Tag Archives: Bolivia

Turning fecal sludge into a resource: New approaches required to achieve the rural sanitation SDGs

WorldBank_publication_FSM_Rural_Areas_Verhagen_ScottSafely managed sanitation is a focus of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is central to stunting reduction and early childhood survival, both identified by the World Bank’s Human Capital Index as critical for humans to develop their full potential. It is widely known that 4.5 billion people lacked access to safely managed sanitation in 2015, according to the Joint Monitoring Programme. Less well understood is that hundreds of millions more people in densely populated rural areas are exposed to significant health risk due to unsafely managed sanitation.

In contrast to urban areas, fecal sludge management (FSM) is not yet recognized as a priority for the rural sanitation sector – it is assumed to be less of an issue because rural areas are more sparsely populated. However, some densely populated areas fall under rural administrations, notably in deltas and on the periphery of rapidly growing rural areas. In these areas there is also a need to safely manage fecal waste. Many sanitation systems that, for lack of scrutiny, are assumed to be improved and safe, but due to lack of scrutiny they fail to safely manage fecal sludge.

A new World Bank report-supported by the Global Water Security and Sanitation Program (GWSP) – and six case studies identified specific causes of health risks in locations in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Egypt, India, and Vietnam. They include compromised construction of on-site sanitation solutions, incorrect technology choices, poorly developed FSM markets, predominantly manual emptying practices and indiscriminate dumping of sludge in the immediate environment. They found that environmental regulations and building codes do not address FSM effectively, and enforcement is often weak. Rural administrations typically lack the mandate and institutional capacity to provide and manage FSM services.

Read the full blog by Joep Verhagen and Pippa Scott

“Verhagen, Joep; Scott, Pippa. 2019. Safely Managed Sanitation in High-Density Rural Areas : Turning Fecal Sludge into a Resource through Innovative Waste Management. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32385 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”


Menstrual hygiene reports from Bolivia, Philippines and Sierra Leone

In 2012, UNICEF and the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University initiated a programme to support collaborative research focused specifically on exploring the MHM challenges faced by female students in Bolivia, the Philippines, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. The project includes developing or
strengthening MHM-related programming in schools in those countries. WASH_Philippines-6

Emory University sent research fellows to work with UNICEF and its in-country WASH in Schools partners on the programme. The assessment activities conducted and themes explored were guided by an ecological framework that covers societal, environmental, interpersonal, personal and biological factors. Questions for qualitative data collection were created to investigate and understand the personal challenges and needs girls have during menstruation in the school setting.

The results are now published as a series of reports:

Bolivia – Long, Jeanne, Bethany A. Caruso, Diego Lopez, Koenraad Vancraeynest, Murat Sahin, Karen L. Andes and Matthew C. Freeman, ‘WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education in Rural Cochabamba, Bolivia: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools’, United Nations Children’s Fund, New York, November 2013.

Philippines – Jacquelyn, Bethany A. Caruso, Anna Ellis, Murat Sahin, Jonathan Michael Villasenor, Karen L. Andes and Matthew C. Freeman, ‘WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’  Education in Masbate Province and Metro Manila, Philippines: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools’, United Nations Children’s Fund, New York, November 2013.

Sierra Leone – Caruso, Bethany A., Alexandra Fehr, Kazumi Inden, Murat Sahin, Anna Ellis,  Karen L. Andes and Matthew C. Freeman, ‘WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education in Freetown, Sierra Leone: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools’, United Nations Children’s Fund, New York, November 2013.


Microfinance as a potential cataylst for improved sanitation

. Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People

. Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People

Microfinance allows middle- and lower-income households to invest in desirable sanitation products, so that public funding can be freed up to reach the poorest, according to Water for People (WfP). In a new report [1], WfP reviews their experiences in piloting various lending models in seven countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda.

The report provides lessons and recommendations for donors wishing to engage in sanitation microfinancing. The four key recommendations are:

  1. Think like a business
  2. Support lending institutions based on the microfinance climate and capacity needs
  3. Build an autonomous sanitation microfinance market
  4. Track progress and lessons

The report is part of WfP’s Sanitation as a Business (SaaB) program, funded by a Gates Foundation grant.

Read the full report

[1]  Chatterley, C. et al, 2013. Microfinance as a potential catalyst for improved sanitation : a synthesis of Water For People’s sanitation lending experiences in seven countries. Denver, CO,USA: Water For People. Available at: <http://www.waterforpeople.org/assets/files/sanitation-microfinance.pdf>

Source: Christie Chatterley et al., Microfinance as a potential cataylst for improved sanitation, Water for People, 27 Dec 2013

Seminar – Helping entrepreneurs provide sustainable sanitation services

Small private providers, from retailers to masons, from public toilet operators to latrine emptying businesses, are of vital importance to medium- and lower-income communities, according to BPD Water & Sanitation [1]. The sanitation sector needs to capitalise on the growing interest in social entrepreneurship and the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ especially in urban areas.

There are numerous resilient private sanitation providers but the majority get limited support or oversight from public bodies, NGOs and others. Changing this requires requires relatively little effort, contends BPD, and would reap many economic, health and environmental benefits.

At the World Water Week in Stockholm, BPD, the Stockholm Environment Institute and WASTE are organising a seminar on “Helping Entrepreneurs Provide Sustainable Sanitation Services” (24 August 2011, 14.00 – 17.00, Room T6). The seminar explores the different markets and incentives for sanitation entrepreneurs from Bolivia, Ghana and Malawi. In discussion with entrepreneurs and organisations/ specialists that support them, this interactive session will engage participants in debate around two key topics: finance and business support. The session will finish with an interactive ‘sanitation marketplace’.

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Bolivia: drop in diarrhoea thanks to swine flu handwashing campaign

If any good has come of the global H1N1 flu pandemic, it may have started with a child like Nayeli Quispe, 7, a second-grader from the impoverished hillsides of La Paz, Bolivia. Prompted by a massive campaign by the country’s public-health officials to contain the spread of the new flu virus, Nayeli and millions of other Bolivian schoolchildren have been washing their hands a lot more than usual — after recess, before meals and every time the animated dancing hands pop up in public-service announcements on TV. “First you wet them really well, then you rub the soap all around and then you dry them with a clean towel,” says Nayeli.

Public-health experts now say the increase in hand-washing across the country may have had some collateral benefits, not only in helping to reduce H1N1 infections, but also the spread of other common diseases in Bolivia. “We see a steady 10% to 15% drop in the rate of incidence of acute diarrheal diseases in all age groups, compared with last year’s numbers at this time,” says Dr. René Lenis, Bolivia’s director of epidemiology, referring to data collected on the number of weekly cases of diarrheal disease reported in medical centers nationwide in 2008 and 2009.

Although the new statistics, and the apparent link between hand-washing practices and disease reduction, need further investigation, “this certainly raises our attention,” says Lenis. Diarrheal diseases are the biggest killer of children under age 5 worldwide; in Bolivia, 30,000 children die each year from such illnesses. Swine flu, as H1N1 is still referred to there, has hit Bolivia hard as well, with more than 2,000 infections and 55 deaths in a country of 9 million, most having occurred during the southern hemisphere’s winter (June through August).

When the virus first appeared, say government officials, the country reacted the only way it could. “You can combat these outbreaks in two ways — medically and nonmedically,” says Lenis. “Bolivia doesn’t have the medical resources that other countries do, so we rely on prevention and educational campaigns.”

Starting in April, sudsy cartoon hands were everywhere, promoting hand-washing on billboards, at soccer games, in classrooms and on TV. “[Nayeli] was taught at school, and then would remind us to do it at home,” says Claudia Quispe, Nayeli’s mom. It’s not that she and her family didn’t wash their hands before, explains Quispe, an indigenous Aymara shop owner, but they didn’t do it as much or as thoroughly as they should have. Within her family, Quispe thinks the public-health campaign has been a success: “Normally both Nayeli and my 3-year-old son have constant stomachaches or diarrhea. But in the last few months, they just haven’t had those issues,” she says.

That’s exactly how the program is supposed to work, says Therese Dooley, a senior adviser for UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project. “Kids are the key because they are great at carrying messages,” Dooley tells TIME. For years, WASH has been trying to educate people, particularly in developing countries, about the benefits of a simple action like washing hands with soap. Diligent washing, especially at critical times (like after going to the bathroom and before meals, for example), helps reduce the rate of diarrheal disease by more than 40%.

Often, though, the problem is not just about good habits or bad ones but about access to clean water or the ability to afford soap. In Bolivia, 25% of the country still doesn’t have access to water in the home. Health officials recognize that every citizen must have a sink to wash their hands in before they can expect significant reduction in disease. But when more than half the population is already living with some sort of bacterial or parasitic stomach infection, it’s crucial to encourage those who can wash their hands to do so.

Lenis and Dooley are still wary of the short-term data on Bolivia’s descending rates of diarrheal disease; it remains to be seen whether the trend will hold up. But the findings “make a lot of sense, because behavior change like increased hand-washing happens quicker when there is a perceived threat,” says Dooley. She says she has not seen similar data regarding a drop in rates of diarrheal or other diseases on an H1N1 timeline from other countries (though at least one news report suggests that increased hand-washing due to H1N1 has led to a sharp reduction of pinkeye cases in Korea). They may trickle in, however, if other countries are also looking for these correlations, says Dooley.

Bolivia’s challenge now is to maintain the good numbers. The last time Bolivia witnessed a plummet in diarrheal-disease rates was during the cholera outbreak of 1992 and 1993, when better personal-hygiene habits led to a reduction in the spread of infection. But as the threat of the disease died down, so too did people’s standards of cleanliness. Lenis says that the Bolivian government is committed to continuing its media campaigns and that ongoing potable-water and sewage-system expansion projects will help make Bolivians healthier. Most important, however, is keeping up the education, says Lenis. “Adults forget or think [hand-washing is] not necessary anymore, but kids get into it as an activity,” he says, adding that he’s lobbying to make hand-washing education part of the basic public-school curriculum. It may thus be up to little Nayeli and all her friends to keep their country on track.

Source: Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, Time 22 Oct 2009