Category Archives: Web sites

WASHwatch: helping to hold governments to account

WASHwatch: helping to hold governments to account on their commitments to the fundamental foundations of health.

WASHwatch—an online platform for monitoring government policy commitments and budgets for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) was launched by WaterAid yesterday at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Why?  Because in 2011, 2.6 billion people world-wide STILL do not have access to sanitation; 884 million people have no safe drinking water source; and shockingly, the resulting diarrhoeal diseases kill 4,000 children every day.

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WASHplus Twitter Updates

Please check out and follow the WASHplus Twitter to stay up to date on news and publications from WASHplus and its Resource Partners.

Recent Tweets include:

  • WASHplus Newsletter, August 2011. Link:
  • SHARE-funded #research: Factors influencing latrine #hygiene in #Tanzania.
  • Unilever_Press Unilever Corp News-Study Nepal: Handwashing with soap by birth attendants & mothers led to a 44% lower mortality rate for newborn babies:
  • From WASHplus resource partner IRC Int’l Water & Sanitation Centre, Papers of the seminar on sanitation and governance.
  • A WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Indoor Air Quality –

Sanitation Updates has 1,000 subscribers! Introducing SaniTweets

“Sanitation Updates is the first thing I read in the morning”, says Murat Sahin, Advisor, WASH in Schools at UNICEF.

Murat doesn’t mention if this is before or after he has breakfast – some of the 1,800 posts published since Dan Campbell began the blog in 2008 can spoil your appetite.


Murat is now one of over 1,000 subscribers to this blog, as the little reader counter icon on our home page indicates.

To mark this milestone we have launched SaniTweets and E-Source Sanitation News. SaniTweets is a public Twitter list feed, collecting live updates from 30 key sanitation initiatives, organisations and experts. The ten most recent Tweets appear in the left-hand column of the blog. If you want a SaniTweets RSS feed for your website, blog or news reader, use this link.

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Community Choices Tool for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene – demo

The online Community Choices Tool demo is a prototype of a decision-making support tool for the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, being developed by the Pacific Institute.

The Community Choices Tool will be both a WASH decision-making support tool and a database of technologies, approaches, financing options, and WASH contacts such as local water practitioners, NGOs, CBOs, and government agencies. The goal of the Community Choices Project is to give communities, local and country governments, NGOs, and WASH practitioners access to the wealth of information on water, sanitation, and hygiene technologies and financing approaches in a single-source tool.

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India, New Delhi: using Facebook and SMS to keep the city clean

With this photo on Facebook local resident Akshay Arora asks the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to "kindly send some one and get it clean this Toilet/Urinal". One day later on 7 April 2011, MCD replied: "Your complaint reference no. is 02/0704/SP"

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) launched its Facebook page in January 2011 and an integrated SMS service in March 2011 to enable public monitoring of garbage collection sites and public urinals/toilets in areas under its jurisdiction.The first experiences were positive as illustrated by the example of 22-year-old Piyush Goyal posted his complaint of garbage spilling over from the dump in his area.

On January 8, he clicked pictures of the seven dirty ones in South Delhi’s R K Puram area and posted them on Facebook. And the next day, he says, he saw the pictures of clean dhalaos uploaded by the MCD.

“There is lot of transparency through this way. The man who actually cleans it asked me why I uploaded the pictures. So the information is going from top to the bottom,” says Goyal.

MCD additional commissioner (engineering) Anshu Prakash added:

“This system is increasing transparency, fixing accountability and putting everything under public scrutiny. And none of us like to be ashamed in public. So people have started working at the bottom”.

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Tippy Tap video wins YouTube award

A powerful video promoting handwashing with a simple tippy tap has won the 2011 DoGooder Nonprofit Video Award for Best Thrifty Video. The DoGooder awards are an initiative of See3 Communications and YouTube.

Watershed Management Group’s video “It’s in your hands” was among the top four of over 1,300 videos submitted by 750 non-profit organisations. The Watershed Management Group (WMG) is US-based non-profit with water and sanitation programmes in India, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mexico and Costa Rica.

“It’s in your hands” was filmed and directed by Andrew Hinton at Pilgrim Films.

DoGooder Nonprofit Video Award winners receive a US$ 2,500 grant provided by the Case Foundation and their videos got posted on the YouTube homepage on 19 March 2011. So far “It’s in your hands” has been viewed over 155,000 times.

WMG India and local NGO Grampari have launched a dedicated Tippy Tap web site:

Tippy Tip web site

Akvopedia Sanitation portal – now in Spanish


Through the invaluable support of our intern Niharika Joshi, our Sanitation Platform is now also available in Spanish. After we included the French version last year, this is another step on the road to making Akvopedia a true multi-language platform. We hope it will be useful to Spanish-speaking people around the world.

The new Spanish portal contains 54 detailed articles on a wide range of sanitation technologies. The material was adapted from the extremely useful Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies (2008, Spanish version here), written by Elisabeth Tilley and colleagues of Sandec, the Department of Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries at eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland. The authors eventually have plans to make that publication available in Swahili. I’ll look forward to that.

Compendium Spanish

The Spanish version of the Sandec Compendium of Sanitation Systems, produced by Sandec.

Mark Westra is editor of Akvopedia, and is based in The Hague.

Southern Africa knowledge node on sustainable sanitation (SAKNSS) launched

Southern Africa Knowledge Node on Sustainable Sanitation banner

The SAKNSS website provides information resources on sanitation in Southern Africa including country information, documents, links and images. The documents and  organisation links are browsable by type, country and theme. Organisations and companies can enter their details online in a contact registry.

The SAKNSS secretariat is based in South Africa and managed by the Water Research Commission (WRC) and implemented through the Water Information Network- South Africa (WIN-SA).

Go to the web site:

New Google tool sheds light on cultural history of sanitation

Sanitation has long been considered a taboo topic, but was this always the case and can we see cultural trends in interest for this topic? A new “culturomics” tool developed by Google reveals that first decades of the 20th century may have been the “golden age” of sanitation.

A team from Harvard University has teamed up with Google to crack the spines of 5,195,769 digitized books that span five centuries of the printed word with the hopes of giving the humanities a more quantitative research tool.

The Google Books Ngram Viewer, launched online December 16 and described in a paper in Science [1], allows Web users to query their respective areas of interest based on n-grams (a method of modeling sequences in natural language).

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World Bank’s Water Sector Writing Contest on Wikipedia

World Bank Wikipedia Project

The World Bank Wikipedia writing contest is an effort by the World Bank to engage with Universities for its Wikipedia Pilot Project (WPP). The competition is open to students currently enrolled at participating universities worldwide. First place contestants will be offered invitations for a week-long paid visit to the World Bank Water Week from 31 January – 04 February 2011 in Washington D.C.

The WPP project started in 2006 and maintains overviews of the water sector in a particular country or city, in the categories  water supply and sanitation, water resources management, integrated urban water resources management, and irrigation.  So far World Bank staff largely compiled these pages on Wikipedia, but now it is asking the broader academic community to participate in their preparation and maintenance.

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