Author Archives: dietvorst

A financially viable and safe solution for managing human waste

Collecting small monthly payments will help waste collectors build their business.

Bangladesh - pit latrine empytiers

Pit latrine workers in Bangladesh collecting and transporting human waste to a site where it is processed into fertiliser. Image: Neil Palmer (IWMI). Credit: University of Leeds

Spreading the cost of emptying pit latrines over a series of monthly payments could make it more affordable for poor households and help kick start the safe reuse of faecal sludge as fertiliser and biogas. This is the conclusion of a willingness-to-pay study carried out in a rural sub-district of Bangladesh covered by the BRAC WASH Programme II.

The study has already caught the attention of policymakers, and influenced the development of Bangladesh’s first regulatory framework for faecal sludge management. Some of the authors are members of the Bangladesh National Committee for Fecal Sludge Management.

Currently, households struggle to pay a lump sum of US$13 every three to four years to empty their pit latrines. This is approximately 14% of their monthly income. Instead, the study found they could pay small monthly payments of as little as US$ 0.31 per month, comparable to what they spend each month on a mobile phone service. These up-front payments help waste collectors to invest in the development of their service. Nevertheless, a government subsidy would still be needed to cover the full cost of safe removal and transport of faecal sludge.

As mentioned above, there is potential for waste collectors to generate extra revenue by converting faecal waste into fertiliser and biogas. The profitability of these waste by-products, however, can be effected by existing subsidies for chemical fertilisers and conventional fuels. Another factor that can reduce profitability is the low energy or calorific value of human waste compared to other organic wastes. A companion study carried out as part of the BRAC WASH Programme II tested solutions to increase the calorific value by co-processing human waste with other agricultural wastes.

The willingness-to-pay study is an output of the Value at the end of the Sanitation Value Chain (VeSV) research project, lead by the University of Leeds. VeSV was one of six action research projects funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Bangladesh) through IRC. Additional funding was provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

For more information read “Spreading the cost to transform sanitation“, published by the University of Leed’s School of Civil Engineering, 22 March 2017.

Citation: Balasubramanya S, et al. (2017) Towards sustainable sanitation management : establishing the costs and willingness to pay for emptying and transporting sludge in rural districts with high rates of access to latrines. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0171735. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171735

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 27 March 2017.

March is #WaterActionMonth!

Water Action Month

Organizations around the world are coming together behind a common goal of keeping governments accountable to promises made with regards to providing safe water and sanitation to all.

To support them in this work, End Water Poverty is organizing exciting conversations to cover important aspects of water, sanitation, and hygiene. These webinars are open to the public, so please share these widely amongst your networks:

– Thursday March 16th; 3:30 PM GMT: “Realizing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation
Register here: http://bit.do/WAM-webinar-HRTWS

– Thursday March 23rd; 3:30 PM GMT: “How to Finance an End to the Water and Sanitation Crisis”
Register here: http://bit.do/WAM-webinar-Finance

– Tuesday March 28th; 3:30 PM GMT: “How and Why to Involve Children and Youth in WASH Initiatives”
Register here: http://bit.do/WAM-webinar-Youth

Join the conversation this Water Action Month!

Tender: SuSanA Stakeholder Market Study

On behalf of SuSanA (Sustainable Sanitation Alliance), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has launched an open and global Invitation to Tender  to produce a Stakeholder Market Survey consisting of a baseline market assessment, a communications strategy for SuSanA and a template for measuring the impact of SuSanA on the targeted market. All this to improve SuSanA’s reach, its content as a Knowledge Management (KM) platform and its impact on stakeholder’s work. Tenders are due April 3rd, 2017.

Download tender

See also here on SuSanA Discussion Forum.

Ushering a new era in sanitation value chain management in India

Report of a WASH Dialogue on faecal sludge and septage management.

By Anupama Sahay

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Faecal sludge management in Cambodia. Photo: Dany Dourng

Is Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) an effective and long-term solution in the sanitation value chain? That was the question that Indian sanitation experts reflected on in Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan, at a multi-stakeholder dialogue on ‘FSSM Matters: Looking Forward’ on 10 January 2017. The dialogue was the second of the “Insights” series launched last year by the India Sanitation Coalition (ISC), IRC and TARU Leading Edge.

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33rd AGUASAN Workshop: “Circular economy – transforming waste into resources”

The 2017 AGUASAcircular-economyN Workshop will focus on analysing successful and failed approaches for transitioning from linear to circular water and sanitation models.

The workshop takes place from June 26 to 30, 2017 in Spiez, Switzerland.

Circular economy has great potential to drive the Water and Sanitation 2030 Agenda forward because it aligns directly with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.3 of improving water quality and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally and SDG 6.4 of substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensuring sustainable withdrawals.

Key questions and issues: 

  • What does the circular economy concept entail?
  • Which flows are relevant?
  • Which stakeholders need to be involved and how?
  • How can demand for recovered products be created?
  • In which context do these stakeholders act?
  • What are the drivers and barriers influencing the transition towards a circular economy?
  • Which circular economy approaches can we learn from for overcoming the identified
  • How should change from linear to circular water and sanitation be managed?
  • How can health risks be managed?
  • How to address public perceptions associated with recycling and reusing of human waste?

Please find the invitation letter, announcement and pre-registration on the website: www.aguasan.ch. Registrations will be accepted until March 19th, 2017.

AGUASAN is an interdisciplinary Swiss Community of Practice (CoP) that brings together a broad range of specialists to promote wider and deeper understanding of key water and sanitation management issues in developing and transition countries. It builds on committed sector professionals from various specialised institutions involved in Swiss development cooperation, humanitarian aid and research. Since 1984, the CoP provides an exemplary, vibrant and most pertinent exchange platform and think-tank serving the water sector, and constitutes an essential link in the innovation and knowledge management strategy of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Besides convening quarterly knowledge sharing events, every year members of the CoP organise an international AGUASAN Workshop in Switzerland

 

Rushing into solutions without fully grasping the problem

Which factors in the enabling environment and which links between actors are key to achieving reliable sanitation services?

Tanzania did not reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) concerning improved sanitation facilities in 2012 (JMP Report 2014). Several years later – in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there is still a lot to be done in the sanitation sector.

Angela Huston (IRC Programme Officer) and Dr Sara Gabrielsson (Assistant Professor at Lund University) are working on an upcoming book chapter about deconstructing the complexities that perpetuate poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in East Africa. Departing from Sustainability Science, the chapter aims to identify which factors in the enabling environment are key to achieving reliable WASH services. This article highlights Huston’s and Gabrielsson’s insights into this topic.

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In Burkina Faso the political commitment for sanitation is unequivocal

The first lady of Burkina Faso has pledged her support for the “Fasotoilettes 2017” campaign.

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IRC and their partners have been saying it for years: to achieve universal sanitation by 2030 (SDG6-2), the commitment of all stakeholders is essential – from the top to the active participation of citizens at grass roots level. We all remember that the President of Burkina Faso made water and sanitation a priority in his electoral campaign and since his election the Government has continued to show its commitment to sanitation and supports the participatory approach promoted by many NGOs by calling on all the citizens of Burkina to get involved.

And on 23 January, it is the wife of the President, Mrs. Sika Kaboré, who added her voice to this movement, showing the importance she accords to the subject by joining the people’s campaign for toilets, “FASOTOILETTES 2017, presiding the opening ceremony.

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Fasotoilettes 2017 launch ceremony by Mrs Sika Kaboré

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