Category Archives: Regions

USAID/West Africa Sanitation Service Delivery – Making Kumasi a Cleaner City

Making Kumasi a Cleaner City, Sept 2015. Source: PSI Impact |

Sanitation Service Delivery (SSD) is a USAID/West Africa regional urban sanitation project that is implemented by PSI in collaboration with PATH and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). The project aims to improve sanitation outcomes by developing and testing scalable business models that engage private sector service providers and by contributing to the creation of a strong enabling environment for sanitation in West Africa. WSUP plays a vital role in supporting government partnership efforts to strengthen public support for improved sanitation and fecal sludge management (FSM) services in Ghana — an important aspect of the SSD. 

Photo Credit: Dana Ward

Photo Credit: Dana Ward

Highlighting the important role governments will play in this endeavor, Dana Ward, PSI country representative in Ghana and chief of party for Sanitation Service Delivery (SSD) Project in Ghana, Benin, and Cote d’Ivore caught up with Anthony Mensah, director, Waste Management Department Kumasi Metropolitan Authority (KMA), about the city’s strategy to make Kumasi among the five cleanest cities in Africa.

In this Q&A, Anthony Mensah responds to questions on successes and challenges of the Kumasi program. Read the complete article.

Plan International – Testing CLTS Approaches for Scalability: Lao PDR Learning Brief

Community-led Total Sanitation in Lao PDR: Findings from an Implementation Case Study, 2015.

Plan International supports Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) implementation in a number of districts in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). In this learning brief, we review Plan International Laos’ CLTS activities.

We found that they have formed a strong working relationship with the national government and directly involved district government and community leaders in CLTS implementation.

“Open Defecation Signage” credit to Plan International/Alf Berg

“Open Defecation Signage” credit to Plan International/Alf Berg

Plan International Laos and other sanitation practitioners can support further progress by strengthening community selection for CLTS, expanding the cadre of CLTS trainers, and advocating for formal recognition and accountability of district government in the CLTS process.

Link to project website:

Survey on sanitation in flood-prone areas – George Washington University

Dear WASH colleagues,

I am a masters student at the George Washington University (in the U.S.). As part of my thesis, I am collaborating on research that aims to better understand the options for sanitation in flood-prone areas. The aims of the study are to identify best practices, barriers, and technical methods for the implementation of sanitation in flood-prone areas. If you have had experience working on sanitation in flood-prone areas, I would greatly appreciate you sharing your experiences.  If you are willing, I invite you to participate in the following brief online survey: Survey on Sanitation in Flood Prone Areas

In addition to the online surveys, I will be conducting in-depth qualitative interviews with individuals who work on sanitation in flood-prone areas in Cambodia.  If you have implemented a sanitation project in a flood-prone area in Cambodia, and you’re interested in being part of the study, please let me know and I will forward you the informed consent form to enroll you in the study. The interview should take less than 30 minutes and can be conducted over skype, Google hangout, or over the phone, at your convenience.

Finally, if you believe that you know of someone who would be suited for this study, please feel free to forward me his or her contact information.  I appreciate your time and assistance, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

Jason Lopez, MPH Candidate – Global Environmental Health
The George Washington University
+1 (202) 999-8226
Skype: jas.lop l LinkedIn


Now available on WSUP-website for free download: masters-level professional training module “Water and Sanitation for Urban Low-Income Communities”

WSUP/WEDC have developed a teaching resource on urban WASH that is now available online for free, It aims at helping the urban WASH sector to professionalize. We hope it will be helpful for academics and practitioners to use or adapt if they feel it can be of value to them.

In short: this is a masters-level professional training module called “Water and Sanitation for Urban Low-Income Communities”. It was primarily designed to give engineering masters students in low-income countries an overview of things they need to know in order to apply their technical skills in low-income communities, and that’s how WSUP and WEDC are currently using it, in partnership with universities in Africa and Asia. But of course it may be adaptable to other teaching contexts.

It’s designed for classroom delivery, over about 45 hours of contact time. It’s made up of 16 thematic units, and within each unit the materials essentially comprise a Powerpoint presentation plus Lecturer Notes outlining the unit’s aims and content, and providing guidance on how to deliver the class. Some units are flexible in content, to enable adaptation to local contexts.

It can be delivered as an off-the shelf package; or you might want to cut-and-paste parts of it into your own materials; or you might simply use it as guidance in developing other materials.

It’s absolutely free to download, but we do ask that you fill in a brief Use Request Form explaining who you are and how you might use it: evidently, it’s useful for us to be able to communicate this to the funder of the work (DFID).


For information, we expect to have a French-language version available within the next few months.

The module was developed by (alphabetical order): Louise Medland, Guy Norman, Brian Reed, Pippa Scott, Regine Skarubowiz, and Ian Smout; inputs also came from Richard Franceys and Valentina Zuin.

WaterAid/Cambodia – The HandyPod: sanitation for floating communities in Cambodia

The HandyPod: sanitation for floating communities in Cambodia | Source: WaterAid, July 2015 |

Building safe and sustainable sanitation systems is a huge challenge for many poor communities, but when homes are built over water a new dimension is added. James Wicken, WaterAid Country Representative for Cambodia, looks at a new solution to the problem faced by Cambodia’s floating villages.

A challenging environment for sanitation

For Cambodia to reach the Government’s target of universal access to sanitation by 2025, people living in these types of areas need sustainable solutions. In Cambodia, an estimated 25-45% of the population lives in ‘challenging environments’ such as floating villages. It is often the poorest people who can’t afford to own land who live in such places, and these populations are expected to grow, especially in cities as poor people continue to migrate. Cambodia is not alone – these informal settlements are found in many countries, such as Myanmar, Malaysia, Nigeria and Indonesia. floatinghouse

Because of WaterAid’s focus on equity and inclusion, these populations came on to our radar in our first year of work in Cambodia. WaterAid is partnering with a social enterprise calledWetlands Work! to test one potential solution – called the HandyPod – on the Tonlé Sap lake.

When people living in the lake’s floating villages – who number well over 100,000 – need to go to the toilet, they take a boat to a secluded spot on the lake, go into the surrounding forest, or at night may squat off the side of their floating house. This same water around the houses is used to wash dishes and clothes. Young children swim in it.

Introducing: the HandyPod

The HandyPod took Wetlands Work! years to design, test and redesign. Resembling a floating garden, or a child’s paddling pool with a garden in it, it contains a man-made wetland filled with water hyacinths.

In the system, a normal porcelain squat toilet on the back of a floating house connects to a drum where the anaerobic (oxygen-less) processes take place. From here, the waste passes through to the HandyPod floating nearby, where the roots of water hyacinths further break down the waste before it passes into the lake. Wetlands Work! regularly collects water samples in the area around the pods, to ensure the quality conforms to Cambodian standards.

Read the complete article.

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria | Source: Council on Foreign Relations Blog, July 23, 2015 |

This is a guest post by Anna Bezruki, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Global Health Program. She studies biology at Bryn Mawr College.

According to the final report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) released earlier this month, more than a third of the world population (2.4 billion) is still without improved sanitation.

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

The target to halve the global population without adequate toilets by 2015 has not been reached. Consequently, sanitation has been pushed on to the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Although India is perhaps the most widely cited failure, accounting for roughly half of open defecation worldwide, it is at least making progress toward the SDG target. The same cannot be said for Nigeria. Lacking the political infrastructure to reform sanitation and faced with security and political concerns that overshadow development goals, Nigeria is struggling to reverse the trend.

Unlike in India, where the percentage of people with access to a toilet shared by only one family increased by eighteen points between 1990 and 2012, that percentage declined in Nigeria from 37 to 28 percent.

This incongruity is best illustrated by the fact that there are more than three times as many cell phones in Nigeria as people who have access to adequate toilets. This means thirty-nine million defecate outside, sixteen million more today than in 1990.

Poor sanitation contributes to diarrheal diseases and malnutrition through fecal contamination of food and water. One gram of feces can contain one hundred parasite eggs, one million bacteria, and ten million viruses.

Diarrheal diseases kill approximately 121,800 Nigerians, including 87,100 children under the age of five each year. Eighty-eight percent of those deaths are attributed to poor sanitation. Poor sanitation is thought to strain the immune system to the point that permanent stunting and other manifestations of malnutrition can result.

More than 40 percent of Nigerian children under the age of five are stunted, and malnutrition is the underlying cause of death in more than 50 percent of the approximately 804,000 deaths annually in the same age range.

The impact of inadequate toilets goes beyond hazardous exposure to feces. A survey conducted by WaterAid, a nonprofit organization focusing on providing safe water and sanitation access, in a Lagos slum revealed that the 69 percent of women and girls without access to toilets are at higher risk of verbal and physical harassment when they relieve themselves.

The effects of poor sanitation are also costing Nigeria economically. The Nigerian Water and Sanitation Program estimates that poor sanitation costs the country at least three billion U.S. dollars each year in lost productivity and health care expenditures.

While estimates vary, in 2011, Nigeria invested approximately $550 million, less than 0.1 percent of GDP, on sanitation, a number which has likely decreased since then. This is less than a quarter of the approximately $2.3 billion annually that would have been necessary to meet the MDG target.

It will take more than money and infrastructure to fix Nigeria’s sanitation. Even if investments were to sufficiently rise, the lack of a single government entity with complete responsibility for sanitation within the government, as well as widespread corruption and a lack of community support, would likely hamper efforts.

Providing latrines without first creating demand within the community has failed repeatedly, including in India, where latrines have been repurposed for extra storage. There are also other problems, like a treasury emptied by corruption and the war on Boko Haram, that top President Buhari’s agenda.

While these are immediate threats that require intense focus, sanitation is an essential long-term investment that will help Nigeria grow.  

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives | Source: Huffington Post, July 8 2015 |

Cambodia has the lowest access to sanitation in all of Southeast Asia, and as a result more than 10,000 children die every year due to diarrheal diseases, according to WaterAid. watershed

To help curb those figures, nonprofit WaterSHED recently released the LaBobo, a portable and inexpensive sink whose colorful design encourages kids to improve their hygiene habits.

Read more