Author Archives: WSSCC

Accelerating and sustaining behaviour change: New handbook launched at GSF learning event

This week, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) and the GSF-funded ‘Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement’ (FAA) in Madagascar launched a new handbook on accelerating and sustaining the end of open defecation.

The handbook was launched during the GSF Learning Event in Antananarivo, Madagascar, inaugurated by Madagascar’s Minister of Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Roland Ravatomanga.

A community celebrating the creation of their ‘model latrine’ for others to replicate during a FUM session in Madagascar. Credit: WSSCC

A community celebrating the creation of their ‘model latrine’ for others to replicate during a FUM session in Madagascar. Credit: WSSCC

The ‘Follow-up MANDONA’ (FUM) handbook is a field guide for practitioners of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) – an empowering approach for improving sanitation and hygiene through collective behaviour change, rather than external subsidies or prescription. FUM aims to systematically engage communities after they have been initially ‘triggered’ and committed to ending open defecation.

‘Mandona’ is a Malagasy word which means ‘to push’. FUM brings the entire community together for a self-analysis of their sanitation situation, which then helps them immediately create models that prevent the ingestion of faeces. The approach harnesses the power of Natural Leaders to replicate these models across the community, which includes helping those that are least able, in order to advance to ODF status. By focusing on sustainable behaviour change, FUM is also a useful tool for addressing issues surrounding ‘slippage’, which relates to returning to previous unhygienic behaviours.

FUM was developed and refined by MIARINTSOA NGO, a sub-grantee of the FAA programme. Given the success of FUM in Madagascar and elsewhere, the GSF and FAA created the FUM handbook to provide a practical guide for how CLTS practitioners can implement the approach in their own contexts.

Download ‘Follow-up MANDONA: A field guide for accelerating and sustaining open defecation free communities’ (English/French)

The weeklong global event where the handbook was launched brings together implementing partners, WASH experts, and high-level government representatives from GSF-supported programmes. These actors are exchanging ideas and sharing best practices for achieving improved sanitation and hygiene behaviour at scale.

During the launch, WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams highlighted how FUM is engraining the sustainability of sanitation and hygiene behaviour change in Madagascar and beyond. “Once a village, or an entire commune, has reached ODF status, the story isn’t over. In fact, the work continues. This important publication documents the innovations that Madagascar has put together to systematically follow-up with villages. FUM aims to ensure that the change in attitudes and creation of convictions that my ‘sanitation problem is your sanitation problem’ – ‘or my shit is your shit’ – is dealt with as a collective community effort.”

WSSCC Executive Director holds up the Follow-up MANDONA handbook at GSF Learning Event opening ceremony. Credit: WSSCC/Okechukwu Umelo

WSSCC Executive Director holds up the Follow-up MANDONA handbook at GSF Learning Event opening ceremony. Credit: WSSCC/Okechukwu Umelo

FUM has become one of FAA’s most important tools for empowering over 1.6 million people to live in open defecation free environments on their own terms. Due to its success in Madagascar, FUM has recently become a core strategy for national sanitation and hygiene programmes in Uganda, Nigeria, Benin, and Togo.

Community members in Nigeria agreeing to trigger their neighbours and help those who don’t have the means to build their own latrine. Credit: WSSCC

Community members in Nigeria agreeing to trigger their neighbours and help those who don’t have the means to build their own latrine. Credit: WSSCC

Kamal Kar, the Chairman of the CLTS Foundation, which has extensively supported the FAA programme to develop their CLTS approach, emphasized the importance of the handbook in sharing proven approaches to practitioners around the world: “I am glad that the Malagasy NGO, MIARINTSOA, with the help of the FAA programme, WSSCC and the GSF, has systematically documented their experience of post-triggering follow-up from their implementation of CLTS over the last 4-5 years. Publication of this Follow-up MANDONA handbook is indeed a step forward towards country-wide scaling up of good practice of CLTS in Madagascar and beyond.”


Eugène De Ligori Rasamoelina, Executive Director of MIARINTSOA NGO, which developed and refined Follow-up MANDONA. Credit: WSSCC

“I must say that the emergence of thousands of ODF villages in Madagascar, starting with my multiple support visits to the country since 2010 to strengthen the approach, is a brilliant example of quality CLTS implementation with its central philosophy of local empowerment. I believe that this handbook will be useful in understanding and ensuring post-triggering follow-up in CLTS for sustained behaviour change.”

Find out more about the Global Sanitation Fund on the WSSCC website.

Save the Date! WASH, Women and Welfare: Social Protection from a Gender Perspective

7 March 2016, 14:00-16:00
Palais des Nations – Geneva, Switzerland

Logos - All partners

On 7 March 2016, UNRISD and WSSCC will hold a joint event that will put the right to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) within a rights-based social protection framework, and explore WASH’s relationship to other economic, social and cultural rights.

This event will bring together researchers, practitioners and policy makers to examine both the existing legal frameworks and efforts made to incorporate a rights-based implementation of these frameworks at the country level, with special attention paid to the gender perspective.

This meeting is an official side event of the 31st session of the Human Rights Council.


  • Lucinda O’Hanlon, OHCHR – Women’s Rights and WASH
  • Nuno Cabral, Mission of Portugal –Country-Level WASH Frameworks: The Case of Portugal
  • Rockaya Aidara, WSSCC – Policy and Practice in West and Central Africa: UN Women/WSSCC Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation
  • PB Anand, University of Bradford – From Human Rights to Human Development: Ensuring Universal Access to WASH

For further details about the event, please download the concept note in the link below :

For more information, please contact and

Amina J. Mohammed to serve as Chair of Leading WASH Organization

WSSCC Announces Appointment of Renowned Sustainable Development Expert

Geneva, December 17, 2015 – Today, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) announced that Amina J. Mohammed, Environment Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will serve as its new Chair, effective as of April 2, 2016.

The former Assistant-Secretary General and Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Mohammed will chair the Steering Committee and guide the work of WSSCC’s Geneva-based Secretariat, its operations in 20 countries in Africa and Asia, and its 5,000 members in 150 countries. Hosted by the United Nations Office of Project Services, WSSCC is the part of the United Nations devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of the most vulnerable people around the world. Ms. Mohammed replaces the interim-Chair, Andrew Cotton, Emeritus Director of the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC, Loughborough University), and previous Chair, Prof. Anna Tibaijuka, Member of Parliament, Tanzania, and former Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat.


“WSSCC embodies the transformative spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals, promoting WASH at the national level as a strategic entry point for attaining multiple targets” says Ms. Mohammed. “By improving sanitation and hygiene at scale in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, in particular, the Council is playing an important role in improving education and health, and in empowering women. I am proud to Chair an organization that understands that equality and universality must go hand-in-hand towards achieving a sustainable development agenda.”

As the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Mohammed worked systematically to ensure the successful adoption by Member States of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015. She is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and previously held the position of Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals, serving three Presidents over a period of six years. In 2005 she was charged with the coordination of the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria. From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project.

The appointment of Ms. Mohammed will build upon WSSCC’s tradition of having a Chair with experience serving as a senior official of the United Nations and who is a current or former government official. WSSCC is an organization that prides itself on the intersection of state and non-state actors, and the appointment of Ms. Mohammed will ensure that this continues.

Christopher W. Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC, welcomed Ms. Mohammed, saying, “The issues of sanitation and hygiene are crucial to improving health and development. In the post-2015 era, we need strong global leadership to deepen our efforts, and bold ambition to advance a transformative agenda. I am confident that Ms. Mohammed will be instrumental in helping WSSCC translate global goals into local action, ensuring governments enable communities and that organizations bring about meaningful change at scale.”

In her role as Chair of WSSCC, Ms. Mohammed plans to draw upon her experience and network of contacts in politics, business, academia, and demonstrated knowledge of the United Nations, to raise awareness about practical solutions to improving sanitation and hygiene. Under her leadership, WSSCC intends to continue its current growth, notably of its Global Sanitation Fund, a catalytic facility that supports the establishment of national sanitation and hygiene improvement programmes in Africa and Asia. Programmes supported by GSF have empowered over 8 million people in 36,000 communities to improve their sanitation, adopt good hygiene practices, and drive local process that contribute directly to education, health and economic development.

PRESS RELEASE – Amina J. Mohammed to serve as Chair of Leading WASH organization

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE – Amina J. Mohammed nommée Présidente de WSSCC

WSSCC and FANSA Report Urges Action to Address the Sanitation and Hygiene Needs of Women, Adolescent Girls, the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and the Sanitation Workforce workers

“Leave No One Behind” Calls for Universal, Safe and Easy Access and Hygienic Sanitation Prac­tices

Dhaka, Bangladesh – 11 January 2016 – Today, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) are releasing a new report titled “Leave No One Behind: Voices of Women, Adolescent Girls, Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and Sanitation Workforce.”


The ground-breaking report highlights the plight of voiceless, underserved groups, and their need for safe and satisfactory sanitation and hygiene. The report, along with a companion 4-minute video, is being launched at SACOSAN VI (#SACOSAN) South Asia’s leading gathering of sanitation and hygiene experts, who will meet in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 11-13 January.

The release of the report also marks the direct participation and representation of these constituencies during the event and the roll-out of a corresponding advocacy campaign.

“Leave No One Behind” summarizes the sanitation and hygiene hopes and aspirations of thousands of women and men of different ages and physical ability, across rural and urban areas in eight South Asian countries. In these countries, over a billion people are without safe sanitation. They represent indi­viduals and groups rarely heard because they are seldom asked what their constraints are, what they need, how they cope and how they might design services differently to enable universal access and use.

“This report, and the consultations which led to it, is a clarion call to ‘listen and learn’ by putting people at the centre and valuing individual and different needs in addition to those of whole communi­ties,” said Archana Patkar, Programme Manager at WSSCC. “It is a call also to ‘see and recognize’ the unseen and to ‘make visible’ the invisible … putting human faces and names to sanitation workers, waste pickers who empty out pits, clean drains, sweep streets and segregate our waste.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • Users should be consulted in a disaggregated and empowering manner by the organizations responsible for building WASH facilities, so that they can take into account the specific needs and concerns of individuals and marginalized groups.
  • In the case of community toilets, different excluded individuals and groups within the community must be included as partners in design, operation and maintenance planning, monitoring and upgradation to ensure that there is no discrimination in access and use.
  • All the different groups consulted spoke about stigma and discrimination, due to physical, sexual or economic reasons. All groups spoke in their own way about the need for respect in order to live and work with dignity and security. They asked to be consulted and meaningfully involved in the services that affect their lives.

“South Asia has committed to eliminating open def­ecation by 2020 and achieving universal sanitation by 2030,” says Ramisetty Murali, the FANSA Regional Convener. “In order for this to be realized, every child, adolescent, woman, disabled or ill person, el­derly man and woman, or transgender person must report safe and easy access and hygienic sanitation prac­tices every day, irrespective of where they live, what work they do or what community they belong to. The service delivery system must be sensitive, responsive and accountable to the sanitation needs of these population groups.”

“Leave No One Behind” is the culmination of 55 consultations jointly conceptualized, facilitated, analysed and summarised by WSSCC and FANSA and partners across South Asia. Co-organised by approximately 70 local organisations (local governments, CBOs, NGOs, FANSA local chapters, activist networks and academia), these consul­tations across South Asia involved more than 2,700 adolescents, women and men – young and old, transgender people, sanitation workers engaged in the design, delivery and management of sanitation and disabled people of differ­ent age groups, gender and caste in rural, urban, peri-urban, slum and tribal settings.

WSSCC and FANSA are committed to supporting South Asia to meaningfully implement Commitment X of the Kathmandu Declaration from SACOSAN V held in Kathmandu in October 2013. Commitment X pledged “significant and direct participation of children, adolescents, women, the elderly and people with disabilities … to bring their voices clearly

into SACOSAN VI and systematically thereafter”. Eight adolescent girls, women, elderly, differently–abled men and women, sanitation workers and waste pickers will speak at a key plenary session on 13 January 2016 at SACOSAN VI to share their hopes and aspirations with ministers, planners, practitioners, civil society, academia and the media.

“While the proportion of people using improved sanitation in South Asia has increased significantly over the past decade, over a billion people in the region still lack access to adequate sanitation,” says Chris Williams, WSSCC’s Executive Director. “SACOSAN VI is thus a great opportunity to examine the challenges South Asia faces as it transitions into the Sustainable Development Goals era, particularly the challenges wrought by climate change and increasing inequality.”

Supported by the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and held on a rotational basis in each member state, SACOSAN is a biennial gathering that provides a critical platform for governments and key stakeholders in South Asia to develop a regional agenda and action plans on sanitation. Under the banner ‘Better Sanitation, Better Life’ the three-day conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 11 to 13 January 2016, aims to accelerate progress on sanitation and hygiene promotion in South Asia, and thus enhance the quality of people’s lives.

To download the full report, click here:

Download this press release in PDF-format

Sacosan VI set to tackle sanitation in Asia

The latest Sacosan conference will bring together ministers and sector experts to accelerate continental progress on sanitation, hygiene and equity

The sixth South Asia Conference on Sanitation (Sacosan-VI) – the region’s leading water and sanitation hygiene (WASH) forum – is taking place in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka from 11-13 January, 2016.

Supported by the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and held on a rotational basis in each member state, Sacosan is a biennial gathering that provides a critical platform for governments and key stakeholders in South Asia to develop a regional agenda and action plans on sanitation. Under the banner ‘Better Sanitation, Better Life’ the three-day conference aims to accelerate progress on sanitation and hygiene promotion in South Asia, and thus enhance the quality of people’s lives.

“While the proportion of people using improved sanitation in South Asia has increased significantly over the past decade, over a billion people in the region still lack access to adequate sanitation,” says Chris Williams, WSSCC’s Executive Director.

“Sacosan-VI is thus a key forum for discussing the region’s water and sanitation hygiene (WASH) sector accomplishments, sharing experiences and exchanging ideas. But it is also a great opportunity to examine the challenges South Asia face as it journeys into the Sustainable Development Goals era, particularly the challenges wrought by climate change, socio-economic development and increasing inequality.”

Launched in Bangladesh in 2003, subsequent Sacosan conferences have been held in Pakistan (2006), India (2008), Sri Lanka (2011) and Nepal (2013), all of which have helped to generate an increasing political will towards better sanitation in South Asia.

More than 500 delegates and participants from the Saarc countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are due to attend Sacosan-VI.

Attendees will include ministers, parliamentarians, senior government officials, donors and representatives of civil society organisations, as well as unilateral and bilateral organisations, local and international NGOs, research institutions, academics, media, private sector and community members actively engaged in the promotion of sanitation and hygiene services in their respective countries.

The conference aims to develop increased knowledge, in-depth learning and practical solutions that address common Wash challenges in South Asia, especially on universal access to, and use of, sanitation and hygiene. The emphasis will be on behaviour change across whole communities, particularly people in the hard-to-reach areas, institutions and public places. The main objectives of Sacosan-VI are:

  • Achieve an ODF South Asia by 2023 through improvement of policy frameworks, increase financing, strengthening implementation and monitoring strategies for sanitation and hygiene, with a special focus on marginalized groups.
  • Contribute to increased knowledge, deepened learning and practical solutions to address the common challenges in South Asia, especially on universal access to, and use of, sanitation and hygiene, emphasising behaviour change across whole communities, especially among the hardest to reach (in their homes, institutions and public places).
  • Develop the strategic direction for future Sacosans by reviewing the achievements and learning of past Sacosans.
  • Conduct deliberations in the context of national, regional and global priorities in relation to the post-2015 environment.

Sacosan-VI will include a variety of plenary sessions and side events, an exhibition area and visits to local cultural sites, including the Bangabandhu Museum, which commemorates the founding leader of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. By the end of the conference a declaration on its commitments – the ‘Dhaka Declaration’ – will be drafted by the participating South Asian countries. The conference will then be followed by two days of field visits to successful initiatives run by the Bangladeshi government and its development partners.

The conference will also feature a review of the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) achievements and identify the challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The aim is to use a critique of the MDGs and SDGs to develop a ‘Smart’ regional plan for formulating policy and strategy, which includes ideas on technology for hard to reach areas, school sanitation, hygiene promotion for poor communities, urban sanitation, collaboration and alliances at national, regional and international level, and monitoring mechanisms for hygiene and sanitation at national and regional level.

This article was originally published on the WSSCC Guardian development blog.

Better Sanitation, Better Life – Join WSSCC at SACOSAN 6 in Dhaka!

WSSCC wishes all of its Members and Friends a happy and prosperous 2016!

In this first year of the Sustainable Development Goal era, we look forward to working with colleagues around the world in the vital effort to achieve sanitation and hygiene for all.


Credit: Javier Acebal/WSSCC

Our work begins in earnest at the 6th South Asia Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (SACOSAN), which begins this weekend in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Click here for a list of our activities at SACOSAN 6

Follow all our conference updates on Twitter using the hashtag #SACOSAN.

Focus on people, not their toilets

Q&A with WSSCC’s Carolien van der Voorden about whether building toilets is sufficient for stopping open defecation

About herself: “I work for the Global Sanitation Fund of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). The Fund is all about collective sanitation and hygiene behaviour change to tackle the sanitation crisis, currently working in 13 countries in Africa and Asia to demonstrate viable models that result in open defecation free (ODF) communities, districts and states, and can pave the way towards ODF nations.”

Q: Do you think the SDG of ending open defecation by 2030 is realistic?

A: We have to believe the goal is feasible, if governments and all their partners agree on common strategies and roadmaps that are based on collective behaviour change and demand creation rather than on subsidy driven approaches which, apart from their effectiveness, in most countries would require many times more the financial resources than are available.


Photo: WSSCC

Q: How can someone be convinced to want and use a toilet, when they don’t currently?

A: Some of GSF’s country programmes are having great success applying the community led total sanitation (CLTS) approach. This can really work, just look at Madagascar’s programme has so far resulted in more than 11,000 communities declared ODF, but it does come with challenges in terms of going to scale with quality. We are finding that especially the quality of facilitation, and the need to make sure community engagement is a process of pre-triggering, triggering and strong follow-up, are two key elements.

It is not a silver bullet but we have seen the approach work in many different circumstances and countries. The key as far as we can see it, is to ensure these “demand creation interventions” are really community driven, which is sometimes tricky when CLTS becomes government policy or strategy and so local governments might feel pressured to push communities into ODF, rather than these being real community learning journeys.

Our Madagascar colleagues put a lot of emphasis on the principle that community problems require community solutions – to make sure these do not become outsider-driven programmes. This is not to say that the communities do not need support and advice, but even there we have found that many of the most innovative solutions to deal with specific infrastructure issues come from within the community.

Q: 11,000?! That’s impressive. By “declared” you mean self-declared? Or independently verified?

A: Verification in Madagascar is a five step process where the fourth and fifth steps are third party verification.

The numbers we publish are at the very least based on three steps of verification, where communities first self declare are then checked by sub-grantees and then by our Executing Agency, and some of them also by the additional third party verifiers.

Q: What behaviour change initiatives around hygiene do we know work? Can/how they be replicated or adapted to reduce open defecation rates?

A: We see hygiene and sanitation messages as linked, especially the need for systematic hand washing with soap or ash. The three key behaviours to defeat ODF, keeping toilets fly proof and washing hands after using the toilet and before preparing food are the key ways to ensure that communities are key to our CLTS approaches. As well as being the key indicators for declaring a community ODF.

Q: How can governments be encouraged to take the lead on this issue?

A: I think there is real value in showing what is possible if government dedicates the necessary resources and really gets involved, at all levels.

In some of our programmes we’ve had success in doing institutional triggering, where decision makers, from the president down to the local councillor, are taken on the same journey as communities are and they get triggered to take action in whatever way is most relevant and appropriate linked to their position.

In terms of the president of Madagascar, this helped to establish the national Roadmap towards ODF. And more importantly, doing this at the local level really creates the sense of a movement for change, where everybody is clear on the role they have to play and puts that into concrete action plans that they can then hold each other accountable for.

Another thing we have learned from our programmes in Uganda and Nigeria, where local governments are the implementing agents, that capacity building and training of trainers can only go so far. The real capacity comes from learning on the job, and that requires an implementation budget.

There is no point just training local governments and then leave it at that. There must be a focus on implementation and continuous presence in order to refine strategies and approaches. As said before, there is no silver bullet so even CLTS needs to be continuously adapted and local governments must be given a chance to learn and understand this on the job over time.

Q: Any final comment?

A: Lift every stone, increase the movement, find champions and most importantly, focus on people, less on their toilets!

The original Q&A was hosted by Katherine Purvis of the Guardian and can be found here.