Encouraging sanitation investment in the developing world: A cluster-randomized trial

Encouraging sanitation investment in the developing world: A cluster-randomized trial. Science, April 2015, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0491

Authors:  Raymond Guiteras1, James Levinsohn2, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak2,*
+ Author Affiliations
1Deptartment of Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.

2School of Management, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
↵*Corresponding author. E-mail: ahmed.mobarak@yale.edu

Poor sanitation contributes to morbidity and mortality in the developing world, but there is disagreement on what policies can increase sanitation coverage. To measure the effects of alternative policies on investment in hygienic latrines, we assigned 380 communities in rural Bangladesh to different marketing treatments—community motivation and information; subsidies; a supply-side market access intervention; and a control—in a cluster-randomized trial.

Community motivation alone did not increase hygienic latrine ownership (+1.6 percentage points, p=0.43), nor did the supply-side intervention (+0.3 percentage points, p=.90). Subsidies to the majority of the landless poor increased ownership among subsidized households (+22.0 percentage points, p<.001) and their unsubsidized neighbors (+8.5 percentage points, p=.001), which suggests investment decisions are interlinked across neighbors. Subsidies also reduced open defecation by 14 percentage points (p<.001).

Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at the international level

Recognition human rights for WASH coverNew publication by Amnesty International and WASH United

All UN Member States have recognised that the human right to water and the human right to sanitation are part of binding international human rights law.

This publication gathers the evidence of the universal recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation: it gives an overview of the most important resolutions and declarations that recognise the human rights to water and sanitation, including the positions that individual states have taken when those documents were adopted. For 77 countries, it also lists their individual positions and how these have changed over time.

The document has previously served as an internal reference guide for Amnesty International and WASH United. We are publishing it to help others identify the position that their country has taken on the human rights to water and sanitation, to advocate for the rights in their own national contexts, to ensure that these rights will not be ignored in the formulation and implementation of national water and sanitation laws and policy, and to help advance strategic litigation before national, regional and international justice mechanisms.

Gonzalez, C., Khalfan, A., Lande, L. van de, Neumeyer, H. and Scannellad, P., 2015. Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at the international level : an overview of resolutions and declarations
that recognise the human rights to water and sanitation. London, UK and Berlin, Germany: Amnesty International and WASH United. 124 p.

Available from WASH United website and Amnesty International website

Webinar: ‘Results based financing for sanitation – do the costs outweigh the benefits?’ – 29 April 2015, Sustainable Sanitation Alliance

susana-logo A webinar on ‘Results based financing for sanitation – do the costs outweigh the benefits?’ will take place on Wednesday 29th April 2015 at 13:00 (UTC/GMT). Three speakers with very different backgrounds will discuss what, from their perspectives, we know and don’t know about the questions “Do the costs outweigh the benefits of results based financing for sanitation, and what are the right conditions for it to work?”

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Orlando Hernandez – Behavioral Challenges and Potential Solutions to Reach Universal Sanitation Coverage

Behavioral Challenges and Potential Solutions to Reach Universal Sanitation Coverage by Orlando Hernandez, USAID/WASHplus Project and Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, Global Health, Population and Nutrition (GHPN), FHI 360.

The comments below are from Dr. Hernandez’s participation at the World Water Forum 2015 and then posted to the Sanitation and Water for All website.

Behavior change specialists rely on frameworks to dissect a problem and define a strategy to address it. The Water Improvement Framework (WIF), previously named the Hygiene Improvement Framework (HIF) developed in connection to USAID WASH projects some 15 years ago, is one such framework. Given its openness and comprehensiveness, the WIF has stood the test of time. Other donors and implementation agencies are thinking along the same lines as there are other similar frameworks developed by WSP, SVN, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, among others.

The WIF is a three-legged stool which brings together: 1) supply, 2) demand, and 3) the enabling environment. It suggests that behavior change (BC) strategies are more than mere promotion, channels and messages. They bring a human dimension to the WASH sector, and when based on the WIF’s the three elements, it guides us to design, implement and evaluate WASH activities.  orlando2

Behavior change frameworks require us to segment our audiences as social groups involved in development are not monolithic. One obvious breakdown in sanitation is a split between urban, peri-urban and rural dwellers. The needs, preferences, sanitation practices and certainly resources of urban, peri-urban and rural populations may be different. With growing urbanization throughout the developing world, coverage in peri-urban areas represent a challenge, especially when we think of tenants living in crowded quarters with no services.

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SHARE – A New Training Guide on Menstrual Hygiene Management

SHARE – A New Training Guide on Menstrual Hygiene Management, 2015. | Source: SHARE website, April 13, 2015 |

An informative, new training guide which seeks to assist practitioners in integrating menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into their work and programmes has just been published by SHARE and WaterAidMHM-Training-Guide

SHARE and MHM
SHARE has long been endeavouring to address the research gaps relating to MHM. In 2012 we published the Menstrual Hygiene Matters manual which features examples of good MHM practice and offers guidance on building competence and confidence to break the silence surrounding the issue, and in 2013 we supported a systematic review exploring the health and social effects of MHM.

Developed by WaterAid, this new training guide is our latest contribution to building the knowledge base around MHM and raising awareness of the issue globally. It builds on the Menstrual Hygiene Matters manual and presents a range of plans, handouts, presentations and films that a facilitator could use when facilitating sessions or workshops on MHM amongst development practitioners. These interactive plans and accompanying resources explore the key issues and components of MHM programmes and can be adapted depending on the context, participants and time available.

The guide in action
The training guide and its various components were tested by WaterAid in its country programmes, with local staff and (I)NGOs, and at international training forums and conferences such as the 2014 Brisbane WASH Conference.

We hope that it will be an invaluable tool to those wishing to integrate MHM into their development programming.

If you use the training the guide or the resource book to complement your programming, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch to tell us what you thought: contactshare@lshtm.ac.uk

Next steps
Download the Training Guide
• View the Menstrual Hygiene Matters manual
• Check out the training tools in action at Brisbane
• Read the systematic review
• Find out more about our work on MHM

Public Finance for WASH initiative launched

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Today sees the launch of Public Finance for WASH, a research and advocacy initiative aiming to increase awareness of domestic public finance and its critical importance for water and sanitation provision in low-income countries. Check out our website www.publicfinanceforwash.com.

This is a collaborative initiative between IRC, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), and Trémolet Consulting. A key aim is to offer easy-to-read but rigorous information about domestic public finance solutions: our first three Finance Briefs are now available for download from our website, and over the coming year we will be building a comprehensive resource library.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page: what exactly is domestic public finance? Essentially, it’s money derived from domestic taxes, raised nationally (e.g. by the Kenyan government) or locally (e.g. by Nairobi’s municipal government). This money is going to be critical for achieving the water and sanitation SDGs: so how can we all work together to ensure that what we’re doing is supporting (not inhibiting) the development of effective public finance systems? And how can public finance be spent in ways that catalyse the development of dynamic markets for water and sanitation services?

To find out more, please check out the website. If you’d like to become involved in any way, get in touch!

WaterAid – Healthy Start: the first month of life, 2015

WaterAid – Healthy Start: the first month of life

Bringing a new life into the world should be a time of love and hope for mother and baby, wherever they happen to live. healthy-start

But, around the world, one in every 50 births leads to heartbreak for parents, as their precious newborn son or daughter will die before they are a month old.

In 2013, over 2.7 million babies died in their first four weeks of life. This is overwhelmingly a problem of the developing world – with over 99% of neonatal deaths occurring in low and middle income countries.

In the year the world replaces the Millennium Development Goals with the Sustainable Development Goals, it is time to ensure that the next generation of children is given the best start in life – a healthy start.

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