Category Archives: Uncategorized

Farewell from Sanitation Updates

Sanitation Updates will no longer be updated after March 16, 2021. We want to thank the many viewers, visitors and contributors that have been part of the Sanitation Updates community. Sanitation Updates began in 2008 as a collaborative effort between USAID and IRC to contribute to the International Year of Sanitation and there were more than 1,937,000 visits to the site. Please visit the USAID and IRC websites to continue to learn about sanitation issues

WASH impact bond lessons learnt

The world’s first Development Impact Bond in WASH is on track to achieve its goals after one year of implementation. iDE, The Stone Family Foundation, and USAID reflect on the progress they’ve made toward the goal, and the lessons learned from this joint effort to increase access to sanitation in rural Cambodia in a new report. The DIB aims to help eradicate open defecation in Cambodia and accelerate the Royal Government of Cambodia’s efforts to reach universal sanitation.

USAID Grant Opportunity – Rural Water Research & Learning

USAID Grant Opportunity – Rural Water Research & Learning

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS) Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene is issuing this Draft Program Description for the purpose of providing stakeholders and potential partners an opportunity to review, comment, suggest, and enhance areas of a new global water research activity: the Rural Water Research & Learning Activity.

The purpose of this activity is to expand the evidence base for rural water supply and use of findings to inform rural water policy and programming in collaboration with partners, to increase the availability and sustainable management of safe water for the underserved and most vulnerable.

Link to grant documentation

Making progress towards inclusive sanitation and hygiene for sexual and gender minorities

Making progress towards inclusive sanitation and hygiene for sexual and gender minorities. by Alice Webb, Sanitation Learning Hub, December 2020.

As we move closer to the 2030 target for sustainable and safely managed sanitation and hygiene for all, it feels like we’re starting to make progress on including certain groups of people in our work. We’ve seen an enormous effort to break down taboos and stigma, with growing awareness of sanitation issues relating to menstrual health and hygiene, disability, sanitation workers and most recently for us, people who experience incontinence.

While we continue those valuable conversations, it is time now to think about who we’re not talking about enough, about who is in danger of being left behind in the drive for sanitation and hygiene for all. It seems we have a long way to go, in terms of including, among other groups, sexual and gender minorities in our work on sanitation and hygiene.

It is, no doubt, a challenging topic to address. In 13 countries, it’s against the law to be transgender, including countries where we, at SLH, are currently working or have worked in the past. Elsewhere, sexual and gender minorities face harassment, violence and ridicule when accessing toilets. Here in the UK, we have a long way to go, at both cultural and institutional levels.

Bearing this in mind, programming needs to be extra vigilant for potential safeguarding issues and follow ‘do no harm’ principles very carefully. In addition, we need to bear in mind we’re talking about individuals who may experience intersectional discrimination due to characteristics such as race, class, disability and refugee status. We also need to consider the diversity of identities within sexual and gender minorities, who may face different challenges relating to their specific identity, (for example, intersex people can face non-consensual surgical procedures and unnecessary medical interventions).

Read the complete article.

USAID Water and Development Technical Series

USAID Water and Development Technical Series, 2020.

The Water and Development Technical Series is a set of technical briefs that provide guidance on important topics for developing and implementing water and sanitation activities in support of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID’s plan under the strategy.

These briefs draw upon the latest evidence and provide recommendations for activity design, implementation, and monitoring. Each brief also provides links to additional resources.

Open Defecation-Free Slippage and Its Associated Factors in Ethiopia: A Systematic Review

Open Defecation-Free Slippage and Its Associated Factors in Ethiopia: A Systematic Review. Systematic Reviews, November 2020.

Background – Recent studies have shown an increase in open defecation and slippage of open defecation-free certified villages in Ethiopia, despite significant progress the country made on sanitation programs. Hence, realizing of existing facts, this study was conducted aiming at a critical review of available literature and to provide consolidated data showing the level of slippage and its associated factors in Ethiopia.

Result – After screening 1382 studies, 12 studies were finally included in this systematic review. The estimated pooled rate of open defecation-free slippage in Ethiopia was 15.9% (95% CI 12.9–19.4%). The main contributing factors for open defecation-free slippage were lack of technical support, financial constraints, low-quality building materials, improper program implementation, and lack of sanitation marketing.

Conclusion – It was estimated that 1 out of 6 Ethiopian households engaged in open defecation after they have certified open defecation-free status, implying the low possibility of achieving sustainable development goals of 2030, which aims to ensure sanitation for all. Therefore, the government of Ethiopia and donors should better give special attention to the following options: (1) awareness for open defecation-free slippage, (2) launch a post-open defecation-free program, and (3) encourage research on pro-poor sustainable sanitation technologies.

USAID Water and Development Technical Series: Rural Sanitation, October 2020.

USAID Water and Development Technical Series: Rural Sanitation, October 2020.

This Water and Development Technical Brief provides an overview of the important factors to consider in rural sanitation programming, including information on how to address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors for sanitation. It provides guidance for developing, implementing and monitoring rural sanitation activities based on recent evidence.


• Aim for area-wide geographic coverage. Go beyond the household and community levels to invest in area-wide (district or county) or market systems-level approaches to support impact and sustainability.

• Address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors. Successful sanitation programming must include interventions on governance, financing, markets, and behaviors and move away from an exclusive focus on direct service provision. The mix of approaches should be in direct response to the context.

• Targeted subsidies can be effective. Subsidy is not a dirty word. Targeted sanitation subsidies should be considered when seeking to reach the extreme poor and most vulnerable and can be successful when carefully combined with, or as a complement to, other approaches.

• Leave space for failure and learning. There are and will continue to be failures in rural sanitation programs, and there are not proven strategies/methods for all contexts (e.g., reaching the ultra poor). Plan for space and time and for staff to fail, iterate, assess progress, and adapt plans to ensure progress and sector-wide learning.

USAID Water and Development Technical Series: Urban Sanitation Services, 2020.

USAID Water and Development Technical Series: Urban Sanitation Services, 2020.

The purpose of this technical brief is to provide an overview of the important factors to consider in USAID’s urban sanitation programming.


• Urban sanitation is more than just toilets. Dense urban environments require consideration of the whole sanitation service chain to ensure safely managed sanitation: fecal waste containment, collection, transport, treatment, and final disposal or reuse.

• Effective urban sanitation is city-wide and inclusive. There is no simple solution – rapidly growing cities require a range of technical solutions across the sanitation service chain. Ensuring that everyone benefits from safely managed sanitation requires specific approaches to target the underserved.

• Apply commercial principles to service provision. Management of sanitation services is as important as the technologies involved, and financial viability is a critical element of sustainable services. Local governments and providers must understand what the costs are for safely managed sanitation and how costs will be covered.

• Aim for strategic, incremental improvements. The sanitation challenge in urban areas is likely to overwhelm any single actor, so it is important to identify a manageable gap for USAID programming to address. Large investments in master planning and infrastructure are required, but urban migration, political dynamics, and logistical complexity require an incremental, locally relevant, and dynamic approach.

Sessions from the 2020 UNC Water & Health Conference

Below are links to selected events with USAID participation and others at the UNC Water Institute 2020 Water and Health Conference. CKM set up a Google shared document which has additional side events, verbal presentations and posters from the conference and links to all events can be found on the conference website.

Monday – October 26

Plenary Session – COVID-19: What we Know and Don’t Know About SARS-CoV-2 and Water, Wastewater, and Hygiene – The objective is to highlight the latest evidence around COVID-19 to inform both practice and policy around WaSH.

Plenary Session – COVID-19: State of the Global WaSH Response – This panel discussion explores the types of activities that have been undertaken by both developing country governments and international agencies.

Side Event – COVID-19: Hand Hygiene / Handwashing – This side event presents the science behind hand hygiene, provides case studies from the field, and highlights the way forward for Hand Hygiene for All.
Convening Organizations: Global Handwashing Partnership, Emory University, FHI 360, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UNICEF, Unilever, University College London, USAID, and the World Bank and 2030 Water Resources Group.

Side Event – COVID-19: Health Care Facilities – The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased attention to the lack of WaSH and infection prevention and control capacity in healthcare facilities (HCFs) globally. This side event discusses the state of the science and presents a draft research agenda for improving WaSH in HCFs.
Convening Organizations: DevWorks, Engineers Without Borders USA, Global Water 2020, UNICEF, Water Institute at UNC, World Bank, World Health Organization, WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme.

Side Event – COVID-19: Wastewater Management – This side event brings together active researchers and practitioners for a lively discussion about the current state of SARS-CoV-2 research in wastewater. It explores the current state of the science in this important emerging area, challenges, opportunities, and engaging with the broader public health community of researchers and practitioners. Convening Organization(s): University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Notre Dame.

Tuesday – October 27

Side Event – Finance for WaSH – This session discusses opportunities to apply innovative financing in urban sanitation, drawing on recent examples in WASH and new research about the scale of the funding gap.
Convening Organizations: The Aquaya Institute, Social Finance, University of Leeds, iDE.

Side Event – JMP Updates: WASH in Schools: Accelerating Progress in Response to COVID-19 – This session discusses the newly released updated global estimates on WASH in schools, examples of how countries have gathered and used data to accelerate progress in response to the pandemic, and ideas to continue the momentum post-COVID.
Convening Organizations: UNICEF, WHO, GIZ, LSHTM, Swiss Water & Sanitation Consortium

Side Event – Serving the Urban Poor: Evidence to Support Decision-making in Continuous Supply and Sanitation: 2 Case Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa – Presents a continuous water case study from Lusaka, Zambia and urban sanitation solutions using 3 decision tools from Kampala, Uganda. The session is led by partners from sub Saharan Africa with time allowed for discussion with stakeholders on their experiences.

Frontiers of Sanitation (16): Incontinence: We Need to Talk About Leaks

The new Frontiers of Sanitation (16): Incontinence: We Need to Talk About Leaks aims to provide the WASH sector with:

  • A basic introduction to incontinence and the realities that people living with incontinence face;
  • Practical suggestions for how to identify and engage with people living with incontinence to start ‘talking about leaks, ‘How to Talk About Leaks: A Checklist’ accompanies the Frontiers;
  • Practical suggestions for the WASH sector (and others) to contribute to reducing inequalities associated with incontinence.

The Sanitation Learning Hub would like to extend many thanks to the excellent authors who created the guide and checklist: Claire Rosato-Scott, Dr Dani Barrington, Dr Amita Bhakta, Dr Sarah House, Dr Islay Mactaggart and Jane Wilbur.