Tag Archives: sanitation

SuSanA announces new project database as a one-stop shop for information on sanitation projects

A sanitation project database is now available on the website of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). It aims to make  information about sanitation projects of all organizations available in one central location.

The project database currently contains 220 projects. 80% of these have the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as their funding source, due to the fact that the database development was part of a BMGF grant to Stockholm Environment Institute.

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Can WASH deliver more than just sanitation?

Through successful WASH intervention, communities access a new service that improves their quality of life, and also learn about equity and inclusion.

Blog by development expert Suvojit Chattopadhyay

The abysmal state of access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the developing world is currently a major cause for alarm; 580,000 children die every year from preventable diarrheal diseases. This is due largely to the 2.5 billion people around the globe who do not have access to safe sanitation. Not only can an effective WASH intervention save lives, it can also engineer changes in the social fabric of communities that adopt these behavioural changes. This points to a key attribute of a successful WASH intervention – that through these programmes, communities not only access a new service that improves their quality of life, but they also learn from being part of a concrete intervention that emphasises equity and inclusion.

Let me explain how. Safe sanitation is essentially ‘total’. In a community, even one family practising open defecation puts the health of other families at risk. Also, unsafe sanitation practices pollute local potable and drinking water sources in the habitations. Together, this can undo any gains from partial coverage of WASH interventions. This much is now widely accepted by sanitation practitioners around the world. However, there remains a serious challenge when it comes to the implementation of this concept.

When a community is introduced to a WASH-focused behaviour change campaign, there are often variations in the levels of take-up in different families. This could be because of several barriers – financial ability, cultural beliefs, education levels, etc. In response, external agencies have many options. They can focus more on families in their behaviour change campaigns, offer them material and financial support or incentives, or exert peer pressure (which may in some cases become coercive, etc).

However, the best approach – whether facilitated by an external agent or not – is for a community to devise a collective response. The issue should be framed as a collective action problem that requires solving for the creation of a public good. In many instances, communities have come together to support the poorest families – social engineering at its finest. At its best, recognising the needs of every member of a community will lead to a recognition of the challenges that the typically marginalised groups face. It is this recognition that could prompt a rethink of social norms and relationships.

Read the full article on the WSSCC Guardian partner zone.

Global Sanitation Fund reports large-scale advances in sanitation and hygiene in 13 countries

Lucie Obiokang with the toilet she built after being triggered.

Lucie Obiokang with the toilet she built after being triggered.

A new report shows that the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) has supported governments and hundreds of their national partners in 13 countries, stretching from Cambodia to Senegal, to enable 7 million people in more than 20,500 communities to end open defecation.   

These results are published in the GSF’s latest Progress Report (link to report; link to photos), which highlights cumulative results from the start of the fund until the end of 2014. Nationally-led programmes supported by the GSF have enabled:

  • 4.2 million people with improved toilets
  • 7 million people and more than 20,500 communities to be open-defecation free
  • 8 million people with handwashing facilities

Currently, 2.5 billion people, or 40% of the global population, lack access to decent sanitation. Of those, more than a billion defecate in the open. Diarrheal disease, largely caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of malnutrition, stunting and child mortality, claiming nearly 600,000 under-5 lives every year. Inadequate facilities also affect education and economic productivity and impact the dignity and personal safety of women and girls.

Established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the GSF funds behaviour change activities to help large numbers of poor people in the hardest-to-reach areas attain safe sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. These activities are community-led, support national efforts, and bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in order to address, at a large scale, the severe deficiencies in access to sanitation and hygiene.

The GSF is a pooled financing mechanism with the potential to further accelerate access to sanitation for hundreds of millions of people over the next 15 years. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the GSF reported an almost 90 percent increase in the number of people living open-defecation free in target regions of 13 countries[1] across Africa and Asia. During this same period, the GSF has also supported a 55 percent increase in the number of people with access to improved toilets in those same areas. The United Nations system has identified global funds as an important tool to enable member countries to achieve their national development targets, including those for sanitation and hygiene.[2]

“These results prove that we are moving closer to our vision of a world where everybody has sustained sanitation and hygiene, supported by safe water,” said Chris Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC.  “This is a crucial step towards achieving better health, reducing poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability for the most marginalized people in the world.”

These GSF results have been achieved due to the work of more than 200 partners, including executing agencies and sub-grantees composed of representatives from governments, international organizations, academic institutions, the United Nations and civil society. One of the strongest success factors in the GSF approach is that it allows flexibility for countries to develop their programmes within the context of their own institutional framework and according to their own specific sanitation and hygiene needs, sector capacity and stakeholders. This implementation methodology is used to reach large numbers of households in a relatively short period of time and is vital for scaling up safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

“GSF is one of the few funds for government-led, donor-funded sanitation and hygiene programmes,” said Williams. “It can uniquely serve as a catalyst to the wider sector as a model that is replicable for others interested in large-scale behaviour change.”

Reaching scale has required that sub-grantees can identify influential, strategic communities, and make effective use of natural leaders, religious and local leaders, or hundreds of others who serve as individual sanitation and hygiene champions. GSF supported programmes apply a local delivery mechanism that engages households in thousands of villages, which enables people to make informed decisions about their sanitation and hygiene behaviour that can improve their health, education and productivity.

The report also highlights the GSF’s impact on national programmes. In Uganda, there are now more than 1.4 million people living in open-defecation free (ODF) environments, thanks to GSF-funded activities, and close to three million people have been reached by hygiene messages as a result of decentralized local government intervention. In Madagascar, over 1.3 million people are now living in ODF environments – in all 22 of the countries regions – and India’s GSF-supported programme has over 782,000 people with handwashing facilities.

“Access to improved sanitation has to be a sustainable reality for every person in the community, regardless of age, gender or disability, in order for the health and other benefits to be enjoyed by all,” said David Shimkus, Programme Director of the GSF. “This report shows that GSF-supported programmes are making major strides in achieving improved sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable, and all stakeholders will continue to work together to ensure such progress continues.”

The Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to the GSF since its establishment in 2008. Close to $105 million has been committed for 13 country programmes, which aim to reach 36 million people.

[1] Benin, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

[2] See draft outcome document for the forthcoming Addis Ababa Accord of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Financing for Sustainable Development report and its Role of Global Funds in a Post-2015 Development Framework.

Webinar: ‘Results based financing for sanitation – do the costs outweigh the benefits?’ – 29 April 2015, Sustainable Sanitation Alliance

susana-logo A webinar on ‘Results based financing for sanitation – do the costs outweigh the benefits?’ will take place on Wednesday 29th April 2015 at 13:00 (UTC/GMT). Three speakers with very different backgrounds will discuss what, from their perspectives, we know and don’t know about the questions “Do the costs outweigh the benefits of results based financing for sanitation, and what are the right conditions for it to work?”

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Public Finance for WASH initiative launched


Today sees the launch of Public Finance for WASH, a research and advocacy initiative aiming to increase awareness of domestic public finance and its critical importance for water and sanitation provision in low-income countries. Check out our website www.publicfinanceforwash.com.

This is a collaborative initiative between IRC, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), and Trémolet Consulting. A key aim is to offer easy-to-read but rigorous information about domestic public finance solutions: our first three Finance Briefs are now available for download from our website, and over the coming year we will be building a comprehensive resource library.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page: what exactly is domestic public finance? Essentially, it’s money derived from domestic taxes, raised nationally (e.g. by the Kenyan government) or locally (e.g. by Nairobi’s municipal government). This money is going to be critical for achieving the water and sanitation SDGs: so how can we all work together to ensure that what we’re doing is supporting (not inhibiting) the development of effective public finance systems? And how can public finance be spent in ways that catalyse the development of dynamic markets for water and sanitation services?

To find out more, please check out the website. If you’d like to become involved in any way, get in touch!

Tackling the Taboo of Menstruation

In connection with last week’s WSSCC-UN Women side event on the Commission on the Status of Women, WSSCC Executive Director published a new blog on the Huffington Post. It begins:

“In 1995, global rights activists sent a powerful message about the urgent need for gender equality in political, civic, economic, cultural and social life. Two decades later, women and girls have made powerful strides in closing the gender gap.”

Read the full article at:



My toilet: global stories from women and girls

You are invited to view an exciting new exhibition by WSUP, launched to mark World Toilet Day.

My Toilet documents women and girls and their toilets to build a visual representation of the day to day reality and the effect this has on their lives, both positive and negative.

Keyla, 4, by her toilet in Bolivar, Ecuador. Photography Karla Gachet. Panos Pictures for WSUP.

Keyla, 4, by her toilet in Bolivar, Ecuador. Photo: Karla Gachet, Panos Pictures for WSUP.

The images and stories show that, although the type of toilet changes from country to country, the impacts have recurring themes. Having can mean a better chance of education, employment, dignity, safety, status and more. Wherever you are in the world, a toilet equals far more than just a toilet.

Get involved on social media!
Help spread this message by sharing a picture of yourself holding up a sign with the hashtag #ToiletEquals followed by a word, or a few words, to describe what having a toilet equals for you and for millions of others around the world. All the tweets and pictures will be shown on the My Toilet website.

Visit the exhibition!
Images from 20 countries, spanning every continent, will be exhibited at The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, London SW1Y 4UY. The gallery is open to the public from 17 – 22 November 2014, 10am – 5pm daily. Entry is free. We hope to see you there!