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News, Opinions and Resources for Sanitation for All
Updated: 26 min 54 sec ago

PLoS One – Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag behind Water?

Wed, 2014-12-17 15:47

Does Global Progress on Sanitation Really Lag behind Water? An Analysis of Global Progress on Community- and Household-Level Access to Safe Water and Sanitation. PLoS One, Dec 2014.

Authors: Oliver Cumming, Mark Elliott, Alycia Overbo, Jamie Bartram

Safe drinking water and sanitation are important determinants of human health and wellbeing and have recently been declared human rights by the international community. Increased access to both were included in the Millennium Development Goals under a single dedicated target for 2015. This target was reached in 2010 for water but sanitation will fall short; however, there is an important difference in the benchmarks used for assessing global access.

For drinking water the benchmark is community-level access whilst for sanitation it is household-level access, so a pit latrine shared between households does not count toward the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. We estimated global progress for water and sanitation under two scenarios: with equivalent household- and community-level benchmarks.

Our results demonstrate that the “sanitation deficit” is apparent only when household-level sanitation access is contrasted with community-level water access. When equivalent benchmarks are used for water and sanitation, the global deficit is as great for water as it is for sanitation, and sanitation progress in the MDG-period (1990–2015) outstrips that in water.

As both drinking water and sanitation access yield greater benefits at the household-level than at the community-level, we conclude that any post–2015 goals should consider a household-level benchmark for both.

Filed under: Progress on Sanitation Tagged: benchmarks

Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development

Mon, 2014-12-15 21:20

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is launching a new Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development. This challenge focuses on how to effectively reach and empower the most vulnerable women and girls to improve health and development – including economic – outcomes as well as gender equality.

Gender inequalities and the marginalization of the needs, roles and potential of women and girls are key factors limiting advances in development outcomes for all – women, men, boys, girls and their communities and societies around the world. Moreover, strong associations have been identified between addressing inequalities and enhancing women and girls’ empowerment and agency, and improved development outcomes across sectors, ranging from maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition to agriculture, water, sanitation, hygiene and financial services for the poor.

The ultimate goal of this challenge is to accelerate discovery of how to most effectively and intentionally identify and address gender inequalities and how this relates to sectoral outcomes; scale-up approaches known to work, in context-relevant ways; and do more to develop better measures of the impact of approaches to enhance women’s and girls’ empowerment and agency. Intentional efforts and strategies are required so that development can contribute more to gender equality and gender equality can contribute more to development.

Grants will go to investigators in low- and middle-income countries, but we encourage partnerships with investigators in other countries, especially where the opportunity exists to build on existing collaborations.

Filed under: Campaigns and Events, Dignity and Social Development Tagged: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Request for feedback on WASHplus knowledge management survey

Mon, 2014-12-15 20:09

Dear Colleagues:

I would appreciate it if you would respond to the brief WASHplus Knowledge Management Survey for 2014 to provide feedback on Sanitation Updates, Urban Health Updates, Household Drinking Water Quality Updates, the WASH/Nutrition Library and and other WASHplus knowledge management services and products.

The link is:

Many thanks,
Dan Campbell, Knowledge Resources Specialist
USAID WASHplus Project


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: knowledge management

BBC News – Poor water and hygiene ‘kills mothers and newborns’

Mon, 2014-12-15 17:35

Poor water and hygiene ‘kills mothers and newborns’ | By Smitha Mundasad, Health reporter, BBC News, Dec 13, 2014.

Many mothers and newborns are dying because of a lack of sanitation, safe water and hygiene while giving birth, leading health experts have warned.

They say the lack of such basic facilities is hindering the success of other interventions to improve the health of newborn babies.

In some clinics in Tanzania pregnant women are asked to bring their own water supplies

They’ve called on governments and agencies to focus more on the link between sanitation and saving lives.

Sanitation ‘ignored’

They say that while the importance of hygiene – for example, hand washing – is being recognised in some places, much less consideration is given to the complete package of safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

In some cases sanitation – toilets and facilities to dispose of waste – is being ignored.

Nearly 40% of health facilities in 54 low-income countries do not have reliable clean water, according to the World Health Organization.

The report suggests that many efforts to improve newborn health focus on specific measures, sometimes at the expense of these basic facilities.

And it argues that the lack of ways to dispose of waste safely could hamper the success of other interventions.

The experts behind the report say governments and agencies should pay much greater attention to the link between sanitation and saving mothers’ and babies’ lives.

Filed under: Uncategorized

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Nutrition

Fri, 2014-12-12 14:45

WASHplus Weekly | Issue 171| Dec 12, 2014 | Focus on WASH & Nutrition

This issue provides updates on new resources since the September 2014 WASHplus Weekly on WASH and nutrition with links to a December 15, USAID webinar; the recently published Global Nutrition Report; presentations at the UNICEF Stop Stunting Conference in India; and just-published studies on stunting, environmental enteropathy, and other WASH and nutrition topics.


December 15, 2014, Draft Guidance for USAID-Funded Nutrition-Sensitive ProgrammingLink
During this webinar, Richard Greene, senior deputy assistant administrator with USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, will share a two-page draft guidance document that will assist implementers in applying the new USAID Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy to nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs.

November 19–21, 2014, The Second International Conference on Nutrition
Link | Vision statement
The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) was a high-level intergovernmental meeting that focused global attention on addressing malnutrition in all its forms. The two main outcome documents—the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action—were endorsed by participating governments at the conference, committing world leaders to establishing national policies aimed at eradicating malnutrition and transforming food systems to make nutritious diets available to all.

November 10–12, 2014, UNICEF Stop Stunting Conference, India. Link
The Stop Stunting regional conference provided a knowledge-for-action platform where state-of-the-art evidence, better practices, and innovations were shared to accelerate sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, programs, and research in nutrition and sanitation to reduce the prevalence of child stunting in South Asia.


Global Nutrition Report, 2014. International Food Policy Research Institute. Link | WaterAid review of the Global Nutrition Report
The first-ever Global Nutrition Report provides a comprehensive narrative and analysis on the state of the world’s nutrition. The Global Nutrition Report convenes existing processes, highlights progress in combating malnutrition, and identifies gaps and proposes ways to fill them. Through this, the report helps to guide action, build accountability, and spark increased commitment for further progress toward reducing malnutrition much faster.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Nutrition Efforts: A Resource Guide, 2014. WASH Advocates. Link
This resource guide includes manuals, reports, academic studies, and organizations working on WASH and nutrition. The guide can serve as a tool for implementers and advocates in the WASH/Nutrition nexus looking to pursue and promote integrated programming.


Place and Child Health: The Interaction of Population Density and Sanitation in Developing Countries, 2014. P Hathi, The World Bank. Link
This paper assesses whether the importance of dense settlement for child mortality and child height is moderated by exposure to local sanitation behavior. Is open defecation, without a toilet or latrine, worse for infant mortality and child height where population density is greater? This paper finds a statistically robust and quantitatively comparable interaction between sanitation and population density: open defecation externalities are more important for child health outcomes where people live more closely together.

Advocating for Children at the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition. Feed the Children, Nov 2014. T Davis. Link
No nutrition program/project conducted at scale (e.g., with 1 million or more beneficiaries) in a developing country has come close to normalizing child growth. We still need more research and examples of the sort of interventions that reduce maternal depression and eliminate open defecation (when people don’t properly dispose of human waste, it contaminates their water and soil and sickens their children). One study by Pamela Surkan found that we could potentially reduce stunting by about 19 percent to 23 percent through the elimination of maternal depression, and a randomized trial has been done that shows that depression can be reduced 93 percent at low cost in a developing country.

Understanding the Context for Agriculture for Nutrition Research: Identifying Country Typologies of Child-Stunting Determinants, 2014. E Maruyama, IFPRI. Link
Authors used data from 52 countries on child stunting, poverty, determinants of food security, environmental health, and quality of maternal and child care to carry out a cluster analysis of country typologies. The purpose is to identify where agriculture-led interventions might address binding constraints to progress in improving nutrition outcomes and to identify how existing research on the links between agriculture and nutrition in particular country contexts may or may not be representative. They find that countries with average-to-poor nutrition outcomes within this sample set fall into groups where one supporting area tends to lag, such as environmental health or food security.

Understanding the Rapid Reduction of Undernutrition in Nepal, 2001–2011, 2014. D Headey, IFPRI. Link
South Asia has long been synonymous with unusually high rates of undernutrition. In the past decade, however, Nepal has arguably achieved the fastest recorded decline in child stunting in the world and has done so in the midst of civil war and postconflict political instability. The authors identify four broad drivers of change: asset accumulation, health and nutrition interventions, maternal educational gains, and improvements in sanitation.

Prevalence of Undernutrition and Evidence on Interventions: Challenges for India, 2014. B Viswanathan. Link
Focusing on key sectors like agricultural production and prices, food distribution networks, water, sanitation, and hygiene with the involvement of multiple agents like households, communities, local governments, and NGOs is essential to address the multiple dimensions of undernutrition prevalent in India.

Open Defecation in India. Econ & Political Wkly, Dec 2014. A Doron. Link
This study identifies eleven issues that have inhibited the spread of a comprehensive sanitation program. It emphasizes the complexity of issues and helps avoid the facile targeting of the poor as deficient citizens, whose latrine practices are viewed as a “primitive” source of social disorder and disease.


Beyond Malnutrition: The Role of Sanitation in Stunted Growth. Env Health Perspec, Nov 2014. C Schmidt. Link
It has become clear that nutritional interventions are only part of the solution to stunted growth. In countries such as India, for instance, stunting occurs even among well-fed children, and that’s led investigators to consider other causes, especially poor sanitation and hygiene. Evidence shows that children who live without adequate sanitation, hygiene, and clean drinking water don’t grow as well as children who do. Meanwhile, more than 626 million people in India (nearly half the population) routinely defecate on the ground outdoors and this practice has been proposed as an important cause of India’s stunting epidemic, which affected an estimated 48 percent of the country’s children as of 2005–2006.

Stunting, Poor Iron Status and Parasite Infection Are Significant Risk Factors for Lower Cognitive Performance in Cambodian School-Aged Children. PLoS One, Nov 2014. M Perignon. Link
Poor cognitive performance of Cambodian school children was multifactorial and significantly associated with long-term (stunting) and current nutritional status indicators (iron status), as well as parasite infection. A life-cycle approach with programs to improve nutrition in early life and at school age could contribute to optimal cognitive performance.

An Evolving Perspective about the Origins of Childhood Undernutrition and Nutritional Interventions That Includes the Gut Microbiome. Ann New York Acad Sci, 2014. T Ahmed. Link
This paper summarizes work on mechanisms underlying the varied manifestations of childhood undernutrition and discusses current gaps in knowledge and challenges to our understanding of undernutrition and infection/immunity throughout the human life cycle, focusing on early childhood growth. It proposes a series of basic and clinical studies to address this global health challenge.

Is Targeting Access to Sanitation Enough? Lancet Global Health, Nov 2014. S Luby. Link
We do not have strong evidence about the relation between sanitation and health because such data are difficult and expensive to generate. Environments highly exposed to fecal pathogens are remarkably diverse. Different latrine technologies are appropriate with different water-table depths and different population densities. Communities vary in their preference for and acceptance of different latrine designs. The relative importance of sanitation in the interruption of pathogen transmission almost certainly varies by community.

Effectiveness of a Rural Sanitation Programme on Diarrhoea, Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection, and Child Malnutrition in Odisha, India: A Cluster-Randomised Trial. The Lancet Global Health, Oct 2014. T Clasen. Link
Increased latrine coverage is generally believed to be effective for reducing exposure to fecal pathogens and preventing disease; however, our results show that this outcome cannot be assumed. As efforts to improve sanitation are being undertaken worldwide, approaches should not only meet international coverage targets, but should also be implemented in a way that achieves uptake, reduces exposure, and delivers genuine health gains.

Influence of Nutrition on Infection and Re-Infection with Soil-Transmitted Helminths: A Systematic Review. Parasites & Vectors 2014, 7:229. P Yap. Link.
The relationship between nutrition and soil-transmitted helminthiasis is complex and warrants further investigation. Researchers conducted a systematic review examining the influence of nutrition on infection and re-infection with soil-transmitted helminths (i.e., Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, Trichuris trichiura, and Strongyloides stercoralis) in humans. Emphasis was placed on the use of nutritional supplementation, alongside anthelminthic treatment, to prevent re-infection with soil-transmitted helminths.

The Stunting Syndrome in Developing Countries. Annals of Tropical Paediatrics, Apr 2014. A Prendergast. Link
Stunting is a cyclical process because women who were themselves stunted in childhood tend to have stunted offspring, creating an intergenerational cycle of poverty and reduced human capital that is difficult to break. In this review, the mechanisms underlying linear growth failure at different ages are described; the short-, medium- and long-term consequences of stunting are discussed; and the evidence for windows of opportunity during the life cycle to target interventions at the stunting syndrome are evaluated.

Environmental Enteropathy and Malnutrition: Do We Know Enough to Intervene?BMC Medicine, Oct 2014. W Petri. Link
Environmental enteropathy (EE) is a poorly defined state of intestinal inflammation without overt diarrhea that occurs in individuals exposed over time to poor sanitation and hygiene. It is implicated as a cause of stunting and malnutrition, oral vaccine failure, and impaired development in children from low-income countries. The burden on child health of malnutrition alone, which affects 25 percent of all children and is estimated to result in more than a million deaths annually due to heightened susceptibility to infection, makes a solution to EE urgent.

Tackling Undernutrition in Children – New Opportunities for Innovation and Action.Paediatrics and International Child Health, Nov 2014.  A Tomkins, Institute for Global Health at the Institute of Child Health. Link
There is clearly an urgent need for collaborative research examining combinations of dietary, supplemental, infection control, and environmental interventions and their impact on infant health, growth, and cognitive function.

Filed under: Sanitation and Health Tagged: WASH nutrition integration

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in

Wed, 2014-12-10 18:56

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Southeast Asia: A Guide to Good Practice, 2014.

Arthur C. McIntosh, Asian Development Bank.

Objective – This book provides stakeholders (governments, development partners, utilities, consultants, donors, academe, media, civil society, and nongovernment organizations) with a point of reference and some tools for moving forward effectively and efficiently in the urban water supply and sanitation sector in Southeast Asia. New generations of water professionals
should not have to repeat the mistakes of the past. Instead they should be able to take what has been learned so far and move forward. To facilitate this process, this book was designed to improve understanding and awareness of the issues and possible solutions among all stakeholders in the sector.

Scope – This book focuses on six countries in Southeast Asia—Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Field data were obtained from 14 utilities in these six countries. Future studies should bolster the analysis of sanitation, now still regrettably weak for lack of data.

Filed under: East Asia & Pacific, Progress on Sanitation, Sanitary Facilities Tagged: urban sanitation

Open Defecation in India

Wed, 2014-12-10 18:51

Open Defecation in India. EPW Economic & Political Weekly, December 6, 2014 vol xlix no 49

Authors: Assa Doron, Robin Jeffrey

This study identifies 11 issues that have inhibited the spread of a comprehensive sanitation programme. It emphasises the complexity of issues and helps avoid the facile targeting of the poor as deficient citizens, whose latrine practices are viewed as a “primitive” source of social disorder and disease. Recognition that many factors are involved and interrelated might also serve as a warning against patchwork policies that disregard local context in their haste to proclaim another district an “open defecation free zone”.

Filed under: Dignity and Social Development, South Asia Tagged: open defecation

Handwashing article receives the Elsevier Atlas award

Mon, 2014-12-08 15:30

Elsevier, a world-leading publisher and provider of information solutions for science, health, and technology professionals selected the Effect of a behaviour-change intervention on handwashing with soap in India (SuperAmma): a cluster-randomised trial, The Lancet Global Health, March 2014 article to receive the Elsevier Atlas award. 

Each month a single Atlas article is selected from published research from across Elsevier’s 1,800 journals by an external advisory board made up of individuals from NGOs including the following organizations, among several others:

• Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
• Health Informational for all – HIFA 2015
• International Training and Outreach Center in Africa (ITOCA)
• United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)
• University of California, Berkeley (Centre for Effective Global Action)
• Global Health Policy Institute
• United Nations University
• Bioversity International

Atlas articles showcase research that can (or already has) significantly impact people’s lives around the world and we hope that bringing wider attention to this research will go some way to ensuring its successful implementation.

Filed under: Hygiene Promotion

Dec 15, 2014 – Launch of study on WASH and maternal/newborn health

Mon, 2014-12-08 15:09

Dec 15, 2014 – Launch of study on WASH and maternal/newborn health

The launch of a PLOS Medicine paper on WASH and maternal/newborn health is taking place at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on December 15, 2014.  

We have speakers from DFID, WHO, LSHTM, Soapbox and WaterAid so it promises to be a really dynamic evening.

Alexandra Chitty
Research Uptake Officer, SHARE Consortium
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,
Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT.

Filed under: Campaigns and Events, Sanitation and Health Tagged: maternal child health

David Neal: Handwashing and the Science of Habit, Dec 4, 2014

Fri, 2014-12-05 16:54

David Neal: Handwashing and and the Science of Habit, December 4, 2014. This webinar was organized by WASHplus and the Public-Private Partnership on Handwashing.

Filed under: Hygiene Promotion Tagged: handwashing

Treat your sanitation workers well

Fri, 2014-12-05 11:26

There are two contrasting stories this week on the treatment of sanitation workers: in China a local restaurant treats 180 of them to a free lunch, while in Gaza they go on strike after having received no pay for over six months.

More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant. Photo:

Sanitation workers in China get low pay, have poor working conditions and work long hours. Mr. Li, a restaurant owner in Chengdu, decided it was time to show some appreciation for their hard work, especially now as temperatures were dropping. He offered over 180 local sanitation workers a free lunch; they were “encouraged to order whatever they wanted, including alcohol”, writes Dina Li in the Shanghaiist.

The free lunch was also a compensation for the mess created when Mr Li opened his new restaurant and employees distributed more than 100,000 leaflets, most of which ended up on the streets for sanitation workers to clean up.

Waste piles up in Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza Strip, as a result of strike by sanitation workers. Photo: Mohammad Asad, MEMO

How differently sanitation workers are treated in the Gaza Strip. Since the formation of the Palestinian unity government in June 2014, they have not received any pay. This has spurred a strike with severe consequences for the health care system. The accumulation of large piles of waste and garbage has forced the Al-Shifa Hospital to stop all work in their operation and emergency rooms.

Deputy Minister of Health, Yusuf Abu Al-Reesh warned of dangerous health conditions inside the hospitals and medical centres in Gaza since staff from the private sanitation companies went on strike.


  • Dina Li, Chengdu hotpot restaurant treats over 180 sanitation workers to free lunch, Shanghaiist, 5 Dec 2014
  • Gaza sanitation workers’ strike stalls hospital operations, Middle East Monitor, 4 Dec 2014

Filed under: Dignity and Social Development, East Asia & Pacific, Middle East & North Africa, Sanitation and Health Tagged: China, Gaza, hospitals, Palestine, sanitation workers, solid waste management

UNICEF/WSP – Child feces disposal in Bangladesh

Wed, 2014-12-03 20:33

Child feces disposal in Bangladesh, 2014. UNICEF; Water and Sanitation Program.

Part 1: Overview of current practices (full text, pdf)
Excerpt – In Bangladesh, in 2006, only 22% of households reported that the feces of their children under three were deposited into a toilet/latrine. Therefore, the stools of over 7.5 million children under three were not disposed safely. Th is includes over 3.5 million children whose feces were left in the open.2 Even among those 22% of households with safe child feces disposal, only half (11% overall) have an improved sanitation facility into which they could easily dispose the feces.  In rural areas of Bangladesh, crawling infants come into contact with animal feces, the baby’s own feces, and those of its brothers and sisters. According to one study, half of the mothers in two villages near Dhaka had also seen their infants eating or touching feces during the previous two weeks.

Part 2 – Interventions and Possible Program Interventions: Ideas from the Field (full text, pdf)
Excerpt –  This brief includes all relevant information that the authors have been able to locate thus far on current interventions to improve children’s sanitation in Bangladesh, as well as collating possible integration ideas from the field. It concludes with an appeal to readers to send in any additional information they may be aware of.


Filed under: Dignity and Social Development, Sanitation and Health, South Asia Tagged: Bangladesh, child feces disposal

Francis de los Reyes: Sanitation is a basic human right

Wed, 2014-11-26 19:01

This talk might contain much more than you’d ever want to know about the way the world poops. But as sanitation activist (and TED Fellow) Francis de los Reyes asks — doesn’t everyone deserve a safe place to go?

Filed under: Dignity and Social Development

WSP – Success with Sanitation Business in Indonesia

Wed, 2014-11-26 18:39

This 4-min video overview of the sanitation business model in Indonesia illustrates a one-stop shop sanitation business model targeted at entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.

The video animation follows Mr. Budi, a sanitation entrepreneur who produces healthy toilet facilities at an affordable price. Mr. Budi’s experience highlights steps needed to become a successful sanitation entrepreneur, such as close cooperation with various stakeholders, as well as coordination from local health offices.

The video describes the sanitation business process in stages, from drawing a social map and identifying customers to receiving orders, creating a work plan and settling payments. As a sanitation entrepreneur, Mr. Budi is creating more jobs, supporting the community, and helping the government program improve access to sanitation.



Filed under: East Asia & Pacific, Economic Benefits Tagged: entrepreneurs, Indonesia

New business-led coalition for market-based sanitation for the poor

Fri, 2014-11-21 17:22

On World Toilet Day, Unilever announced the launch of The Toilet Board Coalition. The aim of the new coalition is to tackle  open defecation using market-driven solutions.

The Toilet Board Coalition brings together some of the most forward-thinking organisations in the sanitation space: Firmenich, Kimberly-Clark, LIXIL Corporation and Unilever represent the business sector; Dr Val Curtis of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Barbara Evans of the University of Leeds bring academic rigour to the table; and a number of development sector and governmental bodies bring their one-of-a-kind resources and specialist knowledge: Agence Française De Développement; the Asian Development Bank; the UK’s Department for International Development; Stone Family Foundation; WaterAid; Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP); Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC); the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme; the World Toilet Organization; Water and Sanitation for Africa; and UNICEF.

Toilet Board Coalition publications

Unilever had already initiated The Toilet Board Coalition in 2012. Over the past 6 months, the coalition has started five key initiatives:

  • Supporting the Clean Team urban mobile toilet initaitive started in Ghana by WSUP and Unilever, now with funding from DFID and the Stone Family Foundation
  • Evaluating the potential international roll-out of the Clean Team model with Manila Water Company subsidiary Laguna Water
  • Designing and testing commercially sustainable solutions for villages in India, Bangladesh and Cambodia
  • Leading an Open Innovation team formed by the LIXIL Corporation, Firmenich, Kimberly-Clark and Unilever
  • Exploring innovative ways of integrating waste treatment; decentralised or large scale – into sustainable value chains

Jean-Laurent Ingles

The Toilet Board Coalition consists of a Steering Committee, chaired by Jean-Laurent Ingles, Senior VP of Unilever’s Household Care Category, and a  Partnership Council, which acts as an expert advisory group.


  • Toilet Board Coalition develops initiatives to fight the sanitation crisis, Unilever, 19 Nov 2014
  • World Toilet Day: business steps in to tackle open defecation with affordable toilets, Guardian, 19 Nov 2014


Filed under: Economic Benefits, Funding Tagged: Clean Team, Jean-Laurent Ingles, NGOs, Private sector, sanitation marketing, Toilet Board Coalition, Unilever, World Toilet Day

Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Fri, 2014-11-21 15:03
In Sub-Saharan Africa sanitation needs of the majority of the urban population are met by onsite sanitation technologies such as pit latrines. As part of the SPLASH sanitation research programme the FaME (Faecal Management Enterprises) and U-ACT Project researched innovative solutions to increase access to sustainable sanitation services. Building on this research Sandec/Eawag  has recently started the SEEK Project (Sludge to Energy Enterprises) researching co-processing of faecal sludge and other urban waste streams into fuel pellets and with these electricity through gasification.
Filed under: Research Tagged: faecal sludge management

World Toilet Day: cities can’t wait

Wed, 2014-11-19 14:42

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to ‘systemically change sanitation in cities’. A new working paper marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population.

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

While more people in cities have access to toilets than in villages, both wastewater and solid waste remains largely untreated. Take Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh: 99 percent of the population use toilets but according to Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) a staggering 98 percent of their waste is dumped untreated in the enviroment [1].

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to tackle sanitation in cities. A new working paper “Towards Systemic Change in Urban Sanitation“, marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population. The problems in urban sanitation range from lack of facilities to lack of public funding and messy politics in urban governance.The root causes are systemic and technology alone is not the solution.

In the paper IRC argues that sanitation is a public good and is therefore a public responsibility. This does not exempt households from their responsibilities, or exclude private businesses. However, there is a strong need for governmental agencies to lead a reform in urban sanitation. At the same time, IRC proposes a process of change leading to a sector that is self-reliant, trusted by citizens and private parties, and able to respond to current and upcoming challenges.

You can join the discussion on urban sanitation with Giacomo Galli, the author of the working paper, on his blog post.

World Toilet Day is a global campaigning day where many organisations in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector collectively call to take action. Jointly they raise awareness on the 2.5 billion people who lack access to sanitation, the 1 billion people who have to defecate in the open and the women and girls who are particularly at risk because of this situation.

[1] Blackett, I., Hawkins, P., and Heymans, C., 2014. The missing link in sanitation service delivery : a review of fecal sludge management in 12 cities. (Research brief / WSP). Washington, DC, USA,
Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) 

[2] Galli, G., 2014. Towards systemic change in urban sanitation. (IRC working paper). The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC

IRC’s work in urban sanitation

The Urban Sanitation Development Program (USDP) (2010-2014) focuses on 330 cities in Indonesia. IRC provides technical assistance together with Royal HaskoningDHV/MLD and works with Indonesian consultants in providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Health on health, gender and poverty aspects of the programme.IRC trainee Giacomo Galli, who visited the programme in August 2014, gives an overview of the programme and discusses the unrsolved problems related to faecal sludge management.

The Pan-Africa programme (2010-2014), managed by Plan with the help of IRC and IDS (UK), promotes and scales up Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in 8 African countries, in both rural and peri-urban areas. The programme is also testing Urban Community-Led Total Sanitation (UCLTS).

For a full overview of what we do on sanitation see our topic page.

This news item orginally appeared on the IRC website.

Filed under: Policy, Publications Tagged: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, urban sanitation, World Toilet Day

Celebrating Cambodia’s progress in rural sanitation: iDE video

Wed, 2014-11-19 07:02

iDE congratulates the people of Cambodia in a new video:

“Cambodia: Growing Momentum for Sanitation”

The great progress in rural sanitation is something for Cambodia to be proud of.”
—Chreay Pom, Director, Department of Rural Health at Ministry of Rural Development

The rate at which sanitary toilets are being installed in rural Cambodia has increased dramatically since the Government of Cambodia made rural sanitation a priority in 2008. In the past six years, hundreds of thousands of rural families are experiencing the benefits of improved sanitation for the first time. This video celebrates Cambodia’s progress in sanitation and highlights the people who have made it possible—government officials, local business people and rural families.

“In 2008, the government set sanitation as a priority in order to improve people’s standard of living. Since then, we’ve noticed a huge change in rural communities. People have latrines at home and they understand what good sanitation is, and actually practice it within their families.” —Dr. Chea Samnang, WSSCC National Coordinator

Many national and international organizations have also contributed to the sanitation movement happening in Cambodia. One of these organizations is iDE. iDE is dedicated to outsmarting diarrheal disease by making sure that quality toilets are accessible through local markets at an affordable price.

“…We are helping the private sector learn what people want and helping them produce and sell it at an affordable price. The last few years have been a turning point across the country, with annual toilet sales increasing four-fold since 2008.” —iDE

iDE’s three-year Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up (SMSU) project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Stone Family Foundation, and technically supported by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank. The project is supported by the Ministry of Rural Development.

iDE is an international non-profit organization dedicated to creating income and livelihood opportunities for the rural poor. In addition to worldwide programs in agriculture, iDE implements programs in Africa and Asia in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. iDE’s WASH programs focus on creating markets around aspirational and effective WASH products and services that reduce diarrheal disease among poor households. iDE has impacted more than 23 million people globally to date through its WASH and agriculture interventions.

Filed under: East Asia & Pacific, Multimedia Tagged: Cambodia, IDE Cambodia, rural sanitation, sanitation marketing, Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up (SMSU), videos

5th International Dry Toilet Conference: call for papers

Tue, 2014-11-18 09:06

The Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland will organize the 5th International Dry Toilet Conference (DT2015) in Tampere, Finland, in the Tampere University of Applied Sciences on 19th – 22nd of August 2015.

The main theme for DT2015 will be solutions, which will be reflected in all the presentations. The aim of the conference is to discuss concrete ideas and solutions through sessions and workshops, covering topics from ecological sanitation and nutrient cycling to dry toilet technologies and use of excreta as a fertilizer.

You can find the call for papers and register here:

Filed under: Campaigns and Events Tagged: ecological sanitation, Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland, International Dry Toilet Conference

SCA and WSSCC partner to break silence around menstruation

Mon, 2014-11-17 11:32

Geneva, 17 November 2014 – SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest products company, and the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the only United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of vulnerable and marginalized people, have today entered into an innovative new partnership to break the silence around menstruation for women and girls around the world. SCA and WSSCC will jointly work to educate on menstrual issues and the importance of good hygiene.

The parties announced the partnership in Cape Town, South Africa, in connection with Team SCA’s first stop-over in the Volvo Ocean Race round the world competition. During the Cape Town stop-over, Team SCA attended a menstrual hygiene workshop with girls and women from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu, where experts from WSSCC, the Volunteer Centre (a Cape Town NGO), and SCA led a training session and discussion of the challenges the women face in managing their periods.

The partnership will include actions during, and between, the race stopovers until June 2015. These include Brazil (Itajai), China (Sanya), New Zealand (Auckland), Portugal (Lisbon), South Africa (Cape Town), Sweden (Gothenburg), The Netherlands (The Hague), United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) and the USA (Newport).

“Safe and hygienic menstruation is a basic human right and fundamental to women’s equality,” said Chris Williams, executive director of WSSCC. “Securing this right requires action at every level of society, from the girls and women of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu to multinational companies like SCA. I am proud that SCA has stepped up to the challenge, and I look forward to working closely with them to continue breaking the silence around menstruation.”

“Breaking the silence is the first step towards change”, said Rockaya Aidara, Programme Officer for Policy, Media, Advocacy and Communications at WSSCC.
Photo credit: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi

“A majority of adolescent girls and women in the world do not have access to adequate information about menstruation nor access to sanitation or hygiene products,” said Jan Johansson, President and CEO of SCA. “With the WSSCC partnership SCA aims to break the menstrual taboos that jeopardize the health of millions of women every day, raise the awareness of menstrual hygiene and empower women and communities to take action, as menstruation should not hold women back to participate fully in society socially, educationally and professionally.”

“They asked a lot of good questions,” said Sally Barkow of Team SCA, who also emphasized the importance of talking to young girls about these issues. “You can even see a bit of their confidence now after only a couple of hours training.”
Photo credit: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi

In many developing countries, millions of women and girls are left to manage their periods with solutions at hand, such as cloth, paper or clay and no access to private toilets, water or soap. Sanitary products like pads are unaffordable or simply unavailable, and urinary or reproductive tract infections are common. As a result, girls miss valuable days in school, and women are unable to work, stifling productivity and advancement.



  • On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15-49 are menstruating. Adequate and appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities can provide a comfortable space for them to manage their menstruation with privacy and dignity.[1]
  • 70.9% of girls in India had no idea what was happening to them when they started their first period.[2]
  • One school study in Ethiopia reported over 50% of girls missing between one and four days of school per month due to menstruation.[3]
  • A factory case study in Bangladesh showed that 60% of female workers used rags from the factory floor as menstrual cloths. This resulted in infections that caused 73% of the women workforce missing work for an average of six days a month. An intervention to change this saw absenteeism drop to 3% resulting in significant economic gains for workers and factory owner.[4]
  • Women and girls living without any toilets (which also provide safe spaces for managing menstruation) spend 97 billion hours each year finding a place to go.[5]
  • 23% of Indian girls drop out of school after reaching puberty.[7]
  • Only 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins.[8]

About WSSCC — The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council is at the heart of the global movement to improve sanitation and hygiene, so that all people can enjoy healthy and productive lives. Established in 1990, WSSCC is the only United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized people. In collaboration with our members in 150 countries, WSSCC advocates for the billions of people worldwide who lack access to good sanitation, shares solutions that empower communities, and operates the Global Sanitation Fund, which since 2008 has committed $97 million to transform lives in developing countries. Learn more at

About SCA — SCA is a leading global hygiene and forest products company. The Group develops and produces sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products. Sales are conducted in about 100 countries under many strong brands, including the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and regional brands, such as Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo and Vinda. As Europe’s largest private forest owner, SCA places considerable emphasis on sustainable forest management. The Group has about 44,000 employees. Sales in 2013 amounted to approximately SEK 93bn (EUR 10.7bn). SCA was founded in 1929, has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. For more information, visit

[1] Team SCA is the only all-female crew in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race.

[1] Needs and Trends in Menstrual Management: A Global Analysis; Ashwini Sebastian and Vivian Hoffmann, University of Maryland and Sarah Adelman, Mount Holyoke College

[2] In 2012, WSSCC designed and ran a Menstrual Hygiene Lab as part of the Great Wash Yatra that journeyed through five Indian states and 2,000km over 51 days. Twelve thousand girls and women took part in focus group discussions and 747 completed formal surveys.

[3] Menstrual hygiene matters, WaterAid 2012

[4] Jennifer Schappert, HER project and BSR at the Celebrating Women meeting in Geneva, March 8th, 2013

[5] WaterAid: Briefing note – 1 in 3 women lack access to safe toilets (19 November 2012).


[8] IBID

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