Category Archives: Research

Recent WASH research

Open Access

Underreporting of high-risk water and sanitation practices undermines progress on global targets. PLOS One, May 2017. Our analysis demonstrates the use of multiple options and widespread underreporting of high-risk practices. Mobile surveys offer a cost-effective and innovative platform to rapidly and repeatedly monitor critical development metrics.

Impact of an Intensive Perinatal Handwashing Promotion Intervention on Maternal Handwashing Behavior in the Neonatal Period: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural Bangladesh. BioMed Research International, April 2017. Intensively promoting handwashing with soap resulted in increased availability of soap and water at handwashing places, but only a modest increase in maternal handwashing with soap.

Investing in wastewater in Latin America can pay off. Water Blog, May 10, 2017. But recent advances in the sector present an opportunity to conduct basin-wide planning that promotes investments in wastewater that clearly identifies the downstream benefits of upstream investments, hence maximizing returns.

Drones in Humanitarian Action: A guide to the use of airborne systems in humanitarian crises, 2017. FSD. The most promising uses of drones include: Mapping; Delivering lightweight essential items to remote or hard to-access locations; Supporting damage assessments; Increasing situational awareness; Monitoring changes.

Abstracts

A critical mass analysis of community-based financing of water services in rural Kenya. Water Resources and Rural Development, May 2017. For the first time, this study applies critical mass theory to community waterpoint financial contributions in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Recent News Items

Recent sanitation/WASH research

OPEN ACCESS

Behavioral antecedents for handwashing in a low-income urban setting in Bangladesh: an exploratory study. BMC Public Health, May 2017. We argue that handwashing with soap is influenced by broader range of antecedents, many unrelated to fecal contamination, that indicate to people when and where to wash their hands. This exploratory study aimed to identify and characterize this broader range of handwashing antecedents for use in future handwashing promotion efforts.

Provision versus promotion to develop a handwashing station: the effect on desired handwashing behavior. BMC Public Health, May 2017. We conducted a three-month pilot intervention to evaluate two options for setting up handwashing stations: i) provide a handwashing station, or ii) help the family to make their own from available materials. Additionally, we assessed the feasibility of this intervention to be integrated with a child feeding program.

ABSTRACT

Impact of Community Health Clubs on Diarrhea and Anthropometry in Western Rwanda: Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. FASEB Jnl, May 2017. (Abstract/order) – The CHC approach, as implemented in this setting in western Rwanda, had no impact on any main outcomes, but it had a positive impact on household water treatment and type and structure of sanitation facility. Our results raise questions about the value of implementing this intervention at scale.

Diet Quality, Water and Toilets Remain a Lingering Challenge for Undernutrition in India. FASEB Jnl, May 2017. (Abstract/order) – Using data from 2005–06, our regression analyses demonstrate a positive synergistic effect of better complementary feeding and better toilets for all anthropometric indicators, but not for improved drinking water or better ways of disposing child stools.

Evaluation of Student Handwashing Practices During a School-Based Hygiene Program in Rural Western Kenya, 2007. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, May 2017. (Abstract/order) – Teacher training and installation of water stations resulted in observed improvements in pupils’ hygiene, particularly when water stations were located

Consistency of Use and Effectiveness of Household Water Treatment Among Indian Households Claiming to Treat Their Water. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, online first. (Abstract/order) – Our findings raise questions about the value of the data gathered through the international monitoring of HWT as predictors of water quality in the home, as well as questioning the ability of HWT, as actually practiced by vulnerable populations, to reduce exposure to waterborne diseases.

Adding a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Intervention and a Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplement to an Integrated Agriculture and Nutrition Program Improved the Nutritional Status of Young Burkinabé Children. FASEB Jnl, May 2017. (Abstract/order) – Adding WASH to the program in 2014 led to a significantly greater reduction in anemia, and including both WASH and LNS in communities with prior EHFP program exposure led to the largest and most diverse nutritional impacts including significant reductions in anemia, IDA and VAD. These results highlight the importance of addressing the multiple causes of undernutrition simultaneously, through multisectoral programs.

World Bank targets smarter sanitation communication for rural Ethiopia

By Peter McIntyre, IRC Associate

The World Bank in Ethiopia has commissioned a rapid survey of what motivates people to upgrade their latrines, with the aim of delivering behaviour change communication materials with greater impact.

Ethiopia Worldbank_bcc_launch_2_addis_230317

Sanitation rapid survey launch meeting Addis Abeba, 23 March 2017 (Photo: Sirak Wondimu)

The survey is being conducted in four regions, with the main target audiences being adult women, male heads of households, opinion leaders and existing sanitation businesses.

The aim is to pilot and produce materials that emphasise the dignity, prestige and status of having improved sanitation, rather than focusing only on health messages.

The WB decided a new approach was needed after Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) figures for 2016 suggested that only 4% of rural households in Ethiopia have improved toilets facilities while a further 2% have facilities that would be considered improved if they were not shared. This is well below the Joint Monitoring Program figure of 28% for improved latrines (although we understand this may be revised down to around 14%). Indeed, according to DHS, although access to some form of sanitation has risen, access to an improved latrine has declined in percentage terms over the past ten years. Most latrines in rural areas (55%) do not have an effective slab or lid while more than a third of rural households (39%) practise open defecation.

The Government of Ethiopia has a flagship programme to increase use of improved latrines to 82% by 2020.

At a launch meeting in Addis on 23 March 2017, social market consultant, Addis Meleskachew, said that this initiative will develop a memorable brand for marketing materials that will encourage the private sector to provide materials and will attract rural families to buy them.

Dagnew Tadesse,Hygiene and Environmental Health Case Team Leader for Ministry of Health, welcomed the initiative to attract business but emphasised that the GoE approach is based on a comprehensive health education strategy with multiple messages including hygiene awareness, handwashing and safe food, and said that these important messages should not be abandoned.

Jane Bevan, rural WASH Manager at UNICEF Ethiopia offered to share extensive data that UNICEF has collected for its country programme on attitudes to sanitation, which has identified the high cost of concrete slabs as a significant obstacle. She presented examples of low cost options for upgrading sanitation in a pilot project in Tigray region. It was agreed to collate all existing KAP studies and relevant data including research by SNV.

Monte Achenbach from PSI and John Butterworth from IRC spoke about the work being started by USAID Transform WASH to market innovative sanitation models. John Butterworth said there is a need to make people aware of what is available and to get materials to where they are needed.

The World Bank research is being conducted by 251 Communications.

This blog was originally posted on 5 April 2017 on the IRC website.

Recent WASH research

Financing WASH SystemsIRC WASH, March 2017. In this podcast two experts talk about the challenges of financing water and sanitation services and the importance of public finance in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

World Water Development Report (WWDR) 2017—Wastewater: An Untapped ResourceUN Water, March 2017. This year’s WWDR report proposes that the vast quantities of domestic, agricultural, and industrial wastewater discharged into the environment be used as a valuable resource.

Turbulent Waters: Pursuing Water Security in Fragile ContextsThe World Bank, March 2017. This report explores the dynamics between water insecurity and fragility. It suggests that water security is more difficult to achieve in fragile contexts because of a range of factors, including weak institutions and information systems, strained human and financial resources, and degraded infrastructure.

Interventions to Improve Facial Cleanliness and Environmental Improvement for Trachoma Prevention and Control: Review of the Grey Literature. International Coalition for Trachoma Control, March 2017. This report reflects a review and synthesis of the F (facial cleanliness) and E (environmental improvement) intervention landscape, as indicated by grey literature produced by the trachoma community.

Effects of Neighbourhood and Household Sanitation Conditions on Diarrhea Morbidity: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One, March 2017. The findings suggest that, in addition to household sanitation provision, dual emphasis on neighborhood sanitation through public sanitation infrastructure provision and community-wide sanitation adoption is advisable to effectively reduce the diarrheal disease burden.

A Systematic Review: Costing and Financing of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in SchoolsPreprints, March 2017. The purpose of this review is to describe the current knowledge around the costs of WASH components as well as financing models that could be applied to WASH in schools. Results show a lack of information around WASH costing, particularly around software elements. Data are lacking overall for WASH in school settings compared to community WASH.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Urban Water Blueprint: Securing Water through Water Funds and Other Investments in Ecological InfrastructureThe Nature Conservancy, 2016. This assessment demonstrates that catchment protection can play an important role in improving the quality and quantity of water for cities across sub-Saharan Africa. These benefits extend beyond the cities themselves to help sustain rural livelihoods and huge areas of critical biodiversity.

A Listing of World Water Day 2017 PublicationsSanitation Updates, March 2017. This post to Sanitation Updates compiles links to World Water Day 2017 reports from WaterAid, UN Water, WHO, and others

A financially viable and safe solution for managing human waste

Collecting small monthly payments will help waste collectors build their business.

Bangladesh - pit latrine empytiers

Pit latrine workers in Bangladesh collecting and transporting human waste to a site where it is processed into fertiliser. Image: Neil Palmer (IWMI). Credit: University of Leeds

Spreading the cost of emptying pit latrines over a series of monthly payments could make it more affordable for poor households and help kick start the safe reuse of faecal sludge as fertiliser and biogas. This is the conclusion of a willingness-to-pay study carried out in a rural sub-district of Bangladesh covered by the BRAC WASH Programme II.

The study has already caught the attention of policymakers, and influenced the development of Bangladesh’s first regulatory framework for faecal sludge management. Some of the authors are members of the Bangladesh National Committee for Fecal Sludge Management.

Currently, households struggle to pay a lump sum of US$13 every three to four years to empty their pit latrines. This is approximately 14% of their monthly income. Instead, the study found they could pay small monthly payments of as little as US$ 0.31 per month, comparable to what they spend each month on a mobile phone service. These up-front payments help waste collectors to invest in the development of their service. Nevertheless, a government subsidy would still be needed to cover the full cost of safe removal and transport of faecal sludge.

As mentioned above, there is potential for waste collectors to generate extra revenue by converting faecal waste into fertiliser and biogas. The profitability of these waste by-products, however, can be effected by existing subsidies for chemical fertilisers and conventional fuels. Another factor that can reduce profitability is the low energy or calorific value of human waste compared to other organic wastes. A companion study carried out as part of the BRAC WASH Programme II tested solutions to increase the calorific value by co-processing human waste with other agricultural wastes.

The willingness-to-pay study is an output of the Value at the end of the Sanitation Value Chain (VeSV) research project, lead by the University of Leeds. VeSV was one of six action research projects funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Bangladesh) through IRC. Additional funding was provided by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

For more information read “Spreading the cost to transform sanitation“, published by the University of Leed’s School of Civil Engineering, 22 March 2017.

Citation: Balasubramanya S, et al. (2017) Towards sustainable sanitation management : establishing the costs and willingness to pay for emptying and transporting sludge in rural districts with high rates of access to latrines. PLoS ONE 12(3): e0171735. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171735

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 27 March 2017.

The role of nanomaterials as effective adsorbents and their applications in wastewater treatment

The role of nanomaterials as effective adsorbents and their applications in wastewater treatmentJournal of Nanostructure in Chemistry, March 2017, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 1–14.

Nanomaterials have been extensively studied for heavy metal ions and dye removals from wastewater. This article reviews the role of nanomaterials as effective adsorbents for wastewater purification.

In recent years, numerous novel nanomaterial adsorbents have been developed for enhancing the efficiency and adsorption capacities of removing contaminants from wastewater.

The innovation, forthcoming development, and challenges of cost-effective and environmentally acceptable nanomaterials for water purification are discussed and reviewed in this article.

This review concludes that nanomaterials have many unique morphological and structural properties that qualify them to be used as effective adsorbents to solve several environmental problems.

Tender: SuSanA Stakeholder Market Study

On behalf of SuSanA (Sustainable Sanitation Alliance), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has launched an open and global Invitation to Tender  to produce a Stakeholder Market Survey consisting of a baseline market assessment, a communications strategy for SuSanA and a template for measuring the impact of SuSanA on the targeted market. All this to improve SuSanA’s reach, its content as a Knowledge Management (KM) platform and its impact on stakeholder’s work. Tenders are due April 3rd, 2017.

Download tender

See also here on SuSanA Discussion Forum.