Category Archives: IYS Themes

Innovative communal sanitation models for the urban poor: Lessons from Uganda

Innovative communal sanitation models for the urban poor: Lessons from Uganda, 2014.

Authors: Greg Bachmayer, Noah Shermbrucker. SHARE.

This paper describes the construction and management processes related to two toilet blocks in Uganda, one in Jinja and one in Kampala. Designs, financial models and insights into the process and challenges faced are presented and reflected on. Discussions about scaling up sanitation provision through these models are also tabled. To strengthen their planning processes, the Ugandan federation sought to draw on other community driven processes in India and Malawi. With divergent contexts, especially in terms of density, lessons were adapted to local conditions. SHARE_ResearchReport_Uganda_final-20

Through unpacking these experiences the paper draws attention to a number of key points. Firstly it argues that organised communities have the potential to develop functional and sustainable systems for the planning, construction and management of communal toilet blocks. Secondly, how shared learning, practical experience and exchanges driven by communities assisted in refining the sanitation systems and technologies piloted and thirdly the value, especially in terms of scale and leverage of including City Authorities in the provision of communal sanitation. A fourth key point, interwoven across discussions, relates to the financial planning, costing and affordability of the sanitation options piloted. Understanding the seed capital investments needed and various options for cost recovery is vital in assessing the affordability and scalability of pilots.

The paper mixes one of the co-author’s reflections (written in first person) with descriptions and analysis of the sanitation projects supported. This narrative method is deployed to emphasise the collegiate manner in which learning takes place across a country-spanning network of urban poor communities.

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Handwashing

Issue 156 | August 1, 2014 | Focus on Hand Washing

This issue contains journal articles and reports published to date in 2014 on hand washing. Journal articles include an updated review of hand washing’s health effects, an evaluation on the use of soapy water, a new Community Handwashing Guide, and an article on the Super Amma campaign in India.

Reports include a review of hand washing in the perinatal period, a social media toolkit from the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, a report from the Institute of Development Studies on developing hand washing campaigns as part of community-led total sanitation programs, and others.

EVENTS handwashing

What Does Sustainability Mean for Handwashing and Hygiene? Handwashing & Hygiene Track, Sustainability Forum, July 2014. Overview by J Rosenbaum, USAID/WASHplus. (Link)
The literature on improving hand washing practice and then sustaining or maintaining the practice suggests determinants such as social norms, policy, and presence of “enabling technologies” (like tippy taps and water treatment products) are the primary factors required to sustain behaviors rather than issues around functioning hardware, community maintenance, and local governance. These technology and systems issues lie within the household domain rather than with community or government. Availability of  key supplies and spare parts, and willingness to pay also factor into the equation, as does sustained maintenance of hand washing stations and water filters.


Periodic Overview of Handwashing Literature: Summary of Selected Peer-Reviewed and Grey Literature Published July – December 2013. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW). (Link)
Twice a year, PPPHW publishes overviews of handwashing literature that provide practical guidance for implementers. This is a compilation of peer-reviewed and grey literature that were published between July through December 2013.


Hygiene and Health: Systematic Review of Handwashing Practices Worldwide and Update of Health Effects. Trop Med Int Health, Aug 2014. M Freeman. (Link)
From the 42 studies reporting hand washing prevalence the authors estimate that approximately 19 percent of the world’s population washes hands with soap after contact with excreta (i.e., use of a sanitation facility or contact with children’s excreta). Meta-regression of risk estimates suggests that hand washing reduces the risk of diarrheal disease by 40 percent; however, when they included an adjustment for unblinded studies, the effect estimate was reduced to 23 percent. Results show that hand washing after contact with excreta is poorly practiced globally, despite the likely positive health benefits.

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WaterAid – Assessing the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of people living with HIV and AIDS in Papua New Guinea

Assessing the water, sanitation and hygiene needs of people living with HIV and AIDS in Papua New Guinea, 2014. WaterAid.

The research revealed that people living with HIV in PNG have increased needs for WASH, and that these needs are not being adequately met. Stigma and discrimination were found to be barriers to access to WASH for respondents and their families. In addition, this study identified priority areas for service providers to direct future activities and best integrate WASH into programming for people living with HIV. Priority areas include hygiene education, safe treatment and storage of water, self-treatment for diarrhoea, latrine construction, and education around the transmission of HIV.

UNESCO-IHE – Smart eSOS toilet for emergencies

UNESCO-IHE – Smart eSOS toilet for emergencies | SOURCE: UNESCO-IHE, July 2014 |

The emergency Sanitation Operation System (eSOS) concept provides a sustainable, holistic and affordable sanitation solution during the aftermath of a disaster. The eSOS reinvents (emergency) toilet and treatment facilities, and uses ICT to bring cost savings to the entire sanitation management chain. The toilet will improve the quality of life of people in need during emergency situations – from natural to anthropological disasters – and minimizes the threat to public health of the most vulnerable members of society.  esos-toilet_0

The eSOS concept was developed by UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The experimental prototype of the smart toilet was developed in collaboration with FLEX/The INNOVATIONLAB and SYSTECH and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project SaniUP – Stimulating local innovation on sanitation for the urban poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Smart features
The eSOS emergency toilets are easily deployable in disaster areas because of their robust and light-weight specifications. The smart eSOS toilet includes some unique features in the prototype that will shed new light on how the toilets are used in emergencies. This includes remote-sensing monitoring, an energy supply unit, GSM/GPS sensor/card, occupancy sensors, urine/faeces accumulation sensor, an S.O.S. button, and a communication system that allows for data collection by remote sensing and their transfer to an on or off-site emergency coordination center. The data resulting from the use of the toilets will allow the toilets as well as the entire sanitation management chain to be improved.

Field testing
The eSOS toilet will be tested further in a refugee camp in the Philippines in September with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Asian Development Bank. UNESCO-IHE PhD fellow Fiona Zakaria from Indonesia will carry out further experimental testing in cooperation with relief agencies on the ground. The eSOS smart toilet design prototype will be manufactured based on the results and feedback obtained from the experimental application.

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies, 2nd Edition

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies 2nd Edition, 2014. IWA; EAWAG.

Authors: E. Tilley, et al. eawag

This second, revised edition of the Compendium presents a huge range of information on sanitation systems and technologies in one volume. By ordering and structuring tried and tested technologies into one concise document, the reader is provided with a useful planning tool for making more informed decisions.

  • Part 1 describes different system configurations for a variety of contexts.
  • Part 2 consists of 57 different technology information sheets, which describe the main advantages, disadvantages, applications and the appropriateness of the technologies required to build a comprehensive sanitation system. Each technology information sheet is complemented by a descriptive illustration.
Download the English 2nd Edition
Download the 1st Edition


How and Why Countries are Changing to Reach Universal Access in Rural Sanitation by 2030

How and Why Countries are Changing to Reach Universal Access in Rural Sanitation by 2030 | SOURCE: Eddy Perez, The Water Blog, July 2014.

In this article Eddy Perez discusses how many countries have started working to achieve the goal of universal access to improved sanitation by taking steps to make the transformational changes needed to stop doing “business as usual” in their sanitation programs. 690

He provides several examples of what countries are doing to achieve this. One method is that governments are establishing a shared vision and strategy for rural sanitation among key government and development partner stakeholders by building on evidence from at-scale pilots that serve as policy learning laboratories.

Governments are  also partnering with the private sector to increase the availability of sanitation products and services that respond to consumer preferences and their willingness and ability to pay for them and are also working to improve the adequacy of arrangements for financing the programmatic costs.

He then writes about specific sanitation progress in Indonesia, Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania, one of the key interventions through which the government of Tanzania is expected to achieve its sanitation vision and targets is the National Sanitation Campaign (NSC).  The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare coordinates the implementation of the National Sanitation Campaign with funding from the Water Sector Development Program.  There have also been efforts to further strengthen and sustain the NSC structure by establishing linkages to other sectors experts and also getting the Ministry of Health to dedicate a budget line for community sanitation. The Water Basket is the main financing mechanism for community sanitation and hygiene in Tanzania. In the Water Basket, there is a clear budget line for sanitation.


FSM services in Lusaka: moving up the excreta management ladder

Despite most residents of African and Asian cities depending on non-sewered sanitation, only a handful of sanitation authorities have addressed the management of faecal sludge from these systems. This Practice Note describes the launch of a faecal sludge management (FSM) service in the peri-urban area of Kanyama, in Zambia.

Click on the image below for a free download.

PN017 FSM in Zambia

Water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition: successes, challenges, and implications for integration

Water, sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition: successes, challenges, and implications for integration. Int J Public Health, 2014 Jul 11.

Authors: Teague J, Johnston EA, P Graham J.
Author email:

OBJECTIVES: This study explores the integration of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition programming for improved child health outcomes and aims to identify barriers to and necessary steps for successful integration.

METHODS: Sixteen semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with key stakeholders from both the WASH and nutrition sectors, exploring barriers to integration and potential steps to more effectively integrate programs.

RESULTS: Key barriers included insufficient and siloed funding, staff capacity and interest, knowledge of the two sectors, coordination, and limited evidence on the impact of integrated programs. To achieve more effective integration, respondents highlighted the need for more holistic strategies that consider both sectors, improved coordination, donor support and funding, a stronger evidence base for integration, and leadership at all levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Organizations desiring to integrate programs can use these results to prepare for challenges and to know what conditions are necessary for successfully integrated programs. Donors should encourage integration and fund operational research to improve the efficiency of integration efforts. Knowledge among sectors should be shared and incentives should be designed to facilitate better coordination, especially where both sectors are working toward common goals.

Multi-level sanitation governance: Understanding and overcoming the challenges in the sanitation sector in Sub-Saharan Africa

Multi-level sanitation governance: Understanding and overcoming the challenges in the sanitation sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2014.

Nelson Ekane, Björn Nykvist, Marianne Kjellén, Stacey Noel and Nina Weitz. Stockholm Environment Institute.

This paper shows how analysis of multi-level governance, path dependency, and institutional inertia can be used to improve understanding of some of the challenges in the sanitation sector in SSA, and discusses approaches that can contribute to improving the sanitation situation in a sustainable way. In addition, the paper asserts that demand-driven strategies and private sector involvement in the sanitation sector is paramount for establishing new sanitation paradigms and socio-technical regimes. We conclude that a good understanding of actors at all levels – that is, their various roles as well as interactions and the way they interpret and respond to policies – is key to accelerating progress in sustainable sanitation coverage in SSA.

Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition

Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition | Source: by Gardiner Harris, New York Times, July 13, 2014.

Excerpts: A long economic boom in India has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that many of the 162 million children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation. sanitation-nytimes

Two years ago, Unicef, the World Health Organization and the World Bank released a major report on child malnutrition that focused entirely on a lack of food. Sanitation was not mentioned. Now, Unicef officials and those from other major charitable organizations said in interviews that they believe that poor sanitation may cause more than half of the world’s stunting problem.

“Our realization about the connection between stunting and sanitation is just emerging,” said Sue Coates, chief of water, sanitation and hygiene at Unicef India. “At this point, it is still just an hypothesis, but it is an incredibly exciting and important one because of its potential impact.”

This research has quietly swept through many of the world’s nutrition and donor organizations in part because it resolves a great mystery: Why are Indian children so much more malnourished than their poorer counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa?