State Department Notice of Intent To Solicit Comments and Conduct a Public Scoping Meeting on a Global Water Strategy

State Department Notice of Intent To Solicit Comments and Conduct a Public Scoping Meeting on a Global Water Strategy – October 17, 2016.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of State (Department) will host a listening session to solicit public comments on the development and content of a strategy to address global water challenges including, but not necessarily limited to: (1) Increasing access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene; (2) improving water resource management; and (3) promoting cooperation on shared waters. Participants will be asked to provide brief remarks (up to 3 minutes) highlighting specific challenges that should be addressed and opportunities to strengthen U.S. engagement on international water issues.

DATES: This session will take place on Friday, October 28 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. in the George C. Marshall Center at the U.S. Department of State, 2201 C St. NW., (21st Street Entrance), Washington, DC. Attendees must confirm their attendance at A photo identification will be necessary to attend the session. Written comments must be received no later than November 12, 2016.

Written comments may be submitted to by following the prompts.

Comments may also be submitted by mail, addressed to: Global Water Strategy Manager, Office of Conservation and Water, Room 2657, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20520 and/or by email to Written comments may also be submitted at the public scoping meeting on Friday, October 28, 2016 from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Emergence of community toilets as a public good: The sanitation work of Mahila Milan, NSDF and SPARC in India

Emergence of community toilets as a public good: The sanitation work of Mahila Milan, NSDF and SPARC in India, 2016. SHARE.

This report summarises SHARE-supported sanitation work in India. It outlines how a sanitation strategy was developed, and the execution of multi-decadal projects that have resulted in a number of cities renewing their commitment to invest in city-wide sanitation.


The e-waste mountains – in pictures

The e-waste mountains – in pictures. The Guardian, October 18 2016.

Sustainable development goal target 12.5 is to reduce waste. But with a planet increasingly dependent on technology, is that even possible?


As of today, over 30m tonnes of electronic waste has been thrown out so far this year, according to the World Counts. Most e-waste is sent to landfills in Asia and Africa where it is recycled by hand, exposing the people who do it to environmental hazards. Photograph: Kai Loeffelbein/laif

Kai Loeffelbein’s photographs of e-waste recycling in Guiyu, southern China show what happens to discarded computers.

Read the complete article.

Science, Silver Bullets, and Sanitation: How Operational Research Improved Plan’s Global Programming

Science, Silver Bullets, and Sanitation: How Operational Research Improved Plan’s Global Programming. 

Plan International is a pioneer of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach — a method that triggers community-wide behavior change on sanitation practices, ending open defecation, and stimulating household investment in toilets.

We tested, implemented, and evaluated the relative effect of different CLTS facilitation methods to examine how scalability and sustainability improved under alternate models. This comparison was coupled with “deep dive” evaluations in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya, complemented by seven rapid evaluations worldwide to compare and contrast the findings.

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Community-generated data crucial for implementing New Urban Agenda

Community-generated data crucial for implementing New Urban Agenda. CitiScope, Oct 20 2016.

Good urban planning can’t happen without a better understanding of informal settlements, advocates say.

Earlier this year, when the Liberian government wanted to demolish informal housing in the West Point section of Monrovia, local community members had a strong argument to dissuade them.


West Point, Monrovia. (Nick Fraser/flickr/cc)

Thanks to a slum profiling initiative done the previous year through Shack/Slum Dwellers International, the community knew that many of West Point’s rudimentary, wooden toilets — so-called “hanging toilets” because of how they are built over the water — were located where the demolitions would take place. The toilets likely would get destroyed too.

Destroying the toilets, they argued, would pose a public health threat.

“That was where we came with our data and said ‘no’,” recalls Bill Jlateh Harris, of Shack/Slum Dwellers International, who lives in West Point. “If you take away [toilets] you expose us to open defecation and disease outbreaks. We appealed to them, using our documents, to stop the demolition exercise. It worked. Those structures are still there, in fact. They were not touched.”

The data community members collected in West Point includes information about the number of taps and toilets in the area, as well as population figures. It is available online through the “Know Your City” campaign, a data initiative from Shack/Slum Dwellers international that provides community-generated data from more than 7,700 communities in 224 cities.

Read the complete article.

Using microfinance to facilitate household investment in sanitation in rural Cambodia

Using microfinance to facilitate household investment in sanitation in rural Cambodia. Health Policy and Planning, November 2016.

Authors: Kimberley H Geissler-1, Jeffrey Goldberg-2 and Sheila Leatherman-3. Author affiliations: 1 – University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Amherst, MA 01003, USA. 2 – Office of Water, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment, US Agency for International Development, Washington, DC, USA. 3 – Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Improved sanitation access is extremely low in rural Cambodia. Non-governmental organizations have helped build local supply side latrine markets to promote household latrine purchase and use, but households cite inability to pay as a key barrier to purchase.

To examine the extent to which microfinance can be used to facilitate household investment in sanitation, we applied a two-pronged assessment: (1) to address the gap between interest in and use of microfinance, we conducted a pilot study to assess microfinance demand and feasibility of integration with a sanitation marketing program and (2) using a household survey (n = 935) at latrine sales events in two rural provinces, we assessed attitudes about microfinance and financing for sanitation.

We found substantial stated intent to use a microfinance institution (MFI) loan to purchase a latrine (27%). Five percent of current owners used an MFI loan for latrine purchase.

Credit officers attended 159 events, with 4761 individuals attending. Actual loan applications were low, with 4% of sales events attendees applying for a loan immediately following the event (mean = 1.7 loans per event).

Ongoing coordination was challenging, requiring management commitment from the sanitation marketing program and commitment to social responsibility from the MFI.

Given the importance of improving sanitation coverage and concomitant health impacts, linking functional sanitation markets to already operational finance markets has the potential to give individuals and households more financial flexibility.

Further product research and better integration of private vendors and financing modalities are necessary to create a scalable microfinance option for sanitation markets.

UNC Water Institute WASH Research Policy Digests

These useful UNC research digests discuss a key article and include literature reviews on the selected topic:

Issue #1, July 2015: Sanitation Subsidies
Our first Digest deals with the difficult issue of when and how to use subsidies for on-site sanitation.

Issue #2, October 2015: WaSH in Healthcare Facilities
Issue two of the WasH Policy Research Digest digs in to the critical issue of WaSH in health care facilities, including a detailed review of WHO and UNICEF’s 2015 report on the topic and a synthesis of literature and solutions to address its impact on infection, mortality, maternal and neonatal health.

Issue #3, March 2016: Handpump Functionality Monitoring
The third issue of the WaSH Policy Research Digest focuses on handpump functionality monitoring. This issue of the Digest explores recent literature on this topic, focusing on policy implications, recommendations, and a call for standardized functionality measurements.

Issue #4, August 2016: Sanitation and Nutrition
Our fourth digest addresses sanitation and nutrition. This issue explores recent literature and the emerging evidence base on the connection between sanitation, nutritional outcomes, and child stunting.

The Art And Science Of Winning The Poo War

The Art And Science Of Winning The Poo War, by by Shaon Lahiri , Jyotsna Puri, Businessworld.In.

The Swachh Bharat Mission needs to refocus. Toilets may indeed be more important than temples, but only if they are used

A silent war has gripped India as the forces of open defecation threaten to defeat our overall health. In 2014 Prime Minister Modi, armed with a broom and a now familiar public relations machine, swept the streets of Delhi and Assi Ghat, and exhorted us to dream about winning this war and think of a Swachh Bharat by 2019.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), like its predecessors (Total Sanitation Campaign, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan, Central Rural Sanitation Programme, the first national sanitation plan in 1954), is doomed to fail. india-sanitation

It will fail to achieve its target of an open defecation free India. Even if constructing toilets for all Indians is (miraculously) achieved, building and using toilets are not the same thing.

A survey by the research institute for compassionate economics (r.i.c.e.) conducted in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh found that only 48% of rural households that had a functioning latrine still had at least one household member defecating in the open.

In fact, the percentage of verified open defecation-free (ODF) villages in India stands at a paltry 5%, including those verified before SBM.

Standing in the way of toilet use are a number of factors, such as poorly constructed toilets, lack of access to toilets, the convenience of open defecation, and sociocultural perceptions about impurity and fear of a pit latrine filling up with no recourse for emptying it.

Read the complete article.