Category Archives: Uncategorized

Comments from Barry Jackson on sanitation subsidies

Many thanks to Barry Jackson for sharing his insights on sanitation subsidies – Dan Campbell, USAID Water CKM

Barry M Jackson commented on The ‘S word:’ Is it time for the sanitation sector to reconsider subsidies?

The ‘S word:’ Is it time for the sanitation sector to reconsider subsidies? Devex, September 2017. STOCKHOLM — After nearly …

Thank you Sophie for capturing key points of the recent “S-Word” debate. I was one of the pioneers of the no-subsidy approach in Lesotho in the early 1980s, well aware that we might still need to modify the approach for the ultra-poor and urbanizing areas. The Global Sanitation Fund also promoted no-subsidy in rural programmes in most client countries except India where a symbiotic approach with the government subsidy programme is being tried. The WSSCC produced a useful primer and resource on subsidy issues that was launched in Stockholm in 2009 (Public Funding for Sanitation – The many faces of sanitation subsidies; I have penned a few thoughts below.

In rural areas we should concentrate our funding on promotion of behaviour changes – both short and long term. If quality of toilet or extreme poverty are issues we could consider household support and incentives in the form of an appropriate “reward” for building a toilet, e.g. an inexpensive washable fly-proof cover for the floor – on condition that such an approach is not donor dependent and will be financially sustainable for a generation.

In urban areas sanitation practitioners must engage with those responsible for financing, building and operating municipal infrastructure. The aim is to have a municipal-wide strategy that manages the ever-changing boundary between sewered and non-sewered services and which provides a sustainable service on both sides of that boundary. Decisions on levels of service, together with financial and material support to households need to be made equitably. User fees should reflect O&M costs and paying for capital costs (especially for the “rich”), modified as necessary by individual subsidies (for the poor), cross-subsidies etc – on condition that the total municipal income is sufficient to meet total costs of the service, to ensure sustainable service delivery.

At a national level (or in a sub-national region) the above approaches need to be supported by a coordinated effort to update municipal by-laws and their enforcement, to improve municipal planning and finance, plus sustained promotion of a hygienic lifestyle. Communal behaviour change targeted at sanitation and hygiene needs to be promoted through consistent messages from politicians, religious leaders, celebrities, soccer stars, health workers etc, both locally and using mass media. We must plan to continue this for a generation until our children expect to find and use, everywhere, a hygienic toilet and a means of washing hands with soap. Let us plan for a generation.

Barry M Jackson, former Manager, Global Sanitation Fund

October 3, 2017 webinar – Examining Sustainability of USAID WASH Programming in Madagascar

October 3, 2017 webinar – Examining Sustainability of USAID WASH Programming in Madagascar

The USAID Water Communications & Knowledge Management (Water CKM) Project and USAID’s E3/Water Office are hosting a webinar on October 3, 2017 at 9:30 am EDT (New York Time): Examining Sustainability of USAID WASH Programming in Madagascar.

This live event will be a joint presentation of key findings from two studies on the sustainability of the USAID-funded RANO-HP activity, an integrated WASH program implemented between 2009-2013 in Madagascar by a consortium led by Catholic Relief Services. usaidlogo

Presenting the findings: Jordan Ermilio of Villanova University’s Sustainable WASH Research Initiative in Madagascar; and Annette Fay, who conducted the Water CKM Project’s Madagascar RANO-HP Ex-post Evaluation.  Both activities examined the introduction of a public-private partnership model for managing water and sanitation infrastructure.

Villanova’s research focused on the long-term reliability of RANO-HP water systems, while the Water CKM evaluation studied the sustainability of RANO-HP sanitation and hygiene outcomes.

  • Jordan Ermilio is director of the Engineering Service Program at Villanova University’s College of Engineering. He is currently working on his PhD on the sustainability of water infrastructure at Loughborough University.
  • Annette Fay is an M&E specialist with the Water CKM Project and lead researcher of the Water CKM post-project evaluation series. She has been working in the WASH sector since 2006 and holds a dual Master in Public Affairs degree from l’Institut d’Études Politiques and Columbia University.

GHP & USAID Webinar – Norms, nudges, or addiction? Understanding drivers for handwashing behavior change.

GHP & USAID Webinar – Norms, nudges, or addiction? Understanding drivers for handwashing behavior change 

Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective ways to prevent diseases, but behavior change to increase handwashing remains a challenge. PR2016-Slider1

On September 12, 2017, the Global Handwashing Partnership and USAID hosted a webinar that focused on behavior change approaches for handwashing with soap. The webinar gave participants ideas and perspectives to use on Global Handwashing Day and throughout the year.

During this webinar, Dr. Reshmaan Hussam, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, presented key takeaways from an experiment in India exploring the role of habit formation in increasing handwashing rates, as well as a novel technology to measure handwashing behavior.

Then, Prof. Dr. Hans Mosler, a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Zurich and the Group Leader for Environmental and Health Psychology at EAWAG, discussed the RANAS model and how it was used to change handwashing behavior among schoolchildren and caregivers in Zimbabwe.

Nga Kim Nguyen, Senior WASH and Social Behavior Change Adviser at USAID, moderated the webinar and facilitated an active discussion to help participants apply these results and ideas for formative research, program design, and more.

Link to webinar and presentations

WASH & Pastoralists – Water Currents

WASH & Pastoralists – Water Currents, September 19, 2017.

Pastoralism is defined by the practice of mobile livestock herding though the term also encompasses pastoral farming and enclosed ranching.

Members of an agro-pastoral community in Kenya tend to their crops. Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego, USAID/Kenya

Members of an agro-pastoral community in Kenya tend to their crops. Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego, USAID/Kenya

While it sounds like an outdated and inefficient way of life, pastoralism is still seen as highly dynamic and intricately linked to the modern world in a way that contributes significantly to national, regional, and international markets, according to the International Institute for Environment and Development.

But there is little doubt that this lifestyle presents significant health challenges and environmental pressures.

This issue of Currents takes a close look at recent studies documenting these challenges—from disease transmission to coping with water scarcity.

Case Studies 
Menstrual Hygiene Management: The Experience of Nomadic and Sedentary Populations in NigerUN WomenWSSCC, March 2017. A study of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in Niger found that nomadic women have poor MHM practices relative to sedentary women. As this report explains, nomadic communities have limited access to WASH facilities and lack education about MHM.

Seasonal Shifts in Primary Water Source Type: A Comparison of Largely Pastoral Communities in Uganda and Tanzania International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, January 2016. This study addressed the following questions: 1) To what degree do households in Uganda and Tanzania change primary water source type between wet and dry seasons? and 2) How might seasonal changes relate to water quality and health.

Read the complete issue.

WASH in Schools: What next, after 100% coverage?

On 15th August 2015, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MoHRD), Government of India, announced all schools in the country had toilets. In just a matter of months, nearly half a million toilets were made to reach the magical figure. A year before, the onus of ensuring adequate water and sanitation facilities, and imparting hygiene education, in schools had been shifted completely to MoHRD from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS). This was to streamline WASH in Schools, fix responsibility and ensure resources.

Under the Swacch Vidyalaya (SV) programme, 417,796 toilets were made or fixed in a year

Of this, were new toilets 266,017; the rest were dysfunctional that needed to be fixed. There are a total of 1,448,712 schools in India. Private companies, according to the SV website, built 3416 toilets while public sector companies made 141636. Most work was to be done by the government. However, it seems private sector engagement has been under-reported as a perusal of the websites of companies that have implemented WASH in Schools (WinS) shows much higher figures; some of them do not figure on the SV website.

However, independent verifications of MoHRD’s claims[1] have shown there are still ‘uncovered’ schools. The largest study in 2016 by Pratham, an NGO working on education issues, shows even in 2016 3.5% schools did not have a toilet, and 27.8% were unusable[2]. The blind-spots are handwashing stations, the quality and frequency of hygiene education imparted to children and menstrual hygiene management facilities and education.

Against this background, the India Sanitation Coalition will hold a thematic online discussion about WASH in Schools in India. The discussion will run from 4 September – 23 September 2017 on the SuSanA Discussion Forum.

This discussion seeks your inputs on how to take WinS to an acceptable level where boys and girls have separate and adequate toilets, hand-washing facilities, hygiene is addressed in schools, and adolescent girls have usable menstrual hygiene facilities.

The issues we would seek your inputs on are:

  1. Discussion kick-off featuring two case stories from the Hindi Water Portal: What innovations have you come across in WinS by the government, companies or NGOs that are worth emulating? Mahesh Nathan from World Vision India will lead this topic (4 – 8 September)
  2. How has shifting the responsibility for WinS to MoHRD affected the condition of facilities and hygiene? What challenges remain and how can they be overcome? Arundhati Muralidharan, WaterAid, will lead this topic (9 – 13 September)
  3. How can companies contribute to WinS? What are examples of successful WASH contributions by companies? (14-18 September)
  4. Is the current monitoring system under DISE adequate and how can it be improved and tied to the SDGs? Srinivas Chary from the Administrative Staff College of India will lead this topic (19 – 23 September)

During the discussion, regular summaries of forum entries will be posted to keep you updated on our conversation. Coordination will be done by Nitya Jacob (SuSanA India Chapter Coordinator).

To join the discussion, follow:

And to read the first contribution by Mahesh Nathan, click on:

Copy of Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

[1] Studies by various development agencies and newspaper reports on status of WiNS that have indicated a large percentage of the surveyed toilets are dysfunctional even though most schools have toilets. Handwashing facilities are largely absent

[2] Annual State of Education Report, 2016. ASER Centre, Pratham, New Delhi.

WSSCC Releases New Global Sanitation Fund Equality and Non-Discrimination Study

How can WASH programmes leave no one behind, as called for in the Sustaionable Development Goals? WSSCC’s new study, Scoping and Diagnosis of the Global Sanitation Fund’s Approach to Equality and Non-Discrimination, helps answer this question.

The study reveals that many people who may be considered disadvantaged have benefited positively from WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programmes, particularly in open defecation free verified areas. In addition, a range of positive outcomes and impacts related to empowerment, safety, convenience, ease of use, self-esteem, health, dignity, an improved environment and income generation were reported by people who may be considered disadvantaged.

Photo Credit: WSSCC

However, the study finds that GSF has not yet systematically integrated EQND throughout the programme cycle. Across all countries, there are people who have either fallen through the net or whose lives have become more difficult after being unduly pressured, or after taking out loans and selling assets to build toilets. More proactive attention is needed throughout the programme cycle to build on current successes and ensure that people are not left behind or harmed through the actions or omissions of supported programmes.

GSF is in the process of putting the study’s recommendations into practice through revised guidelines, minimum standards, practical tools and other mechanisms.

Download the full study, plus a summarized version with GSF reflections, and annexes

How Public Private Partnerships are Making a Crappy Market Safe Across Bangladesh

How Public Private Partnerships are Making a Crappy Market Safe Across Bangladesh. August 30, 2017. By Sarah Miers – Skoll Foundation, By Lucien Chan – Skoll Foundation.

In Bangladesh, nearly half of 55 million urban residents lack the sanitation infrastructure to properly process human waste. The result: massive amounts of raw waste is unsafely dumped, fouling the environment and posing major public health risks. There’s an urgent need to find safe and affordable ways for waste to be collected and treated. dhaka

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) works alongside local providers, enabling them to develop their own services, build infrastructure, and attract the funding needed to reach low-income communities. Since its inception in 2005, WSUP has helped nearly 14 million people access clean water and sanitation services across six countries. Earlier this summer, we spent a week investigating WSUP’s SWEEP program, a public-private partnership (PPP) for fecal sludge management (FSM), which resulted in a $2 million investment from the Skoll Foundation to expand across 4 cities and serve 6.8 million people by 2021.

Dhaka is the only city in the country with any sewage infrastructure (just 20 percent coverage), and nearly all non-sewered households rely on manual sweepers–workers who remove the waste at high risk and with little equipment–to empty their on-site pit latrines or septic tanks. More hygienic, mechanical emptying options are limited. Due to failures across the sanitation value chain (containment, emptying, transport, and treatment), nearly all waste is not effectively treated or safely disposed, most often being dumped directly into storm water drains or the environment.

Read the complete article.