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Before yesterday1. Water

New data on global progress towards ensuring water and sanitation for all by 2030

March 4th 2021 at 15:00

The UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 has gathered the latest country, region and world data on all the global indicators for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which is … Read more

The post New data on global progress towards ensuring water and sanitation for all by 2030 appeared first on UN-Water.

Online event to launch the UN-Water SDG 6 Summary Progress Update

March 1st 2021 at 08:23

The SDG 6 Summary Progress Update 2021 report provides the latest available country, region and world data on all of the SDG 6 global indicators. As such, it outlines how … Read more

The post Online event to launch the UN-Water SDG 6 Summary Progress Update appeared first on UN-Water.

Celebration of World Water Day 2021 – Valuing Water

February 25th 2021 at 11:11

On 22 March, 2021, World Water Day will be celebrated in an online event. The World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis, and a core … Read more

The post Celebration of World Water Day 2021 – Valuing Water appeared first on UN-Water.

My experience of the RWSN Mentoring Programme

February 24th 2021 at 21:12
This is a guest blog by Amanda Mugwambi, a young professional from Zimbabwe enrolled as a mentee in the 2020 RWSN Mentoring Programme. I’m Amanda Mugwambi from Zimbabwe. I have been working in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector for over 5 years in addition to four years prior of environmental management. I am … Continue reading "My experience of the RWSN Mentoring Programme"



Weaknesses in water, sanitation and hygiene systems exposed by pandemic, say experts

February 24th 2021 at 16:43

Highlights from a panel discussion on how cities are adapting to challenges such as the Covid-19 crisis.

At a WSUP event held yesterday, a panel of expert speakers outlined the challenges faced in the urban water, sanitation and hygiene sector as a result of Covid-19, and made recommendations on priorities for the sector.

The Adapting in a Time of Crisis event assessed the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries and was moderated by Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer, BT and a member of the WSUP Board.

A recording of the online event is available here

Gerald Mwambire, Managing Director, Malindi Water & Sewerage Company, Kenya started off the event by highlighting how the Covid-19 pandemic has put a strain on service provision.

“The government issued directives that we need to provide water [for free], because water is so important for mitigating Covid. But when we are giving free water, that means we have low revenue collection,” he said. Without subsidies from the government, Mwambire added, utilities have struggled to operate effectively.


2020 was a year of doing things differently, and of innovating rapidly to combat constantly shifting threats.

Jeff Goldberg, Director, Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene, USAID, highlighted how the crisis has been a forcing event to accelerate digital technologies in the sector to address the water and sanitation challenge.

As an example, Mwambire spoke of how in Malindi, the utility was compelled to look at SMS billing and smart meters to reduce the risk of customers and frontline staff being exposed to Covid-19.

Report: Smart meters: innovating to improve water supply in a post-Covid context

The informal settlement of Bangladesh, in Mombasa, Kenya
Crowded urban settlements such as this community in Mombasa, Kenya, are highly exposed to the pandemic – making good hygiene a vital part of daily life

Helena Dollimore, Senior Manager, Global Sustainability, Unilever, spoke about how Unilever worked with development actors who are already serving low-income income residents through the Hygiene & Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC). This included helping NGOs to adapt their work to the digital space and using mass media and digital channels to promote hygiene messaging.

In Kenya for example, through the HBCC programme, WSUP was able to use SMS hygiene messaging through our existing work with utilities who made use of their customer databases to reach a large number of low-income residents with vital information.

Read more about WSUP’s Covid-19 response

Stronger utilities

At WSUP we believe that utilities are the solution to comprehensive, safe water access in cities.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the vulnerability of utilities’ financial positions. Many utilities were – understandably – required to provide water for free to help in the fight against the pandemic, but this has come at severe costs for their sustainability and financial viability.

Investing in utilities and helping them become financially stable is crucial for improving services for the people most in need, and it is one of the most important steps that we can take to tackle the water crisis.

Read more about how WSUP is working with utilities to improve services

Andrea Jones, Program Officer, International Programs, Hilton Foundation said, “The blanket safety net approach has put service providers in a precarious position…We need to ensure utilities can reach the poor and vulnerable.”

Frank Kettey, Country Programme Manager, Ghana, WSUP, added: “The role that utilities play is crucial, and we all need to work towards supporting them to ensure they emerge stronger after the pandemic.”

Goldberg remarked that the crisis has given us the opportunity to look at the fundamentals of governance, policy, cost recovery and ensuring we build financially stable utilities that can withstand any kind of crisis moving forward.

Read WSUP’s report on regulation in the sanitation sector: Referee! Responsibilities, regulations and regulating for urban sanitation

Continuous water supply for all and climate change

“If climate change was a shark, then water would be the teeth of it,” said Dollimore, highlighting the link between climate change and water.

Climate change is threatening water and sanitation systems in cities. 74% of all natural disasters between 2001 and 2018 have been water related.  Whether the problem is too much water or too little water, it is damaging people’s ability to have access to decent services.

In the face of this growing challenge, building the resilience of service providers has never been more important.

WSUP's Utility Strengthening Framework
WSUP’s Utility Strengthening Framework is helping build resiliency within the water sector

In order to deliver services to the poorest residents, utilities need to improve effectiveness across the breadth of their operations. WSUP’s Utility Strengthening Framework uses eight steps to move towards a stronger utility.

Neil Jeffery, Chief Executive of WSUP, highlighted how following the cyclones that hit Beira in Mozambique in 2019, WSUP had to work with city authorities to build back better. He argued that adapting to climate change needs to become standard process within urban development and within those institutions providing water, sanitation and hygiene.

Read more about how WSUP is helping cities to become climate resilient

The last 12 months have shown us that even in a crisis – or perhaps because of a crisis – change is possible. As Jones commented, although the Covid-19 crisis has brought to the forefront the gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene systems, it has also provided an opportunity for leaders to address these challenges.

WSUP is determined to play its part in driving the change needed.

WSUP's priorities: read our 2020-2025 Business Plan

Self-Supply made simple: A pictorial Sub-Saharan Summary in 10 slides by Sally Sutton

February 24th 2021 at 09:26
A pictorial Sub-Saharan Summary in 10 slides by Sally Sutton With thanks to IRC


What is in a name - the ANAM WASH initiative

February 22nd 2021 at 15:58
By: Duti

Launch of ANAM implementation phase

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation supports collective action in many countries. Ghana is proudly one of them.

Photo caption: Launch of ANAM implementation phase. IRC Ghana

In Ghana we believe that names influence character and behaviour. A name can be a  good omen or spell doom and can also be a motivating influence for success. We also believe that a bundle cannot be fastened with one hand.  These beliefs guided the chiefs and key local stakeholders in Asutifi North district when it came to naming their ambitious initiative to deliver safe water and sanitation to everyone within the district: the Asutifi North Ahonidie Mpontuo (ANAM for short) – or in English, the Asutifi North cleanliness initiative.  They coined the name  in acknowledgment that no single actor can deliver such an ambitious agenda alone. It was also to reinforce citizens’ understanding that their desire for a clean society can only be achieved with safe water, sanitation, and good hygiene. 

The name and the vision of universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) across the district, was arrived at following a year of extensive context analysis, stakeholder consultation and inception meetings to stimulate local understanding and buy-in.

Local authority driven process

The ANAM WASH initiative seeks to test a local-authority-led partnership with NGOs to drive district-wide access to WASH services. In recognition of the complex dynamics of providing access to everyone, the model further aims to give voice to and empower the socially excluded in decision making.  This latter, by stimulating popular support for WASH through the creation of a WASH network supporting proactive citizen engagement.

To support the local authority in driving the process, the initiative includes a hub function to facilitate the intricate task of partner coordination. This function is performed by  IRC, who have leveraged partners’ shared ambition for collective success by guiding the processes of joint visioning and implementation, fostering harmonisation of partners’ efforts and innovations, and ensuring mutual accountability for progress towards equitable outcomes.

Like assembling an aircraft

Being part of this discovery journey since its inception in 2017 has felt like working in an aircraft manufacturing process (impact lab).  Each partner has focused on developing parts of the whole thereby contributing to a collective effort of knowledge building and developing harmonised, scalable solutions. We have co-created and tested solutions to improve aspects of the service delivery machinery required to drive universal WASH access in a district.

The principles and actions fostered by the initiative may not be particularly new, rather, the uniqueness of the approach lies in how district actors are being brought together through deliberate convening and coordination by the local authority and traditional leadership with support from a dedicated hub organisation.

Achieving WASH prosperity

The evidence thus far from the experiment points in the direction of a more coherent and productive WASH system in the making. A climate in which all experience a genuine stake in the district’s increasing WASH prosperity is being fostered.

It is gratifying to note that the Asutifi North District Assembly  is becoming more confident and able to offer effective leadership to actors in its WASH sector.  Likewise, citizens are feeling a greater sense of shared ownership of the district WASH agenda as their opinions are sought in formulating responsive solutions and their WASH grievances are addressed. There is a remarkable improvement in water services and the district is on track to achieve universal access ahead of the 2030 target. We see how collective power can drive success when challenges are locally felt, solutions locally owned and leadership is taken on at the right levels. By 2020, an estimated 11,500 people had experienced some level of water service improvement. This includes 7,000 people getting to safely managed services and 4,500 people getting to basic water services. A total number of 52,000 people (of a total population of 63,000 in 2017) now have at least basic water services in the district.

Adapting due to COVID

2020 has been an unusual year with the COVID-19 pandemic but there has been a bright side to the twist despite the disruption. Empowered and inspired by the ANAM initiative, the local authority is providing clear and responsive leadership in rallying its WASH stakeholders to mobilise resources to implement a range of short- and medium-term interventions to mitigate and recover from the impact of COVID-19.

As Asutifi emerges from COVID, the partnership will shift attention to ensuring the resilience of existing WASH systems, whilst identifying and addressing the specific needs of hard-to-reach areas. It will also continue to bring lessons to inform sector dialogues, policy reviews and scale-up in other districts.

"Good Practice of WASH”

In  recognition of its success, the district was one of three selected by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) for documentation of inspiring examples of efforts towards achieving SDG6 in Ghana. Through this, the ANAM delivery approach has been included in the “Good Practice of WASH” compilation published by NDPC and shared with metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies across Ghana to inform their WASH delivery practices.  Currently, NDPC is considering incorporating learnings from the initiative into the next cycle of planning: developing WASH guidelines for all districts in Ghana to use in preparing medium-term WASH strategies and plans.

This plan will not end up on the shelf

The sector in Ghana is charting a new course to respond to changing needs by formulating new national development policy frameworks, revising sector policies and strategies, and reforming institutions. The processes are providing an opportunity for the sector to engage and clarify roles, but many issues including the role of local government and communities in water service delivery in the future state remain undecided.  The Asutifi North district authority, the traditional leaders and people, IRC and other partners working in and beyond the district, are well placed to constructively engage in the sector change dialogue using the evidence curated.

These processes promise to shape how to consolidate fragmented WASH interventions and improve accountability under a single institution through a network of people and functions working together to deliver WASH services to everyone.

The name ANAM WASH initiative will not be lost in sector history.

The partners

ANAM WASH is supported by a broadly based partnership of national and international actors including: the Asufiti North District Assembly, IRC, World Vision. Safe Water Network, Aquaya Institute, Netcentric Campaigns and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It receives financial support from these partners and also from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Dutch Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS).

Editor’s note:

While collective action such as that of the ANAM WASH initiative takes place at district level, our goal is to inspire replication and wider impact. Click here to find out how partners in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Uganda are working together for safe water, supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Safe Water Strategy. This set of advocacy and outreach materials has been designed to ensure that what we learn is shared and adopted in more districts in the countries where we work, and in other countries.

You will find even more examples of collective action under Useful Links. 


Asutifi North water partnership impact sends ripples across Ghana

February 23rd 2021 at 12:29

Two new videos show how a district-wide partnership is transforming water coverage and lives.

Water vendor in Agravi, Asutifi North, Ghana


Photo caption: Water vendor in Agravi, Asutifi North, Ghana. Peter McIntyre/IRC

Robel Lambisso Wahimso, Ghana WASH Program Manager for World Vision, reflects on the success of the Asutifi North Ahonidie Mpuntuo (ANAM) initiative to deliver WASH access to everyone in the district by 2030.  

“We have all joined our hands towards achieving a common agenda under the umbrella of the Universal WASH master plan. It is a unique experience for World Vision. I believe it is a unique experience for the other partners as well.”  

James Ata-Era, District Development Planning Officer confesses that the District Assembly has been amazed at the impact as the initiative they lead brings safe water to communities, who are willing to pay for it.  

“The number of requests for maintenance of boreholes to the Assembly has reduced drastically. We ourselves are amazed.” 

The two videos focusing on Asutifi North each look at different aspects of the work. Commitment and leadership on the road to universal WASH coverage details achievements and reflections of those leading the initiative. Asutifi North partners join hands to reach a common goal gives partners space to reflect. 

District Chief Executive, The Hon. Anthony Mensah, sees the ability of the district to deliver safe water as a key indicator of good government. “I am going to be measured based on my performance and part of it will be how I was able to deal for people to get potable and clean water.” 

Joseph Ampadu-Boakye, Safe Water Network Sector Engagement and Partnerships manager, believes this approach could reach 3.2 million people in small towns and peri-urban across the country, provided the lessons are taken on board.  

“Local government authorities are willing to invest in water services, provided as partners we are also willing to invest a lot more time and effort in taking them through a process where they completely understand what it is that they are putting their resources into. We need to understand the fact that they are duty bearers and for every single Cedi or dollar that they spend they have a responsibility of being able to explain to their constituents the reason why they are making that investment.” 

IRC plays a hub role in this partnership. Jeremiah Atengdem, IRC Ghana WASH Expert said, “In a good working partnership you need to have backbone organization to drive change, ensure we have a master plan everyone believes in and is committed to ensure that at every point on the way partners are keeping their eyes on the ultimate vision which is to achieve universal WASH access.” 

Two other videos that tell the transformational story of the Asutifi North District initiative, documented under the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) good practice for WASH in Ghana cases include: 

How the ANAM WASH Initiative is transforming lives looks at the impact in three communities. In Wamahinso Town it contrasts the peace and calm at water points today with the near riots in 2018 when pumps ran dry. In Agravi village it shows how women have been relieved of a half kilometre uphill struggle every day with water from a contaminated open well. In Panaaba, Chief Nana Attakorah Amaniampong coined the phrase “Where World Vision goes, water flows” to sum up the transformation of his village. Water vendor Doris Bosompimaah even dreams of selling iced water from her stall. 

WASH for schools and health centres shows how water in schools reduces absenteeism and improves concentration in class. In Gambia no 1,  Vivian Kumah, nurse in charge of the CHPS health centre can at last practise effective infection control. “Doing childbirth without water is not safe,” she says bluntly. 

Dr Kodjo Mensah-Abrampah, Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission in Ghana says the whole country must learn from these experiences. “I think that is the path that we need to go if you want to make an effect.  Asutifi is not a special area in the country but it has now suddenly become the Mecca for good water management and how a team and a group can work together to responds to some of these areas.”

High-Level meeting on the implementation of the water-related goals

February 22nd 2021 at 08:17

Prior to World Water Day (March 22), a high-level meeting will be hosted online to inspire action while drawing attention to the 2021 theme: Valuing Water. The High-Level meeting on … Read more

The post High-Level meeting on the implementation of the water-related goals appeared first on UN-Water.

Coming soon: USAID Pro-WASH webinar series on Operation & Maintenance

February 18th 2021 at 08:24
Join PRO-WASH for a new webinar series focused on operation and maintenance of WASH infrastructure! This four-part series will share lessons learned from USAID partners focusing on innovative advances in approaches to operation and maintenance (O&M) of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure. Speakers will discuss their program’s approaches to engineering, environmental, financial, and political-economy … Continue reading "Coming soon: USAID Pro-WASH webinar series on Operation & Maintenance"



Book on Self-supply: ‘Filling the gaps in public water supply provision’

February 16th 2021 at 13:20

One of the approaches promoted by the SMART Centres is supporting self-supply, so stimulating people to invest in their own water system like a well and pump.

There is now the first ever book on Self-supply Filling the gaps in public water supply provision has been published by Dr. Sally Sutton and John Butterworth. By RWSN it has been called THE book and on the first day of publication, the book was downloaded more than 500 times already.

In the book several SMART Centres and the people involved like Rik Haanen, Walter Mgina, Reinier Veldman and Henk Holtslag are mentioned.

Self supply is increasingly seen as one of the options to reach SDG6.1 and related SDGs for food, income and employment. We highly recommend that you download and read the book. You can get your copy through Practical Action. The electronic version is for free and there are paid soft and hard-cover versions availble.

‘Self-supply has long been overlooked because it is largely unmapped, unmonitored and unregulated, and therefore invisible to policy-makers and decision-takers. This wonderful new book shows what they are missing by providing an accessible but comprehensive overview of self-supply in its many forms and contexts, from the lowest income countries to the highest. It puts people at the centre of the challenge to achieve universal water access and is a celebration of ingenuity and resilience – and highlights that household investment and remittances can play a vital role in plugging the investment gap in rural water infrastructure. This book is destined to become a classic reference that all rural water supply professionals should become familiar with.’

Sean Furey, Director, Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN)

Self-supply: why I wrote the book

February 15th 2021 at 04:00
by Dr Sally Sutton, SWL Consultants, on her new book “Self-supply: Filling the gaps in public water supply provision” available to buy, or free to download from Practical Action Publishing from 15 February 2021. Moving from deserts to humid lands After 14 years working as a hydrogeologist in the deserts of the Middle East on … Continue reading "Self-supply: why I wrote the book"



RWSN opportunity: part-time moderator for RWSN discussion platforms

February 9th 2021 at 12:27
Skat Foundation is looking for a part-time co-moderator of the RWSN online platforms from the Global South. The post will be a consultancy or paid Internship position in the RWSN Secretariat. If your application is successful you will receive a contract up to 31 July 2021 (containing about 1-2 days per week) which could be extended until the end of this year and beyond if performance is good.



Consultancy – Safe/Small Water Enterprise Consumer Knowledge Curation Phase 1

February 9th 2021 at 11:05
RWSN Member Organisations, Water4, Safe WaterNetwork, Water for Good and Water Mission have released an interesting consultancy opportunity. Download the ToRs Deadline is 19 February 2021 Please note that this is not an RWSN project so please contact Anna Rohwer at Water4 for queries and to apply



What does ‘quality’ sanitation mean in low-income urban areas?

February 8th 2021 at 10:00

By Sam Drabble, Head of Evaluation, Research & Learning

Broadly speaking, when we advocate for investment in sanitation, it is because we are trying to achieve two critically important aims: improve human health, and improve wellbeing or quality of life. But to what extent are sanitation interventions actually achieving these aims?

In many cases, the honest answer is that we do not know (in part because impact measurement can be costly and time-consuming, particularly when it comes to health). But while intuitive, the health and wellbeing outcomes and impacts of sanitation interventions cannot be assumed. To what extent these are actually achieved will be influenced by wider factors, including parallel causes of disease in the local urban environment (health), and the extent to which sanitation options provide for a positive user experience and align with user preference (quality of life).

An open drain in Rangpur, Bangladesh

In densely populated low-income communities (LICs), sanitation outcomes and impacts are further complicated by technical, economic and political constraints. Even under best-case scenarios, most LIC residents are unlikely to acquire access to high-quality pour-flush toilets served by sewer systems. This means we need to better understand what types of sanitation intervention are a) feasible and b) effective in delivering health and quality of life outcomes in these contexts.

Our new report Quality Check explores this fundamental issue. The paper, authored by Aguaconsult, synthesises four major research projects conducted under, or in association with, WSUP’s DFID-funded Urban Sanitation Research Initiative (USRI). These projects were commissioned to build the evidence base around sanitation quality in low-income areas.

Below we set out four key lessons from the paper. These are only some high-level reflections – we encourage you to read the full report and related articles from the research teams!

1. High-quality sanitation is necessary but may not be sufficient, on its own, to achieve health improvements in LICs

A primary driver for sanitation investment is improved health outcomes, such as reduced diarrhoeal disease. The USAID and Gates-funded MapSan trial — led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Georgia Institute of Technology — aimed to evaluate the health impacts of a shared sanitation intervention delivered by WSUP in the low-income communities of Maputo, Mozambique.

Shared sanitation block, Mozambique

MapSan broke new ground as the first controlled health impact trial of a non-sewered sanitation intervention, and the first such trial of urban shared sanitation facilities. As WSUP and our partners have documented (see blog link below), these findings require very nuanced interpretation — but the bottom line is that the intervention had no clear effect on incidence of diarrhoeal disease in children under 5.

Clearly these results are not what we hoped to see. However, in WSUP’s view, MapSan is not an argument against improved sanitation — the absence of which we know to be connected to a wide range of negative health outcomes. Rather, these findings potentially support an argument for integrated urban development and slum upgrading.

Our first lesson: high-quality sanitation is a critical foundational step towards improved health, but it must be accompanied by parallel improvements to break faecal-oral disease transmission pathways.

Blog - Does improved sanitation mean healthier kids?

2. Maximising the health impact of sanitation interventions requires better understanding of the link between sanitation and pathogen flows

Together with limited evidence on the eventual impacts of improved sanitation in LICs, there is limited evidence on how best to design interventions to maximise the health gains of sanitation improvements. The Faecal Pathogen Flows Study, commissioned by WSUP and delivered by a consortium led by Institute of Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney, aimed to address this gap. The research team developed and applied a systems modelling approach to assess the relative performance of eight sanitation options — including septic tanks, deepened and covered drains, and fully sealed vaults — in a densely populated LIC in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Environmental sampling, undertaken to inform the modelling, revealed high levels of pathogens throughout the LIC environment. Wider findings, again nuanced, indicated quality of the containment infrastructure as a key determinant of pathogen transmission, and underlined that proper maintenance makes a huge difference to prospects for achieving long-term health impact.

Our second lesson: “quality” in terms of achieving health impact relies on both appropriate infrastructure choices and good management.

Blog - Pathogen pathways and urban planning

3. Shared latrines can provide high-quality sanitation

Health impact is not the only determinant of sanitation quality: user experience is also critically important.  For many residents of densely populated LICs, shared sanitation is the only feasible option. In WSUP’s view, this means there is a case for modification of the UNICEF-WHO JMP classification of shared sanitation as only “limited”, to encourage governments and donors to increase investment in high-quality shared sanitation — but this in turn would require identified minimum standards to facilitate monitoring.

Communal toilet in Nakuru, Kenya. Credit: Brian Otieno.

The QUISS study (Quality Indicators for Shared Sanitation), commissioned under USRI and led by Eawag-Sandec, aimed to strengthen the evidence base in this area through a large-scale assessment of shared and non-shared toilet users in Ghana, Bangladesh and Kenya. The study produced detailed findings on user criteria for shared sanitation, with immediate water access, cleanliness, and gender-separated toilets found to be the highest priority. Significantly, researchers also found the clearest discriminant between low- and high-quality sanitation was not number of households sharing (1, 2 or more), but rather technology: flush/pour-flush toilets showed much better quality than non-flush latrines, independently of number of households sharing.

Our third lesson: shared sanitation can and often does provide acceptable high-quality sanitation.

Report - High-quality shared sanitation: how can we define that?

4. Quality of life indicators could provide a standard metric to compare sanitation systems and services

Sanitation access impacts our sense of wellbeing and quality of life in myriad ways, with women and girls disproportionately affected: beyond directly affecting health, livelihoods and school attendance, access to a toilet can be core to personal safety and dignity. These factors are important demand-side drivers of sanitation improvement, and should be taken into account in evaluating the effectiveness of sanitation options.

Led by Ian Ross at LSHTM, the development of SanQoL — a metric for quality-of-life dimensions of sanitation services — is an important step forward in this area. SanQoL indicators were used to measure the user-perceived impact of interventions in the MapSan trial, and a USRI evaluation of user satisfaction with Clean Team, a container-based sanitation service in Kumasi, Ghana — in both cases to striking effect.

Clean Team waste collector
Clean Team waste collector in Kumasi, Ghana.

The Clean Team Evaluation revealed that customers experienced substantial quality-of-life gains after adopting the service, in comparison with their previous use of existing public toilets; importantly, while women were less satisfied than men with public toilets, access to the Clean Team service closed the gender gap completely (watch out for a forthcoming WSUP Research Brief on this impactful research, led by i-San).

In MapSan, the SanQoL analysis revealed that user experience may differ significantly between sanitation solutions, even where they provide apparently similar levels of services: user experience was found to be better for shared toilets than for the more expensive option of communal sanitation blocks.

Our fourth lesson: this experience suggests that from a public investment perspective, user-centred approaches like SanQoL may be helpful — alongside health impact projections — for identifying which types of sanitation investment can be effective.

Achieving high-quality sanitation within a low-income context is challenging — but it is possible. When designing sanitation interventions, policy makers, city planners and donors need to assess whether the solutions they are supporting are able to deliver in terms of health and quality of life outcomes and expected impacts. We hope that the reflections and recommendations in this report will help support decision-making around sanitation quality in low-income urban areas.

Download the Quality Check report here


The world isn’t running out of water… it is running low on clean water

February 3rd 2021 at 14:07
by Lalit Bajare, Nixie Engineers, India Hi! A chemical engineer by education; I have been a water and wastewater treatment professional for last 24 years. Having started career at Ion Exchange (I) ltd; Mumbai in 1996, I moved to Singapore and worked with Hyflux and Chartered Semiconductor Mfg Ltd for around 5 years before moving … Continue reading "The world isn’t running out of water… it is running low on clean water"



29 January 2021: Bachir Afonso missing for one year

February 1st 2021 at 11:07

One full year has passed since we have heard from Bachir Afonso, our dear friend and companion, who was the practical manager of ”Grupo de Saneamento de Bilibiza” in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique. The 29th of January 2020, Bilibiza was attacked by resurgents from the north, burning half of the total of houses in Bilibiza. Most people of Bilibiza had fled to the woods by then. Late afternoon they came to the workshop of GSB, where Bachir still was present.
At 19.19 PM Henk Holtslag of the SMART Centre Group received an app-message in the Netherlands from Bachir Afonso saying:

“Cry for help. Armed men have entered Bilibiza and are burning from 5 PM till now. All schools were burnt. We no longer have a SMART centre. They are destroying Bilibiza!!”

This was the last we ever heard from him. So we fear for his life and probably also that from his wife. We have still some hope that he is still alive.

It would be a great loss if he has gone. He is a great guy, vivid and joyful. Always the well being of his community in his mind. He told me, Jan de Jongh, that each day he is thinking : ”How can I help my community members?”. He had the ability to put his ideas into practice. Around 2005 when I first met him, he had just started to train a group of women and men, in a backyard of a house to produce concrete latrine slabs.

He put much effort in convincing the population of Bilibiza, a few thousand, to make pit latrines , with such a slab and possibly with water for cleaning hands. As a result, last year about half of the village had such a latrine.

He was also a practising muslim, and thus member of the large muslim community in Bilibiza, who have to wash hands before saying prayers.
He was eager to learn, and what he learned, he immediately put into practice. He also had the ability to connect with people from all levels; peasants, local authorities and even the president, who visited once the project on bio-fuel we were running with him as a project leader on growing jatropha and producing bio-fuel from it.

He managed to build up a team that was able to deliver SMART technologies in water supply, mainly trained by Henk Holtslag over the years starting in 2006 until 2019. With aid from several donors, like Aqua4all, Marie-Stella-Maris and others we could let them execute various projects in villages surrounding Bilibiza, mostly in the district of Quisanga.

Bachir Afonso at one of the projects

The projects included various elements, in the area of water supply, sanitation, including soap making, food production with farmers clubs, household water treatment, with introduction of household water filters and bio-fuels (supported by a Japanese donor).

In 2010 GSB became officially a member of the SMART Centre group. Bachir guided and stimulated his team with the co-director Mrs. Tcheizi Mutemba, who resides in Maputo, and who maintains the links with international donors as well.

The team is now dispersed, but under guidance of Tcheizi they continue to work with projects , for the time being in safer areas, near Montepuez.

For us Bachir is a champion for Mozambique in local development both in human capacity building as well as in providing basic elements for prosperity in accordance with the SDG’s.

We really miss him!

Jan de Jongh

Henk Holtslag

Flemming Nielsen

Group picture at the GSB SMART Centre in Bilibiza

Water for all health centres in Eastern Zambia

February 1st 2021 at 09:35

As one of the COVID-19 responses the Jacana SMART Centre in Zambia took the initiative to provide water to Health Centres in Eastern Zambia. This initiative was supported by Wilde Ganzen and several other donors.

The website www.dutchwatersector.com/ recently published a newsitem in which the project is highlighted. See newsitem.

This initiative has shown how, through the trained entrepreneurs, the SMART Centres can contribute to increased access to the much needed water at Health Centres which will, also beyond COVID-19, have an impact on the surrounding communities.

For more info, check the website of the Jacana SMART Centre:

National Human Rights Institutions and Water Governance – Compilation of Good Practices

January 27th 2021 at 09:17
By: editor
National Human Rights Institutions and Water Governance – Compilation of Good Practices editor 27 January 2021 - 09:17