Category Archives: Research

New DIV Grantee will Test the “Tiger Toilet” that uses Worms for Good!

The Tiger Roars: New DIV Grantee will Test the “Tiger Toilet” that uses Worms for Good! | Complete article/source: USAID Development Innovation Ventures

Excerpts – DIV is delighted to announce a new Stage 1 award of over $170,000 to Bear Valley Ventures Ltd  to conduct a field trial of the Tiger Toilet in India, Uganda, and Burma. The Tiger Toilet is a latrine system that has the potential to be an affordable, compact, and superior alternative to pit latrines and septic tanks. It harnesses the capabilities of composting worms such as the Tiger Worm (Eisenia fetida), to digest the solids within the system, making it very compact and particularly suitable to high density urban environments.

The project aims to address the global challenge of providing access to adequate sanitation; worldwide, over 4 billion people currently use latrines that can be unpleasant and unhygienic or lack sanitation provisions entirely. Sewered systems will never be a reality for many around the world; therefore an on-site (i.e. a system that does not require piping the waste off-site for treatment) option is needed. Presently the best on-site option is a septic tank, which is often financially out of  reach. tiger-toilet

Walter Gibson, Director of Bear Valley Ventures, adds that “Vast numbers of people in the world have to put up with inadequate sanitation every day of their lives. It’s imperative that we develop better, more affordable solutions that address their needs and aspirations for a decent toilet. We believe the Tiger Toilet represents one such option. We are very grateful to USAID for this support which allows us to test its potential.”

The Tiger Toilet is linked to a normal pour flush system, so the user experience is therefore the same as using a septic tank or a pour flush latrine. The waste then enters a tank which contains the worms and a drainage layer. The solids are trapped at the top of the system where the worms consume it, and the liquid is filtered through the drainage layer.  Extensive laboratory scale trials found that the worms reduce the solids in the system by above 80%, and the effluent quality is higher than that from a septic tank. An initial prototype has been running at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, UK for over a year.

Undoing inequity: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all

UK Under Secretary of State for International Development Lynne Featherstone visiting SHARE-funded Undoing Inequity programme in Uganda. Photo: SHARE/WaterAid

WaterAid is currently carrying out a SHARE-funded action research project in Zambia and Uganda in collaboration with WEDC and the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre (LCD), called Undoing Inequity: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all.  The project aims to generate rigorous evidence about how a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) impacts on the lives of disabled, older persons and people living with a chronic illness; understand the barriers they face, develop and test an inclusive WASH approach to address those barriers and influence key policy and decision makers to mainstream inclusive WASH within development.

As part of this project, Hazel Jones (WEDC) has written a report titled Mainstreaming disability and ageing in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.  This report recognises that progress on the MDGs is not happening in an equitable way.  A drive for increasing coverage of basic services, such as WASH has meant that people who are ‘harder to reach’, such as disabled and older people often remain un-served.

Continue reading

Asian Development Bank and Gates Foundation set up new sanitation trust fund

Sanitation Financing Partnership Trust Fund infographic

Infographic: ADB and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have set up a joint trust fund to expand non-sewered sanitation and septage management solutions across Asia.

The Gates Foundation will invest US$ 15 million into the new Sanitation Financing Partnership Trust Fund, which will leverage more than US$ 28 million in investments from ADB by 2017.

The Trust Fund will pilot innovations in sanitation and septage management, provide grant funds for innovations in ADB’s sanitation projects, and support polices on septage management and sludge treatment for low-income urban communities who lack access to piped networks or safe wastewater disposal systems.

The Trust Fund will be part of ADB’s Water Financing Partnership Facility (WFPF), which has invested US$ 2.5 billion (out of a total of US$ 8.8 billion) in water supply, sanitation, and wastewater management projects since 2006.

So far the Gates Foundation has funded 85 sanitation research & development projects as part of their grant schemes such as the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” and “Grand Challenges Exploration“. An overview of these projects and background information is available on the SuSanA website.

The BRAC WASH II programme in Bangladesh, which is co-funded by the Gates Foundation, includes a component for innovative action research on sanitation and water supply.

Source: ADB, 02 Sep 2013

Research call for commercially viable processing of pit latrine contents

IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre announces a research call for: Commercially viable processing of pit latrine contents: using a mix of human faeces, chicken manure and silage material.

This call is part of the BRAC WASH II programme in which EUR 1.5 million will be used for innovative research, tendered to consortia of leading European and Bangladeshi research organisations.

The planned duration of the research project will be 12 months. The anticipated cost of the project is EUR 325,000.

Guidelines for research call

Application form

Send full proposal application forms to bracactionresearch@irc.nl by 30 August 2013

Gates Foundation-DfID partnering on sustainable sanitation for the urban poor

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) have initiated a partnership to focus on solutions for the sustainable provision of sanitation to the urban poor. They are jointly seeking proposals to test how cities can use binding service-level agreements and performance-based contracts with private sector partners as way to ensure the city-scale delivery of sustainable sanitation services.

The selection of the cities will be a two-step process. In Phase 1, up to ten cities will be selected to develop an informed plan and full proposal to solicit a grant. Out of these proposals, 2-3 cities will be selected for a larger Phase 2 grant to support implementation of their proposed plan. The duration of the Phase 2 grant is expected to be 2-3 years. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are priority geographies for consideration.

Phase 1 budgets have a maximum of US$ 150,000, but no budget limits have been set yet for Phase 2.

The application deadline for proposals is 13 September 2013.

In 2012, the Gates Foundation published a study on fecal sludge management in 30 cities across 10 countries in Africa and Asia.

For more information on the “City Partnerships for Urban Sanitation Service Delivery” request for proposals (RFP) go here.

Online forum discusses Gates Foundation sanitation grants

Milestone reached – 50 grants showcased on online discussion forum as part of sanitation project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Source: SEI News, July 5, 2013 |

Photo: Lab reactor for biogas production using low cost nanoparticles (Universitat Aut​ònoma de Barcelona).

Photo: Lab reactor for biogas production using low cost nanoparticles (Universitat Aut​ònoma de Barcelona).

Sanitation experts and enthusiasts around the world from the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance with the assistance of a team from Stockholm Environment Institute are openly discussing the outcomes and progress of the Gates Foundation’s sanitation science and technology grants. After 6 months of the project just over half of the 83 sanitation research grants made by the Foundation have been introduced and discussed on the SuSanA Discussion Forum. The Forum, hosted by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), has seen an increase in activity since the grant holders were invited to contribute information and participate in discussions organised into 5 thematic topics:

  • Resource recovery from excreta or faecal sludge
  • Processing technologies for excreta or faecal sludge
  • User interface
  • Faecal sludge transport
  • Enabling environment and others

Continue reading

George Washington University Study Documents Variability in Changes to Open Defecation among Sub-Saharan African Countries

Exploring changes in open defecation prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa based on national level indices

About 215 million people in sub-Saharan Africa still defecate in fields, forests or out in the open, a practice that puts people and especially children at risk of diarrheal diseases. Public health experts are calling for an end to such practices by the year 2015 in order to protect the public health.

A new analysis by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) looks at how well countries in sub-Saharan Africa are doing when it comes to putting in basic sanitation facilities that would reduce this risky practice.

Jay Graham, PhD, MBA, MPH, an assistant professor of global environmental health at SPHHS and his co-authors looked at data on open defecation in 34 sub-Saharan African countries and estimated any changes in prevalence from 2005 through 2010. Deise Galan, MPH, was the lead author of the study and conducted much of the data analysis as part of her MPH thesis.

The authors found that only three countries were successful in reducing open defecation by 10 percent or more during the study’s time frame. And only one country, Angola, is on track to end the practice by the target date of 2015, according to the authors.

The authors also examined factors that might speed progress, finding that overseas development assistance might help low income sub-Saharan countries defray the cost of putting in place improved sanitation such as pit latrines or basic toilets. Additional research must be done to find other factors that might assist countries in meeting the public health goal of reducing open defecation, Graham and his colleagues said.

100% access by design: a financial tool for urban sanitation

PN009 Dhaka Financial AnalysisReliably assessing the cost of different sanitation solutions is a key urban planning challenge. This Practice Note from WSUP describes an Excel-based financial analysis tool which generates reliable costings of different options for achieving 100% sanitation access across low-income and non-low-income areas.

For a more in-depth look at the development of the prototype tool, how it works, its practical application in two wards of Dhaka and the results it produced, see our accompanying Topic Brief ‘Financial analysis for sanitation planning’. The Brief also addresses ways in which the tool could be improved and a discussion of the tool’s potential wider applications.

Sri Lanka: new partnership tackles fecal sludge management

Septage disposal. Sri Lanka/Nuwara Eliya sanitation project, 2008, Photo: Flickr/USAID.

An international research institute is helping the government of Sri Lanka to improve septage management in the country.

On 8 May 2013, the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides a collaborative framework for sustainable septage management in Sri Lanka.

IWMI will contribute research data for the drafting of a septage management component of the national sanitation policy. The Ministry will lead implementation of the policy through an advisory committee headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Only about 3% of Sri Lankans have a sewerage connection while the rest rely on latrines and septic tanks for sanitation. Safe disposal of septage (fecal sludge) is a problem because of a lack of treatment facilities in large parts of the country.

IWMI is studying a new approach in cities around the world, which treats the sludge so that it can be safely reused as agricultural fertiliser. With the rising costs of imported fertiliser, such an approach would not only benefit farmers but also allow better sanitation and environmental protection for all.

Related news:

  • The business of the honey-suckers in Bengaluru (India), E-Source, 27 Sep 2012
  • WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Fecal Sludge Management, Sanitation Updates, 30 Nov 2012

Related web sites:

 Source: IWMI, 8 May 2013

Equity of Access to WASH in Schools: A Comparative Study of Policy and Service Delivery

Equity of Access to WASH in Schools: A Comparative Study of Policy and Service Delivery in Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Uganda and Uzbekistan.

Emory University; Unicef.

EXCERPTS: Equity_of_Access_to_WASH_in_SchoolsUnderstanding the mechanisms by which children are excluded from WASH in Schools is essential to ensuring adequate and equitable access for all school-aged children.

‘Equity of Access to WASH in Schools’ presents findings from a six-country study conducted by UNICEF and the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University. This research was carried out in collaboration with UNICEF country offices in Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Uganda and Uzbekistan and their partners. The six case studies presented together contribute to the broader understanding of inequities in WASH in Schools access by describing various dimensions that contribute to equitable or
inequitable access across regions, cultures, gender and communities.

The researchers identified key dimensions of equity through formative investigations that included discussions with service delivery providers and policymakers. In some countries, inequity existed but was found to be linked to poverty and the prioritization of other health and development objectives, rather than a specific policy. In other cases, some dimensions could not be fully investigated, usually due to lack of data. Because it was not feasible to explore every equity dimension in each of the six countries, focus areas were prioritized for each case study.

Some dimensions were found to be relevant across country contexts. Limited access to WASH in Schools compromised children’s health, educational attainment and well-being, and exacerbated already existing inequities and challenges in each of the countries.

Gender was identified as a key aspect of inequity in all six countries, but the mechanisms and manifestations of gender inequities varied within each context. Menstruating girls in Malawi and Uganda faced consistent challenges in obtaining adequate access to WASH in Schools facilities, preventing them
from comfortably practising proper hygiene. In this context, a lack of access to school WASH facilities is a potential cause of increased drop-out rates. Girls in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan were affected by the poor maintenance of facilities and lack of privacy, rather than by overall lack of basic access. In these settings, lack of doors and private latrine stalls, coupled with proximity to boys’ latrines, led to girls avoiding the use of school WASH facilities, which may have deleterious health effects.

Accessibility of WASH facilities for children with disabilities was identified as an issue in all countries. In Malawi and Uganda, concerted effort has been made to include school sanitation, water and hand-washing facilities appropriate for children with disabilities. The designs for facilities, however, were often found to inadequately address students’ needs, and hand-washing facilities remain largely inaccessible, compromising students’ health.