Category Archives: Publications

Microfinance as a potential cataylst for improved sanitation

. Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People

. Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People

Microfinance allows middle- and lower-income households to invest in desirable sanitation products, so that public funding can be freed up to reach the poorest, according to Water for People (WfP). In a new report [1], WfP reviews their experiences in piloting various lending models in seven countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda.

The report provides lessons and recommendations for donors wishing to engage in sanitation microfinancing. The four key recommendations are:

  1. Think like a business
  2. Support lending institutions based on the microfinance climate and capacity needs
  3. Build an autonomous sanitation microfinance market
  4. Track progress and lessons

The report is part of WfP’s Sanitation as a Business (SaaB) program, funded by a Gates Foundation grant.

Read the full report

[1]  Chatterley, C. et al, 2013. Microfinance as a potential catalyst for improved sanitation : a synthesis of Water For People’s sanitation lending experiences in seven countries. Denver, CO,USA: Water For People. Available at: <http://www.waterforpeople.org/assets/files/sanitation-microfinance.pdf>

Source: Christie Chatterley et al., Microfinance as a potential cataylst for improved sanitation, Water for People, 27 Dec 2013

A Market Led, Evidence Based Approach to Rural Sanitation

Monitor Inclusive Markets, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has written a white paper titled “A Market Led, Evidence Based Approach to Rural Sanitation” on supply side market-based approaches to scale rural sanitation in India, based mainly on findings from the PSI-led “Supporting Sustainable Sanitation Improvements” (3SI) project in Bihar and supplemented by additional investigation of interventions in other parts of India.

The white paper explains that demand for toilets does exist in rural India, and the availability of quality and affordable products as well as financing are key levers to unlocking this demand. It goes on to propose business models that could profitably deliver solutions that meet customer needs, and highlights players in the sanitation ecosystem who could serve as the “market maker,” conducting market-building activities and creating an enabling environment for growth.

Please visit www.inclusive-markets.org/sanitation to see a more complete set of outputs from the 3SI project as well as annexures to the white paper providing overviews of some organizations already delivering sanitation solutions or providing sanitation financing in rural India.

Impact of WASH in improving health of school children reviewed

More attention should be given to the assessment of nutrition practices when assessing the impact of WASH on the health of school children. We also don’t know enough about the long term impact of WASH interventions on child health. These are some of the conclusions that researchers from the Center for Global Health and Development at the the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) drew from a review of the literature [1].

Dr. Ashish Joshi and research assistant Chioma Amadi reviewed the impact of water treatment, hygiene, and sanitary interventions on improving child health outcomes such as absenteeism, infections, knowledge, attitudes, and practices and adoption of point-of-use water treatment.  For their final analysis they selected 15 peer-reviewed English-language studies published between 2009 and 2012 that focused on the effects of access to safe water, hand washing facilities, and hygiene education among school-age children.

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Undoing inequity: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all

UK Under Secretary of State for International Development Lynne Featherstone visiting SHARE-funded Undoing Inequity programme in Uganda. Photo: SHARE/WaterAid

WaterAid is currently carrying out a SHARE-funded action research project in Zambia and Uganda in collaboration with WEDC and the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre (LCD), called Undoing Inequity: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes that deliver for all.  The project aims to generate rigorous evidence about how a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) impacts on the lives of disabled, older persons and people living with a chronic illness; understand the barriers they face, develop and test an inclusive WASH approach to address those barriers and influence key policy and decision makers to mainstream inclusive WASH within development.

As part of this project, Hazel Jones (WEDC) has written a report titled Mainstreaming disability and ageing in water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.  This report recognises that progress on the MDGs is not happening in an equitable way.  A drive for increasing coverage of basic services, such as WASH has meant that people who are ‘harder to reach’, such as disabled and older people often remain un-served.

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“We Can’t Wait”, say WSSCC, Unilever and WaterAid on World Toilet Day

We Can’t Wait – Governments, civil society and business should work together to tackle sanitation for women’s health; say Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Unilever and WaterAid

Dowwload the report here. 

ImageA collaborative approach between governments, civil society and business is essential to getting the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target back on track. This is critical to improve the health and prosperity of women worldwide, says a new report jointly published by the United Nations hosted organisation Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, international development organisation WaterAid and Unilever’s leading toilet brand Domestos.

The report, We Can’t Wait, was presented today at a UN event in New York which celebrates recognition of the first official World Toilet Day. The day serves to remind the world that over 2.5 billion people lack access to an adequate toilet, with devastating consequences in particular for the well-being, health, education and empowerment of women and girls worldwide.

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India, urban sanitation, and the toilet challenge

India, urban sanitation, and the toilet challenge, 2013.

Elledge, M.F., McClatchey, M. RTI International. rti

This research brief builds upon a literature review and stakeholder interviews in India on urban sanitation to examine the public policy landscape for sanitation innovation in the country. India ranks low in terms of sanitation coverage; the country experiences very high rates of open defecation and significant use of unimproved toilets. The majority of fecal sludge goes untreated into waterways in urban areas. India’s demographic trends show rapid urban growth, both geographically and in terms of population, which is also expanding the gap in access to improved sanitation in urban areas. Adequate government funding and policy implementation is lacking.

The past focus on centralized sewerage systems and simple on-site sanitation is not an acceptable default option, nor is it technically feasible or financially viable given growth patterns. Groundbreaking new technology, management, and operational models are required to solve the sanitation challenge at scale. Recent attention from the donor community, the private sector, and others brings focus to using innovation to solve the sanitation challenge. This review highlights that urban sanitation is under-researched. More work is required to spur funding, inform technology development, and support the policy-enabling environment for bringing in new approaches to improved urban sanitation.

Achieving sustainability: encouraging local government investment

Substantial local government investment is essential for sustainable services, but difficult to achieve. Barriers include institutional lack of clarity over responsibilities (particularly in sanitation provision), weak capacity to collect and manage revenues, unpredictable transfers from national to local government, and a lack of data on past spending and its effectiveness. This Practice Note looks at some ways in which WSUP and Water For People are working to strengthen this link in the investment chain.

PN013_Encouraging local government investment-1

Achieving sustainability: guiding entrepreneurs to independence

Supporting entrepreneurs to start up viable sanitation businesses can be relatively straightforward. However, challenges typically arise in the transition from donor-supported start-up to true independence. This Practice Note looks at the obstacles that need to be overcome in growing start-up businesses to become fully self-sustaining, and discusses how progress can be made.

PN012_Guiding entrepreneurs to independence-1

This Practice Note is the first in a two-part series on Achieving Sustainability, drawing on programme experience from WSUP and Water for People.

Big business pledge for access to WASH @ workplace

Investing in employee WASH = healthy and more productive employees.

This simple business logic inspired  WBCSD, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, to  launch a “Pledge for Access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at the Workplace”.

Big names like Nestlé, Greif, Borealis AG, EDF, Deloitte LLP, Roche Group, Unilever and the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC)  have already signed up. These companies pledge to provide access to WASH at the workplace for employees in all locations under their control within three years.

The longer term vision is to “go beyond the fence to advocate for access for all employees along the value chain and ultimately employee homes and communities where employees live”.

More information can be found in two documents:

The guiding principles document includes two cost-benefit calculation examples for investments in urban WASH (piped water + septic tanks) and rural WASH (wells + pit latrines).

The WBCSD has been active on water issues for over 15 years. Around 60 companies and 18 regional network partners are members of the WBCSD Water Working Group, of which 28 member companies, representing 11 business sectors, constitute the Water Leadership Group.

Within the WBCSD  Water Working Group, Borealis AG leads the WASH “pathway” group promoting “business action for access to safe water and sanitation at scale”.

Source: WBCSD, 04 Sep 2013

What happens when the pit latrine is full?

Faecal sludge management seems to be the flavour of the month. Now it is the theme of the July edition of Waterlines. In the editorial Prof. Richard Carter writes:

In the typical population densities of urban slums, a sludge volume of between 5,000 and 10,000 cubic metres is produced every year per square kilometre of inhabited land. This overflows – or is deliberately caused to overflow – from full pit latrines. it contaminates soil, homes, surface water, and groundwater, with inevitable impacts on human health.

This issue of Waterlines includes the following four papers, which:

reinforce the message that the problems of faecal sludge management require systematic solutions which pay due attention to technology, economy and demand, business models and business planning, and public policy and institutions.

Adventures in search of the ideal portable pit-emptying machine,  p. 187-199
David Still, Mark O’Riordan, Angus McBride, et al.
DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.2013.020

The importance of understanding the market when designing pit-emptying devices,  p. 200-212
Steven Sugden
DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.2013.021

Inefficient technology or misperceived demand: the failure of Vacutug-based pit-emptying services in Bangladesh,  p. 213-220
Aftab Opel, M. Khairul Bashar
DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.2013.022

Development of urban septage management models in Indonesia,  p. 221-236
Kevin Tayler, Reini Siregar, Budi Darmawan, et al.
DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.2013.023

View the full list of contents at:  practicalaction.metapress.com/content/g66j1n45143m

To order a single copy (cost £30.00), send an email to: publishinginfo@practicalaction.org.uk

Individual articles, except the editorial, are available only to subscribers or as pay-per-view (www.practicalactionpublishing.org/waterlines).