Launch of the USAID Global Waters website

Introducing , a global knowledge resource for partners, USAID staff, and the broader community working in the international development water sector.

Supported by the USAID Water Office, this site aims to connect people to the right resources and ideas to help solve global water and sanitation challenges, as USAID and its partners work toward a healthier and more secure future for all. usaidlogo

Please check out the site and read our companion article that provides an overview of the website’s features.

We welcome your feedback .

We are always looking for new material to post on and would be happy to promote your water-related content, including events, blogs, reports, toolkits, and webinars. Feel free to reach out and suggest new material .

Wastewater/water reuse – Water Currents, August 22, 2017

Wastewater/water reuse – Water Currents, August 22, 2017.

This issue of Currents features articles and reports related to wastewater and water reuse, to tie in with the theme of World Water Week 2017 taking place in Stockholm, Sweden next week. This annual event brings together experts, practitioners, and decisionmakers from a range of sectors and countries to network, exchange ideas, and foster new thinking about global water issues. watercurrents

World Water Week, August 27–September 1, 2017. This year World Water Week, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), will address the theme “water and waste: reduce and reuse.”

The conference website has links to the conference program, conference abstracts, conference newsletters, and other information. In addition, SIWI’s latest issue of its magazine Water Front contains articles on water reuse. Other conference events include the award of the 2017 Stockholm Water Prize to Stephen McCaffrey for his contributions to international water law.

USAID at World Water Week. USAID staff and partners will participate in events throughout the week. For information and a schedule see the conference preview on our new blog.

Articles and Reports
Potable Reuse: Guidance for Producing Safe Drinking-WaterWHO, August 2017. This document describes how to apply appropriate management systems to produce safe drinking water from municipal wastewater. Information is provided on specific aspects of potable reuse, including the quality and protection of source wastewaters and types of control measures.

Read the complete issue.

Menstrual Hygiene Management Virtual Conference – Register today

October 17th, 2017 – Menstrual Hygiene Management Virtual Conference

Participate online from anywhere in the world for free through our interactive virtual platform! unnamed.png

The 6th Annual Virtual Conference on MHM in Schools co-hosted by UNICEF and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, provides an opportunity to hear the latest research and programming from around the world.

This year’s theme “MHM and WASH: Supporting a gender-responsive learning environment” aims to highlight national examples of supportive WASH in schools enabling environments that ensure that schools are ready for girls.

Casteism is the biggest impediment to success of Swachh Bharat Mission, say scholars Dean Spears, Diane Coffey

Casteism is the biggest impediment to success of Swachh Bharat Mission, say scholars Dean Spears, Diane Coffey. First Post, August 13, 2017.

Why are children in India shorter than children from other countries even those poorer than India? It was the urge to solve some of India’s development puzzles like this one that drew American scholars Dean Spears and Diane Coffey to India in 2009.

The couple co-founded the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (RICE) in 2011 and settled in Sitapur, a rural district in central Uttar Pradesh, four years ago. With a population of 4.5 million people, it is the size of Sierra Leone and Liberia and has a similar infant mortality rate. spears

“Sierra Leone and Liberia have a health ministry, education ministry, a Unicef mission; Sitapur has none of that. So it made a lot of sense to go somewhere like that and add value,” Spears stated in an earlier interview.

Spears and Coffey have a masters in public administration and completed their PhDs at the Princeton University. Spears specialised in economics and public affairs and Coffey in demography. The two met and fell in love when Spears was a teaching assistant in a statistics class where Coffey was a student. They got married in 2011.

Their research in India has established links between open defecation and high infant mortality in rural India. It has also exposed the caste prejudices that encourage open defecation. A surprising fact showed up in their study: many people in rural areas, especially in north India, choose to defecate in the open even if they have a toilet at home. Many reasoned that it was a more ‘pleasant, comfortable and convenient’ option.Their new book, Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development, and the Costs of Caste throws up many such insights that sanitation experts and administrators would never openly admit to.

Read the complete article.

Recent WASH research, updates to Global Waters




Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why

Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why. Nat Geo Magazine, August 2017.

The problem isn’t just a lack of toilets—it’s a lack of toilets that people want to use. The result: millions of deaths and disease-stunted lives.

At 65, Moolchand, bandy-legged and white-haired, has no problem rising for his predawn hunts. In fact he revels in them.

“I hide along the lane with my flashlight,” he says in a low, excited voice, gesturing down the main road of Gaji Khedi village, in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. “And I look for people walking with a lota.”

At a community toilet complex in Safeda Basti, one of Delhi’s many slums, women wait their turn for the single functioning latrine—while covering their noses against the smell of feces left by someone who couldn’t wait. Many people skip the hassle of city-run facilities altogether and do their business in rubble-strewn lots.

At a community toilet complex in Safeda Basti, one of Delhi’s many slums, women wait their turn for the single functioning latrine—while covering their noses against the smell of feces left by someone who couldn’t wait. Many people skip the hassle of city-run facilities altogether and do their business in rubble-strewn lots.

A lota is a water container, traditionally made of brass but these days more often of plastic. Spied outdoors in the early morning, it all but screams that its owner is headed for a field or roadside to move his or her bowels—the water is for rinsing.

“I give chase,” Moolchand continues. “I blow my whistle, and I dump out their lota. Sometimes I take it away and burn it.” Moolchand sees himself as defending a hard-won honor: The district has declared his village “open defecation free.”

“People get angry and shout at me when I stop them,” he says. “But the government has given villagers lots of help to construct a toilet, so there is no excuse.”

Read the complete article.

Recent WASH research – August 9, 2017


Understanding open defecation in rural India: Untouchability, pollution, and latrine pits. Diane Coffey, Aashish Gupta, Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Nikhil Srivastav, Sangita Vyas, December 2016.

Human Rights and Taxation of Menstrual Hygiene Products in an Unequal World. book chapter in HUMAN RIGHTS AND TAX IN AN UNEQUAL WORLD (Philip G. Alston and Nikki Reisch eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018.

UNICEF Field Notes on Community Approaches to Total Sanitation: LEARNING FROM FIVE COUNTRY PROGRAMMES. UNICEF, June 2017.

EXPLORING CROSS-SECTOR LINKAGES BETWEEN POPULATION, HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT, NUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY: A Review of Best Practices and Lessons Learned. ABCG, June 30, 2017. Incorporate WASH into nutrition and food security programming to enhance outcomes of the nutrition programs and to build a more comprehensive program to improve health.


Does depression moderate handwashing in children? BMC Public Health, August 1, 2017.

Antibacterial efficacy of local plants and their contribution to public health in rural Ethiopia. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, July 28, 2017. Proper hand hygiene with soap and detergents prevents the transmission of many infectious diseases. This study aims to determine the antibacterial activities of some of the plants against bacteria isolated from humans.

Human Health Risk Assessment Applied to Rural Populations Dependent on Unregulated Drinking Water Sources: A Scoping Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, July 28, 2017.

The global burden of disease study 2013: What does it mean for the NTDs? PLoS NTDs, August 3, 2017.

Empirical evidence of the public health benefits of tropical forest conservation in Cambodia: a generalised linear mixed-effects model analysis. Lancet Planetary Health, August 2017. Strictly managed protected areas in Amazonia seem to have reduced biophysical disruption from deforestation and restricted people’s exposure to disease sources, which might have reduced the incidence of malaria, acute respiratory infections, and diarrhea.

Animal-related factors associated with moderate-to-severe diarrhea in children younger than five years in western Kenya: A matched case-control study. PLoS NTDs, August 4, 2017.

Handwashing research – Water Currents

Handwashing research – Water Currents, August 8, 2017.

Highlighting the most recent handwashing research, this issue of Currents includes literature reviews by the Global Handwashing Partnership, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, and an interesting report on handwashing and rational addiction. Articles discuss handwashing research in Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe as well as studies on handwashing and infectious diseases, among other topics. Handwashing as an important role in preventing infection

The State of Handwashing in 2016: Annual ReviewGlobal Handwashing Partnership (GHP), March 2017. This GHP review summarizes key themes and findings from 59 peer-reviewed handwashing-related research papers published in 2016.

Promoting Handwashing and Sanitation Behaviour Change in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Mixed-Method Systematic ReviewInternational Initiative for Impact Evaluation, June 2017. The purpose of this review was to learn which factors might change handwashing and sanitation behavior, finding that a combination of different promotional elements may be the most effective strategy.

Habit Formation and Rational Addiction: A Field Experiment in HandwashingYale University, Economic Growth Center, December 2016. The researchers in this study designed and implemented an experiment to test predictions of the rational addiction model in the context of handwashing. The findings are presented in a video from a 2016 conference.

Read the complete issue.