Author Archives: dietvorst

Will better sanitaton and nutrition reduce stunting?

Zimbabwe SHINE trial - Cornell University

Photo: Cornell University

A trial is underway in Zimbabwe to measure the independent and combined effects of improved sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and improved infant diet on stunting and anemia among children 0-18 months old [Cornell University CENTIR Group blog].

The Sanitation, Hygiene and Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) Trial is led by the Zvitambo Institute for Maternal and Child Health Research in Harare, Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care/Government of Zimbabwe. Other contracted experts include Sandy Cairncross, Val Curtis and Peter Morgan.

The SHINE Trial is being undertaken in Chirumanzu and Shurugw, two districts with high HIV prevalence. Besides investigating the effects of sanitation and nutrition, SHINE will also test whether Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED)is a major cause of a major cause of child undernutrition. EED, also called environmental enteropathy, is a condition believed to be due to frequent intestinal infections.

SHINE is being being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). There are additional contributions from Wellcome Trust, National Institutes of Health, and the Swiss Development Cooperation.

A special open access supplement of Clinical Infectious Diseases is devoted to SHINE containing the following articles:

  • The Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) Trial Team, doi:10.1093/cid/civ844
  • Design of an Intervention to Minimize Ingestion of Fecal Microbes by Young Children in Rural Zimbabwe, doi:10.1093/cid/civ845
  • The SHINE Trial Infant Feeding Intervention: Pilot Study of Effects on Maternal Learning and Infant Diet Quality in Rural Zimbabwe, doi:10.1093/cid/civ846
  • Using Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis Methods to Assess Household Water Access and Sanitation Coverage in the SHINE Trial, doi:10.1093/cid/civ847
  • Assessment of Environmental Enteric Dysfunction in the SHINE Trial: Methods and Challenges, doi:10.1093/cid/civ848
  • The Potential Role of Mycotoxins as a Contributor to Stunting in the SHINE Trial, doi:10.1093/cid/civ849
  • Assessing the Intestinal Microbiota in the SHINE Trial, doi:10.1093/cid/civ850
  • Assessing Maternal Capabilities in the SHINE Trial: Highlighting a Hidden Link in the Causal Pathway to Child Health, doi:10.1093/cid/civ851
  • Theory-Driven Process Evaluation of the SHINE Trial Using a Program Impact Pathway Approach, doi:10.1093/cid/civ716

The role of mobile in improved sanitation access

The role of mobile in improved sanitation access - coverHow can mobile channels can support sanitation service delivery while building new engagement models with customers in underserved settings? A new report [1] by the GSMA Mobile for Development Utilities Programme reviews opportunities and case studies.

The report begins with an overview of global sanitation access in 2015 and the different approaches currently being used to improve access. This is followed by a review of the potential uses of mobile channels in the sanitation value chain including examples of current applications.

Continue reading

Introduction to the Treatment of Urban Sewage – free online course

TU Delft offers a free 7 week online introductory course on urban sewage treatment starting in April 2016.

The course consists of 6 modules:

  1. Sewage treatment plant overview
  2. Primary treatment
  3. Biological treatment
  4. Activated sludge process
  5. Nitrogen and phosphorus removal
  6. Sludge treatment

The instructors are Prof. Jules van Lier, Environmental Engineering and Wastewater Treatment, and wastewater Assistant Prof. Merle de Kreuk.

View the course introduction video

Introduction to the Treatment of Urban Sewage is part of TU Delft Water Management XSeries on edX.

For $50 participants can get a Verified Certificate for the course.

UNICEF Consultancy Assignment: Support for Private Sector Development of Low-Cost Sanitation Products

UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) has recently engaged with a global private sector partner to conduct market research and test improved sanitation products with end-users. The intended outcomes of the project are: 1) detailed market information on the needs of the “base of the pyramid” (including both functionality of the products and price point); 2) a more thorough understanding of sanitation marketing techniques and the supply chain for difficult–to-reach communities; and 3) more appropriate and affordable sanitation products available on the local market

UNICEF is now seeking a consultant to document the ESARO project, conduct a lessons learned, and develop a standard methodology that can be replicated in other regions and countries. Depending on interest and commitment from WASH staff, the project envisions applying the methodology in other regional and country office programmes and their respective private sector partners.

For for information on this 6-month consultancy and how to apply for it please go to:

The deadline is  29 July 5:00pm CET.

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF


Swachh Bharat  website photo

The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015


A toilet for 66 million people in rural Bangladesh

BRAC staff member on a household visit

BRAC staff member on a household visit

ik_pictureIn Bangladesh, the largest NGO in the world BRAC is working its way up to help the country to get proper sanitation. It has reached more than half of the population since the start 9 years ago. It is one of the world’s largest sanitation implementation programmes. IRC works with BRAC to make it happen. In this interview, IRC sanitation expert Ingeborg Krukkert tells her story about her work in Bangladesh. ”

Bangladesh is well on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030,” says Ingeborg Krukkert in IRC’s headquarters in The Hague. “This is undeniably due to BRAC because it’s serving half of the country. Bangladesh is a good example for others on how to achieve so much in such a short time. It is proof that change is possible.”

IRC’s Sanitation and hygiene specialist for Asia, Ingeborg Krukkert, travels to Bangladesh every two months to work with BRAC. Working on hygiene promotion and behavior change, she complements BRAC’s groundbreaking programme with IRC’s monitoring system to measure and enhance the true impact in sanitation and hygiene. Continue reading

African Ministers renew commitment to sanitation and hygiene

The AfricaSan4 conference (25-27 May) ended with a declaration defining the vision and aspirations of the African Ministers in charge of hygiene and sanitation.


African ministers in charge of sanitation and hygiene under their umbrella body African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) have expressed their commitment to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030. They reinforce their committment by promising to increase annually the sanitation and hygiene budget lines “to reach a minimum of 0.5% GDP by 2020”. This is contained in a declaration issued by the ministers at the closure of AfricaSan4 in Ngor, Dakar, Senegal.

The declaration acknowledges that while 133 million people living in Africa have gained access to sanitation since 1990, over 500 million still lack access and many more still defecate in the open.

The Ministers’ commitments address a wide range of issues that must be tackled to improve sanitation and hygiene including: political leadership; financing; monitoring and evaluation; equity and inclusion; research and learning among others. The Ministers also call upon all stakeholders to play different roles to achieve the vision. The commitments contained in the Ngor Declaration 2015, replace the eThekwini commitments of 2008.

Lydia IRC UgandaBy Lydia Mirembe, Communication and knowlegde management advisor | IRC Uganda

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 29 May 2015