Tag Archives: urban sanitation

What does an enabling environment look like for urban sanitation? WSUP Webinar

What does an enabling environment look like for urban sanitation?

This week, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) held a webinar to explore what an enabling environment for urban sanitation really looks like. wsup-logox2

Despite its evident importance to achieving scale, the components of a well-functioning enabling environment for urban sanitation are weakly understood.

This webinar shared lessons from a 5-year programme – funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – which aimed to catalyse the market for on-site sanitation services in Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia, through the development of flexible public-private arrangements.

Watch a recording of the webinar.

Planning & Design of Sanitation Systems and Technologies – EAWAG

This is the trailer of the revamped Sanitation-MOOC, which is continuously running on Coursera. Please sign up for the course here: ENGLISH course with SPANISH and HINDI subtitles: http://coursera.org/learn/sanitation ; FRENCH course: http://coursera.org/learn/sanitation-fr .

In this YouTube-channel there is a playlist with all course videos in English and a second playlist with all course videos in French. In the course you can learn more about how to plan for urban sanitation at city and local/community levels, different sanitation system and technology configurations and examples of successful and failed urban sanitation systems in low- and middle-income countries.

Shit-Flow Diagrams – EAWAG

Planning & Design of Sanitation Systems and Technologies, Published on Dec 22, 2016

The future is urban, the future is African (and implications for sanitation)

The future is urban, the future is African (and implications for sanitation). WASH Economics, January 9, 2018.

UNPD brought out their 2017 update to World Population Prospects (WPP) last summer. One striking graph from that got me digging into the data into the 2014 World Urbanisation Prospects (WUP) data.

This may seem slightly off-topic for a WASH economics blog, but understanding population trends is crucial in economics.

For costing purposes, you’ll often find yourself multiplying a per household or per person unit cost, by a number of households or people. future-is-african

That’s true whether you’re estimating the costs of reaching the SDGs at the global level, carrying out strategic financial planning at the  national level, or understanding how to finance a sanitation master plan at the city level.

So, the future is African. This becomes obvious, when looking at the figure below from WPP 2017. A lot can happen between now and 2100, but the trend for the African continent is striking. Even at 2050 (not that far away, scarily) the absolute numbers are striking, with Africa seeing a ~150% increase on its 2010 total population.

Read the complete article.

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi

Adopt or Adapt: Sanitation Technology Choices in Urbanizing Malawi. PLoS ONE 11(8): 2016.

Authors: Richard M. Chunga1, Jeroen H. J. Ensink, Marion W. Jenkins, Joe Brown

This paper presents the results of a mixed-methods study examining adaptation strategies that property owners in low-income, rapidly urbanizing areas in Malawi adopt to address the limitations of pit latrines, the most common method of disposing human excreta. A particular challenge is lack of space for constructing new latrines as population density increases: traditional practice has been to cap full pits and simply move to a new site, but increasing demands on space require new approaches to extend the service life of latrines.

In this context, we collected data on sanitation technology choices from January to September 2013 through 48 in-depth interviews and a stated preference survey targeting 1,300 property owners from 27 low-income urban areas. Results showed that property owners with concern about space for replacing pit latrines were 1.8 times more likely to select pit emptying service over the construction of new pit latrines with a slab floor (p = 0.02) but there was no significant association between concern about space for replacing pit latrines and intention to adopt locally promoted, novel sanitation technology known as ecological sanitation (ecosan).

Property owners preferred to adapt existing, known technology by constructing
replacement pit latrines on old pit latrine locations, reducing the frequency of replacing pit latrines, or via emptying pit latrines when full.

This study highlights potential challenges to adoption of wholly new sanitation technologies, even when they present clear advantages to end users. To scale, alternative sanitation technologies for rapidly urbanising cities should offer clear advantages, be affordable, be easy to use when shared among multiple households, and their design should be informed by existing adaptation strategies and local knowledge.

Learning from Sustained Success: How Community-Driven Initiatives to Improve Urban Sanitation Can Meet the Challenges

Learning from Sustained Success: How Community-Driven Initiatives to Improve Urban Sanitation Can Meet the Challenges. World Development, World Development Vol. 87, pp. 307–317, 201.

Past research by one of the authors of this paper has identified four key institutional challenges that community-driven initiatives to improve sanitation in deprived urban settlements face: the collective action challenge of improving community sanitation;
the coproduction challenge of working with formal service providers to dispose of the sanitary waste safely; the affordability challenge of reconciling the affordable with what is acceptable to both users and local authorities; and the tenure challenge of preventing housing insecurity from undermining residents’ willingness to commit to sanitary improvement.

In this article we examine how two well-documented, relatively successful and longstanding initiatives, the Orangi Pilot Project and an Alliance of Indian partners, met these challenges. They were met through social innovation, but also through the choice and development of sanitation technologies (simplified sewers for OPP and community toilet blocks for the Indian Alliance) that provided traction for the social innovations.

We also explore more recent efforts by civil society partnerships in four African cities, demonstrating some of the difficulties they have faced in trying to overcome these challenges. No equivalent models have emerged, though there has been considerable progress against particular challenges in particular places.

These findings confirm the importance of the challenges, and indicate that these are not just challenges for social organization, but also for technology design and choice. For example, the problem with household pit latrines is not that they cannot physically be improved to sufficiently, but that they are not well-suited to the social, economic and political challenges of sanitary improvement at scale.

The findings also indicate that a low economic status and a tendency to treat sanitation as a private good not suitable for public support also makes the sanitation challenges difficult to overcome.

Letter from India: How Poop is Becoming Big Business for Small Companies

Letter from India: How Poop is Becoming Big Business for Small Companies. by Devyani Singh, The Dialogue, January 27, 2017.

An excerpt: Small businesses can help governments and corporations build reliable value chains and introduce new services into local markets. They create employment in emerging markets, and increase access to goods and services that could potentially improve the lives of the underserved. toilet-696x387.jpg

Business solutions

A fascinating example of a business solution to the sanitation crisis in India is Samagra Sanitation. Founded in 2011 by Swapnil Chaturvedi, famously known as “Poop Guy,” Samagra is a small business working at the intersection of design, technology, and behavioral science, to tackle the issue of open defecation in 140 locations in Pune, India.

Samagra operates in urban slums and has so far built more than 300 toilet seats with more than 150,000 daily users, almost half of which are young girls and women. Samagra designs, manages, and renovates community toilet blocks in partnership with the municipality, which pays for maintenance and utilities like water and electricity. Each block is run by local women who act as Kiosk Managers (or “Loo-Preneurs”) and is regularly cleaned by Samagra’s “Cleaning Force.”

Slum dwellers can use Samagra toilets for free, but those who pay for usage get access to value added services or “LooRewards” such as mobile tops-ups, bill payments, banking, and health services. The cleaning staff also receives 100 percent of the revenue collected. In this way, the impact of Samagra goes beyond better sanitation to give women in these communities a means to earn a stable income.

Changing Perceptions

What is often missing from even the savviest of entrepreneurial efforts is a systematic process for conceptualizing a business model that replicates global best practices. Enviu, a developer of innovative social businesses from the Netherlands, is working to harness the power of business in India by co-creating impact businesses that can drive system-change. By leveraging the experience and knowledge of its network across the globe, Enviu works with local businesses to develop what it calls “bottom-up solutions”.

Read the complete article.