Category Archives: Progress on Sanitation

Faecal Sludge Management: WASH in Emergencies Problem Exploration Report

WASH in Emergencies Problem Exploration Report: Faecal Sludge Management, 2016. Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF).

This report puts forward a few areas for further exploration and development.

Easy to implement, portable toilet systems: New toilet system designs are needed that can allow for the better management of faecal sludge accumulation and can facilitate regular emptying. The designs should also consider the integration of additive mixing and dosing devices.

Standardised guidelines for assessing existing sanitation equipment: Guidelines could propose a method for evaluating available local equipment such as sewer trucks (e.g. number, state, storage capacity, spare parts and connecting), and other tools such as de-sludging pumps.

New protocols for the treatment and control of faecal sludge accumulation: Studies have shown that it is more reliable to consider the control of the accumulation before the latrine is in use, than to try to absolutely reduce existing sludge volume. It is clear that some additives work but further research is needed to understand how and when to use these. Research and experimentation studies should continue to test and compare bio-additives, as well as define new protocols and objectives.

Evaluation of speedy aerobic and anaerobic treatment concepts: Additional research needs to be carried out to assess the field effectiveness of both speedy aerobic and anaerobic treatment concepts in reducing the volume of sludge collected from pits. For anaerobic process concepts, feasibility studies can also help determine if biogas resulting from the process can be used for downstream application.

Guidelines for assessing and improving dumping sites: Practical guidelines for assessing existing dumping sites would be very beneficial, as well as suggested solutions and options on how to improve the capacity of storing and disposing of faecal sludge during a period of emergency. However, even with such guidelines, the process would not be straightforward as setting up or improving a dumping site requires skilled people, qualified in the area of environmental engineering.

USAID solicitation – Sustainable WASH Systems

This BAA serves to inform the public of the opportunity for potential funding from USAID to address the sustainability of WASH service delivery.  The BAA includes specific requirements for evaluation criteria and administrative information, such as formatting and deadlines.

USAID and other development organizations struggle with the sustainability of their WASH sector investments.  Over the last 20 years, failed hand pumps in Africa represent a total lost investment of between $1.2 and $1.5 billion, with 30-40% of rural water systems failing prematurely, and more than half of all subsidized toilets are unused, misused or abandoned. usaid-logo-jpg

Fewer than 5% of WASH projects are visited after project conclusion.  USAID defines sustainable WASH as being “achieved when country partners and communities take ownership of the service and there are local systems to deliver inputs needed to maintain results and deliver impacts beyond the life of USAID projects.”

Through the BAA process, USAID seeks to address the lack of sustainability of WASH programming by partnering with one or more organizations with advanced technical knowledge of the WASH sector and systems analysis.

This partnership will design, develop, and test a new methodology for using systems analysis, multi-stakeholder initiatives and continuous learning and information dissemination to improve the impact and sustainability of USAID WASH programming.

The Performance Objective is to develop and test a systems-based methodology for improved sustainability in WASH programming that will be used to better understand and engage the local system in their WASH activities.

The Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Clean Water and Sanitation

Published on Sep 17, 2015

United Nations – What makes it so difficult for some people to have access to water? Why are there millions of people in the world without access to a toilet? Does this issue only affect developing countries? Water and Sanitation Expert Leanne Burney from UN DESA answers all these questions on Goal #6.

Find out more about water and sanitation at….

For a list of all the goals see:


Toilet tech proves that where there’s muck there’s brass

Toilet tech proves that where there’s muck there’s brass | Source: by Gabriella Mulligan, BBC News, Jan 26 2016.

Nearly a third of the world’s population still has no access to safe, hygienic sanitation. This means they have to go the toilet out in the open – in the bush, fields or forests.

This leads to about 700,000 deaths each year from related diseases, says the World Bank, and stops children getting a proper education.


Sanergy turns human waste into organic fertiliser and sells it to farmers.

“Sanitation lies at the root of many other development challenges, as poor sanitation impacts public health, education, and the environment,” says Jyoti Shukla, senior manager of the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).

So what are the technology innovations helping to address this issue, and is the private sector better placed than the public sector to implement these solutions?

‘Cool’ toilets

One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to make universal access to safe sanitation and water a reality by 2030.

“The stakes are high: stunting and malnutrition are directly related to poor sanitation; quality of learning and productivity is affected by sanitation; and dignity and empowerment of women and girls is influenced by how we deliver sanitation,” says Ms Shukla.

Read the complete article.

USAID changed its water and sanitation priorities and it makes a lot of sense

USAID changed its water and sanitation priorities and it makes a lot of sense | Source: by Bree Dyer, Global Citizen, Jan 26, 2016.

In 2014 the US Congress passed the Water for the World Act, a bill that is designed to address the needs of over one-third of the world’s population who lack access to basic sanitation or clean water. With this legislation the President and US Government are required to define USAID priority countries for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). These countries are where a major investment will be made to significantly increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation.


Image: Flickr, USAID

Yesterday, USAID released the first list of 13 priority countries that will receive aid during the 2016 fiscal year. Being selected as a priority country means that the countries will see an increase in water, sanitation and hygiene standards.

The list of priority countries for 2016 is:

  • Afghanistan
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • Indonesia
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Nigeria
  • South Sudan
  • Uganda
  • West Bank/Gaza

These countries were chosen based on their level of need, and the level of their commitment. Need was assessed through global data sets on the number and proportion of people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as the rates of under-five child mortality due to diarrheal disease.

Read the complete article.

Waste not, want not: 8 surprising uses for your poo

Waste not, want not: 8 surprising uses for your poo. Source: Science Focus, Jan. 29, 2016.

Each day, we could be flushing millions of pounds in poop down our collective loos. Zoe Cormier examines eight ways the world can harness human waste.

Transport fuel

Methane is a simple product that can be created from human faeces. The main ingredient in the natural gas that is tapped from the ground before running throughout the national grid, methane heats our homes and cooks our food.


The gas is stored in the top of the Bio-Bus. Its CO2 emissions are around 20-30 per cent lower 
than those from diesel (© GENeco)

But it can also be produced in anaerobic digesters, in which microbes degrade food scraps and other organic material in the absence of oxygen. Methane can even be made straight from sewage.

To prove that ‘not everything we flush goes to waste’, the FirstGroup transport company is running the first bus in the UK powered by poo. The Bio-Bus – launched in March 2015 – uses biomethane provided from the GENeco waste recycling and renewable energy facility in Avonmouth. The 41-seater bus runs along the aptly named number 2 route that links Cribbs Causeway in north Bristol to the south of the city.

The innovative vehicle can run for up to 300 kilometres on one tank (the equivalent of five people’s annual flushes). If successful, and if riders approve of travelling on human emissions, the company hopes to roll out even more ‘poo buses’.

Read the complete article.

John Sauer -3 ways development NGOs can increase their impact in 2016

3 ways development NGOs can increase their impact in 2016. Source: by John Sauer, Senior Technical Advisor for PSI’s WASH program, PSIIMPACT, Jan 7 2016.

First the good news: the number of deaths of children under 5 years of age was more than cut in half between 1990 and 2015.

As the global development community transitions from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), impressive stats like these help to buoy our spirits. Which we need, because we all know: there is much work still to be done.


Children in Sindh, Pakistan, play at a water pump in a village near Dadu, in Sindh, Pakistan. Photo Credit: DFID/ Russell Watkins/ Department for International Development

For those of us working in the field of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), the benchmarks for improving sanitation and fecal sludge management services for 2.4 billion (or possibly more) people, remain seriously off track. And with the expansion of the MDGs from eight goals to the 17 contained in the SDGs, many actors in differing sectors will have to think creatively about how to meet the need for resources, innovation and collaboration.

For the past 15 years, international NGOs have been at the forefront of ensuring progress on the MDGs, and we should celebrate this. But if we truly want to solve these problems in our lifetimes, we need to do even more. Below I outline three ways in which NGOs can work more effectively in the coming 15 years.

Read the complete article.