Recent USAID webinars, new World Bank reports, recent WASH research


Link to Sanitation Working Group webinar on Learning from Market-based Sanitation at Scale. USAID Sanitation Working Group, April 2018.

Watershed Moments in the Mara: New Beginnings in Transboundary Water Cooperation. USAID Sustainable Water Partnership, April 17.


Review Paper: A systematic assessment of the pro-poor reach of development bank investments in urban sanitation. The paper concludes by arguing that, despite progress, development banks should be even more ambitious in seeking to support pro-poor urban sanitation investment.

The impact of school water, sanitation, and hygiene improvements on infectious disease using serum antibody detection. PLoS NTDs, April 16.

Factors explaining household payment for potable water in South Africa. Cogent Social Science, 2018.

Household water treatment and the nutritional status of primary-aged children in India: findings from the India human development survey. Globalization and Health, April 2018. This study indicates that HWT has the potential to advance the nutritional status of primary school-aged children in India.


Water Scarce Cities: Thriving in a Finite World. World Bank, April 2018. The report is an advocacy piece to raise awareness around the need to shift the typical way urban water has been managed and to share emerging principles and solutions that may improve urban water supply security in water scarce cities.

Promoting Development in Shared River Basins: Case Studies from International Experience. World Bank, March 2018.

Integrating Citizen Engagement in Program Design Egypt’s Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program Experience. World Bank, April 2018. This approach gives citizens a stake in decision-making to improve the intermediate and final development outcomes. Evidence suggests that engaging citizens can improve accessibility, coverage and quality of service delivery.

Livestock Wastes: Agricultural Pollution. World Bank, March 2018.


Toward a new water paradigm. Eureka Alert, April 19. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently awarded a four-year $1.9 million grant to Stanford’s Program on Water, Health & Development.

Seeking inputs for “consensus” meeting on sanitation interventions

Following the publication of results from a number of recent studies investigating links between improvements in sanitation and health (such as the WaSHBenefits study, studies in Tamil Nadu, Madya Pradesh and Orissa in India and others) some of you have contacted the Gates Foundation WSH team with questions and concerns about the seeming lack of consensus about the relationship between sanitation and health demonstrated in those studies.

Looking at a number of historical studies, it is hard to imagine that improvements in sanitation did not play a significant role in improving population health. And indeed, older as well as more recent historical evidence from US, Europe and developing countries establish causal relationships between sanitation and health. However, when considering more granular evidence considering the effects of individual and categories of interventions, there is less alignment.

Understandably, this has led to concerns about the meaning of this evidence, and questions about how it should be interpreted and used by practitioners, working to design and implement sanitation programs.

Partly in response to those concerns, WHO is convening an expert meeting in May this year, to develop a “consensus statement” around two specific questions:
• Are particular sanitation interventions more likely to have protective effects?
• What pre-conditions are likely to impact the effectiveness of these sanitation interventions?

The meeting will bring together researchers, from both life and social science backgrounds from around the world for two days of deliberations, informed by evidence and identifying points of agreement and contention. The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene team at the foundation strongly supports the organization of this meeting, and to make sure that issues relevant to practitioners are considered (and hopefully answered) during the discussions, we would like to invite you to share with us the most important questions you (and your teams) face when considering the use of evidence in program design.

The consensus meeting is scheduled to take place on May 24 and 25. To allow for review and incorporation into the agenda, the deadline for the submission of questions for consideration is end of day Thursday May 17.

There is no particular format for submission, although when we say we are looking for questions, we mean just that; a short sentence with a question mark at the end (no need to over-think it). If you are concerned that there is the possibility of mis-interpretation, you should feel free to provide some context and explanation.

Following the meeting, the results will be published and broadly disseminated.

We look forward to hearing from you what concerns you. If you have any questions about the process (or the scope) of this effort, please feel free to get in touch.

Jan Willem Rosenboom and Radu Ban

Contact:  janwillem.rosenboom [at]

Dean Spears on what motivated ‘Where India Goes?’

Dean Spears on what motivated ‘Where India Goes?’ Community Led Total Sanitation, March 30, 2018.

In this short video interview Dean Spears (Executive Director, RICE/Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin) talks about the key motivations behind the award-winning book he co-authored with Diane Coffey, ‘Where India Goes: Abandoned toilets, stunted development, and the cost of caste.’ Dean Spears_0

The book addresses a central puzzle: why is open defecation so persistently high in rural India?

And what to do about it?

It presents evidence showing that poor sanitation is an important determinant of the poor health outcomes of India’s children, and that the continuing relevance of the purity, pollution and untouchability norms of the caste system keeps open defecation alive today despite decades of government latrine construction programmes.

The main motivation for writing the book as Dean reflects in the interview, ‘hopefully it will get people involved and excited about trial and error around these solutions to these problems of purity and pollution and latrine pits filling up. Hopefully that can lead to something that really can accelerate the decline of open defecation in rural India.’

The Facility Evaluation Tool for WASH in Institutions (FACET) – EAWAG

The Facility Evaluation Tool for WASH in Institutions (FACET) – EAWAG

Institutional water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools and health care facilities are key elements of sustainable development and significantly influence people’s health and well-being worldwide. eawag

The Facility Evaluation Tool for WASH in Institutions (FACET), jointly developed by Terre des hommes, Eawag and CartONG with support from the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP), is based on globally recognised indicators and is suitable across the continuum of humanitarian and development interventions.

A simple and adaptable analysis tool, FACET offers state-of-the-art online/offline mobile data collection on an open source platform.

It is an easy-to-use gender sensitive monitoring tool for WASH delivery services in health care facilities (FACET WIH) and schools (FACET WINS) and contains core and expanded version available for performing short as well as detailed assessments.

Additional information/downloads.

How to profit from biowaste

How to profit from biowaste., April 16, 2018.

ETH Zurich and Eawag researchers are developing a method to produce animal feed from biowaste products. This is one of 14 projects in the Engineering for Development programme funded by the Sawiris Foundation over the past decade and entering its next 5-year cycle.

The United Nations anticipates a world population growth of approximately one billion people in the coming decade. “With such an accelerated growth in human population, how do we manage large amounts of , especially in urban areas of developing countries that suffer from poor public and environmental health?” asks Moritz Gold, doctoral student in the group of ETH Zurich professor Alexander Mathys.

Gold’s interests lie in novel systems for waste management and using waste as a sustainable resource for urban development. In his research, he focuses on the use of biowaste as a raw material for propagating the Black Soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). The  of the fly not only breaks down waste material into compost, but can also be used as an .

Read the complete article.


Dried black soldier fly larvae are a raw material for animal feed production. Credit: Eawag

WASH & Human-centered design

WASH & Human-centered design. Water Currents, April 17, 2018.

According to USAID Global Health Bureau’s Engage HCD and others, human-centered design is a way of thinking and problem solving that places the people you’re trying to serve and other important stakeholders at the center of the design and implementation process. currents

This issue features lessons learned on using the HCD approach in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector as well as other sectors. It also includes general HCD resources such as manuals and online courses.

Link to the complete issue.

In addition to this issue of Water Currents, also check out the Gates Foundation website on User-Centered Design.

What does an enabling environment look like for urban sanitation? WSUP Webinar

What does an enabling environment look like for urban sanitation?

This week, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) held a webinar to explore what an enabling environment for urban sanitation really looks like. wsup-logox2

Despite its evident importance to achieving scale, the components of a well-functioning enabling environment for urban sanitation are weakly understood.

This webinar shared lessons from a 5-year programme – funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which aimed to catalyse the market for on-site sanitation services in Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia, through the development of flexible public-private arrangements.

Watch a recording of the webinar.