By Richard Gledhill, ICAI lead commissioner for WASH review
62.9 million people – almost the population of the UK – that’s how many people in developing countries DFID claimed to have reached with WASH interventions between 2011 and 2015.
It’s an impressive figure. And – in our first ever ‘impact review’ – it’s a figure the Independent Commission for Aid Impact found to be based on credible evidence.
We assessed the results claim made by DFID about WASH, testing the evidence and visiting projects to see the results for ourselves. We concluded that the claim was credible – calculated using appropriate methods and conservative assumptions.
But what does reaching 62.9 million people really mean? Have lives been transformed? And have the results been sustainable?
Published on May 17, 2016
Wetlands Work! Cambodia’s submission to the Civil Society Innovation Award sponsored by the Australian Aid program, May 2016. The Handy Pod is a floating toilet design suitable to the communities of the Tonle Sap lake area and uses wetlands treatment technology.
Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the inaugural DFAT-sponsored Civil Society Innovation Award 2016, which was announced at the WASH Futures Conference Dinner 2016. | Source: Civil Society WASH Fund, May 2016 |
First place went to Save the Children – Nudging handwashing among primary school students in Bangladesh. Kamal Hossain from Save the Children Bangladesh was excited to receive the award in person from Anne Joselin, DFAT. Save the Children’s innovation to improve hand-washing in schools uses environmental cues and nudges. It is more cost effective than hygiene communication programs and has shown positive results in changing and sustaining behaviour change amongst school children. Watch the winning video here
Second place was awarded to Water for People! in Uganda for their submission, Low cost solutions for Faecal Sludge Management. Water for People! have shown their work innovating at many stages of the sanitation chain, from low cost modular toilet design, pit emptying and faecal sludge treatment and reuse. Their holistic approach to sanitation and faecal sludge management (FSM) are impacting many peoples’ lives, particularly in the slums of Kampala. Watch the video here.
Third runner up was Wetlands Work! Cambodia for the HandyPod – Sanitation solutions for floating communities in Cambodia. The Handy Pod is a floating toilet design suitable for the communities of the Tonle Sap lake area and uses wetlands treatment technology. Watch the video here.
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Behavior-Centered Approaches to Improve Health Outcomes, A Learning Brief, 2016. WASHplus.
This technical brief presents the WASHplus approach to behavior change applied in various country settings to imrove WASH practices and serve as the foundation of the project’s global guidance.
A Surprise Inoculation Against Cholera, 2016. WASHplus.
Communities that embraced the WASHplus and Kenya Ministry of Health community-led total sanitation-plus approach appear to have protected themselves against cholera during a recent epidemic.
Using cellphone data to study the spread of cholera | Source: Phys.org, May 23 2016 |
While cholera has hardly changed over the past centuries, the tools used to study it have not ceased to evolve. Using mobile phone records of 150,000 users, an EPFL-led study has shown to what extent human mobility patterns contributed to the spread of a cholera epidemic in Senegal in 2005.
Scanning electron microscope image of V. cholerae. Credit: public domain
The researchers’ findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlight the critical role a mass gathering of millions of pilgrims played in spreading of the disease, and how measures to improve sanitation at transmission hotspots could decrease the progression of future outbreaks.
“There is a lot of hype around using big data from mobile phones to study epidemiology,” says senior author Enrico Bertuzzo, from the Ecohydrology Laboratory at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. This is largely due to the fact that mobile phone data can be used to reconstruct, with unprecedented detail, mobility fluxes of an entire population. “But I dare say that this is the first time that such data are exploited to their full potential in an epidemiological model.”
Cholera is an infectious disease that occurs primarily in developing countries with poor sanitation infrastructure. It spreads primarily via water that has been contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, present in the feces of infected people. Human mobility and waterways both contribute to spreading the disease among human communities, whereas heavy precipitation events increase the chances of the bacteria to contaminate drinking water sources. Researchers at EPFL have developed a mathematical simulation model that accounts for these factors, which they tested on past outbreaks such as the one in Haiti in 2010.
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