Category Archives: Research

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

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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.

RFP: Research for Hygiene Behavioural Change among School Children in the Philippines

UNICEF has issued a request for proposal for “Research for Hygiene Behavioural Change among School Children in the Philippines”.

The aim of the consultancy to “craft a simple, scalable and sustainable strategy, program and tools based on the EHCP [Essential Health Care Program] that would lead to improved and sustained hygiene practice and toilet use”.

The EHCP is the Department of Education’s “flagship national health program for promoting group handwashing with soap, group toothbrushing with toothpaste and biannual deworming in public elementary schools”.

The consultancy will build on the findings of the Sustainable Sanitation in Schools Project, which was launched in 2011 by UNICEF, GIZ and Fit for School.

The main research question is: “Does daily group hand washing with soap in school result in the independent practice of hand washing with soap at critical times, particularly after using the toilet in school and before eating/handling food?”

Project Duration: 12 months (May 1, 2013 – April 30, 2014)

Deadline for submission: 10:00 am (GMT) on Monday, 15 April 2013

For more information read the full RFP.

Sustaining sanitation – Pan European Networks interviews Joep Verhagen

Joep-Verhagen-PEN-interviewIn an interview with Pan European Networks, IRC Senior Sanitation Specialist Joep Verhagen explains how sanitation efforts need to begin to increase their focus on sustainability.

EU aid for water and sanitation hit a record €1.6bn in 2009, but in March 2012 the EU announced plans to redirect development to ‘the world’s neediest nations’ with fears that this could harm sanitation efforts in Latin America, Asia and possibly some sub-Saharan African countries. Joep Verhagen shares his thoughts on the EU plans and on how knowledge-sharing partnerships and research are helping to provide sustainable solutions to existing rural and urban sanitation problems.

Read the full interview

Empirical Study of Urban WASH Impacts: Research on the Relationship of Population Density and Neighborhood-Level Sanitation…

Empirical Study of Urban WASH Impacts: Research on the Relationship of Population Density and Neighborhood-Level Sanitation Access to Fecal-Associated Health Impacts

RFA#:WASH2013-001 traction

  • Status:Posted:March 18, 2013
  • Questions Due:Monday, April 1, 2013, 5:00pm (EST)
  • Applications Due: Monday, April 29, 2013, 5:00pm (EST)

The purpose of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to fund research that will more fully characterize the relative health impact (i.e., diarrheal diseases, STH infections, and anthropometric measures in children) of sanitation coverage in areas marked by high population densities compared to those with lower population densities.

The TRAction Project anticipates making one award not to exceed 2,000,000 USD to achieve the purpose of this RFA.

Results of this research will be shared with national decision-makers, program implementers, researchers, and other stakeholders to promote learning and inform the targeting of sanitation interventions.

Attachment Size
Appendix E_TEMPLATE SubAgreement Template.pdf 139.19 KB
WASH RFA– Empirical Study of Urban WASH Impacts.pdf 364.74 KB
budget template.xls 153 KB

USAID RFA – Research on the Relationship of Population Density and Neighborhood-Level Sanitation

Research on the Relationship of Population Density and Neighborhood-Level Sanitation Access to Fecal-Associated Health Impacts usaidlogo

  • RFA #: WASH2013-001
  • Status: Upcoming
  • Posted: February 25, 2013
  • Questions Due: Comments Due: March 11, 2013

TRAction is anticipating the release of an RFA to support research on the relationship between population density and the impact of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions on diarrhea and other fecal-associated infections.

Before releasing the RFA for applications, TRAction is asking for program implementers, researchers, and others knowledgeable about the WASH field to provide comments on the RFA. Comments may address other relevant background information or resources that could be included in the RFA, suggestions on research questions or design, application guidelines, or other RFA components that could benefit from a suggested revision.