Category Archives: IYS Themes

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi. PLoS ONE 11(8): 2016.

Authors: Richard M. Chunga1, Jeroen H. J. Ensink, Marion W. Jenkins, Joe Brown

This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods study examining adaptation strategies that property owners in low-income, rapidly urbanizing areas in Malawi adopt to address the limitations of pit latrines, the most common method of disposing human excreta. A particular challenge is lack of space for constructing new latrines as population density increases: traditional practice has been to cap full pits and simply move to a new site, but increasing demands on space require new approaches to extend the service life of latrines.

In this context, we collected data on sanitation technology choices from January to September 2013 through 48 in-depth interviews and a stated preference survey targeting 1,300 property owners from 27 low-income urban areas. Results showed that property owners with concern about space for replacing pit latrines were 1.8 times more likely to select pit emptying service over the construction of new pit latrines with a slab floor (p = 0.02) but there was no significant association between concern about space for replacing pit latrines and intention to adopt locally promoted, novel sanitation technology known as ecological sanitation (ecosan).

Property owners preferred to adapt existing, known technology by constructing
replacement pit latrines on old pit latrine locations, reducing the frequency of replacing pit latrines, or via emptying pit latrines when full.

This study highlights potential challenges to adoption of wholly new sanitation technologies, even when they present clear advantages to end users. To scale, alternative sanitation technologies for rapidly urbanising cities should offer clear advantages, be affordable, be easy to use when shared among multiple households, and their design should be informed by existing adaptation strategies and local knowledge.

Learning from Sustained Success: How Community-Driven Initiatives to Improve Urban Sanitation Can Meet the Challenges

Learning from Sustained Success: How Community-Driven Initiatives to Improve Urban Sanitation Can Meet the Challenges. World Development, World Development Vol. 87, pp. 307–317, 201.

Past research by one of the authors of this paper has identified four key institutional challenges that community-driven initiatives to improve sanitation in deprived urban settlements face: the collective action challenge of improving community sanitation;
the coproduction challenge of working with formal service providers to dispose of the sanitary waste safely; the affordability challenge of reconciling the affordable with what is acceptable to both users and local authorities; and the tenure challenge of preventing housing insecurity from undermining residents’ willingness to commit to sanitary improvement.

In this article we examine how two well-documented, relatively successful and longstanding initiatives, the Orangi Pilot Project and an Alliance of Indian partners, met these challenges. They were met through social innovation, but also through the choice and development of sanitation technologies (simplified sewers for OPP and community toilet blocks for the Indian Alliance) that provided traction for the social innovations.

We also explore more recent efforts by civil society partnerships in four African cities, demonstrating some of the difficulties they have faced in trying to overcome these challenges. No equivalent models have emerged, though there has been considerable progress against particular challenges in particular places.

These findings confirm the importance of the challenges, and indicate that these are not just challenges for social organization, but also for technology design and choice. For example, the problem with household pit latrines is not that they cannot physically be improved to sufficiently, but that they are not well-suited to the social, economic and political challenges of sanitary improvement at scale.

The findings also indicate that a low economic status and a tendency to treat sanitation as a private good not suitable for public support also makes the sanitation challenges difficult to overcome.

To End Neglected Tropical Diseases, Start With The Basics Of Clean Water And Sanitation For The World’s Poorest

To End Neglected Tropical Diseases, Start With The Basics Of Clean Water And Sanitation For The World’s Poorest. Huffington Post, April 26, 2017.

Despite ‘unprecedented progress’ further gains depend on water and sanitation, says the World Health Organization 

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Itai Nakoru, 87, from Adengei village, Nakapiripirit District, Karamoja region, Uganda is examined to see if she is fit for eye surgery to treat her trachoma

87-year-old Itai Nakoru, opens her eyes slowly so the doctor can examine them. She’s in excruciating pain because every time she blinks, her eyelashes scratch her corneas.

For the last six years, my eyes have been itching so much, this year, my left eye totally lost sight,” she explains.Itai lives in Uganda’s northeastern Karamoja region. She’s being examined by a doctor to determine if she can have surgery to treat her trichiasis, which is a result of repeated trachoma infection.

This eye disease is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and leads to inflammation, scarring the inside of the eyelid. The eyelids eventually turn inwards causing the eyelashes to scratch the cornea.

Trachoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, affecting almost two million people globally. In this region of Uganda, trachoma rates are the highest in the country, largely because the area is hot and dusty and sanitation is poor, making it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Read the complete article.

Webinar – Involving The Private Sector In Increasing Access To Basic Sanitation In Bihar And Abidjan

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Published on Apr 24, 2017

Only 22% of Abidjan’s population has access to basic sanitation. Many low-income residents of the city live in compound houses of 4 to 45 persons, who share a common toilet.

The situation is not too different in Bihar where only 30% of the population have access to basic sanitation, and open defecation is still rife.

This webinar explores successes and failures of the strategies from:

  • the USAID Sanitation Service Delivery (SSD) program’s Healthy Compound model in Abidjan, which is using a total market approach to develop prefabricated septic tanks made of ferrocement; and
  • the Supporting Sustainable Sanitation (3Si) project in Bihar, which has used a market-based approach to overcome supply and demand barriers to latrine access and use.

    Presenters:

  • Bikas Sinha is 3Si’s General Manager for Programs. He will introduce the 3Si project and strategy and outline the milestones and learning.
  • Lassina Togola is USAID SSD’s sanitation Technical Advisor in Abidjan. He will offer first-hand experience of progress, lessons and challenges to date regarding the Healthy Compound model.
  • Dana Ward is SSD’s Chief of Party. He will introduce the discussion and set the context for providing affordable sanitation through the private sector.

In addition to the recorded webinar, the following supplementary resources are available:

Public Finance for WASH Masters Research Scholarships 2017

The Public Finance for WASH initiative (www.publicfinanceforwash.com) announces three scholarships each of GBP 1500 (or €1700) to support masters-level research around public finance for pro-poor sanitation or pro-poor WASH in low-income contexts.

Public Finance for WASH is a knowledge platform run by IRC  and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). PF4WASH aims to increase sector awareness and understanding of domestic public finance solutions for WASH, primarily through making documentation accessible and disseminating existing knowledge.

These scholarships are offered jointly by IRC and WSUP.

Masters students with projects that are due to be completed by 31st October 2017 are eligible. Projects should relate to one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda or Burkina Faso.

Ideal research projects will closely align with the interests of Public Finance for WASH, will generate new empirical data, will be of scope that is plausible within the short research period of a masters research project but sufficient to provide the basis for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and will ideally help to identify solutions and ways forward.

More information about the scholarships and how to apply is provided here. All applications must be submitted to pf4wash@gmail.com by 22nd May 2017.

Swachh Bharat Mission Hygiene Index

Swachh Bharat Mission Hygiene Index

Since the announcement of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan two-and-a-half years ago, individuals, communities and government bodies have busied themselves in a flurry of activity to realise the dream of a clean and sanitary India. swach2

While someone is trying to bring toilets to a remote village, someone else is trying to clean a river, while others are simply trying to build toilets for their own households.

This is the true story of the ambitious Swachh India campaign—a recognition that the country will never be truly ‘swachh’ until all stakeholders, from the government to corporates to each and every citizen, participate and do their bit.

To maintain the momentum and keep these efforts on track, constant evaluation is needed. And this is where the Hygiene Index comes in.

Read More: Swachh Hygiene Index: How Close Are We To The Dream Of A Swachh Bharat?

The Hygiene Index has been developed in support of the Swachh Bharat Mission, and evaluates various parameters that can help nudge cities in the direction of better sanitation and hygiene.

Read more.

A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic

A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic. Hutch News, April 12, 2017.

International team of scientists show how real-time sequencing and data-sharing can help stop the next outbreak

An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013–2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

Published online today in the journal Nature, the analysis found that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner.

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Dr. Gytis Dudas, a Mahan Postdoctoral Fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is the paper’s lead author. Photo by Bo Jungmayer / Fred Hutch News Service

“We calculated that 3.6 percent of cases traveled, basically meaning that if you were able to focus on those mobile cases and reduce their mobility, you might have had a disproportionate effect on the epidemic,” said computational biologist Dr. Gytis Dudas, a Mahan Postdoctoral Fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the paper’s lead author.

The West African Ebola epidemic dwarfed all previous central African outbreaks of the virus, sickening more than 28,000 people and killing more than 11,000 of them.

The 1,610 Ebola virus genomes analyzed by the researchers represented more than 5 percent of the known cases, the largest sample analyzed for a single human epidemic. The analysis is the first to look at how Ebola spread, proliferated and declined across all three countries most affected: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Previous analyses focused primarily on either a single country, a limited time frame or used fewer sequences.

Read the complete article.