Can We Finance Sustainable Development?

Huffington Post blog by Chris Williams, WSSCC Executive Director

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most comprehensive international poverty alleviation movement in history. Since 1990, extreme poverty has been cut by half; 17,000 fewer children die each day; and 2.3 billion people gained access to clean drinking water. A multi-stakeholder coalition of governments, international organizations, and civil society groups have tackled crucial issues ranging from education to improved sanitation to gender equality.

And yet, the challenge of empowering hundreds of millions more to gain access to proper healthcare, sanitary facilities, and education is enormous. As more countries have attained middle-income status, inequality has soared. The wealthiest individuals have become wealthier while growth-with-equity remains a distant prospect.

In Dodoma, Tanzania, a community group comes together every Saturday to organize their finances. Villagers earn interest on their savings and give out loans. Everyone plays a role - here three keyholders open the chest containing the loan registrations. Photograph: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

In Dodoma, Tanzania, a community group comes together every Saturday to organize their finances. Villagers earn interest on their savings and give out loans. Everyone plays a role – here three keyholders open the chest containing the loan registrations. Photograph: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

This week, the global development community will congregate in Addis Ababa to decide how to finance the next fifteen years of inclusive growth and the elimination of poverty. The positive news is that Member States have painstakingly created a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a comprehensive post-2015 plan that will strike at the heart of global poverty, and set the poorest nations and communities on the path towards equitable and long-lasting growth.

While the goals seek to augment, broaden, and expand upon the wide-ranging successes of the MDGs, the sobering fact is that the conventional model for financing development is in need of a massive overhaul. Traditional channels of overseas development assistance (ODA) from developed nations to the developing world are not only insufficient for financing the ambitious post-2015 agenda, but it’s clear that development as we know it is no longer relevant, nor desirable.

No longer relevant, because the world has changed and the expertise that will drive post-2015 growth is being cultivated in-country by capitalizing on local solutions. And no longer desirable, because much of the development assistance has been self-serving and ineffectively utilized in the first place. The system is broken and it is time to redo development, building from the ground up.

This week’s conference on how to finance development is therefore a seminal turning point for how we will solve some of the most intractable development challenges of the day. A turning point because there is recognition from donor countries that they need to be more effective in selecting funding priorities and disbursing ODA. And a turning point in that the developing countries are realizing that the solution lies at their fingertips.

Developing countries harbour a technical knowledge base within their borders – the expertise, innovations, and solutions necessary for inclusive growth are home-grown and just waiting to be tapped. Increasingly, innovative citizens are creatively devising south-south, country-to-country delivery models for development. Channelled effectively, this has the potential to finance the vast majority of sustainable growth in the developing world.

This is a radical departure from the traditional paradigm of massive donor-funded agencies issuing a loan, which often takes three years to develop, 100 staff to implement, and then is neither tracked nor delivered. Donor funds can now form a much smaller portion of the resources required to solve the development challenges in the global South. The question for governments that continue to provide official ODA is therefore how best to apply funds that can leverage these different sources of domestic capital?

One of the answers lies in innovative financing methods for development. Global multi-stakeholder partnerships have proven successful in the field of health, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), and the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI). All of these funds use ODA efficiently by leveraging community savings, public investment and private capital, therefore putting into action the principles behind the SDGs.

The GSF, a fund administered by my organization, the UNOPS-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), invests in behavior change activities that enable large numbers of people in developing countries to improve their sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. The only global fund solely dedicated to sanitation and hygiene, the GSF is light of foot and heavy on scale. Households and local governments work with local entrepreneurs and a network of hundreds of partners. Together, they create the conditions for tens of millions of people to live in open defecation free environments and access adequate toilets and handwashing facilities.

Importantly, individual household investments in sanitation mobilized by GSF programming currently amount to four times the value of its funding. A grant of $5 million can therefore yield $20 million in community savings per country. The most powerful by-product of this investment then materializes in the form of public capital, once governments realize the commitment that their people have made. Private sector engagement is yet another positive outcome, as demand for products and services is generated through the behavior change of society. This is the exact model that the development world is seeking -community-based solutions that are government supported and commercially operated.

Read the full article on Huffington Post

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives | Source: Huffington Post, July 8 2015 |

Cambodia has the lowest access to sanitation in all of Southeast Asia, and as a result more than 10,000 children die every year due to diarrheal diseases, according to WaterAid. watershed

To help curb those figures, nonprofit WaterSHED recently released the LaBobo, a portable and inexpensive sink whose colorful design encourages kids to improve their hygiene habits.

Read more

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Waste Pickers

Issue 198| July 10, 2015 | Focus on Waste Pickers

This issue contains recent policy briefs, manuals, videos, and country studies on environmental health conditions and other issues faced by waste pickers. According to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), recognition is growing that waste pickers contribute to the local economy, to public health and safety, and to environmental sustainability. However, they often face low social status, deplorable living and working conditions, and little support from local governments. washplus-weekly

OVERVIEWS/POLICY

Managing the Emerging Waste Crisis in Developing Countries’ Large Cities, 2015. Institute of Development Studies. Link
This policy briefing identifies some of the key challenges and opportunities for transitioning waste management into resource management, which engages both the formal and informal sector and provides livelihoods for the urban poor. Mainstreaming the informal sector is both economically efficient and financially beneficial for local governments as it reduces the costs of waste management as well as the need for large-scale investments in infrastructure.

Forging a New Conceptualization of “The Public” in Waste Management, 2015. M Samson. Link
This paper critically analyzes innovative approaches to including informal waste pickers in service delivery in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Pune, India, and Bogota, Colombia and argues that by mobilizing collectively to demand formal incorporation into municipal waste management systems waste pickers are expanding both the public sector and the public sphere; transforming relations among the state, formal economy, informal economy, and residents; and contributing to the forging of a more inclusive, participatory, and democratic state.

Solid Waste Management and Social Inclusion of Waste Pickers: Opportunities and Challenges, 2014. M Marello. Link
Authors explore the opportunities and challenges inherent in the model of cooperation between municipal solid waste systems and waste picker cooperatives. Enthusiasm is growing about waste picker inclusion, often as part of “integrated solid waste management.” The World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank, for example, have both funded projects to support waste picker integration into formal sector recycling.

Continue reading

Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes among Women Practicing Poor Sanitation in Rural India

Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes among Women Practicing Poor Sanitation in Rural India: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study. PloS Medicine, July 2015.

Authors: Bijaya K. Padhi, Kelly K. Baker, et al.

Background The importance of maternal sanitation behaviour during pregnancy for birth outcomes remains unclear. Poor sanitation practices can promote infection and induce stress during pregnancy and may contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs). We aimed to assess whether poor sanitation practices were associated with increased risk of APOs such as preterm birth and low birth weight in a population-based study in rural India.

Methods and Findings A prospective cohort of pregnant women (n = 670) in their first trimester of pregnancy was enrolled and followed until birth. Socio-demographic, clinical, and anthropometric factors, along with access to toilets and sanitation practices, were recorded at enrolment (12th week of gestation). A trained community health volunteer conducted home visits to ensure retention in the study and learn about study outcomes during the course of pregnancy. Unadjusted odds ratios (ORs) and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals for APOs were estimated by logistic regression models. Of the 667 women who were retained at the end of the study, 58.2% practiced open defecation and 25.7% experienced APOs, including 130 (19.4%) preterm births, 95 (14.2%) births with low birth weight, 11 (1.7%) spontaneous abortions, and six (0.9%) stillbirths. Unadjusted ORs for APOs (OR: 2.53; 95% CI: 1.72–3.71), preterm birth (OR: 2.36; 95% CI: 1.54–3.62), and low birth weight (OR: 2.00; 95% CI: 1.24–3.23) were found to be significantly associated with open defecation practices. The association between APOs and open defecation was independent of poverty and caste. Even though we accounted for several key confounding factors in our estimates, the possibility of residual confounding should not be ruled out. We did not identify specific exposure pathways that led to the outcomes.

Conclusions This study provides the first evidence, to our knowledge, that poor sanitation is associated with a higher risk of APOs. Additional studies are required to elucidate the socio-behavioural and/or biological basis of this association so that appropriate targeted interventions might be designed to support improved birth outcomes in vulnerable populations. While it is intuitive to expect that caste and poverty are associated with poor sanitation practice driving APOs, and we cannot rule out additional confounders, our results demonstrate that the association of poor sanitation practices (open defecation) with these outcomes is independent of poverty. Our results support the need to assess the mechanisms, both biological and behavioural, by which limited access to improved sanitation leads to APOs

SUWASA Pathways for Urban Water and Sanitation

Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) is a regional initiative of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), implemented by Tetra Tech, with a mission of fostering the transformation of water and sanitation delivery services in Africa to achieve long-term financial sustainability through the application of market-based principles.

The SUWASA Pathways are tools developed to share experiences, deliver key messages and provide links to useful resources such as manuals, case studies, templates and reports. pathway-intro-home

The SUWASA Pathways were developed by the SUWASA team in consultation with project partners including officials from government ministries, municipalities and regulatory agencies, utility managers, managers of dedicated funding units, private operators, commercial bank representatives, civil society and development partners.

The objective of the Pathways is to communicate complicated reform topics in a highly accessible manner to a broad range of sector stakeholders and to assist with envisioning and sequencing reform efforts. There are many possible reform paths, but the SUWASA Pathways offer viable reform routes. We hope these tools can be widely disseminated and used in the water and sanitation sector.

Available for download and viewing:

 

iDE’s Approach to Market Development

Brief Overviews of iDE’s Approach to Market Development

iDE is offering two short overviews that address key aspects of market development. These reports are designed to be short, but dense with practical information resulting from our experience in building markets for sanitation in seven countries across two continents.

iDE Tactic Report: The Dynamics of Market Development

iDE_W_TR_Markets thumbIn this publication, you will find a description of how we analyze the situation in a country to design a dynamic and responsive sanitation business model.

The report also compares market type, sanitation awareness, product range, supply chain maturity, manufacturing base, and government engagement across a sample of the countries we work in.

Download the Markets tactic report

iDE Tactic Report: Behavior Change Grounded in User Insights

In this publication, we share our experience with a one-year pilot on behavior change, and outline our key takeaways for building an effective campaign. iDE_W_TR_BCC thumb

A handful of social games, the core of the behavior change program we developed, are shown and explained in this report.

Download the Behavior Change tactic report

Webinar on ‘What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change’ – Wed 22 July

It is startling that there seems to be no consensus about what constitutes success for CLTS programmes. Is 30% an acceptable success rate? How can these rates be optimized? What should be our response to communities that do not become defecation free?

An upcoming webinar will ponder these questions. The title of the webinar is: ‘What constitutes success for CLTS? – Measuring community outcomes and behavior change’

It will take place on Wednesday 22 July 2015 at 15:00 London time (BST/GMT+1).

The new Sustainable Development Goals will encourage a stronger focus on behavior all along the sanitation chain. Therefore, we are at the right time to consider what we can do more, better or differently. We invite you to join an interactive webinar where experts working in the “Building Demand for Sanitation Programme” of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will share their insights.  The panelists of the webinar include:

  • Ada-Oko Williams, Technical Support Manager, Sanitation and Hygiene, WaterAid UK
  • Darren Saywell, Senior Director, Water, Sanitation and Health, Plan International USA (CLTS research project)
  • Hans-Joachim Mosler, Head of Environmental and Health Psychology, Eawag (CLTS research project)
  • Jonny Crocker, Research Assistant at The Water Institute at UNC, Chapel Hill

The webinar will be run as a panel interview followed by audience and panelists interactions. This webinar, open to all, is being organized under the Knowledge Management initiative of the Building Demand for Sanitation (BDS) program, by Euforic Services, the SuSanA secretariat and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

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Further information and a discussion before and after the webinar is available here on the SuSanA discussion forum.

Registration details:

  • Date: Wednesday 22 July 2015
  • Time: 15:00 London time (BST/GMT+1)
  • You can check for your equivalent time here: http://bit.ly/1NvX3yK
  • The webinar will utilise Adobe Connect.
  • Please register your interest to participate here.

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