Category Archives: Economic Benefits

Fecal Sludge Management – Water Currents

Fecal Sludge Management – Water Currents, January 17, 2018.

Worldwide, 2.7 billion people rely on on-site sanitation, but many lack the means to manage fecal sludge—the muddy mix of fecal matter that accumulates over time in septage or pit latrines, which can have significant health and environmental implications. As a result, fecal sludge management (FSM) has become a key component of providing universal sanitation access. fsm.png

This issue of Water Currents contains studies from 2017 that focus on FSM, including research that discusses the health-related aspects, technological aspects, and related economic/financing issues. Also included are links to upcoming courses, announcements, and websites.

We are always looking for ideas and suggestions to make Water Currents more useful and relevant, so we would appreciate your responses to this brief survey.

Courses 
Introduction to Faecal Sludge Management. This introductory course by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne teaches how to apply concepts of sustainable FSM on a citywide scale. It started on January 8, 2018, but enrollment is still open. This course is one of four in the series “Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development.” This is an online course and there is no charge for participating.

Announcements
Field Test Innovative Sludge Management Tools in Malawi. Mzuzu University Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation in Malawi invites self-funded graduate students or experienced researchers to field test their innovative tools and techniques for the emptying, transport, and treatment of pit latrine or septic tank sludge. The site is well suited for conducting field testing on local pit latrines or septic tanks for a period of several weeks to months. Visit the centre’s website or contact Dr. Rochelle Holm for further information.

FSM and Health
Designing a Mixed-Methods Approach for Collaborative Local Water Security: Findings from a Kenyan Case StudyExposure and Health, July 2017. The purpose of this research was to develop and pilot a mixed-methods-coupled systems (human and physical) approach to understand strengths, challenges, and health impacts associated with WASH in a rural Kenyan community. Both quantitative and qualitative data were used for the analysis.

Read the complete article.

The Power of Incentives: Lessons Learned from Designing and Implementing Results-Based WASH Programs

The Power of Incentives: Lessons Learned from Designing and Implementing Results-Based WASH Programs. by  by Elynn Walter, Guy Howard, Jan Willem Rosenboom, Jeff Albert, Susan Davis, Yi Wei. WASHfunders blog, November 2017.

This week we highlight lessons by UK Department for International Development (DFID)Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationiDE  and Thrive Networks in designing and implementing  innovative results-based WASH programs.

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Source: Thrive Networks

On September 20th in New York City, Improve International and IRC convened a conversation on innovations in grantee-donor relationships in WASH programs hosted by the Voss Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society at their offices next to the Central Park Zoo. This week on the blog we summarize key takeaways from the meeting.

Payment by results
Guy Howard from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) presented on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene results programme. WASH Results is a 12-country payment by results program involving three supplier contracts. Payments are made by DFID following independent verification of results achievement. The program is supported by a monitoring, verification and evaluation component which provides independent verification of suppliers’ results achievement, and includes an evaluation component including a randomized control trial on program sustainability.

Background
DFID wanted to quickly reach 6 to 7 million people with water access, and so needed to expand its supplier base (previously, 60% of their water programs had been implemented by UNICEF).  This was the first time DFID tried payment by results at this scale.

Benefits
NGOs started using robust hybrid monitoring systems that were input- and output-based, with third party verification. All suppliers worked well, and liked this method.  PBR has expanded to other programs.

Challenges 
Organizations need to have an asset base to take on risk because they only get paid at the end. Most large non-profits do have this, but it is set aside for contingency funding. DFID’s partners had to negotiate with their boards to be able to access these funds. Few people have the skills (WASH and auditing) to do verification. Also, because the results are time-limited they need proxies to measure the strength and sustainability of systems.

Read the complete article.

From new evidence to better practice: finding the sanitation sweet spot – Waterlines, October 2017

From new evidence to better practice: finding the sanitation sweet spot – Waterlines, October 2017.

A growing body of evidence shows that there is a strong causal link between exposure to poor sanitation and detrimental health, human capital, and economic outcomes. At the same time a number of recent impact evaluations of specific sanitation interventions show mixed results. waterlines.jpg

This heterogeneity in findings raises the questions of whether and how the demonstrated benefits of improved sanitation can be consistently achieved through regular project implementation.

This paper attempts to show that the benefits of improved sanitation can be consistently achieved through investing in interventions that address the drivers of latrine use and by divesting from interventions that do not address the drivers of latrine use.

Read the complete article.

RWSN webinars on WASH financing

RWSN is delighted to announce a new mini-series of webinars (on-line seminars) . This mini-series will address issues around financing rural water supply services, but also on how to make RWSN work better for you as part of a new strategy for the network.

Each session will be bilingual, with one webinar in English as well as another language (French or Spanish) as we are trying to cater for a wide and varied audience. The webinars in English start at 2.30 pm Paris time/ 1.30 pm London time/ 8.30 am Washington DC time (check your local time here):

  • Tuesday, 14th November, 2017: “Grown up” finance for rural water? We all agree that there is a need for more money in order ensure sustainable rural water service provision and to reach SDG 6.1. To give an idea of the scale of the challenge: (i) Reaching SDG 6 targets 1 and 2 only requires an estimated 114 billion US$/year for capital investments –  three times what is currently spent. (ii) Capital maintenance of existing water services is estimated to cost around 1.5 times the amount needed for capital investments and (iii) the amount needed for direct support of rural WASH services is at an absolute minimum 1 US$ per person per year. But where will this money come from? Join us to explore “grown up” financing for rural water and the financial bankability of rural water services. (Register here) 
  • Thursday, 16th November, 2017: A Dollar per year keeps rural water services here? The costs of direct support. Rural water service providers, regardless of whether they are community-based organisations, small public utilities or private entrepreneurs, need direct support and supervision in order to provide good quality water services. Local government commonly plays an important role in providing such direct support services. But what do these direct support services cost? Join us to explore and discuss the costs of direct support to rural water services. (Register here)
  • RWSN – Rural Water Supply Network
  • RWSN Website: http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/
  • Join the Network: http://dgroups.org/RWSN

 

Converting Waste Toilet Paper Into Electricity

Converting Waste Toilet Paper Into Electricity. Water Online, September 12, 2017.

First techno-economic analysis of the ultimate waste recycling concept

Chemists at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Sustainable Chemistry research priority area, together with colleagues from the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University, have published the first techno-economic analysis of converting waste toilet paper into electricity. energy

In the journal Energy Technology, they propose a two-step process and calculate a cost per kWh comparable to that of residential photovoltaic installations.

Waste toilet paper (WTP) is not often considered an asset. In fact, most people usually prefer not to think about it at all. Yet it is a rich source of carbon, containing 70–80 wt% of cellulose on a dry basis.

On average, people in Western Europe produce 10–14 kg waste toilet paper per person per year. Accumulating in municipal sewage filters, it is a modest yet significant part of municipal waste.

The ultimate waste has a negative cost
At the same time, waste toilet paper is a businessman’s dream because it is one of the few raw materials with a negative cost. While this may vary across countries and regions, in the Netherlands wastewater treatment facilities pay around 70 €/ton to get rid of WTP. It is therefore an extremely attractive resource since people will actually pay you to take it off their hands.

Read the complete article.

The ‘S word:’ Is it time for the sanitation sector to reconsider subsidies?

The ‘S word:’ Is it time for the sanitation sector to reconsider subsidies? Devex, September 2017.

STOCKHOLM — After nearly three decades of broad agreement that hardware subsidies alone do not work in the rural sanitation sector, the practice of using financial incentives to encourage people to build latrines appears to be making a comeback — causing old arguments to flare up again.

The debate over whether or not to use subsidies for sanitation has resurfaced in recent years as governments — as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene experts — grapple with how to deal with the world’s looming sanitation crisis.

Recent statistics reveal that 2.3 billion people do not have access to a decent toilet and many still defecate in the open. Furthermore, in some countries, levels of sanitation access are declining — and this trend is likely to continue as growing populations and increasing urbanization put new strain on the sector’s limited budget.

Experts agree that a radical rethink of how sanitation programs are financed and implemented is needed if the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals — which call for universal access to basic sanitation by 2030 — are to be met.

Read the complete article.

The new economy of excrement. Nature, September 13, 2017

The new economy of excrement. Nature, September 13, 2017

Entrepreneurs are finding profits turning human waste into fertiliser, fuel and even food.

On the outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda, septic trucks full of human excrement bump and slosh their way up orange dirt roads to their final destination: the Nduba landfill. Until recently, the trucks would spill their contents into giant open pits.

Will Swanson for Nature Semi-dried sludge on its way to becoming fuel at the Pivot plant in Rwanda

Will Swanson for Nature. Semi-dried sludge on its way to becoming fuel at the Pivot plant in Rwanda.

But since 2015, workers in green jumpsuits have greeted them outside a row of sheds and plastic-roofed greenhouses, ready to process the faecal sludge into a dry, powdery fuel.

The facility is called Pivot, and its founder is Ashley Muspratt, a sanitation engineer who lived in Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda for more than seven years before moving back to the United States last year. Muspratt insists that Pivot is not a treatment plant.

It’s a business. Its product powers local industries such as cement and brick plants. “I describe us as dual sanitation and renewable-fuel company,” Muspratt says. “Our model really is to build factories.”

Muspratt is part of a growing band of entrepreneurs trying to address one of the biggest challenges in public health — poor sanitation — and to turn a profit doing it. According to a report published by the World Health Organization and United Nations children’s charity Unicef in July, 2.8 billion people — 38% of the world’s population — have no access to sewers and deposit their waste in tanks and pit latrines (see ‘Sanitation across nations’).

Read the complete article.