Category Archives: Economic Benefits

Introducing the new USAID Global Waters

After a brief hiatus, USAID’s “Global Waters” magazine is back to bring you water-related stories from around the world! globalwaters

The magazine continues to provide a visually captivating look at the experiences and views of top development professionals and beneficiaries through a new and improved online format. We hope you enjoy the latest articles. – The Water Team.

Features/articles in this issue include:

  • Global Waters Radio: Chris Holmes on Water, Jobs, and Gender Equity
  • Making Sanitation Services Affordable in Indonesia’s Cities
  • Celebrating Water Heroes
  • Breaking the Taboo: How School WASH Impacts Girls’ Education
  • Putting Local Wealth to Work for Safe Water Access
  • Changing the Landscape for Africa’s Urban Water Services
  • Incubating Innovation: Solutions for a Parched Earth

Financial indicators for water and sanitation at national level: what do we really need to know and early warning system

Financial indicators for water and sanitation at national level: what do we really need to know and early warning system | Source: Catarina Fonseca, IRC Blog, April 18 2016 |

This blog is meant to support those efforts by answering the question: What indicators can be used as a diagnostic tool for the adequacy of budgets and financial flows for water and sanitation?

The current proposed SDG indicator framework will mainly track outcomes: the number of people with access to water and sanitation services. That is what ultimately matters but it is also an indicator that only gives off a ‘late’ alarm. If a country is not showing much progress on access to services yet, it will take several years to address the root causes of the problem. See the blog 15 years to make history, 5 years to make change.

This is the reason why it is also important to track inputs into the sector, particularly money, which can give off an ‘early’ alarm. If for example, analyses show that the funds available for water and sanitation are too little to address financial gaps, it can be addressed much earlier, before it translates into stagnating or lower coverage figures (see for instance Uganda and Tanzania as examples).

Tracking financial indicators does not require sophisticated monitoring systems

The key question is then which financial indicators to track and what level of detail and break-down is needed. This is what was discussed at a recent sector meeting organised by UNICEF and where the inspiration to write this blog comes from.

Tracking financial indicators does not require a sophisticated monitoring system. In my experience, it is perfectly possible to collect this information from secondary sources if there is some openness in sharing government financial flows on water and sanitation. However, it does require a system that is tracking government expenditure at different levels. This is already the case in most public administrations in lower income countries.

The problems emerge in the reconciliation of accounts, the level of disaggregation of data and most important for the water sector: linking the money flowing into the sector with the number of people accessing a decent service. See some examples in the testing phase of the WHO TrackFin methodology in three countries in this flyer.

Read the complete article.

African Government investment in sanitation: 2016 state of play

African Government investment in sanitation: 2016 state of play: Finance Brief 9, 2016.  Public Finance for WASH. logo

In May 2015, African leaders committed to budget allocations amounting to 0.5% of their countries’ respective Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to sanitation and hygiene by 2020.

Specifically, this commitment was part of the Ngor Declaration adopted at the fourth African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (AfricaSan) by ministers responsible for sanitation and hygiene.

This brief explores the context of this commitment: how much are governments currently investing in sanitation? How can this investment be increased?

Tanzania – Scientists keen to change human waste to produce fertilizer and charcoal

Scientists keen to change human waste to produce fertilizer and charcoal |Source: Daily News, April 17 2016 |

The Ifakara Health Institute (I.H.I) in collaboration with Bremen Overseas Research Development Association (BORDA) in Tanzania, have come up with an innovative human waste treatment and management technology that finally makes human feces a risk-free resource for producing fuel and fertilizers. fecalsludge

The brains behind this human feces treatment project are Dr. Jacqueline Thomas and Mr. Emmanuel Mrimi from I.H.I and Ms. Jutta Camargo from BORDA. It is an innovation that has come at the right time, and badly needed by cities like Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. In a big way, this project promises a sanitation challenge solution Mathare valley and Dar es Salaam residents can benefit from.

“With the significant reduction of pathogenic microorganisms”, Mr. Mrimi reassures you, “the treated human waste is safe. Users of these products do not put their health on the line.” The innovative Decentralized Waste Water Treatment Solutions (DEWATS) project is treating human waste in three different areas in Dar es Salaam. The project is supported by a grant from Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) which is part of an overall investment in innovation in Tanzania by UK Aid.

Read the complete article.

Studies on container-based sanitation

This bibliography on container-based sanitation will be updated as new reports and studies are published.

2015 Studies

User perceptions of and willingness to pay for household container-based sanitation services: experience from Cap Haitien, HaitiEnviron Urban. 2015 Oct;27(2):525-540. Authors: Russel K, Tilmans S, et al.

Household-level container-based sanitation (CBS) services may help address the persistent challenge of providing effective, affordable sanitation services for which low-income urban households are willing to pay. Little is known, however, about user perceptions of and demand for household CBS services. This study presents the results of a pilot CBS service programme in Cap Haitien, Haiti. One hundred and eighteen households were randomly selected to receive toilets and a twice-weekly collection service.

The results from this study suggest that, in the context of urban Haiti, household CBS systems have the potential to satisfy many residents’ desire for safe, convenient and modern sanitation services.

Container-based sanitation: assessing costs and effectiveness of excreta management in Cap Haitien, HaitiEnviron Urban. 2015 Apr;27(1):89-104. Authors: Tilmans S, Russel K, et al.

Container-based sanitation (CBS) – in which wastes are captured in sealable containers that are then transported to treatment facilities – is an alternative sanitation option in urban areas where on-site sanitation and sewerage are infeasible. This paper presents the results of a pilot household CBS service in Cap Haitien, Haiti. The CBS service yielded an approximately 3.5-fold decrease in the unmanaged share of faeces produced, and nearly eliminated the reported use of open defecation and “flying toilets” among service recipients. The costs of this pilot small-scale service were higher than those of large-scale waterborne sewerage, but economies of scale have the potential to reduce CBS costs over time.

WASTE -A documentary by Parasher Baruah

After winning a fellowship with InfoChange India, Parasher Baruah has directed a documentary film about the rag pickers of Dharavi . The film was selected to be screened at the Munich Documentary Film Festival in May 2009.

Filmed over a period of eight months in Dharavi, WASTE explores the importance of the rag pickers’ role in managing the city’s waste and the challenges that these people face every day. The film follows three adolescent rag pickers, Sameer, Santosh, and Salman, as they go about their daily lives and interviews other rag pickers and residents of Dharavi in the process.

WASTE leaves a powerful impact on its audience and prompts viewers to rethink the way they use and dispose of trash. The film continues to be screened at various schools and events to bring attention to the living conditions of rag pickers and to help audiences gain perspective on how their patterns of consumption impact the environment

The Next Generation of Sanitation Businesses

The Next Generation of Sanitation Businesses | Source: The Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business, April 4 2016 |

In the past few years, governments and the development community have seriously stepped up their efforts to tackle the sanitation crisis.

Two emblematic initiatives are the launch of the Clean India mission (‘Swachh Bharat’) by Indian Prime Minister Modi in 2014 – which aims to provide 560 million people with a toilet by 2019 – and the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation started in 2011, which led to key technology innovations in the sanitation and waste management space. sanitation

Yet, are these efforts sufficient? The 2015 sanitation target of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals was missed by nearly 700 million people – the largest gap among all MDG targets – and there are still a staggering 2.4 billion people globally who do not have access to improved sanitation, with dramatic consequences on health, life expectancy, educational opportunities, environmental quality, and economic growth.

One piece in particular that has been critically missing is the lack of profitable business models for developing countries. These could make a significant difference by ensuring sustainable growth of sanitation markets, attracting investments to the sector, and ensuring a better match between products and demand.

A number of pioneers have started to develop innovative market-based solutions. Hystra has mapped and reviewed over 100 of these efforts, and visited 12 of the most promising initiatives. We are sharing some insights of this research here.

In dense urban areas, practitioners agree that sewer networks are the desirable long-term solution. However, the reality is that municipalities are not managing to cope with fast-paced urbanization. The toilet options for slum dwellers are often limited to poorly maintained collective toilets, or open defecation in the gutter.

In 2013, a team of innovators – from the design firm IDEO, the UK non-profit WSUP and Unilever –designed a new ‘portable toilet’ solution for dense urban areas. The latter consists of a modern-looking home toilet with a sealed container, which needs to be emptied every two to three days by a dedicated service team.

A social enterprise, Clean Team, was launched to promote and run this service in Kumasi, Ghana. Similar projects emerged in Peru (X-Runner) and Haiti (SOIL), and all came up with the same finding: families are ready to pay high fees (up to $10 per month) for the service, which therefore has the potential to be turned into a profitable business opportunity.

Read the complete article.