Category Archives: Africa

USAID Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project (KIWASH)

USAID Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Project (KIWASH)

KIWASH aims to enable more than one million Kenyans across 9 counties to gain access to improved WASH services & increase access to irrigation & nutrition. kiwash

We are working with Geodesic Water Company in Kamulu, Nairobi County to increase household connections and access to water services, and improve reliability of water supply for more people.

Find out what KIWASH is doing to promote commercial lending to the Kenyan water sector.

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi. PLoS ONE 11(8): 2016.

Authors: Richard M. Chunga1, Jeroen H. J. Ensink, Marion W. Jenkins, Joe Brown

This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods study examining adaptation strategies that property owners in low-income, rapidly urbanizing areas in Malawi adopt to address the limitations of pit latrines, the most common method of disposing human excreta. A particular challenge is lack of space for constructing new latrines as population density increases: traditional practice has been to cap full pits and simply move to a new site, but increasing demands on space require new approaches to extend the service life of latrines.

In this context, we collected data on sanitation technology choices from January to September 2013 through 48 in-depth interviews and a stated preference survey targeting 1,300 property owners from 27 low-income urban areas. Results showed that property owners with concern about space for replacing pit latrines were 1.8 times more likely to select pit emptying service over the construction of new pit latrines with a slab floor (p = 0.02) but there was no significant association between concern about space for replacing pit latrines and intention to adopt locally promoted, novel sanitation technology known as ecological sanitation (ecosan).

Property owners preferred to adapt existing, known technology by constructing
replacement pit latrines on old pit latrine locations, reducing the frequency of replacing pit latrines, or via emptying pit latrines when full.

This study highlights potential challenges to adoption of wholly new sanitation technologies, even when they present clear advantages to end users. To scale, alternative sanitation technologies for rapidly urbanising cities should offer clear advantages, be affordable, be easy to use when shared among multiple households, and their design should be informed by existing adaptation strategies and local knowledge.

At stake in Johannesburg’s ‘recycling wars’: more than trash

At stake in Johannesburg’s ‘recycling wars’: more than trash. Christian Science Monitor, April 2017.

Informal and formal sectors of the economy work side-by-side in many African nations – but can they work together?

APRIL 11, 2017 JOHANNESBURG—In another lifetime, Louis Mahlangu was an electrician. It was a good job, challenging and respectable, the kind of profession that could make his family proud. wastepickers

There was just one problem.

“There was no work,” he says. No matter how hard he looked, Mr. Mahlangu was barely finding enough jobs to scrape by. Then his sister invited him to tag along to her job. The hours were good, she promised, and the pay – well, it was better than anything he was likely to earn replacing wiring in suburban houses.

And so he put on a pair of rubber rain boots, hiked to the top of a squelching mountain of Johannesburg’s garbage, and began digging for plastic.

Twenty-two years later, he’s still there, along with thousands of others like him, collecting dinged Coke bottles and pulverized yogurt cartons discarded by the city’s residents and selling them on to private recycling companies. At his peak, Mahlangu says, he made up to $1000 each month, a respectable wage in a country where the newly proposed minimum wage is around $250 per month.

Read the complete article.

Active trachoma and community use of sanitation, Ethiopia

Active trachoma and community use of sanitation, Ethiopia. WHO Bulletin, April 2017.

Objective – To investigate, in Amhara, Ethiopia, the association between prevalence of active trachoma among children aged 1–9 years and community sanitation usage.

Methods – Between 2011 and 2014, prevalence of trachoma and household pit latrine usage were measured in five population-based cross-sectional surveys.

Data on observed indicators of latrine use were aggregated into a measure of community sanitation usage calculated as the proportion of households with a latrine in use. blt-logo

All household members were examined for clinical signs, i.e. trachomatous inflammation, follicular and/or intense, indicative of active trachoma.

Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate prevalence odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for community, household and individual factors, and to evaluate modification by household latrine use and water access.

Findings – In surveyed areas, prevalence of active trachoma among children was estimated to be 29% (95% CI: 28–30) and mean community sanitation usage was 47% (95% CI: 45–48). Despite significant modification (p < 0.0001), no pattern in stratified ORs was detected.

Summarizing across strata, community sanitation usage values of 60 to < 80% and ≥ 80% were associated with lower prevalence odds of active trachoma, compared with community sanitation usage of < 20% (OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.57–1.03 and OR: 0.67; 95% CI: 0.48–0.95, respectively).

Conclusion – In Amhara, Ethiopia, a negative correlation was observed between community sanitation usage and prevalence of active trachoma among children, highlighting the need for continued efforts to encourage higher levels of sanitation usage and to support sustained use throughout the community, not simply at the household level.

Could alternative sanitation help South Africa’s water security?

Could alternative sanitation help SA’s water security? Infrastructure News, April 3, 2017.

As the 30th driest country in the world, South Africa is facing greater water security challenges with increasing periods of drought and unpredictable rainfall patterns.

According to a case study on alternative sanitation for water security done by Tomorrow Matters Now, 19.5% of South Africans are still without an improved sanitation service and 4.9% of South Africans have no access to sanitation. Caption-2-Knight-Piesold-768x510

For 60% of water management systems, water demand is overtaken by supply, while 98% of our available water resources are already being used. At the same time, South Africa’s water and sanitation infrastructure is crumbling because of a chronic lack of investment.

Local municipalities are faced with these challenges and its effects on a daily basis.

Some of these include the age old problems of institutional or financial shortcomings and capacity constraints, a delay in sanitation services linked to a delay in housing, and the continued maintenance and improvement of basic sanitation.

Waste management has also become an increasing problem with water treatment plants having released raw sewage into rivers in the past due to poor management and maintenance backlogs.

The case study found the need for alternative means of sanitation.

Providing universal access to conventional waterborne sanitation is one of government’s biggest challenges, and the critical aspects of hygiene and dignity, as well as a healthy and resilient environment need to be addressed.

The study said that ‘flushing’ cannot be the solution as we cannot continue to use clean, potable water to flush waste. “We need game-changing new technologies which require little or no water,” the findings suggested.

Read the complete article.

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya – Global Waters

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya. Global Waters, March 2017.

Picture a rural household in Kisumu, Kenya. Kale, cowpeas, tomatoes, and butternut grow in a kitchen garden fed by a drip irrigation system. Children help harvest these vegetables for the stew that complements their family’s diet, formally reliant on maize and sorghum. A handwashing station adjacent to the cooking hut and the improved latrine remind family members to wash with soap at critical times.

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A farmer works in a greenhouse at a KIWASH-supported agriculture and nutrition demonstration farm in the largest health facility in Kisumu county. Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego, USAID KIWASH

Thanks to a new community solar-powered borehole, the family is no longer solely dependent on what the rain provides for drinking water. The family garden produces more food than is needed, and the remainder is sold to provide additional income.

Unlike millions of Kenyans, this family is overcoming the cycle of food insecurity, diarrheal disease, malnutrition, and poverty with the support of USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project.

Working to improve the lives and health of one million Kenyans in nine counties, the five-year project (2015–2020) focuses on the development and management of sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and increased access to irrigation and nutrition services.

Read the complete article.

Local governance and sanitation: Eight lessons from Uganda

The magnitude of the sanitation crisis means that sanitation and hygiene solutions must be delivered sustainably, and on a large scale. This requires the close involvement of government at all levels. A new case study outlines eight lessons from the Global Sanitation Fund-supported Uganda Sanitation Fund in coordinating, planning, and implementing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at scale through a decentralized government system.

Download the case study or read the feature article on wsscc.org.

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Local government health workers and latrine owners proudly display an improved latrine in Lira district, Uganda.©WSSCC/USF