Author Archives: wsscc

“We Can’t Wait”, say WSSCC, Unilever and WaterAid on World Toilet Day

We Can’t Wait – Governments, civil society and business should work together to tackle sanitation for women’s health; say Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Unilever and WaterAid

Dowwload the report here. 

ImageA collaborative approach between governments, civil society and business is essential to getting the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target back on track. This is critical to improve the health and prosperity of women worldwide, says a new report jointly published by the United Nations hosted organisation Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, international development organisation WaterAid and Unilever’s leading toilet brand Domestos.

The report, We Can’t Wait, was presented today at a UN event in New York which celebrates recognition of the first official World Toilet Day. The day serves to remind the world that over 2.5 billion people lack access to an adequate toilet, with devastating consequences in particular for the well-being, health, education and empowerment of women and girls worldwide.

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WSSCC Developing Roster of Senior Consultants for Sanitation and Hygiene Programming Support

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is currently recruiting to populate a roster of Senior Consultants Sanitation and Hygiene Programming Support. Placement on the roster will enable consultants to be contracted on a retainer basis to provide support to WSSCC’s country-level work in a variety of countries in Africa and Asia. The purpose of these consultancies is to strengthen WSSCC’s range of activities around equity and sustainable and integrated hygiene and sanitation behaviour change at scale, within four main task areas:

Programme support: strengthen equity and hygiene and sanitation behaviour change programming aspects in GSF programmes in selected countries by providing technical support to programmes.

Capacity strengthening: Directly respond to programme capacity needs in relation to equity and/or hygiene and sanitation behaviour change; where appropriate develop capacity building materials or tools; advise WSSCC on the development of systems for equity and/or sanitation and hygiene behaviour change related capacity development.

Learning: In line with the 2012-2016 Medium Term Strategic Plan, inform WSSCC’s sustainable behaviour change and equity related learning agenda.

Country scoping and strategic programme development: Scoping, sector reviews and relationship building to support identification of new programme countries for WSSCC engagement.

The incumbents are professional specialists who are based in or have spent extended periods of time in one or more of WSSCC’s programme countries in Africa and Asia including but not limited to: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda.

For more information and to apply, go to:

Final Report from Celebrating Womanhood: Menstrual Hygiene Management conference

ImageWSSCC is pleased to announce publication of Celebrating Womanhood: How better menstrual hygiene management is the path to better health, dignity and business, the final report from the International Women’s Day event arranged in Geneva in March 2013 by WSSCC.  

In addition, if you are participating in the 28-30 May “Women Deliver” conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, you are cordially invited to attend our events, including the Menstrual Hygiene Management Lab, and a 29 May side meeting on menstrual hygiene management featuring the following speakers:

  • Lucinda O’Hanlon, Human Rights Officer, Women’s Rights and Gender Section, OHCHR
  • Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Scientist, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • Racheal Meiers, Director, HERproject, BSR
  • Beth Outterson, Advisor, Adolescent Reproductive Health, Save the Children
  • Lisa Schechtman, Head of Policy and Advocacy, WaterAid in America
  • Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, WSSCC

For more information on how to Break the Silence around menstrual hygiene management, visit

Request for Proposals: “GSF Mid-Term Evaluation Consulting Services”

ImageThe Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has specified in its Medium Term Strategic Plan 2012-2016 that all programmes funded by WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) are subject to independent mid-term and five-year evaluations. These evaluations are aligned with the overall GSF financing mechanism, which is based on a five-year programme cycle.

Therefore, WSSCC is now calling for proposals by 7 June 2013 for “GSF Mid-Term Evaluation Consulting Services”. For more information about the consultancy, please click on this link:

The mid-term evaluations of GSF programmes in ten countries will be clustered in two batches of five countries in 2013 and 2014/2015 respectively. The assignment covers design and implementation of the mid-term evaluations as well as analysis, consolidation and dissemination of findings as per the Terms of Reference.

As of 31 March 2013, the GSF programmes are implemented in ten countries: Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. In addition, programme preparation is on-going in another six countries; Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Pakistan and Togo. Sanitation and hygiene awareness-raising and promotion activities in the first ten countries with GSF programmes has resulted in 1.4 million people having improved toilets, and more than 1 million people in nearly 4,000 communities who are now living in open defecation free environments.

Global Sanitation Fund helps 1.4 million people gain improved sanitation


Children in Senegal carry signs to show support for good hygiene practices including handwashing in a celebration confirming this village in Senegal has improved sanitation. The ceremony is in Agnam Civol, a village which was declared open defecation free thanks to efforts through GSF financed programmes in 2012.

The Global Sanitation Fund Progress Report 2012, a new report from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), details programmatic results, reporting methodology and financial data from Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programmes in Africa and Asia.

In 10 countries – Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal Tanzania and Uganda – Global Sanitation Fund Sub-grantees have implemented sanitation and hygiene awareness-raising and promotion activities resulting in:

  • 1.4 million people with improved toilets.
  • More than 1 million people in nearly 4,000 communities now live in open defecation free environments.
  • Almost 10,000 communities have participated in demand-creation activities.
  • 3.8 million people have heard about the importance of good hygiene through community activities and communications campaigns.

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Request for Proposals: The effects of poor sanitation on women and girls in India

The SHARE Research Consortium and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) have joined together to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) with a total value of £400,000 for research on sanitation and women in India. Four priority research questions have been identified, further details are available in the revised RFP documents:

1. The conditions and effects of WASH in health facilities, particularly around childbirth

2. Operational research into menstrual hygiene management

  • Psycho-social stress linked to ignorance, taboos, shame and silence around menstruation
  • The link between menstrual hygiene and infections and/or other health related impacts
  • Operational research on the design and unit costs for safe reuse and disposal options

3. Psycho-social stress resulting from violence experienced by women in the course of using sanitation facilities or practicing open defecation.

4. The practice of limiting, postponing or reducing food and liquid intake to control the urge to urinate or defecate: the prevalence of this behaviour and related health risks.

Proposals must be led or co-led by an Indian research institution. SHARE and WSSCC envisage making three or four grants of which at least £200,000 is earmarked for questions 1 and 2 above. However, depending on the quality and size of the proposals received, SHARE and WSSCC may make a single grant only or, alternatively, more grants of lesser value.

The deadline for submission of proposal is 17:00 GMT on 29th March 2013For full details please refer to the RFP document. Results will be announced by the end of April.

New job at WSSCC: Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer P4

ImageWSSCC has an exciting senior-level (P4) monitoring and evaluation (M&E) position based in Geneva, Switzerland. The application deadline is 30 December 2012. The purpose of the post is to coordinate the effective monitoring and evaluation of WSSCC’s work in line with its Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP)for the period 2012-2016. The incumbent is expected to establish a conceptual framework for the monitoring & evaluation practice, provide leadership to strengthen WSSCC’s capacity, and to develop systems and engagement strategies to enable WSSCC to:

  • Effectively monitor and evaluate progress against its MTSP for the period 2012-2016, and regularly derive evidence-based data and information feeding into organizational and wider sector knowledge and learning.  
  • Identify and collaborate on evaluation research initiatives of relevance to the sector as a whole.    
  • Represent WSSCC in inter-agency meetings and high-level forums on monitoring and evaluation.
  • Develop partnerships and facilitate inter-institutional relations with key research institutions specializing in water, sanitation and hygiene.

WSSCC’s mission is to ensure sustainable sanitation, better hygiene and safe drinking water for all people.  Good sanitation and hygiene lead to economic and social development, yielding health, productivity, educational and environmental benefits. WSSCC manages the Global Sanitation Fund, facilitates coordination at national, regional and global levels, supports professional development, and advocates on behalf of the 2.5 billion people without a clean, safe toilet to use.  WSSCC is hosted by UNOPS, supports coalitions in more than 30 countries and has members around the world.

For information on the United Nations salary scale and post adjustment formula, visit here:


Now also in Nepali: Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies

The Nepali version of the Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies was launched in Kathmandu on October 1st 2012, on the occasion of World Habitat Day.  Clean toilets save lives. But with billions of people lacking access to basic sanitation around the world, which toilet best meets each person’s and family’s need? Since 2008, one of the most popular guidebooks used to help answer that question has been the Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies.

Now, the Compendium, published by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), is available in Nepali, complementing the English, French and Spanish versions available.

As a tool, the compendium sheds light on the diverse sanitary solutions which can help poor people across the developing world lead healthier and happier lives. With abundant information about sanitation technologies scattered throughout numerous books, reports, proceedings and journals, this unique Compendium centralizes all the available main information.

Promoting a systems approach, where sanitation devices and technologies are considered as parts of an entire system, the Compendium is split into two parts: System Templates and a description about how to use them; and illustrated Technology Information Sheets.

While the System Templates primarily address engineers and planners dealing with infrastructure delivery, the Technology Information Sheets allow non-experts to understand the main advantages and limitations of different technologies and the appropriateness of different system configurations. This approach allows all stakeholders to be involved in selecting improved sanitation technologies and the promotion of people-centred solutions to real sanitation problems.

Eight different System Templates, presenting logical combinations of technologies, are described and evaluated. By combining these templates with 52 different illustrated Technology Information Sheets (describing the main advantages, disadvantages, applications and the appropriateness of the technologies required to build a comprehensive sanitation system), ensures the selection is context specific and suitable for local environment (temperature, rainfall, etc.), culture (sitters, squatters, washers, wipers, etc.) and resources (human and material).

Re-inventing toilet talk in India with cricket and Bollywood

Re-inventing toilet talk in India with cricket and Bollywood

Bollywood superstar Vidya Balan bowls for better sanitation and hygiene in India. Click for more photos.India is the reigning World Cricket Champion. But with 626 million Indians using fields, vacant lots or railroad tracks as their toilet, India is also the world’s open defecation capital, resulting in more than 1,000 children dying from preventable diarrhea each day – another world record. A major new campaign, the Nirmal Bharat Yatra (NBY), is embarking to cut these numbers significantly. Announced 28 September, the Yatra has the support of high-ranking public officials, cricket stars, a Bollywood celebritry, and leading development professionals for the six-week long campaign. 

The Nirmal Bharat Yatra is the brainchild of WASH United and Quicksand Design Studio. From 3 October until 19 November – World Toilet Day – the NBY will travel 2,000 km through villages from Maharashtra to Bihar. It is not a normal mela; rather it is according to Thorsten Kiefer, Executive Director of WASH United, “a toilet and hygiene mela that harnesses the passion for cricket, the glamour of Bollywood, the fun of interactive games towards creating a masala of positive excitement around the long-neglected issues of sanitation and hygiene across India.”

The press launch for the Yatra at the India Habitat Centre occurred in New Delhi on 28 September. It showcased top political commitment in the persons of the Honorable Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, and Secretary Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr. Pankaj Jain. As well, Bollywood star Ms. Vidya Balan; Philanthropist and Founder of Arghyam, Ms. Rohini Nilekani, and numerous Yatra partners showed their dedication.

“India has a godliness surplus and cleanliness deficit,” said Minister Ramesh. “The Government of India has tripled its allocation to sanitation and hygiene, so money is not the issue, since we will spend 1lakh 7000 crores on sanitation and hygiene. What we need is for everyone to take on sanitation and hygiene with a sense of urgency and make it a national obsession. For this, we are happy to welcome on board Vidya Balan as our ambassador and messenger. In India, Bollywood, cricket and the Government are omnipresent and known by all. We must use these to change the situation positively.” He applauded the Yatra and its ambition and said that he would travel to each of the stops as an indication of his support.  

Ms. Balan said that she was proud and honoured to be the messenger of the Government of India for the cause of bringing about a clean India. “After all, celebrities such as I can use our position and presence for a social cause to make a real difference in the lives of people in this country. I have chosen sanitation.”
“We have looked at the things Indians really are passionate and excited about and transposed them into a sanitation and hygiene context,” said Kiefer, “What we are trying to do with the Yatra is to make toilets and hygiene cool and sexy.” More specifically, he said, the NBY raises awareness of and facilitates behavior change around sanitation and handwashing with soap. 

Nirat Bhatnagar, principal at Quicksand, adds that “the Yatra represents a totally new approach to sanitation and hygiene campaigning in India in that it fully focuses on fun, positive messaging and super star role models. Basically, the Yatra is re-inventing toilet talk!” 

Reflecting the great need to address India’s massive sanitation and hygiene crisis, the Yatra will see a high degree of involvement from the Minister of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Hon. Jairam Ramesh, and the Chief Ministers of several states. The Yatra works in close collaboration with the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), a government subsidization and awareness program that makes toilets affordable for poor and marginalized Indians. The Yatra’s key messages pertaining to toilet use, handwashing with soap and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) will supplement the NBA’s emphasis on prioritizing household spending on sanitation. 

In addition, the Yatra will enjoy the support of some of India’s biggest cricket heroes, as well as major Bollywood stars. 

Nirat Bhatnagar says: “Cricket stars and Bollywood actors are among the most powerful role models in India. The Yatra is a unique opportunity for celebrities to use their fame to help tackle one of the most pertinent social issues of our country in a fun and positive fashion. We invite everybody to come on board and help us build a popular movement for sanitation and hygiene in India.” 

The NBY starts immediately after Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, 3 October, from Wardha, Maharashtra, and culminates almost 50 days later in Bettiah, Bihar. The NBY will be the first in a series of Yatras that WASH United and Quicksand are planning over the next four years to help end India’s sanitation and hygiene crisis. 

The Yatra carries the following goals: 

  • Reach at least 90 million people with sanitation messaging through local, regional, national and international media, at least 82.5 million of whom live in India. • 100,000 total attendees at the carnival event in the towns and villages. 
  • 30,000 children trained in appropriate hand-washing and sanitation behaviour at schools using fun and innovative sports-based games. 
  • 200 teachers and 1,500 pupils trained to continue the WASH United educational program after the event’s conclusion. 
  • More awareness of Menstrual Hygiene Management. Long a topic surrounded by silence, it is now recognized as vital in achieving equity and dignity for women and will be accorded the space it deserves at the event.

By tackling Menstrual Hygiene Management, the NBY also tackles an issue facing persisting taboos in India. More than 300 million women and girls in India use unsanitary material such as old rags, husks, dried leaves and grass, ash, sand or newspapers every month to try and contain the flow of menstrual blood, says Ms. Archana Patkar, Programme Manager at the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, a Yatra partner. These unhygienic measures during menstruation make women susceptible to infections and diseases pertaining to the urinary tract and reproductive system, reduce mobility and livelihood opportunities. 

“Whilst global efforts on sanitation and hygiene have picked up momentum, women’s particular needs in sanitation continue to be forgotten or simply ignored,” Patkar says. “But women are the progenitors of the human race. Menstruation is therefore something of which they can and should be proud, so each and every one of us should work to improve the lives and life chances for women who do not have access to napkins and clean water and toilets with safe disposal facilities; who cannot talk about their experiences; or are not empowered to contribute towards a solution.”

The economic and human costs of poor sanitation and hygiene in India 
Lack of adequate sanitation is a huge problem in India, which loses approximately USD $53.8 billion (>6.4% of its GDP) due to increased health costs, productivity losses and reduced tourism revenue due to inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene (Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank, February 2011). In total, some 626 million Indians defecate in the open, making India the country with most people living without toilets in the world. This leads to severe problems spanning health, economics, human rights and the environment (UNICEF/WHO). According to the Public Health Association, only 53 per cent of the Indian population wash hands with soap after defecation, 38 per cent wash hands with soap before eating and only 30 per cent wash hands with soap before preparing food (UNICEF).

WASH United is an international water, sanitation and hygiene advocacy organization that has pioneered new approaches using the power of sports super stars, interactive games and positive communication to promote safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), working with dozens of partners in Africa and now also in India. 
Quicksand is an India-based innovation firm with significant background in the field of WASH innovation, having worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), PATH, Unilever, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine among others. 

Key partners of the Yatra include the Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), WaterAid, Arghyam/Hindi Water Portal, Goonj, UNICEF, FANSA, and EAWAG. 

New progress report on the Global Sanitation Fund


In Madagascar, community members in the Boney region started to build their own toilets two days after a sanitation demand-creation exercise funded by the GSF was held in May 2012.

At this week’s World Water Week in Stockholm, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is releasing a report presenting the latest results from the ongoing implementation by national partners of its Global Sanitation Fund (GSF).

As of 30 June 2012, the Global Sanitation Fund supports large-scale sanitation and hygiene work in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal and Uganda. In those countries, 94 GSF sub-grantees – NGOs and community based organizations – have raised awareness of sanitation and hygiene in a number of targeted regions in each country. As a result of this sub-grantee work, the first 752,897 people of a planned 14 million people have access to and are using improved toilets, among other leading indicators of progress.

The Global Sanitation Fund is a pooled global fund established to gather and direct finance to help large numbers of poor people to attain safe sanitation services and adopt good hygiene practices. The report, a follow-up on the first report issued in February 2012, presents the main results in headline form, gives cumulative numerical results in dashboard form, along with descriptions of the various indicators and monitoring methods, and presents the latest news on the respective country programmes.

To download the report, see a video or access more information, click on the following links:

WSSCC gratefully acknowledges the donors that make the GSF work possible: the Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.