Tag Archives: water

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.

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!

Webinar! The power of creative thinking: working within and around challenging institutional frameworks

Webinar Flyer

Join WSUP and the WASHplus project for this interactive webinar.

Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Time: 10:00-11:00 EDT (New York) / 15.00–16:00 BST (London)

Reserve your place now at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/846901233.

WSUP animation – welcome to the world of urban WASH programming!

How do you design and implement an effective urban WASH programme? In WSUP’s recent publication “The Urban Programming Guide” we set out the many activities involved, from planning and capacity building to improving services and promoting behaviour change. This short animation brings the publication to life and takes you on a virtual tour of some of these activities in action: enjoy the ride!

You can download the Urban Programming Guide for free from our website.

VACANCY: Urban Water and Sanitation Specialist, WSUP Advisory

WSUP Logo - Blue - Web 300px

Job Location: London, UK
Closing Date: 30th June 2014

WSUP Advisory is a consultancy service providing technical expertise to those seeking to address the challenges of providing urban WASH services to low-income urban consumers. WSUP Advisory takes the lessons learned from WSUP’s programmes and makes them available to countries across the world.

To meet its goals, WSUP Advisory is seeking an Urban Water & Sanitation Specialist who is interested in supporting cities across the world to adopt successful service models that reach low income consumers, and who is also interested in helping to build an advisory business. This is an opportunity to play a key role in a growing organisation. The role will require creative thinking and tenacity to seek continual improvement.

To read more about the role and find out how to apply, please visit http://www.wsup.com/programme/vacancies.

Reducing vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure

Water and sanitation utilities commonly experience vandalism and theft of their
property. These acts of vandalism are widespread in both urban and rural settings and take a number of forms: they include water theft leading directly to a loss of revenue for the utility, and the vandalism and theft of valuable metal pipes, fittings and manhole covers leading to an increase in the utility’s maintenance costs. The extent of vandalism and theft experienced in a project or defined area can have a direct and significant impact on the performance of a utility, and where the service is negatively affected, this will ultimately impact on the well-being of customers. Despite anecdotal evidence of the prevalence of this problem research into the subject remains very limited, with a lack of documentation on interventions to reduce vandalism or the extent to which a reduction in vandalism can lead to improved water and sanitation services.

To explore strategies for combating this issue, WSUP has recently carried out a case study documenting experience in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, where Nkana Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) are implementing a three-pronged, integrated approach to vandalism reduction.

Want to find out more? For a quick read download our two-page Practice Note. For a more in-depth analysis, see our Topic Brief.



THE URBAN PROGRAMMING GUIDE: How to design and implement a pro-poor urban WASH programme

Improving water, sanitation and hygiene services to low-income urban areas is a highly challenging and complex task. Traditional approaches have often failed to work. We need new approaches and fresh thinking. We need governments, donors and sector professionals genuinely committed to improving services in slum settlements. It’s challenging but it can be done! This guide offers some solutions based around WSUP’s experience: all you have to do is put them into practice!

The guide provides an introduction to urban WASH programming: how to design and implement a pro-poor urban water, sanitation and hygiene programme.

Urban Programming Guide
Who is this guide for?
This guide is primarily designed for WASH professionals working in governments, development agencies, funding agencies or civil society organisations. It will also be useful for professionals working for service providers including water utilities, local authorities and in the private sector.

How to use this guide
The guide provides an overview of some key strategies and service delivery models. It’s not intended to be encyclopaedic: it’s a rapid-reference document with the following intended uses:

  • To aid the planning, design and implementation of urban WASH programmes.
  • To assist with investment planning by service providers.
  • To point the reader towards further sources of information and guidance.

The guide is free to download from WSUP’s website: http://www.wsup.com/resource/the-urban-programming-guide