Tag Archives: sustainable sanitation services

IRC showcasing WASHCost Calculator at Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India

WASHCost Calculator

IRC’s WASHCost Project will be one of approximately 50 exhibits that will be on display during the two-day Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India. IRC will present the WASHCost Calculator; an online tool that helps professionals to plan for WASH services that are built to last.

The Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India is being co-hosted by the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It will coincide with World Water Day on March 22, 2014. The fair is also supported by the Indian Ministry of Urban Development.

In 2011, the Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC)  to develop toilets without connections to sewer, electrical, or water systems. Sixteen of those prototypes will be on display in India.

The WASHCost Calculator takes into account everything from construction, finance, and installation, to maintenance, repairs and eventual replacement. It raises issues such as who owns the infrastructure or who is responsible for replacement. It helps you to think about how you are going to maintain the service before you’re trying to build it. The online tool is designed to compare data across organisations and is dynamically updated, growing smarter with each additional project. And the tool is now online at:  http://washcost.ircwash.org

IRC has created a poster, which gives an example of how the WASHCost Calculator can be used for rural sanitation in India.


  • IRC selected as an exhibitor for the Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India, IRC, 20 Mar 2014
  • Girindre Beeharry and K. VijayRaghavan, Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India – Solutions for India and the World, Impatient Optimists, 10 Mar 2014


Gates Foundation-DfID partnering on sustainable sanitation for the urban poor

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) have initiated a partnership to focus on solutions for the sustainable provision of sanitation to the urban poor. They are jointly seeking proposals to test how cities can use binding service-level agreements and performance-based contracts with private sector partners as way to ensure the city-scale delivery of sustainable sanitation services.

The selection of the cities will be a two-step process. In Phase 1, up to ten cities will be selected to develop an informed plan and full proposal to solicit a grant. Out of these proposals, 2-3 cities will be selected for a larger Phase 2 grant to support implementation of their proposed plan. The duration of the Phase 2 grant is expected to be 2-3 years. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are priority geographies for consideration.

Phase 1 budgets have a maximum of US$ 150,000, but no budget limits have been set yet for Phase 2.

The application deadline for proposals is 13 September 2013.

In 2012, the Gates Foundation published a study on fecal sludge management in 30 cities across 10 countries in Africa and Asia.

For more information on the “City Partnerships for Urban Sanitation Service Delivery” request for proposals (RFP) go here.

Sustaining sanitation services costs 5-20 times more than building a latrine

Sustaining sanitation is much more expensive than building latrines. The 20-year cost of sustaining a basic level sanitation service per person in certain countries is anywhere from 5-20 times the cost per person of building the latrine in the first place.

This is one of the key findings on costing sustainable sanitation services, which are being highlighted in the first month of the WASHCost campaign. The campaign was launched on 24 October, and every month until March 2013, it brings a roundup of fast facts from the WASHCost research project, experiences from several organisations which are using the life-cycle cost approach and ways to get involved.

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Fecal Sludge Management: A smelly but fruitful business!

Today, 2.1 billion people in urban areas use non-sewered (or on-site) sanitation facilities. While much of the work in rural areas is focused on creating and sustaining open defecation free communities and generating demand for communities to construct toilets, the downstream activities of collecting and transporting fecal sludge present a unique challenge for urban residents. These services are mostly provided by private operators, and are generally uncontrolled and unregulated. The inadequate disposal of fecal sludge in the environment represents a direct threat to public health and negates the positive outcomes from behavioral change and improvements in sanitation access.

The urban population in developing countries, and in particular the poor, rely on fecal sludge collection and transportation services that are often not affordable.  In addition, pit emptying is often done by hand, exposing the operators to serious health risks (see figure below). Often mechanical emptiers, using vacuum trucks, charge excessive fees to customers but do not pay taxes or comply with laws and standards due to a general lack of regulation for these services. This makes it a highly profitable business. For example an emptying service provider in Abuja makes US$ 15,000 per month.

Manual emptier in Senegal, also called Baay Pelles

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Asia Regional Sanitation and Hygiene Practitioners Workshop – call for abstracts

From 31st January to 2nd  February 2012 BRAC, WaterAid, WSSCC and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre will organise a regional sanitation and hygiene practitioners’ workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The aim of this workshop is to contribute to the evidence base on sanitation and hygiene interventions with sustainable results through documentation and analysis of selected cases. It is set up to support practitioners in identifying practical approaches, steps and lessons for improving their work and to provide an informal setting where participants actively engage and feel confident to question each other and their own assumptions.

The themes for this regional practitioners’ workshop are

  1. Sustainable sanitation services and sustained behaviour change
  2. Equity – reaching the poor and vulnerable
  3. Effective monitoring for change and improved planning

Please read the announcement and call for abstracts and send your abstract to dhaka2012@irc.nl by the 14th of August 2011.

This is the third in a series of (South) Asia regional practitioners’ workshops. For documentation related to the previous workshops, see IRC’s website: www.irc.nl/page/39978

A new publication brings together lessons from 8 regional sanitation  and hygiene workshops held between 2007 and 2011 and can be downloaded here: www.irc.nl/page/65234