Tag Archives: urban sanitation

Public Finance for WASH initiative launched

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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!

From WASH to Environmental WASH: BRAC’s new strategy

BRAC LogoBRAC plans to expand its scope beyond WASH to water security and from rural to urban areas, as well as moving from service provider to facilitator.

The BRAC WASH Programme is rebranding. For 2016-2020 it will be renamed as the BRAC Environmental WASH Programme. This reflects the planned gradual expansion in scope beyond WASH towards water security and from rural areas towards low income small towns, urban areas and coastal areas. Specific areas of intervention include solid waste management at scale, faecal sludge management, water security and quality, enhanced secondary school programmes and alternative sanitation technologies at scale.

There will be a gradual shift in operating styles from direct service to facilitation, advocacy and joint implementation, learning and monitoring the impact of programmes. Operational partners will include Government at all levels, civil society, the private sector and other NGOs already operating in the same regions. Planning and budgeting will need to be flexible and adapted to specific regional needs, requiring on-going investment in staff and partners capacities.

The strategy builds on ten years of experience in large-scale rural WASH programming. Ongoing support to the rural population will continue and be enhanced, for example, dealing with the well-known challenge of sanitation in difficult hydrogeological settings, and will be integrated into other local BRAC programmes. Staffing will be reduced where earlier programmes have achieved their objectives and appear sustainable within existing institutional structures.

In terms of its financing, a mix is envisaged of grants, joint implementation of programmes with government and multi-lateral institutions and business models that apply market solutions to large scale change. Cost sharing and user payment in some activities will remain a feature of the programme. Direct BRAC support is being applied to programme development and piloting, for example, alternative water services in the coastal region.

Read the draft version of Strategy 2016 – 2020 BRAC Environmental WASH programme : everyone, everywhere, all the time.

See also IRC’s webpage on the BRAC WASH Programme.

The news item was orginally published on the IRC website on 16 January 2015

Gordon McGranahan-Realizing the Right to Sanitation in Deprived Urban Communities

Realizing the Right to Sanitation in Deprived Urban Communities: Meeting the Challenges of Collective Action, Coproduction, Affordability, and Housing Tenure.World Development, Vol. 68, Jan 2015 pp. 242–253, 2015.

Author: Gordon McGranahan, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK.

There are serious institutional challenges associated with low-cost sanitation in deprived urban communities. These include a collective action challenge, a coproduction challenge, a challenge of affordability versus acceptability, and a challenge related to housing tenure.

This paper examines these challenges, revealing both the importance of community-driven sanitation improvement and its difficulties. The nature of the challenges, and the means by which two successful community-driven initiatives have overcome them, suggest that while recognizing the human right to sanitation is important this should not be taken to imply that typical rights-based approaches are the appropriate means of realizing this right.

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Southeast Asia: A Guide to Good Practice

Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in Southeast Asia: A Guide to Good Practice, 2014.

Arthur C. McIntosh, Asian Development Bank.

Objective – This book provides stakeholders (governments, development partners, utilities, consultants, donors, academe, media, civil society, and nongovernment organizations) with a point of reference and some tools for moving forward effectively and efficiently in the urban water supply and sanitation sector in Southeast Asia. New generations of water professionals should not have to repeat the mistakes of the past. Instead they should be able to take what has been learned so far and move forward. To facilitate this process, this book was designed to improve understanding and awareness of the issues and possible solutions among all stakeholders in the sector.

Scope – This book focuses on six countries in Southeast Asia—Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Field data were obtained from 14 utilities in these six countries. Future studies should bolster the analysis of sanitation, now still regrettably weak for lack of data.

World Toilet Day: cities can’t wait

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to ‘systemically change sanitation in cities’. A new working paper marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population.

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

While more people in cities have access to toilets than in villages, both wastewater and solid waste remains largely untreated. Take Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh: 99 percent of the population use toilets but according to Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) a staggering 98 percent of their waste is dumped untreated in the enviroment [1].

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to tackle sanitation in cities. A new working paper “Towards Systemic Change in Urban Sanitation“, marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population. The problems in urban sanitation range from lack of facilities to lack of public funding and messy politics in urban governance.The root causes are systemic and technology alone is not the solution.

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BioFizz, a biological product formulated to treat septic tanks as well as urban sanitation systems

BioFizz, a biological product formulated to treat septic tanks as well as urban sanitation systems, 2014. BioFizz

BioFizz is a biological sanitation treatment product intended for use in both septic tank systems, as well as conventional urban lavatories

BioFizz is a biological product developed by CSIR Biosciences, intended for use in both septic tank systems, as well as conventional urban lavatories. Septic tank systems are widely used in various parts of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in various other developing countries. Most urban populations in these countries are provided with septic tanks; although in some other less developed countries, up to 45 % still use traditional pit latrines.

The septic tank system provides a cost-effective on-site sanitation mechanism, and is the most cost-effective, and likely the only practical approach for securing the health benefits associated with hygienic disposal of excreta. Although its use is advantageous, numerous limitations of the use of septic tank systems have been reported.

The BioFizz product can also be applied as a biological alternative in normal domestic water borne sewage systems, where environmentally aware customers can use the product to reduce the burden on sewage treatment facilities and ensure cleaner effluent traps and pipes. On-site, point-of-source treatments of these septic tanks and urban lavatory systems are required in order to suitably treat sewage generated from households. This form of sanitation is also being adopted by suburban lifestyle estates and game lodges across Africa.

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Free online course on urban sanitation starts 13 October

A team of instructors led by Christoph Lüthi from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are eager to teach you how to plan urban sanitation systems.

Together with Sandec/Eawag, EPFL has designed a 5 week online course introducing sector planning tools and frameworks such as Sanitation 21, Community-Led Urban Environmental Sanitation (CLUES) and the Sanitation Systems Approach.

The course consists of lecture videos (English, with French subtitles), practical exercises, a homework quiz and a final exam. The questions and explanations for the practical exercises, the homework quiz and the final exam are offered in English and French. Watch the introduction video.

The course “Planning & Design of Sanitation Systems and Technologies” runs from 13 October to 16 November 2014.

It is the 2nd MOOC (massive open online course) of the series on “WASH in developing countries”. The first MOOC was on “Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage“.