Category Archives: Technology

Interesting innovation with WASH implications

Spinach, Carrots Are Good for You … And for Making Prosthetics, Say UK Scientists | Source: Sustainable Brands, May 9 2016 |

Scientists in the United Kingdom are using spinach leaves and carrots to investigate selective formation of metallic nanoparticles in plastics. The researchers are working to form conductive circuits and create antimicrobial surfaces by accelerating the production of metals already embedded in treated plastic materials using chemicals from the plants. If successful, the practical applications include smart prosthetics, medical devices for hospitals, mobile phones, and other ‘smart’ surfaces.

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Image credit: Heriot-Watt University

Besides devices, the research could also lead to state-of-the-art antimicrobial coatings that could facilitate the creation of cheaper, more reliable ways to improve sanitation in developing countries by creating bacteria-resistant coatings for three dimensional surfaces such as pipes. Such coatings may be able to eliminate micro-organisms that currently cause illnesses and diarrhoeal disease, which kills over 750,000 children each year.

“This method that could be implemented by any country with minimum amount of equipment, is another example of the power of bio-inspired manufacturing.” Desmulliez said.

Read the complete article.

Two Brilliant Solutions For Addressing India’s Huge Sanitation Crisis

My View: Two Brilliant Solutions For Addressing India’s Huge Sanitation Crisis | Source: The Better India, April 1 2016 |

India’s sanitation crisis is immense and not easily solved. Over 600 million people in rural and urban areas defecate in the open.  The nation cannot incessantly wait.  Two recently developed solutions may help.

The magnitude of India’s sanitation crisis may be summed up in one sentence: two-thirds of urban residents do not have toilets and access to the sewer grid, and over 600 million people in rural and urban areas defecate in the open. Where the grid does not serve toilets, faeces is periodically collected from unsustainable septic tanks and pit latrines to be discarded in open areas, landfill sites, lakes, and freshwater sources. The tragedy of our commons therefore multiplies manifold, as do health consequences.

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Bio toilets

Two Sustainable Solutions

The nation cannot incessantly wait. Two recently developed solutions may find mention here.

The first, the DRDO Bio-Digestion Toilet, a serendipitous innovation born from the need for sanitation for army personnel in the Himalayas, was not invented to address the civilian sanitation crisis.

Read the complete article.

Library and resources on WASH & ICT

Eric Nitschke has developed on online library and list of resources for sharing knowledge related to information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.

  • A growing  of publications, reports, and handbooks
  • Resource pages related to ICT4D and  WASH containing links to research centers, networks, journals, public/private/civil society orgs, wikis, blogs and other useful websites
  • Recent articles I’ve read that might be of interest to development practitioners
  • A summary of my current work and interests and different ways to contact me

Many of these materials contain valuable insights, good practices, and lessons learned which can be used by WASH and other development stakeholders to enhance the design and implementation of their projects and initiatives, especially those seeking to harness ICTs.

Desperate To Pee? This App Will Help You Find The Nearest Toilet

Desperate To Pee? This App Will Help You Find The Nearest Toilet | Source: Huffington Post, March 9 2016 |

It’s easy to turn any corner and find a cab or a restaurant or a happening event waiting for you. But when you literally want to go ‘around the corner’, there’s usually no toilet to be found. Fortunately, a new app called Find x Toilet, created by developer Ishan Anand, helps you answer nature’s call by telling you the location of the nearest loo in Delhi.

The app uses the phone’s location services and GPS to find and show the nearest toilets and even offers ratings based on cleanliness and usability. It will also show you the shortest route to the toilet, pretty handy when you’re pressing both legs together. You can also rate the facilities and upload photos of them for the perusal of other discerning bathroom-goers. FIND-A-TOILET-large570

Launching the application in Delhi, Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung suggested that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) should make use of this app and keep the conditions of the toilets updated. App creator Anand said that this Find x Toilet was developed to complement the Swachh Bharat initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (hopefully fewer walls will be substituted for urinals). Anyone can download the Android app and contribute to the cause.

Read the complete article.

Mobile Phone App Pools Money Spent by Poor for Clean Water

Mobile Phone App Pools Money Spent by Poor for Clean Water |Source: Voice of America, March 9 2016 |

There’s nothing small about Akanksha Hazari’s ambitions. voa

Rising from living aboard a merchant ship to make ends meet with her family, to earning degrees at Princeton and Cambridge universities, Hazari says she wants to accomplish big things. At the top of that list: helping the many millions living in India’s poorest slums get access to clean water and sanitation, education and improved health care.

But Hazari doesn’t just dream big. In 2012, the 30-something Hazari developed a mobile phone application that’s helped tens of thousands of poor residents in Mumbai’s shantytowns to improve their lives and educate their children in just a few years.

It’s called m.Paani – “m” for mobile and “paani” an Indian word for water – and it’s earned Hazari numerous awards, including the prestigious Hult Prize awarded by former president Bill Clinton and, this week, the Global Leadership Award from the women’s empowerment organization Vital Voices.

Read the complete article.

VIA Water second faecal sludge webinar report

Which technical options are available for the reuse of faecal sludge? Report of a VIA Water webinar led by Jan Spit.

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© S. Blume/SuSanA Secretariat

Report on the webinar: read the questions that were asked before and during the webinar, and Jan Spit’s answers to them:

  1. D2B: http://english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes/develop2build-d2b
  2. DRIVE: http://english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes/development-related-infrastructure-investment-vehicle-drive

In Germany: KfW: https://www.kfw.de/International-financing/. For innovative funding, look at: http://www.traidwheel.nl/appropriate-finance/Innovative-financing-mechanisms

Continue reading

Webinar faecal sludge, 15 December 2015

VIA Water is organising a webinar on faecal sludge on 15 December 2015 at 14:00 hours CET (UCT +1).

In this webinar you will be able to discuss any issue you might have run into during your work on this topic, and ask VIA Water expert Jan Spit any question you might have. Jan will also kick off by sharing some of his insights. For more information about his background, visit his website.

Check out Jan’s invitation in the short clip below. On the 15th, you will be able to access the webinar through this link: http://bbb.ihe.nl/demo/create.jsp?action=invite&meetingID=VIA+Water+Webinar%27s+meeting

About Via Water

Via Water is a knowledge platform on water and develolpment funded by the Dutch government. It supports projects with innovative solutions for water problems facing cities in seven African countries: Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Sudan. To learn more go to: www.viawater.nl/about-via-water