Category Archives: Policy

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:

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.

New Video Offers Five Lessons for Sanitation Policy and Practice

A new video from Plan International and the Water Institute at UNC offers a preview of five exciting lessons on sanitation policy and practice, based on findings from operational research on community-led total sanitation (CLTS). These lessons relate to CLTS planning at the national and local levels, its place in national sanitation systems, and the importance of involving local actors. In particular, government officials, teachers, and natural leaders can play important roles in improving access to basic sanitation, and their involvement can ensure sustainable outcomes over time.

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF


Swachh Bharat  website photo

The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015


Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at the international level

Recognition human rights for WASH coverNew publication by Amnesty International and WASH United.

All UN Member States have recognised that the human right to water and the human right to sanitation are part of binding international human rights law.

This publication gathers the evidence of the universal recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation: it gives an overview of the most important resolutions and declarations that recognise the human rights to water and sanitation, including the positions that individual states have taken when those documents were adopted. For 77 countries, it also lists their individual positions and how these have changed over time.

The document has previously served as an internal reference guide for Amnesty International and WASH United. We are publishing it to help others identify the position that their country has taken on the human rights to water and sanitation, to advocate for the rights in their own national contexts, to ensure that these rights will not be ignored in the formulation and implementation of national water and sanitation laws and policy, and to help advance strategic litigation before national, regional and international justice mechanisms.

Gonzalez, C., Khalfan, A., Lande, L. van de, Neumeyer, H. and Scannellad, P., 2015. Recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation by UN Member States at the international level : an overview of resolutions and declarations
that recognise the human rights to water and sanitation. London, UK and Berlin, Germany: Amnesty International and WASH United. 124 p.

Available from WASH United website and Amnesty International website

Public Finance for WASH initiative launched


Today sees the launch of Public Finance for WASH, a research and advocacy initiative aiming to increase awareness of domestic public finance and its critical importance for water and sanitation provision in low-income countries. Check out our website

This is a collaborative initiative between IRC, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), and Trémolet Consulting. A key aim is to offer easy-to-read but rigorous information about domestic public finance solutions: our first three Finance Briefs are now available for download from our website, and over the coming year we will be building a comprehensive resource library.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page: what exactly is domestic public finance? Essentially, it’s money derived from domestic taxes, raised nationally (e.g. by the Kenyan government) or locally (e.g. by Nairobi’s municipal government). This money is going to be critical for achieving the water and sanitation SDGs: so how can we all work together to ensure that what we’re doing is supporting (not inhibiting) the development of effective public finance systems? And how can public finance be spent in ways that catalyse the development of dynamic markets for water and sanitation services?

To find out more, please check out the website. If you’d like to become involved in any way, get in touch!

From WASH to Environmental WASH: BRAC’s new strategy

BRAC LogoBRAC plans to expand its scope beyond WASH to water security and from rural to urban areas, as well as moving from service provider to facilitator.

The BRAC WASH Programme is rebranding. For 2016-2020 it will be renamed as the BRAC Environmental WASH Programme. This reflects the planned gradual expansion in scope beyond WASH towards water security and from rural areas towards low income small towns, urban areas and coastal areas. Specific areas of intervention include solid waste management at scale, faecal sludge management, water security and quality, enhanced secondary school programmes and alternative sanitation technologies at scale.

There will be a gradual shift in operating styles from direct service to facilitation, advocacy and joint implementation, learning and monitoring the impact of programmes. Operational partners will include Government at all levels, civil society, the private sector and other NGOs already operating in the same regions. Planning and budgeting will need to be flexible and adapted to specific regional needs, requiring on-going investment in staff and partners capacities.

The strategy builds on ten years of experience in large-scale rural WASH programming. Ongoing support to the rural population will continue and be enhanced, for example, dealing with the well-known challenge of sanitation in difficult hydrogeological settings, and will be integrated into other local BRAC programmes. Staffing will be reduced where earlier programmes have achieved their objectives and appear sustainable within existing institutional structures.

In terms of its financing, a mix is envisaged of grants, joint implementation of programmes with government and multi-lateral institutions and business models that apply market solutions to large scale change. Cost sharing and user payment in some activities will remain a feature of the programme. Direct BRAC support is being applied to programme development and piloting, for example, alternative water services in the coastal region.

Read the draft version of Strategy 2016 – 2020 BRAC Environmental WASH programme : everyone, everywhere, all the time.

See also IRC’s webpage on the BRAC WASH Programme.

The news item was orginally published on the IRC website on 16 January 2015

World Toilet Day: cities can’t wait

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to ‘systemically change sanitation in cities’. A new working paper marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population.

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

While more people in cities have access to toilets than in villages, both wastewater and solid waste remains largely untreated. Take Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh: 99 percent of the population use toilets but according to Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) a staggering 98 percent of their waste is dumped untreated in the enviroment [1].

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to tackle sanitation in cities. A new working paper “Towards Systemic Change in Urban Sanitation“, marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population. The problems in urban sanitation range from lack of facilities to lack of public funding and messy politics in urban governance.The root causes are systemic and technology alone is not the solution.

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