages, in a context of competing demands, rising scarcities, and climate change. It explores ways to improve water management in agriculture and food systems, as well as ways to improve governance of water, for better food security and nutrition for all, now and in the future.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2015. FAO. Link
About 795 million people are undernourished globally, down 167 million over the last decade, and 216 million less than in 1990–1992. The decline is more pronounced in developing regions, despite significant population growth. In recent years, progress has been hindered by slower and less inclusive economic growth as well as political instability in some developing regions, such as Central Africa and western Asia.

Using Agriculture to Improve Child Health: Promoting Orange Sweet Potatoes Reduces Diarrhea, 2015. K Jones, IFPRI. Link
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is prevalent throughout the developing world and causes night blindness and increases child morbidity and mortality. We studied the health benefits of biofortification in reducing VAD, using a cluster-randomized impact evaluation in 36 villages in northern Mozambique. Based on a sample of 1,321 observations of children under age 5, biofortification reduced diarrhea prevalence by 11.4 percentage points, and by 18.9 percentage points in children under age 3. Diarrhea duration was also reduced. This is promising evidence that child health can be improved through agricultural interventions such as biofortification.


Fecal Markers of Environmental Enteropathy are Associated with Animal Exposure and Caregiver Hygiene in Bangladesh. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, June 2015. CM George.Abstract
There is a growing body of literature suggesting that increased exposure to enteric pathogens is responsible for environmental enteropathy (EE), a disorder associated with impaired growth in children. Findings from this study suggest that close contact with animals and caregiver hygiene may be important risk factors for EE in young children.

Geophagy is Associated with Environmental Enteropathy and Stunting in Children in Rural Bangladesh. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, Apr 2015. C George. Abstract
There is a growing body of literature indicating an association between stunting and environmental enteropathy (EE), a disorder thought to be caused by repeated exposures to enteric pathogens. To investigate the relationship between exposure to enteric pathogen through geophagy, consumption of soil, EE, and stunting, the authors conducted a prospective cohort study of 216 children under 5 years of age in Bangladesh. Findings suggest that geophagy may be an important unrecognized risk factor for EE and stunting.

Challenges and Opportunities Associated with Neglected Tropical Disease and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Intersectoral Integration Programs. BMC Pub Hlth, June 2015. E Johnston. Link
Recent research has suggested that WASH interventions, in addition to mass drug administration (MDA), are necessary for controlling and eliminating many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The most frequently mentioned barriers to WASH and NTD integration included: 1) differing programmatic objectives in the two sectors, including different indicators and metrics; 2) a disproportionate focus on mass drug administration; 3) differences in the scale of funding; 4) siloed funding; and 5) a lack of coordination and information sharing between the two sectors.

Environmental Enteric Dysfunction: An Overview. Food Nutr Bulletin, March 2015. R Crane. Link
Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) refers to an incompletely defined syndrome of inflammation, reduced absorptive capacity, and reduced barrier function in the small intestine. EED is established during infancy and is associated with poor sanitation, certain gut infections, and micronutrient deficiencies. Despite its potentially significant impacts, it is currently unclear exactly what causes EED and how it can be treated or prevented. Ongoing trials involve nutritional supplements, water and sanitation interventions, and immunomodulators.

Is There an Enabling Environment for Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture in South Asia? Stakeholder Perspectives from India, Bangladesh, and PakistanFood Nutr Bull, June 2015. M van den Bold. Link
The Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) research consortium seeks to understand how agriculture and agrifood systems can be better designed to improve nutrition in South Asia. In 2013 and 2014, LANSA carried out interviews with stakeholders influential in, and/or knowledgeable of, agriculture–nutrition policy in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, to gain a better understanding of the institutional and political factors surrounding the nutrition sensitivity of agriculture in the region.
WASHplus Weeklies highlight topics such as Urban WASH, Household Air Pollution, Innovation, Household Water Treatment and Storage, Handwashing, Integration, and more. If you would like to feature your organization’s materials in upcoming issues, please send them to Dan Campbell, WASHplus Knowledge Resources Specialist, at

Filed under: Sanitation and Health Tagged: WASH Nutrition

Raise your hand for hygiene: Sign on to call for a global hygiene indicator in the SDGs!

Wed, 2015-07-01 16:59

Join the call for a global-level hygiene indicator in the Sustainable Development Goals! Source: Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing

The issue: The Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are the successors to the Millennium Development Goals; a draft was published, and the details of the SDGs are being negotiated now. Hygiene is essential for achieving global development, and is therefore included as a target as part of Goal 6. Countries will commit to demonstrating progress on achieving the targets by reporting on indicators. However, in the recent list of global-level indicators being considered by the UN Statistical Commission, hygiene has been deleted. This is likely because the decision makers want a shorter list of indicators. However, demoting hygiene to a huge, secondary list of ‘optional’ indicators will not give hygiene the priority needed for the SDGs to have real impact on both hygiene and the areas that it influences—such as health, education, and equity.

Objective: The JMP Communications and Advocacy Group is coordinating delivery of a persuasive message about the importance of hygiene to encourage decision makers and stakeholders to act and recommend the reinstatement of a hygiene indicator in the list of global-level indicators for the SDGs.

Audience: This letter will be sent to members of the UN Statistical Commission and others who may have the opportunity to influence discussions and decisions around the SDG Indicators process.

Action by YOU: If your organization agrees with the content of the letter (available for download here), and is able to sign on, please e-mail Hanna Woodburn ( with the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing to:

(1) Advise us that your organization would like to sign on to this letter, and (2) Attach your logo for us to insert underneath the text to represent your organization’s signature to this sign-on letter. The letter will be sent soon thereafter to have maximum impact on the indicator decision-making process.

Deadline for signature: 12th July 2015. Be part of the global call for change.

We hope that your organization will sign on to the letter to make our voice heard and make a true impact. If the SDGs fail to put priority on hygiene, we will simply be repeating the problems of the MDGs and failing to make a truly positive imapct on our future.

Filed under: Hygiene Promotion, Sanitation and Health Tagged: handwashing, hygiene, indicators

UNICEF/WHO: Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water – 2015 update and MDG assessment.

Wed, 2015-07-01 13:34

Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water – 2015 update and MDG assessment. UNICEF/WHO.

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 30 June 2015 – Lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water, warn WHO and UNICEF in a report tracking access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals. 

The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment, says worldwide, 1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open. “What the data really show is the need to focus on inequalities as the only way to achieve sustainable progress,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

“The global model so far has been that the wealthiest move ahead first, and only when they have access do the poorest start catching up. If we are to reach universal access to sanitation by 2030, we need to ensure the poorest start making progress right away.”

Access to improved drinking water sources has been a major achievement for countries and the international community. With some 2.6 billion people having gained access since 1990, 91 per cent of the global population now have improved drinking water – and the number is still growing. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 427 million people have gained access – an average of 47,000 people per day every day for 25 years. The child survival gains have been substantial. Today, fewer than 1,000 children under five die each day from diarrhoea caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, compared to over 2,000 15 years ago.

On the other hand, the progress on sanitation has been hampered by inadequate investments in behaviour change campaigns, lack of affordable products for the poor, and social norms which accept or even encourage open defecation. Although some 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, the world has missed the MDG target by nearly 700 million people. Today, only 68 per cent of the world’s population uses an improved sanitation facility – 9 percentage points below the MDG target of 77 per cent.

Filed under: Progress on Sanitation, Water Supply Access Tagged: Joint Monitoring Programme

The Human Right to Water and Sanitation

Thu, 2015-06-25 15:04

By Carolien van der Voorden, WSSCC Senior Programme Officer

Water and sanitation are fundamental human rights, and the first priority should be to ‘connect’ those who so far have remained unconnected, unserved, and disadvantaged.

We shouldn’t think of people as users or consumers of a service, but as Rights Holders whose rights need to be fulfilled equally for all.
While nobody would dispute this principle, the reality is that there are limited resources, a high lifecycle cost of water and sanitation services, and many social, cultural, economic and historic barriers that constrain poor and disadvantaged people in their quest for better services and a better life.

CLTS triggering in a village in Tanzania. Photo: Jenny Matthews/WSSCC

Community-led total sanitation, or CLTS, is an approach especially prevalent in rural sanitation, however many human rights experts and academics are not convinced that CLTS is a good approach to reach people without access to sanitation.

The main objection is that it is fundamentally unfair to expect very poor people to pay for infrastructure while less poor people, especially those in urban areas, receive highly subsidised access to infrastructure and services. Secondly, there is a perception that these people are being coerced and shamed into paying for a service they might not afford, or want.

WSSCC houses the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), a funding mechanism that builds heavily on CLTS approaches to reach millions of previously unserved people in a range of countries in Africa and Asia. It works with national governments to develop strategies and roadmaps to reach universal coverage in terms of whole districts, states and countries becoming first Open Defecation Free (ODF), and then working from there to ensure that sanitation services are sustainable and that people can move on from basic sanitation to ‘improved’ sanitation services.

First focusing on achieving ODF status is a strategic choice that is very much based on the idea of ‘Some for All’ rather than ‘All for Some’, but also takes into account that, while sanitation is in essence a private behavior, it has collective consequences. Living in an ODF environment has large impacts on people’s health, wellbeing and dignity, and on the environment.

It is true that CLTS expects people to pay, in cash or in kind, for their sanitation infrastructure. But this does not mean CLTS is a no-subsidy or ‘cheap’ approach and that governments are therefore taking the easy way out by making households pay for all the costs. CLTS is based on supporting people’s own desires to change their behaviour and to live in a clean environment. For CLTS to work well, it requires strong and sustained investment in ‘software’. It also requires public investments in hardware in schools, market places, and public buildings.

CLTS embodies the choice to not fund the initial hardware costs of constructing the latrines simply because experience has shown that that is not the most effective use of available public resources and that investing in behaviour change has a much larger potential of ensuring that people not only have access to, but also use safe sanitation services and practice related hygienic behaviour.
Where a right is very much linked to behaviour, simply focusing on the infrastructure is just not enough.

This is not to say that it isn’t a problem when people are forced to take out loans from self-help groups that they can’t afford, or when people are forced into practicing a behaviour rather than making an informed choice to do so, or that CLTS never ‘leaves out’ those most disadvantaged, most deprived, most isolated.

All these things happen, and they mean that those implementing CLTS-based programmes need to be careful, making sure that community triggering and decision making processes are as inclusive as possible, that households needing more help receive the assistance required, and that follow-up processes are designed in such a way that nobody gets left behind.

Read the full article on The Guardian.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Why Using Patriarchal Messaging to Promote Toilets is a Bad Idea

Wed, 2015-06-24 13:35

Why Using Patriarchal Messaging to Promote Toilets is a Bad Idea | Source: The Wire, June 2015 |

The struggles for women’s empowerment and improving sanitation are both harmed by using patriarchal messages to encourage construction of toilets.

An excerpt: Impact of patriarchal messages

In our empirical research on sanitation and health in rural India, we have become used to seeing patriarchal messages to promote the construction of toilets. Slogans like “Bahu betiyan bahar na jayein, Ghar mein hi shauchalay banvayein” [“Daughters and Daughters-in-law shouldn’t go outside, build a toilet inside your house”] are now painted across walls and toilets in rural India. Through these slogans, men are encouraged to build a toilet not because it will prevent the spread of disease and germs, but because their patriarchal values should not allow women to go outside the house.

Further, the idea of ghoonghat, or keeping women covered, is used in behaviour change messages in rural Rajasthan. In large banners and in yearly calendars, in government offices and on village walls, the Rajasthan government uses a picture of a woman carrying a lota filled with water. In the poster, the woman is being asked by her daughter, “Maa, ghar mein ghoonghat tera saathi, fir kyun shuach khule mein jaati” [“Mother, when you cover your head inside the house, how come you go in the open to defecate”].  

The poster and the slogan use patriarchal logic to point out the inconsistency between practicing ghoonghat and defecating in the open. In the process, this message associates the use of toilets with women, endorses the practice of ghoonghat, and encourages the idea that the right place for a women are the char-diwari of the ghar (four walls of the house).

Read the complete article in: The Wire, June 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: India, sanitation promotion

Challenges and opportunities associated with neglected tropical disease and water, sanitation and hygiene intersectoral integration programs

Wed, 2015-06-24 13:28

Challenges and opportunities associated with neglected tropical disease and water, sanitation and hygiene intersectoral integration programsBMC Public Health, June 2015.

Authors: E. Anna Johnston, Jordan Teague and Jay P. Graham

Background – Recent research has suggested that water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions, in addition to mass drug administration (MDA), are necessary for controlling and eliminating many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Objectives – This study investigated the integration of NTD and WASH programming in order to identify barriers to widespread integration and make recommendations about ideal conditions and best practices critical to future integrated programs.

Methods – Twenty-four in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders in the global NTD and WASH sectors to identify barriers and ideal conditions in programmatic integration.

Results – The most frequently mentioned barriers to WASH and NTD integration included: 1) differing programmatic objectives in the two sectors, including different indicators and metrics; 2) a disproportionate focus on mass drug administration; 3) differences in the scale of funding; 4) siloed funding; and 5) a lack of coordination and information sharing between the two sectors. Participants also conveyed that a more holistic approach was needed if future integration efforts are to be scaled-up. The most commonly mentioned requisite conditions included: 1) education and advocacy; 2) development of joint indicators; 3) increased involvement at the ministerial level; 4) integrated strategy development; 5) creating task forces or committed partnerships; and 6) improved donor support.

Conclusions – Public health practitioners planning to integrate NTD and WASH programs can apply these results to create conditions for more effective programs and mitigate barriers to success. Donor agencies should consider funding more integration efforts to further test the proof of principle, and additional support from national and local governments is recommended if integration efforts are to succeed. Intersectoral efforts that include the development of shared indicators and objectives are needed to foster conditions conducive to expanding effective integration programs.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: neglected tropical diseases