Category Archives: Sanitary Facilities

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.

Copy-of-household-toilet-120

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.

Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability: Nepal Learning Brief

Nepal UNC

Pour Flush Toilet in Nepal. Photo Credit: Vidya Venkataramanan

Plan International supports Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation in a number of districts in Nepal. In this learning brief, we review Plan International Nepal’s CLTS activities. We found government targets and definitions to be ambitious while decentralized planning allowed a focus on community-led processes. Plan International and other sanitation practitioners can support CLTS outcomes by providing post-triggering training and technical support to community volunteers, focusing on achieving gradual, yet sustained outcomes in program areas, and continuing to work with local governments to ensure that financing mechanisms for the poor are locally developed and equitable.

Link to learning brief: https://waterinstitute.unc.edu/files/2015/11/learning-series-nepal-learning-brief-2015-11.pdf

Citation: Community-led Total Sanitation in Nepal: Findings from an Implementation Case Study. Venkataramanan, Vidya, Alexandra Shannon, and Jennifer Bogle. 2015. Chapel Hill, USA: The Water Institute at UNC.

SUWASA Pathways for Urban Water and Sanitation

Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) is a regional initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by Tetra Tech, with a mission of fostering the transformation of water and sanitation delivery services in Africa to achieve long-term financial sustainability through the application of market-based principles.

The SUWASA Pathways are tools developed to share experiences, deliver key messages and provide links to useful resources such as manuals, case studies, templates and reports. pathway-intro-home

The SUWASA Pathways were developed by the SUWASA team in consultation with project partners including officials from government ministries, municipalities and regulatory agencies, utility managers, managers of dedicated funding units, private operators, commercial bank representatives, civil society and development partners.

The objective of the Pathways is to communicate complicated reform topics in a highly accessible manner to a broad range of sector stakeholders and to assist with envisioning and sequencing reform efforts. There are many possible reform paths, but the SUWASA Pathways offer viable reform routes. We hope these tools can be widely disseminated and used in the water and sanitation sector.

Available for download and viewing:

 

A toilet for 66 million people in rural Bangladesh

BRAC staff member on a household visit

BRAC staff member on a household visit

ik_pictureIn Bangladesh, the largest NGO in the world BRAC is working its way up to help the country to get proper sanitation. It has reached more than half of the population since the start 9 years ago. It is one of the world’s largest sanitation implementation programmes. IRC works with BRAC to make it happen. In this interview, IRC sanitation expert Ingeborg Krukkert tells her story about her work in Bangladesh. ”

Bangladesh is well on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030,” says Ingeborg Krukkert in IRC’s headquarters in The Hague. “This is undeniably due to BRAC because it’s serving half of the country. Bangladesh is a good example for others on how to achieve so much in such a short time. It is proof that change is possible.”

IRC’s Sanitation and hygiene specialist for Asia, Ingeborg Krukkert, travels to Bangladesh every two months to work with BRAC. Working on hygiene promotion and behavior change, she complements BRAC’s groundbreaking programme with IRC’s monitoring system to measure and enhance the true impact in sanitation and hygiene. Continue reading

Jasmine Burton – Innovation to sanitation through empathic design

When an industrial designer takes an empathic approach to a problem, the result can improve millions of lives. One such breakthrough is restoring dignity and hope to many who live in countries with little or no sanitation measures.

Jasmine Burton is improving public health and solving a neglected global challenge through empathic design.

Driven by a passion for serving others, Jasmine Burton not only sought a path to an education, but also a path to becoming a humanitarian for developing nations. Through the social impact organization, Wish for Wash, Jasmine is bringing innovation to sanitation through empathic design.

In 2014, she and Team Sanivation won the GT InVenture Prize for their Innovative and affordable mobile toilet product design, SafiChoo.

USAID Sanitation Webinar

USAID Sanitation Webinar, April 28, 2015

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation worldwide. In this webinar, USAID’s Jesse Shapiro discusses and responds to participant questions about the impacts of sanitation; critical challenges to improving sanitation; the sanitation ladder and service chain; and programmatic interventions to improve sanitation.

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Fecal Sludge Management (FSM)

Issue 176| Jan 30, 2015 | Focus on Fecal Sludge Management (FSM)

This issue highlights the recent conference on fecal sludge management in Vietnam; many of the abstracts from the conference are now available. Also included are new reports and articles from IRC; Water For People; the International Institute for Environment and Development; and country reports from Senegal, Vietnam, and Zambia. Also included are links to FSM tools and innovative organizations working on FSM issues.

EVENTS

FSM3, 3rd International Faecal Sludge Management Conference, Hanoi, Vietnam, January 18–21, 2015. Conference website | Conference abstracts page set up by SuSanA
The purpose of this conference was to present innovative solutions to FSM issues. Also, Jonathan Annis from WASHplus made a presentation on low-cost technologies to improve traditional sludge practices in Madagascar. Link to WASHplus presentation.

REPORTS/ARTICLES

Achieving Systemic Change in Faecal Sludge Management, 2015. G Galli, IRC. Link
FSM is a critical element of sanitation in dense urban centers, but poor practices are causing disease outbreaks. The multiple actors, institutions, and organizations involved in urban sanitation can address the problem by acting in coordination to shift the focus from building infrastructure to providing and maintaining safe services under government leadership. This briefing note proposes a process for achieving transformational change.

Strengthening Public Sector Enabling Environments to Support Sanitation Enterprises, 2014. Water For People. Link
Water For People is piloting sanitation business approaches and seeks to discover under what conditions these approaches are successful. Public sector influence is one condition that has the potential to facilitate or hinder private sector sanitation endeavors. This study aims to understand: 1) how the public sector enabling environment can facilitate or hinder low-cost sanitation enterprises and 2) how NGOs can effectively engage the public sector to support sanitation businesses. Data were collected from Water For People staff and partners in nine countries, and summary case studies were coded to identify prevailing themes.

Continue reading