Category Archives: Resources

Recent WASH research

Community Based Problem Solving on Water Issues: Cross-Border “Priority Initiatives” of the Good Water Neighbors (GWN) ProjectEcoPeace, November 2016. This publication describes the 2016 efforts of EcoPeace’s GWN project team to identify environmental challenges and provide feasible solutions for “Priority Initiatives” in participating communities in Palestine, Jordan, and Israel.

A Long Way to Go—Estimates of Combined Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Coverage for 25 Sub-Saharan African CountriesPLoS One, February 2017. The authors state that estimates in this study help to quantify the scale of progress required to achieve universal water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) access as envisaged under the water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Monitoring and reporting changes in the proportion of the national population with access to WASH may be useful in focusing WASH policy and investments toward the areas of greatest need.

Recycling and Reuse of Treated Wastewater in Urban India: A Proposed Advisory and Guidance DocumentWater and Sanitation ProgramInternational Water Management Institute, 2016. This document on wastewater recycling and reuse in urban India focuses on identifying the economic benefits of wastewater recycling from the perspective of public spending. The note also provides supporting information on the evolution and current practices of wastewater recycling internationally.

Participatory Science and Innovation for Improved Sanitation and Hygiene: Process and Outcome Evaluation of Project SHINE, a School-Based Intervention in Rural TanzaniaBMC Public Health, February 2017. The Project SHINE model shows promise as an innovative capacity-building approach and for engagement and empowerment of youth and communities to develop locally sustainable strategies to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Business Models for Fecal Sludge ManagementInternational Water Management Institute, 2016. Based on the analysis of more than 40 fecal sludge management (FSM) cases from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, this report shows opportunities as well as bottlenecks that FSM is facing from an institutional and entrepreneurial perspective.

Chickens Don’t Use Toilets: Why Managing Animal Feces Helps Children Grow TallerWorld Bank Water Blog, February 2017. The authors recommend that the predominant WASH focus on reducing exposure to human feces needs updating by including animal feces.

Nonrandomized Trial of Feasibility and Acceptability of Strategies for Promotion of Soapy Water as a Handwashing Agent in Rural BangladeshAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, February 2017. Soapy water may increase habitual handwashing by addressing barriers of cost and availability of handwashing agents near water sources. Further research should inform optimal strategies to scale-up soapy water as a handwashing agent to study health impact.

33rd AGUASAN Workshop: “Circular economy – transforming waste into resources”

The 2017 AGUASAcircular-economyN Workshop will focus on analysing successful and failed approaches for transitioning from linear to circular water and sanitation models.

The workshop takes place from June 26 to 30, 2017 in Spiez, Switzerland.

Circular economy has great potential to drive the Water and Sanitation 2030 Agenda forward because it aligns directly with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.3 of improving water quality and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally and SDG 6.4 of substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensuring sustainable withdrawals.

Key questions and issues: 

  • What does the circular economy concept entail?
  • Which flows are relevant?
  • Which stakeholders need to be involved and how?
  • How can demand for recovered products be created?
  • In which context do these stakeholders act?
  • What are the drivers and barriers influencing the transition towards a circular economy?
  • Which circular economy approaches can we learn from for overcoming the identified
  • How should change from linear to circular water and sanitation be managed?
  • How can health risks be managed?
  • How to address public perceptions associated with recycling and reusing of human waste?

Please find the invitation letter, announcement and pre-registration on the website: Registrations will be accepted until March 19th, 2017.

AGUASAN is an interdisciplinary Swiss Community of Practice (CoP) that brings together a broad range of specialists to promote wider and deeper understanding of key water and sanitation management issues in developing and transition countries. It builds on committed sector professionals from various specialised institutions involved in Swiss development cooperation, humanitarian aid and research. Since 1984, the CoP provides an exemplary, vibrant and most pertinent exchange platform and think-tank serving the water sector, and constitutes an essential link in the innovation and knowledge management strategy of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Besides convening quarterly knowledge sharing events, every year members of the CoP organise an international AGUASAN Workshop in Switzerland


The Business of Sanitation for All – Toilet Board Coalition

Global Toilet Business Innovation and Investment Summit, 2016. Toilet Board Coalition.

It was a special honour to host over 250 leading businesses and stakeholders this past November in Mumbai at the Global Toilet Business Innovation and Investment Summit.

We have ventured to capture the energy in the room in a brief report sharing the highlights and themes throughout the three days, Nov 15-17 2016.

Please take a moment to take a look and discover the inspiring businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem enablers accelerating THE BUSINESS OF SANITATION FOR ALL!



Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice – Global Waters

Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice. Global Waters, February 6, 2017.

She told us all to just forget it. I didn’t catch her name, I just watched her adjust the microphone and stand on tiptoes at the podium. Her grey hair peeked out from behind and she sounded frustrated.


A poster showing good hand washing practices outside a community toilet in Delhi. Photo Credit: USAID/India

Forget the security. It won’t make a difference. Forget the caretakers and the cleaning supplies. We don’t need those. We just want sewer lines in our communities. That’s enough now. We want to use a toilet in our home.

The other women in the audience clearly agreed given the loud burst of applause when she mentioned sewer lines. Instead, she has a community toilet; that or the choice of squatting somewhere out in the open. Choosing between defecating in the open or using a community toilet is layered with far more complexities than I’d understood before.

My colleagues and I from USAID/India were spending the day at a workshop organized by our partner, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE). They’re in the early stages of a behavior change communication study that will help us understand why, even with access to community toilets, open defecation is still happening. There were about 100 people living in five slums across Delhi who had given up their day to tell us.

Read the complete article.

Rushing into solutions without fully grasping the problem

Which factors in the enabling environment and which links between actors are key to achieving reliable sanitation services?

Tanzania did not reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) concerning improved sanitation facilities in 2012 (JMP Report 2014). Several years later – in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there is still a lot to be done in the sanitation sector.

Angela Huston (IRC Programme Officer) and Dr Sara Gabrielsson (Assistant Professor at Lund University) are working on an upcoming book chapter about deconstructing the complexities that perpetuate poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in East Africa. Departing from Sustainability Science, the chapter aims to identify which factors in the enabling environment are key to achieving reliable WASH services. This article highlights Huston’s and Gabrielsson’s insights into this topic.

Continue reading

In Burkina Faso the political commitment for sanitation is unequivocal

The first lady of Burkina Faso has pledged her support for the “Fasotoilettes 2017” campaign.


IRC and their partners have been saying it for years: to achieve universal sanitation by 2030 (SDG6-2), the commitment of all stakeholders is essential – from the top to the active participation of citizens at grass roots level. We all remember that the President of Burkina Faso made water and sanitation a priority in his electoral campaign and since his election the Government has continued to show its commitment to sanitation and supports the participatory approach promoted by many NGOs by calling on all the citizens of Burkina to get involved.

And on 23 January, it is the wife of the President, Mrs. Sika Kaboré, who added her voice to this movement, showing the importance she accords to the subject by joining the people’s campaign for toilets, “FASOTOILETTES 2017, presiding the opening ceremony.


Fasotoilettes 2017 launch ceremony by Mrs Sika Kaboré

Continue reading

Recent sanitation research

Children with Access to Improved Sanitation but Not Improved Water Are at Lower Risk of Stunting Compared to Children without Access: A Cohort Study in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam. BMC Public Health, January 2017. Results from this study indicate that access to improved sanitation is more frequently associated with reduced stunting risk than access to improved water. However, additional studies are needed before drawing definitive conclusions about the impact of toilets relative to water.

Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections Fact Sheet. WHO, January 2017. With the goal of meeting the global target of eliminating soil-transmitted helminth infections by 2020, WHO updated this fact sheet with information on its strategy for control. It also provides information on global prevalence, transmission, and symptoms.

Universalising Water and Sanitation Coverage in Urban Areas: From Global Targets to Local Realities in Dar es Salaam, and Back. IIED, December 2016. This paper demonstrates how global monitoring often fails to reflect and support local efforts to improve water and sanitation in low-income settlements.

Solar Water Pumping: What You Need to Know. The World Bank, December 2016. The World Bank has developed an accessible and interactive knowledge base on photovoltaic water pumping (PVP). This online repository aims to raise awareness about the technology and provide resources that help incorporate PVP into operations.

Water and U.S. National Security: A CFR Discussion Paper. Council on Foreign Relations, January 2017. The author states that pragmatic policies are necessary to address global water issues, such as elevating the importance of water at the highest levels in the U.S. Government and developing public-private partnerships to increase water supplies, water conservation, and to waterproof at-risk infrastructure.

On the Identification of Associations between Five World Health Organization Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Phenotypes and Six Predictors in Low and Middle-Income Countries. PLoS One. January 2017. Using comprehensive WHO data on drinking water quality and sanitation in the developing world, this study seeks to determine which kinds of WASH interventions are most effective in improving public health outcomes, and an important corollary–whether the right things are being measured

School WASH Reports. WaterAid, December 2016. WaterAid recently published four reports that analyze the status of WASH in schools in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan. Each report draws policy and practice recommendations to contribute to sustainable and inclusive WASH services in schools.

Tracking Progress and Sustainability: Monitoring, Verification and Certification of CLTS. CLTS Knowledge Hub, January 2017. This learning brief considers the issues and challenges that are emerging around monitoring, verification, and certification as CLTS is being used at scale. While there has been progress, significant gaps in practice still remain.