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Before yesterday1. Water

After the Earthquake

25 November 2015 at 19:40
By: Splash

Rubina Lama is playing at a temple near her school in Kathmandu when the ground begins to tremble. When the earthquake stops, she tries to stand up, but realizes she can’t move. The bricks are too heavy on top of her small, seven-year-old body. Rubina opens her eyes, but cannot see the sky.

Several days later, Kriti Biadya and Ritesh Adah are surveying the damage at Rubina’s school. Kriti and Ritesh are employees of Splash, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that cleans water for kids living in urban poverty. Splash’s water filtration systems are installed at over 170 schools throughout the Kathmandu Valley, and the team is out checking each school’s water system for damage.

Kriti and Ritesh find Rubina and her parents living in a classroom of the Shree Nandi School, the school in which Rubina once studied. Rubina, pulled from the rubble days ago, is in great pain. Both of her legs are broken and part of her pelvis is crushed. Her internal infections are becoming life threatening. She needs immediate care.

Kriti contacts her colleagues at Splash-Nepal, who respond at once. The Splash-Nepal team — accompanied by photographer, Gavin Gough — rush to move Rubina to Sushma Korala Memorial Hospital where orthopedic and pediatric surgeons from Mercy Malaysia agree to assist. Rubina is preppred for surgery. For the first time in nearly a week, there is hope.

Rubina, moments before her life-saving surgery. Photo credit: Gavin Gough


The 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th 2015 killed more than 9,000 people and injured over 23,000. News of the Nepal earthquake spread quickly around the world as foreigners scrambled to deliver aid. Within days, Nepal’s arterials clogged, their airways congested, and at times, even their borders closed. Disaster relief was slow at best.

Meanwhile, Splash was delivering clean water to more than 100,000 people per day throughout the Kathmandu Valley. Splash — although not in the disaster response business — has a business model in Nepal that enabled immediate response in a crisis.

Splash has been providing clean water for kids in Nepal since 2007, with the goal of providing sustainable WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in all 650 public schools across Kathmandu by 2020. When the earthquake hit, Splash had 26 local staff implementing water projects across 171 schools, serving clean water to over 60% of the student population in Kathmandu.

Splash relies on local infrastructure, local intelligence, and local collaboration. Without having to import supplies or recruit workers from outside the country, Splash wasted no time. The day after the earthquake, Splash-Nepal employees were back at work, surveying the damage of their water filtration systems, running ad hoc seminars on sanitation and hygiene, supporting colleagues who had lost their homes, distributing clean water to the community, and finding help for children injured during the disaster.

Kriti, along with the rest of the Splash-Nepal team, was happy to discover that the majority of the water projects had survived the quake. Clean water was still reaching thousands of people in this dire time of need. However, much work still needed to be done. Roughly 42 water systems had incurred minor damage requiring one or two days of repair and plumbing work. Splash’s Headquarter staff (located in Seattle, Washington) stayed put while the team in Nepal went to work.


Six months later, Rubina is walking to her school to meet Gavin, the photographer who had accompanied her and the Splash-Nepal team to the hospital. At Rubina’s school, a new building now stands beside the old one. Classes are back in session, and clean water is flowing from Splash’s taps.

Rubina is wearing a festive pink dress. She greets Gavin in traditional Nepali fashion. They sit together amongst the school’s ruins and Rubina shows him the tiny scars on her legs. Then she asks him to watch her run. Gavin does, capturing her movement with his camera. Rubina is smiling as she dashes past the temple that nearly claimed her life.

Rubina running near her school. She has fully recovered from her injuries. Photo credit: Gavin Gough

After the Earthquake: One Year Later

24 April 2016 at 17:01
By: Splash

April 25, 2016 marks the 1-year anniversary of the 7.8 magnitude Nepal earthquake — the first in a series of tremors — that devastated the Kathmandu Valley.

The day after the first earthquake, Splash staff in Nepal began surveying the damage at their partner schools, realizing they were the first relief aid to arrive. “The schools were very amazed,” said Kriti Baidya, a Partner Support Coordinator at Splash Nepal. Not one of Splash’s hard-wired water filtration systems had been permanently damaged. “The Splash team was at the school giving a hygiene training to the children [when the second earthquake, a 6.7 magnitude tremor, struck on April 26, 2015]. We faced the earthquake in the school itself.” Kriti recalled. It was lucky that the first, and most powerful, earthquake had hit on a Saturday when schools were not in session.

Days after Disaster

In the days, weeks, and months following the initial earthquakes, many communities and suddenly homeless families relied on Splash’s existing high volume water filtration systems in public schools. “The Splash filter system is one of the things that helped people because right after the earthquake most people took shelter in the schools. They drank pure water from that filter system, which helped,” confided Madan Dhodari, another Partner Support Coordinator at Splash Nepal. Within two weeks of the first earthquake, the Splash Nepal team began holding public workshops on critical WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) behaviors, educating their fellow survivors on how to keep clean and stay healthy during those hard times.

A Splash partner school in Kathmandu converted into a temporary shelter. Photo credit: Gavin Gough

“Whatever the situation was, we never gave up,” said Kriti.

As the Nepalese people banded together and other aid agencies joined the recovery efforts, communities began to rebuild. Families found new homes and, for some, life returned to normal — a new normal. For many, the fear of imminent disaster was crippling to their recovery. Light aftershocks and rumors of more earthquakes reverberated across Kathmandu Valley, sending the city into a sleepless worry and flooding the hospitals with cases of post-traumatic stress.

Eventually, classes resumed at schools, but were often held in TLCs (Temporary Learning Centers); structures made of bamboo that, according to some schoolteachers, leaked when it rained and emitted a fine powder when it was dry that made the kids feel sleepy and ill. “The TLC is not the solution,” Splash Nepal’s Health & Hygiene Officer, Sushma Kuikel, remarked. “They make a lot of problems for the students.”

Then, on September 23, 2015, the people of Nepal were hit by another devastating shock: border blockades between Nepal and India that stopped the import of necessary goods, like building materials, equipment, and fuel. Another new reality settled over Nepal.

“During the earthquake, there was bonding,” recalled Shruti Bista, another Partner Support Coordinator at Splash Nepal. “People were ready to help each other, but during the fuel crisis, it was a competition for where you could get fuel.”

“The whole year we faced problems after the earthquake,” Madan confirmed. “It may not be the result of the earthquake, but the whole year was not good for us.”

Business (Not) As Usual

“It has changed a lot,” Krity Bajracharya, Health & Hygiene Officer at Splash Nepal replied when asked how the year’s events have affected the implementation of Splash’s work. “In some of the schools, the water source has completely dried up, so it has been really difficult. And in other schools, due to the destruction of the buildings, we have had to move a lot of our drinking and handwashing stations.”

Undamaged by fallen rubble, several of Splash’s fiberglass drinking stations were relocated. Photo credit: Gavin Gough

One positive change for Splash has been the enforcement of new and stricter safety standards for building construction and design. “Now because the earthquake, people are very cautious and following the building construction rules. Good things are happening now,” said Rojita Maharjan, Social Business Coordinator at Splash Nepal.

It’s true. Splash Nepal has dedicated much of this year’s resources to retrofitting the water storage tanks and plumbing at the 164 schools currently using Splash’s water filtration system to meet these improved safety standards. Meanwhile, Splash has adopted a reformed approached at the 47 new installations scheduled for 2016, enforcing stricter engineering standards for improved safety and disaster preparedness. “Now we are planning; keeping the earthquake in our minds,” said Sujan K.C., Operations Assistant at Splash Nepal.

When asked to reflect on the past year, Splash Nepal’s Hygiene Team became giddy as they recounted the endeavor of delivering portable water filters to 75 schools in the rural Southern Lalitpur region of Nepal — the area of Kathmandu Valley most affected by the earthquake. “It was completely different than what we had been doing with Splash, but it was the most satisfying work.” What made it satisfying? Sushma beamed: “The smiles of the students.”

What’s Next?

“We need to work more on water sources,” Madan advised. In a city faced with unforeseen challenges, Splash is making steady progress toward achieving 100% coverage of full water, sanitation, and hygiene services at all 650 public schools in the Kathmandu Valley. While Splash adapts to the changed urban environment, schools seek to get students back into permanent buildings; a slow process hinged on government funding and expected to take two to three years.

Women at a school using safe water from a Splash water filtration system to prepare food. Photo credit: Gavin Gough

“Splash Nepal is now more focused on the access to drinking water,” confirmed Rojita. “Quantity and quality are both challenges.” Despite water supply being an unexpected dilemma, the Splash Nepal team seems unfazed. Already, Splash has begun forging new partnerships with local experts to troubleshoot the issue of water supply and access. “Splash work is never for the short term,” Rojita explained. “We continuously work with the schools. They are a partner and a friend.” And Splash never leaves a friend high and dry.

Much Taboo About Nothing

27 May 2016 at 20:53
By: Splash

by Megan Williams

Standing in front of a sea of 1,000 peers, one teen does what most high school students would not do for $1,000: show their school how to use a menstrual pad.

One brave girl at her school’s assembly on Menstrual Hygiene Day 2015.

As an American woman, I tend to take the access to pads or tampons that I have to manage my period for granted. In many of the countries where Splash works, girls are not given this luxury, especially at school. For many girls, the first time she learns about menstruation might be the day it begins — which can be a terrifying moment if she has no prior warning or understanding of what’s happening. And once her menses begins, she may not have access to menstrual materials or a safe space to change her pad. In developing countries, school toilets often do not have locking doors, water for cleaning, or bins to dispose of used pads. Every single girl faces menstruation. At Splash, our goal is to make that experience a little more dignified, safe, and positive.

On May 28 2016, schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that partner with Splash will be holding their second annual Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration. In preparation, Splash staff has trained a group of 20 interested students to take part in a Hygiene Club. The Hygiene Club uses fun, interactive games and engaging materials to increase students’ knowledge and advocacy. One of the key hygiene topics is proper menstrual hygiene management. Splash trains teachers to work with both boys and girls to break down existing taboos and myths on menstruation. In doing so, we help to identify girls’ needs in each school.

On Menstrual Hygiene Day, Splash’s Hygiene Clubs are standing up (literally, in front of their peers) for menstruation. Together, boys and girls, teachers and students, will advocate for girls and the importance of not letting menstruation interfere with a girl’s ability to attend school, feel confident, and be safe. Our goal is to encourage schools to have toilets that are secure, private, and stocked with materials to help girls manage their periods.

When I watched kids perform this demonstration for the first time, I was in awe. How inspiring it was to witness kids stand up for each other in a way that was so natural and honest. There was nothing taboo about it.


Megan with a Splash Hygiene Club in Ethiopia.

Megan Williams is the Health & Hygiene Manager at Splash, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping urban poor kids grow up healthy by ensuring they have clean water, clean hands, and clean toilets at school and in their communities.

Waking Up in a Cholera Outbreak

24 September 2016 at 17:51
By: Splash

by Katelyn Galloway

Experts say the most productive people don’t look at their phones first thing in the morning. You shouldn’t do it, they say. But on July 27th, as I swiped open my email and wiped the sleep from my eyes, I was glad I did.

The first subject line in my inbox read: Cholera Outbreak in Lalitpur. My heart sank. People in Nepal have faced enough recently: catastrophic earthquakes, freezing winter temperatures, floods, political crises and gas and food shortages. And now this?

The email claimed 17 cases of cholera had been reported. As the Health & Hygiene Manager of Splash Nepal, I immediately forwarded the alert to my colleagues.

When I arrived at the Splash Nepal office later that morning, the rest of the team was already in emergency response mode. They, too, had ignored the experts and checked their emails that morning.

Splash contacted the Nepal Public Health Office, the District Education Office (DEO), and the other government and NGO allies we had joined forces with in the aftermath of the earthquake. Together, we identified the four zones of Lalitpur most affected by the initial outbreak.

As an initial step, the DEO commissioned the Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO) to survey the water quality of all Lalitpur schools. Thankfully, all schools with a Splash filtration system tested negative for coliform.

But the number of reported cholera cases in the area was rising, and our team worried about it spreading to the kids at our partner schools — the ones we promised to help protect from water-borne disease. The Splash team knew that students in Kathmandu needed more than our standard clean water intervention. They needed intensive hygiene education and long-term reinforcement from those they look up to: adults.

Mothers attend a Splash Hygiene Event Day with their kids at a Kathmandu school.

We had our objectives. Our immediate goals were: to ensure the water flowing from Splash’s filters remained free of microbial contamination; and to make parents and community members aware of cholera and teach them how to prevent it from spreading. Since adults serve as both role models and behavioral guides for children, we began including parents, teachers, school administrators, and community members in our hygiene education activities.

We started with the communities. Working with key players in local development and government, we identified women’s groups and communities that were in the cholera outbreak areas. Then the Splash Nepal team gave awareness presentations and lessons on how to ensure safe drinking water and keep up proper personal and environmental hygienic practices at home.

Annapurna Sharma, Hygiene Training Coordinator at Splash Nepal, leads a Cholera Awareness and Prevention Program with a community women’s group in Lalitpur.

Next, we targeted the people responsible for ensuring children’s health throughout the course of the day: the school administrators. Whether we had worked with a school previously or not, we wanted to ensure that all school principals had the knowledge and resources to ensure their students had access to clean, safe drinking water. We invited principals from high-risk zones to several 2-hour training sessions on preventing cholera in schools and provided them steps for keeping kids safe at school. In collaboration with UNICEF, Splash distributed educational materials so that principals could share these health lessons with their school staff.

Splash Nepal also organized Hygiene Event Days at schools with a focus on cholera awareness and prevention and invited school parents and the local community members. As with Splash Nepal’s annual Hygiene Event Days, the purpose is to celebrate the school’s access to clean, safe drinking water, and to spread messages about the importance of proper hygiene. With support from the Rotary Club, we were able to obtain donations of soap and Piyush (chlorine drops) for home use to distribute to adult attendees.

Students in Kathmandu raise a bar of soap in a celebration of good hygiene and health. Photo credit: Megan Williams.

All the while, Splash continued to ensure that kids at Kathmandu schools had the cleanest water possible. Our team visited every single one of our partner schools across the Kathmandu Valley to re-test the water quality and proactively sterilize each filtration system. On our visits, we reminded teachers and staff to resupply soap, encourage handwashing, and ensure clean water is available to all students all the time.

Strong collaboration with government and other NGOs is key to reaching the maximum number of people. So far, our Cholera Outbreak Response campaign has reached over 10,000 children and adults directly and thousands more indirectly through the distribution of information, soap, and chlorine packets.

Despite all this concerted effort, the outbreak isn’t over yet. Every day, Splash Nepal continues to support extra hygiene programs at schools across the Kathmandu Valley. And every morning, I wake up and check my email for updates.

Katelyn Galloway is the Health & Hygiene Manager at Splash Nepal, based in Splash’s Kathmandu office.

The Hardest to Reach Are Not The Farthest Away

8 October 2016 at 18:31
By: Splash

By Kara Cherniga Uhl

Why does Splash focus on urban areas? When I joined the Splash team two years ago, this question was at the forefront of many external conversations. It’s been encouraging to hear these conversations gradually evolve. Earlier last month I attended World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, where I heard water experts from around the world ask the inverse of these questions: Why aren’t we talking more about urban needs and realities? What about cities? Although the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector has historically been focused on rural areas, a shift is taking place as more attention is paid to the growing needs of the urban poor.

This shift represents an important, though delayed, response. More than 54% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. The majority of this urban growth will take place in developing countries — especially in Asia and Africa, where birthrates soar and families are moving in droves from the countryside to cities. The combined population of the world’s least developed countries will double by 2050. If we are not looking ahead at how to improve critical services and infrastructure in the world’s poorest and densest cities, we are missing the opportunity to reach the poorest where they are — and where they will be. Existing WASH infrastructure will deteriorate as it buckles under the weight of new users. The “last mile” (a popular term in global development), will take on a new face in the coming decades as we struggle to serve those who are moving closer and closer to urban epicenters.

Dirty water sits in one school’s water storage tank — Kolkata, India. Photo credit: Gavin Gough for Splash.

That is why Splash fills a unique role: improving WASH services in major urban areas in Asia and Africa. Through our work in schools, hospitals, orphanages, and shelters, we focus specifically on kids — helping to protect those who are most vulnerable to water-borne disease. We simultaneously aim to influence the behaviors and shift the social norms of those surrounding these kids, working in close partnership with local governments as well as the staff at the institutions we serve.

Splash believes that the first step in solving a problem is quantifying it. So between October 2014 and February 2016, we partnered with local governments and independent surveyors and water quality labs to coordinate citywide surveys assessing WASH coverage at every government-funded school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Kolkata, India; and Kathmandu, Nepal. Never before had the status of urban school WASH coverage been so comprehensively examined. The availability and quality of WASH infrastructure was assessed and water quality samples were taken from nearly 3,000 schools serving more than 1,000,000 children — totaling 100% of public schools in each city. The data revealed the unequivocal need for increased WASH investments in urban schools. While these schools do indeed have access to water points, they largely lack safe and consistently available drinking water. The aggregate drinking tap-to-student ratios were more than double that of minimum global standards and the toilet-to-student ratios were even worse. Less than 7% of all schools surveyed had soap available for hand washing.

Solutions to these problems are available now and Splash believes that their impact can extend beyond the school walls. Water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure improvements must be coupled with initiatives that ensure the sustained maintenance and functionality of WASH hardware while changing behaviors for the long term. Kids and schools are access points for influencing parents, families, and communities and are thus important change agents in strengthening intergenerational values towards WASH.

Splash Program Manager, Aaron Walling, teaches students about the importance of clean water in Kolkata, India.

It may not take long hours of travel to physically reach the kids living in these cities — but it will surely take long hours of problem solving, coordination and collaboration across sectors, and creative advocacy and blended financing to address the complexity of urban WASH challenges. Kids living in urban poverty may not be the hardest to reach geographically, but they will continue to be overlooked unless our sector turns its collective powers of attention and resources towards their realities. Our mandate to serve all humans with safe water and adequate and adequate sanitation and hygiene by 2030, as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, is clear. Splash has been working towards these goals for nine years. Our efforts to improve the lives of kids in urban institutions has never been more pressing. The question should no longer be why? — it should be how?

Kara Cherniga Uhl is Senior Manager of Program Quality at Splash.

Some Things Just Can’t Wait

13 January 2017 at 18:22
By: Splash

Splash Gets an Early Report Card from Ethiopia

On October 12th, 2016, Splash received the following email from Dawit Alemishet, Splash Director of Ethiopia:

“Dear all,

I would love to share the inspiration of my day while visiting our partner site, the Edget Besira Primary School. I just cannot sleep without telling you of this testimonial I received from the school’s principal.

Water Day Celebrations begin at Edget Besira Primary School.

The Edget Besira Primary School is located near the largest open market of Merkato in Teklhaymanot area. In this new academic year, more than 1,250 students have already enrolled in the school. Most of the school children are coming from the very poor families living in slum houses. One of the biggest challenges of the school was that most of the children are involved in the street vending labor to cover their lunch and other personal expenses. Therefore, they were missing the afternoon class often. When Splash intervened there was only nonfunctional taps, water reservoir, pipelines, and damaged water station, and out of service latrines.

Fortunately, with Splash’s intervention supported by the Lake Union Rotary Club of Seattle and the Rotary Club of Addis Ababa West, this terrible situation was changed. Both the primary and kindergarten campuses now have separate child-friendly water stations for drinking and hand washing purposes. We built two drinking stations with 24 taps, and 15 taps for two hand washing stations. In total, we put 5 water stations in the school that connected to the two water filtration systems. In addition, we provided two water tanks with the volume of 5,000 liters and rehabilitated existed water reservoir tanks and facilities. Of course, our hygiene team has given excellent trainings as well during the last year.”

Ethiopia’s First Lady at the inauguration of Splash’s WASH program at Edget Besira Primary School.

Dawit went on to say the school staff had reported that, in one year since Splash’s intervention and assistance in accessing existing public financing:

  • The student’s attendance doubled;
  • The pass rate increased from 45% to 94%; and
  • The school had effectively used over 90% of their annual allotment for infrastructure improvement.

“The parents are now asking for their children to stay in the school the whole day because their children are performing so well. I hope the health impact is there too. Though our contribution is like a small drop, our work is having an immediate impact. I am very happy to able to see and hear of this contribution with Splash. Thank you all for supporting this life changing project in Ethiopia with Splash!

I hope you enjoyed this report.

Regards, Dawit”

Kids celebrating clean water at the Edget Besira Primary School

Splash whole-heartedly thanks Dawit and his team for their tireless work, Rotary International for funding this project, and all our donors who support Splash’s clean water projects around the globe.

Dawit Alemishet is Director of Splash’s Program in Ethiopia.

Supporting Clean Water for Kids across China through Mobile Technology

17 July 2017 at 18:35
By: Splash

In 2007, Splash began our work in China to reach over 1,100 orphanages spread across a country that spans 3.7 million square miles. Ten years later, Splash is set to reach our goal of providing safe water to every single orphanage in China, benefiting over 120,000 children. As we approach this milestone, a new challenge has emerged — how to ensure the long-term service and maintenance of the water filtration systems across the vast distances that we operate, in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Splash’s reach in China, as shown above, spans over 1,100 orphanages across the country

Splash uses commercial grade water filtration systems to ensure the highest quality standards for purification. The systems, while incredibly durable and cost-effective, do require annual servicing, and occasionally things go wrong. For example, at one site in 2016, the heat unexpectedly went off during the winter break, causing all the water pipes to freeze, which shut the water system down entirely. While some orphanages have staff comfortable handling minor to major problems, many sites are simply not equipped to do so.

For years, the Yunnan-based technical team provided routine maintenance and responded to service calls in person. With sites spanning from Shanghai to Xinjiang, our small technical team could travel up to 4,000 kilometers to service the water filtration systems. They faced additional hazards in our orphanage sites in Tibet, located 5,000 meters above sea level, where they needed supplemental oxygen masks to complete their work. As Splash looked to devise a long-term sustainability strategy, it was clear that we would have to think outside of the box and devise a more efficient solution.

We’ve witnessed how communication technology is radically changing the lives of the world’s poor, even in far-flung regions of China. WeChat, a mobile app and messaging platform that has taken China by storm (read more here) has over 846 million monthly active users, and has become a ubiquitous fixture of modern life in China, much like WhatsApp in India or Facebook Messenger in the United States. People and businesses use WeChat for mobile payments, social marketing, shopping, games, customer service, even charitable giving. Why couldn’t Splash use it to help ensure clean water for kids?

With the generous support of FIL Foundation and a tech-savvy WeChat developer, Eggplant Digital, Splash decided to take the leap and develop a mobile app. Our goal was to leverage our Salesforce data with a customized WeChat interface that would allow users to verify their account and filter system information, receive automated reminders of upcoming maintenance, and view instructional guides, while also requesting spare parts and expert support via the WeChat app. The customized WeChat app launched this month and has already generated rave reviews from orphanage staff.

“Very good! Before this we relied on the telephone and QQ messaging, now there is a new way for easier and faster communication between us.”- Mr. Guan Changyong, Director of Panjing City SWI of Liaoning Province
Users can select their filter type based on three simple graphic images (top left). Based on the filter type the user will then see a list of common issue (top right) to narrow their search and access tutorial content.

When the orphanage can’t solve a problem on their own, they have the option to submit a help request directly to our team. Help requests use WeChat’s capability to send pictures and video recordings to allow users to explain the issue they are facing. The feature enables Splash’s local team in China to follow up directly through WeChat messaging. Thanks to our state-of-the-art use of technology, Splash has a new tool to help ensure clean water for tens of thousands of kids across one of the world’s largest countries, without having to send our staff to every corner of the country.

As many tech firms know, the first version is never the last. We need innovative partners to help us continually improve our technology solutions. In the future, we hope to use WeChat for mobile fundraising campaigns in China and partner with Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, to leverage their powerful mobile platform and innovative charitable support. Splash is also looking for local partners in China to help us streamline the supply chain of spare parts that each of our partner sites depend on, for which we have created a local sustainability network.

If you are interested in supporting our work, you can donate here or connect with our local sustainability network, by contacting our Splash China team. Splash projects in China can also receive local donations through our joint project account with China Charity Federation, funding filter replacement parts. We received our first local donation from Watsons at the end of 2016 and are excited to grow our local funding partnerships to help sustain clean water for every orphan, abandoned or disadvantaged child. Please contact us if you are interested in donating through China Charity Federation to be eligible for a tax-deduction in China.

About Splash

Splash aims to improve the health and development of children in dense, urban areas by ensuring they have clean water, clean hands and clean toilets. Founded in 2007, Splash has completed over 1,700 projects serving more than 400,000 kids in eight countries: China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Over the next five years in Kolkata, India; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Kathmandu, Nepal; Splash aims to reach 100% of public schools with full WASH coverage to ensure that over one million children have clean water, clean hands and clean toilets by 2021.

About FIL Foundation

Taking an investment approach to grant making, the FIL Foundation funds strong charities where a grant can add lasting, measurable value. The Foundation seeks to support strategic initiatives that enable charitable organizations to reach new levels of achievement. Grants are intended to strengthen charities and encourage the highest standards of management and long-term sustainability.

Are we going backward in ending the global water crisis?

2 August 2017 at 17:12

by Eleanor Allen, Water For People CEO

Why are there fewer people globally with access to safe water now than last year according to the official numbers of the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP)? Is the world going backward?

Absolutely not. The reality is that we’re becoming increasingly aware of the dismal shape of the world regarding providing adequate water and sanitation services — and it’s even worse than most people thought. Yes, we are still living in the midst of a global water and sanitation crisis.

It makes our work at Water For People — to ensure Everyone has access to safe water and sanitation services, Forever — more important than ever.

Until July 11, 2017, we at Water For People stated that the drivers for our work were to provide sustainable services to 1.8 billion people for safe water and 2.4 billion people for sanitation. These were referenced global baseline data points on the state of the world from the University of North Carolina and the JMP before they issued the first ever global assessment on “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services on July 12, 2017. This thorough assessment changed the global baseline from 1.8 to 2.1 billion for safe water and 2.4 to 4.5 billion for sanitation. This means that the situation is far worse than previous global estimates, specifically, 30% worse for water and 75% worse for sanitation. But more specifically, the baseline data is more accurate.

This is a big deal.

But before despairing and thinking that we can’t solve this crisis, we ought to reflect and think about where we are and how far we have come.

We know how to solve the global water and sanitation crisis. It takes national and local leadership, investment, and political will. Let’s not forget that the UN member nations have made great strides since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were initiated in 2000. In 2015, the JMP found that the MDG global target for drinking water was met five years ahead of schedule, and significant progress was made toward the sanitation target, despite falling short of the stated goal. This led to the development of the 2016 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which set even more ambitious, yet absolutely correct, goals for 2030. Thankfully water and sanitation now have a dedicated goal — SDG 6 — available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

The global water and sanitation crisis is not in search of a solution. We have the solution — we need the human and financial resources to implement it.

Water is the basis of sustainable development. Safe water improves health, allows for access to education, pushes economic development, and enhances the quality of life for every family on earth. This is true social progress, and we have proof of its returns. We know that for every $1 invested in water and sanitation infrastructure we get at least a $4–5 return on economic productivity. The reasons to invest in this infrastructure seem obvious.

If this is the case, why wouldn’t every government make this investment? We know there is no simple answer. Government funding is complicated and there are competing needs for the limited financial, human, and natural resources needed to solve this crisis. Still, we can turn the tide and close the gap towards SDG 6 faster if we educate, build, and invest more.

These were my three calls to action in my TEDx talk, and they haven’t changed:

· Educate people in the global North that there is a water and sanitation crisis, and in the global South educate people to demand WASH services (and then change people’s behaviors to actually use these services).

· Build the missing infrastructure and (equally important) the human capacity, water utilities, and businesses to operate and maintain the infrastructure.

· Invest in infrastructure, institutions, policy development, and education. Luckily there are some presidents and national governments leading the way in promoting water and sanitation for their entire countries, which is why we have prioritized our national programs in Rwanda, Uganda, Bolivia, and Honduras as part of our global strategic plan.

What is Water For People doing about the new JMP baseline numbers? Continuing our work with an even greater urgency and commitment than before.

The revised, more accurate JMP baseline makes SDG 6 more challenging to reach by 2030, for sure. Thankfully, at Water For People, it actually confirms what we already knew. More people lack access to services than the previous JMP numbers had stated, especially in rural areas. Our own baseline numbers have not changed in the districts where we work. We do extensive data collection and we know (in much greater detail than the JMP) the existing levels of services. We built our district workplans to reach services for Everyone Forever with the starting point based on our actual data, not JMP or other estimates. We are also working with our partners in Agenda For Change on changing the systems in which we work to ensure high service levels can continue once established. This is done by helping national governments create the policies, secure the financing, and build the businesses and institutions needed to provide sustainable services.

SDG 6 will be reviewed in depth in 2018 at the UN High Level Political Forum on Transformation Towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies. It will be interesting to see what progress the UN member nations have made on prioritizing financing for water and sanitation services globally. At Water for People, the revised baseline numbers from the JMP give us a sense of even greater urgency to achieve our mission.

Let’s do this together, for Everyone Forever.

Keeping Water Flowing Forever in Guatemala

9 October 2017 at 17:52

Major strides are being made toward sustainable water services in Guatemala. In 2016, the four Everyone Forever districts in Guatemala created Municipal Water and Sanitation Offices (OMAS). While water and sanitation infrastructure is important, offices like the OMAS are absolutely critical, because they manage community water systems, serving as local water utilities and providing ongoing professional support to maintain the systems.

“The Municipal Water and Sanitation Offices are a vital element to achieve sustainability in the Everyone Forever strategy,” says Edgar Fajardo, Water For People’s Guatemala Country Director.

Offices like the OMAS are essential. But how to make sure all 340 municipalities in Guatemala have this district water oversight?

In most countries where we work, replication of these offices can be challenging due to resource constraints, but it’s not an impossible task — because the national water laws mandate municipal-level responsibility over water and sanitation services.

In Guatemala, however, no national water law exists.

There is no mandate of municipal management and oversight of water and sanitation services, which makes Everyone Forever particularly challenging to achieve.

Edgar says the lack of a water law in Guatemala means every single activity related to water service has to be negotiated with the different levels of authority — creating difficulty and time delays.

Edgar holds the presidency of the Water and Sanitation Network of Guatemala, and alongside other NGOs in this network has been advocating relentlessly for a national law. Earlier this year, the Secretary of Food Security in Guatemala formed a sub-commission of government agencies and NGOs to start strategizing around a law that would give municipalities the authority and support they need to reach Everyone Forever with water and sanitation services.

“This is a process,” Edgar says. “And it depends on decisionmakers and politicians. But the law is important for several reasons. It would provide the legal support needed to improve health and food security and provide the funds to confront the actual [water] situation in Guatemala.”

Until the law passes, Edgar is leveraging his position with the Water and Sanitation network to propose a requirement that every district in Guatemala has an OMAS. Water For People has done trainings in seven different regions across Guatemala to build capacity around creating OMAS to provide support to district water and sanitation services.

A political environment supportive of water and sanitation services is critical to reaching Everyone Forever, and we’re optimistic Guatemala is on track to make that happen.

With a water law in place — “Can you imagine that?” Edgar asks — more people would get water coverage, and faster. Behavior change would happen around hygiene. Affordable tariffs would be set that would account for water system repair and replacement.

Sustainability would be within reach.

Our Design Journey: From Fiberglass to Plastic and Beyond

31 October 2017 at 18:43
By: Splash

For over a decade, Splash has been incorporating innovative design into our drinking and handwashing stations. One of the main drivers for this work is the difference in price per tap. Yet the cost savings do not begin to touch upon the many other benefits of materials, like plastic, that we are thrilled about.

From prototyping and testing multiple versions of stations in the field (everything from brick and mortar, concrete and tile, glass stone, commercially available products, custom stainless-steel models, and our current fiberglass molds), to designing stations for institutions accommodating a wide range of children (from schools of 5,000, to feeding centers of 1,500, to pediatric hospitals of 100), we have rich experience with what works and what doesn’t.

Human-centered design is a critical component of our approach. In Nepal and India, our stations have been traditionally made using fiberglass, a type of plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. In the US, fiberglass is commonly used for playground equipment, boats, roofing, and many others where products must be durable and lightweight.

As Splash looks to expand our sanitation projects in Ethiopia, we will take our best practices learned in Asia and manufacture and install fiberglass stations in Addis Ababa for the first time. Previously, we only installed concrete and tile stations in schools. We also will continue to innovate even further in the future.

Fiberglass and plastic stations are easier to install, easier to clean, easier to repair, and easier to move after installation than our existing tile and concrete stations in Ethiopia. The design process has also allowed us to make our stations more child friendly (both in terms of aesthetics and functionality).

Splash’s team in Addis Ababa have been hard at work, researching fiberglass manufacturers, gathering bids, re-negotiating prices, and as of August 2017, supervising initial station manufacturing. The new fiberglass stations for Ethiopia will be similar to the design we use for Nepal and India, with small improvements. The ability to serve more students per station is needed given the very large school sizes in Addis Ababa, with some schools having upwards of 2,000 students.

“Splash’s first fiberglass water stations were installed in Nepal and India. They were well received by the schools and appreciated by government officials.” — Sourav Chattopadhyay, Lead Technician, Splash India
To facilitate the transition and build-out of our country-level expertise, Sourav Chattopadhyay, Lead Technician from Splash’s Kolkata Office, flew to Ethiopia to provide technical support to our team in Addis on the initial fiberglass drinking and handwashing station manufacturing.

Thanks to an exciting new partnership with the Autodesk Foundation, Splash will expand our impact and continue our long history of innovation in the design field. With Autodesk’s support, we hope to build our expertise to conduct more design improvements, which will further increase our supply-chain benefits and cost savings.

Most importantly, with the support of Autodesk, Splash can rev up our implementation in Addis Ababa, allowing us to reach our goal of providing every public school with clean water and clean hands, more efficiently, while not sacrificing on quality. We hope that this work will serve as a model for the greater WASH sector of what’s possible when you resolve to innovate and never settle.

The Autodesk Foundation
The Autodesk Foundation supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. We support impact-driven, design-focused organizations and the ecosystem that helps solutions reach scale. We provide funding, software, training, and related support, so organizations can have the greatest impact possible.

SDG 6 changed the game: Now let us agree how we should measure it

3 November 2017 at 18:12

By Kate Stetina, Monitoring & Evaluation Coordinator, Water For People

The recently released SDG 6 baseline from the WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) provides an opportunity to first take a step back and look at the big picture of water and sanitation services, then to lean in closer to understand the intricacies behind that picture.

Taking a step back: the JMP baseline paints a striking picture — 4.5 billion without safely managed sanitation, 2.1 billion without safely managed drinking water. “Are we going backwards in ending the global water crisis?” asks Eleanor Allen, Water For People CEO. “Absolutely not!” My explanation, from a monitoring lens, is that we have become more sophisticated in how we measure global water and sanitation services.

Now, let’s take a step in: simple “coverage” is not good enough. The JMP says a water service needs to be of safe water quality, available when needed, and accessible to all. In other words, the service level needs to be excellent. In a nutshell, this what SDG 6.1 strives for, and this is the bulk of what JMP’s service level monitoring can show.

Water For People has been striving for excellent water and sanitation service levels since 2010. We believe water services need to be functional, affordable, accessible, of high water quality, and have enough water. The water supply needs to be well-protected and not severely limited by seasonal shortages, and be from infrastructure in good condition that is not overused. Does this describe the water service in your home? Don’t others deserve the same? In a nutshell, this is what Water For People strives for, and is just one aspect of what our service-level monitoring can show.

Both Water For People and the JMP measure excellent service levels, but what does “excellent” mean? And what is “good enough?” Our answers are different, and both quite intricate. Let me explain by breaking down a classic chart created by JMP. (This and so many other charts can be easily created on their new data platform, and it is totally cool!)

The JMP language is meant, primarily, to show coverage (which is seen in the light blue “basic” service level) and progress towards SDG 6 (which is seen in the dark blue “safely managed” service level). The disparity between basic coverage to safely managed services is massive. Yes, SDG 6 is lofty. Yes, the United Nations was ambitious in setting this goal. It is a long way to go from basic coverage to safely managed services. We can see this in how big those light blue bars are.

Water For People looks at the “in between” of basic to safely managed, so we can paint a picture of what it looks like inside the light blue bars. We strive to answer, “How do we move, step-by-step, from a basic to an excellent service?” The important learnings along the way get lost in that big, light blue bar.

What does basic service mean? Well, imagine a woman fetches water for her family by walking across her village to the water point. The water she collects is slightly brackish and brown-colored, and it may be one of the reasons her child has diarrhea. On top of that, it runs out for a few weeks every dry season, and the water fees she is charged almost break the bank. This woman is part of the big, light blue bar.

Now imagine a woman who walks down the block to fetch water for her family from a recently renovated system that now provides a reliable water supply. It is of safe quality for drinking according to the engineers who designed the scheme, but those lab results never made it to the government office that eventually reported data to the JMP. This woman is also part of the big, light blue bar. There is much progress happening inside that light blue bar, and Water For People positions district governments to measure this progress in the more than 30 districts across Latin America, Africa, and Asia where we implement our Everyone Forever model.

Charged with the task of being the custodian of global WASH data, JMP has put together estimates for the entire globe and made it accessible to all. Understanding global water and sanitation service levels for all is a beast of a task, and so I tip my hat to the folks at JMP. We at Water For People have a leg up — (besides that fact that we work in only nine countries) we have more control in how the data is collected. We can disaggregate and play with the data to understand issues in certain areas.

Water For People has recently disaggregated our data and aligned it with JMP’s definition of service levels that report on the SDG Indicator 6.1.1 “Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services.” Below is the result.

Water For People Rural Areas in 2017 displays water service levels only in the geographic regions of the country where Water For People is actively implementing the Everyone Forever model and has 2017 data. In Rwanda this represents 3 rural districts, in Bolivia 7 rural municipalities, in Nicaragua 2 rural districts, and in India many gram panchayats across 7 blocks within 2 districts.

There was maneuvering required to translate data into the nuanced indicators of the JMP framework, and in 2018 we look forward to collecting more data that will be more closely aligned to JMP’s framework. The wording of survey questions is important! Some of the most significant examples of this “maneuvering” include the following:

· While JMP defines an acceptable distance to collect water as less than 30 minutes, Water For People defines an acceptable distance according to applicable government standards.

· While JMP defines “available” as a household having water when needed, Water For People defines “available” as a household not experiencing seasonal shortages or breakdown time that severely limit water availability.

· JMP works with aggregate percentages of improved systems that meet each of the three criteria for safely managed and uses the lowest percentage to estimate safely managed water services. Meanwhile, Water For People aggregates percentages of households with improved systems that are accessible and available, and aggregates percentages of improved systems that have safe water quality, then uses the lowest percentage to estimate safely managed services.

Are you still with me? It’s ok if not, it gets complicated to do this translation. The fact that we even tried is worth shouting about. And not only did we try to translate our internal data, we were successful given some asterisks to explain complicated methods. On top of that, we plan to support the collection of more data across our districts so that fewer asterisks will be required for the 2018 data translation. An ultimate goal would be to equip district governments to perform this analysis themselves and report to their national government on progress towards SDG 6.

So, while this analysis isn’t perfect, and it isn’t completed in all our countries (yet), this is exciting!

It’s exciting because this effort is a step towards better sector collaboration. To reach the lofty goals of universal access to safely managed water and sanitation services, as specified by SDG 6, we need to work together. Collaboration is needed between government and civil society organizations. We need partnership with private sector. We need to break down barriers to understand best practices, and we need to coordinate efforts. Specifically, we need to align indicators so that good, relevant information can talk to other forms of good, relevant information. The bottom line is that without collaboration, we have no chance to reach SDG 6 in time.

As one step, we need to speak the same language. So, Water For People is translating internal data into JMP-speak.

The story has many needs, but water is first

6 November 2017 at 19:21
By: Splash

Contributed by Ayatam Simeneh, Partner Support Manager, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

India Partner Support Coordinator, Dipika Banerjee and myself visiting Nehru Vidyatan Primary School

In September, I travelled to Splash’s office in Kolkata, India to be part of the Program Quality Summit with Splash staff from the U.S., Nepal, India, and Ethiopia.

The purpose of the Summit was to connect colleagues from across the globe, align around the importance of data quality and standardized methods for collecting and using data to improve Splash’s programs, and to create program quality champions within each country office.

As part of the summit, we each had the opportunity to visit Splash schools across Kolkata to see what is different from and similar to our own programmatic contexts.

Working in Addis Ababa government schools, every day I encounter school children that fill my heart with hope. The same was true in humid, hot Kolkata, where temperatures reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). Schools in Kolkata, like Addis, have many needs, including water.

Among the four schools I visited, Jagabandhu Primary School was conducting a soap drive event where every student in the school brought one bar of soap to supply the school for one year. One by one, hundreds of students placed their soap in a bucket, while the other students watched.

At Nehru Vidyatan Primary School, students ages five and six welcomed me and my colleagues, singing songs about hygiene, cheering us with enthusiasm, and giving us the best of what they had. Here, classrooms are small, and the neighborhoods are crowded and lack sufficient infrastructure, but, thanks to Splash, there are water and handwashing stations at these schools.

These kids are born to thrive and deserve everything that all kids need. Amidst this landscape, there is bright hope and it’s joyous to see that we “Splashers” are bringing clean water and smiles to these beautiful kids.

Reflections on 2017

23 January 2018 at 20:54

At the end of 2017, we had a chance to reflect and adjust as we position ourselves for another year of impact and opportunity. 2017 marked the end of year one of Water For People’s 2017–2021 Strategic Plan to increase our impact X 20. 2017 was been a year of many achievements and new discovery for the organization, as well as consistently learning, improving, and changing. Year two of our Strategic Plan (2018) comes as the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector continues to evolve and advance with the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Today, the global water crisis is often identified as one of the top global risks by the World Economic Forum. From droughts to floods to access to safe and sustainable drinking water for 2.1 billion people — water impacts everyone’s life every day.

Here are some of Water For People’s most exciting achievements from 2017 :

  • The district of San Pedro, Bolivia, reaching Everyone with reliable water services — the first Everyone Forever district globally to achieve this incredible milestone
  • Ability to count our impact population from our district-wide approach (currently at 2.8 million!)
  • Three new districts (32 total)
  • A new sanitation strategy
  • Celebrating our 14th year as a 4-star Charity Navigator charity
  • Expansion of Agenda For Change to new countries and with new partners
  • The Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship, recognizing CEO Eleanor Allen and Water For People for promoting an innovative approach to solve global social issues
  • A Chief of Scale and Strategy to drive our strategic plan forward and scale the Everyone Forever model
  • First year using our Sustainable Service Checklist to measure progress on Forever
  • Many programmatic highlights: expanding sanitation enterprises in Uganda, breaking ground in new districts in Rwanda and India, partnering with new microfinance partners for sanitation loans, and exciting movement from national governments in Bolivia and Peru

As we perform our annual update of our Strategic Plan, we are looking at emerging themes such as our ability to influence change at the national level faster than we had anticipated even just a year ago. We also see the increasing need for advisory services and social enterprises in the journey to SDG 6 — sustainable water and sanitation for all. This includes elevating the importance of national leadership in driving systems change to transform water and sanitation service delivery, innovation financing, growing human capital in the sector, and equity/inclusion — all as part of the means to the end of the global water and sanitation crisis.

We can say with pride that Water For People is a global leader in water, sanitation, and hygiene. At Water For People we continue to increase our impact and influence through the implementation of our programs, evidence-based reporting, learning, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge management. We have the courage to share our successes and our failures externally to help others progress faster too.

We wish you all a wonderful 2018!

Bringing Water to the Forefront at Davos

7 February 2018 at 21:00

by Eleanor Allen, CEO of Water For People

En Español abajo

I just returned from a week at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. I was representing Water For People, and it was a great opportunity for us to be part of the conversation on water issues, social impact, and inequality.

As one of the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs, I was fortunate to join discussions at many different levels. The Schwab Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders, and Social Entrepreneurs together represented 70 countries and territories of the world. We operate as a force for good to scale solutions to global and local challenges. You can read my personal reflections from the week in my blog here.

Schwab Entrepreneurs at Davos

In this blog I would like to share my perspective on how the Davos meetings can support our work at Water For People and how our voice made a unique contribution at Davos. Here are some of my takeaways:

On day one of Davos, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi summed up the State of the World as he described the three most significant challenges to civilization as we know it: climate change, terrorism, and the backlash against globalization. This caused me to reflect on the WEF’s top global risks of 2018 — four of the top five (extreme weather, natural disasters, failure of climate change adaptation and mitigation, and water crises) are water-related (top red and green risks here).

As the week went on, there were over 400 incredible sessions that covered a huge range of topics such as the 4th industrial revolution, inclusive growth, standing up for diversity, and so much more. I met many people in formal meetings to discuss potential funding and partnerships, and had countless informal meetings with incredible and interesting people.

The first person I met in this informal way was someone in Washington DC boarding the plane with me to Zurich. He is a leader in global health and his wife as an impact investor in women-owned businesses. We already have plans to get together again next time I am in San Francisco and discuss ways to work together. I also met a few of the Forbes Most Powerful Women — wow. I will be having dinner with two of them next week!

Schwab Entrepreneurs, including Queen Mathilde of Belgium, an Honorary Board member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Gender equality was a big theme at Davos this year. The Annual Meeting was organized by seven powerful women leaders — a first to have all women co-chairs. They were able to influence and craft a meaningful and holistic program under the theme Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World. As IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said, “Finally a real panel, not a manel.”

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau also spoke to this theme with great insight. “Paying a female employee the same as a male employee doesn’t even begin to touch issues around family planning, promotions, or job security,” he said. “Women do more part-time work and more unpaid work than men. How do we address that?” Great question. We don’t — yet.

The young Pakistani education advocate Malala Yousafzai was a moving co-panelist with Prime Minster Trudeau. “The education of young men about women’s rights is a crucial step to ending gender inequality,” she said. “Men have a big role to play … We have to teach young boys how to be men and recognize that all women and all those around you have equal rights and that you are part of this movement for equality.”

Aisha leads her community’s water committee and is part of her village’s health team in Kamwenge, Uganda, where Water For People works.

I know this to be true from our work at Water For People. Having women engaged in leadership also requires getting men in the communities to support and endorse the women. I had my own personal experiences with this type of support in corporate America. My male mentors and advocates helped me achieve my goals through coaching and influencing others, and by being my role models. My husband is the ultimate example of modeling the way!

This is where it really hit home about our work at Water For People. Our “why” is about getting lasting quality water and sanitation services to Everyone Forever to ensure better access to education, improved health, and greater economic opportunity. This is how to get out of poverty. It all begins with water and toilets. Next is education. Then getting kids (especially girls) to school, and keeping them in school, gives them a much better chance of success in the future.

Beatrice is the president of her community water committee in Rwanda.

The future we envision is one with many more men and women around the world getting jobs in the water sector with gender parity — engineers, builders, operators, and maintenance workers. Just a couple of years ago, countries came together and agreed to an ambitious — but doable — set of goals called the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Goal number 6 is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030. We need twice as many water professionals as we have today to build the infrastructure to reach that goal. Women can play a big role in filling that gap.

Another major theme of Davos was the severity of income inequality and the toll it takes on people around the world. One of my favorite sessions was with my friend Winnie Byanyima from Oxfam. A new Oxfam report details how income inequality is getting worse. Did you know that 82% of the wealth generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth? Billionaire wealth has risen by an annual average of 13% since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers. This huge increase could have ended extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam.

This is what really gets me. All the money we need to end the global water crisis and lift humanity out of poverty is out there in the world. It is just distributed incorrectly. I would love it if we could reallocate it more appropriately. “This future (with no poverty) is possible if we redesign our economy to truly reward hard work rather than wealth,” said Winnie.

Danitza’s family had to walk hours every day to fetch water from a river before their new household tap was installed last year.

It makes me think of the communities where Water For People works. These are some of the poorest places with the most hard-working people I’ve ever seen — people who walk hours each way to get water, until we give them a better choice. Water For People is helping develop their water and sanitation systems, but they could do so much more if they had greater opportunities.

One of the challenges of Davos is that there’s not enough time to do everything you aspire to do. I used my time for one-on-one meetings with many corporate CEOs, government officials, foundation leaders, and social entrepreneurs. I had some of the most enlightening and enriching conversations of my career, and everyone I met was very receptive to Water For People and our Everyone Forever model.

My main observation from being at Davos that Water For People has a platform that can help solve the global water and sanitation crisis. We’ve already proven the impact of our model. Organizations looking to invest in social good or to enhance their own programs to include water or sanitation believe that we would make their work more meaningful. They are open to discussing how we could work together, and this is where the good chemistry for partnership begins!

Now I am back in Denver, fully rested after an exhausting and exhilarating week. I have much to do to follow-up on all my new leads. I am confident that our work and Water For People will positively benefit from my experience in Davos both financially and programmatically. And personally, I have learned and grown tremendously as a leader.

The spirit of Davos is to respect humanity, dignity and diversity; be a trustee of future generations; and serve others more than ourselves. I was deeply moved, and I believe in living this spirit.

Poniendo el agua en primer plano en Davos

por Eleanor Allen, CEO de Water For People

Acabo de regresar de una semana en la reunión anual del Foro Económico Mundial (FEM) en Davos, Suiza, representando a Water For People. Fue una gran oportunidad para nosotros de formar parte de la conversación sobre cuestiones relacionadas con el agua, el impacto social, y la desigualdad.

Como uno de los Emprendedores Sociales de la Fundación Schwab, tuve la suerte de unirme a las discusiones a diferentes niveles. Schwab Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders y Social Entrepreneurs juntos representaron 70 países y territorios del mundo. Operamos como una fuerza para llevar a escala buenas soluciones para enfrentar los desafíos globales y locales. Puede leer mis reflexiones personales de la semana en mi blog aquí.

En este blog, me gustaría compartir mi perspectiva sobre cómo las reuniones de Davos pueden apoyar nuestro trabajo en Water For People y cómo nuestra voz puede hacer una contribución única en Davos. Estos son algunos de mis aprendizajes:

El primer día de Davos, el primer ministro de India Narendra Modi resumió el estado del mundo al describir los tres desafíos más importantes para la civilización tal como la conocemos: el cambio climático, el terrorismo, y la reacción contra la globalización. Estos se relacionan directamente con los principales riesgos globales de FEM en 2018: cuatro de los cinco están relacionados con el agua (los principales riesgos están en rojo y verde aquí).

A medida que avanzaba la semana, hubieron más de 400 sesiones increíbles que cubrieron una gran variedad de temas, como la 4ª revolución industrial, el aumento de la inclusividad, la defensa de la diversidad, y mucho más. Conocí a mucha gente en reuniones formales para discutir posibilidades de financiamiento y asociaciones, y tuve innumerables reuniones informales con personas increíbles e interesantes.

La primera persona que conocí de esta manera fortuita fue alguien en Washington DC que subió al avión conmigo a Zurich. Es un líder en salud mundial y su esposa es inversionista de impacto en empresas encabezadas por mujeres. Ya tenemos planes para reunirnos nuevamente la próxima vez que esté en San Francisco para discutir formas de trabajar juntos. También conocí a algunas de las mujeres más poderosas de Forbes — wow. ¡Cenaré con dos de ellas la próxima semana!

La igualdad de género fue un gran tema en Davos este año. La Reunión Anual fue organizada por siete mujeres líderes increíbles, una de las primeras en tener copresidentes mujeres. Pudieron influir y crear un programa significativo y holístico bajo el tema: Creación de un futuro compartido en un mundo fracturado. Como dijo la directora gerente del FMI, Christine Lagarde, “Finalmente un panel entero de mujeres — ¡no de hombres solos!”

El primer ministro canadiense Trudeau también habló sobre este tema con gran perspicacia. “Pagarle a una empleada lo mismo que a un empleado masculino ni siquiera comienza a tocar cuestiones relacionadas con la planificación familiar, las promociones, o la seguridad laboral,” dijo. “Las mujeres hacen más trabajo a tiempo parcial y más trabajo no remunerado que los hombres. ¿Cómo abordamos eso?” Gran pregunta. Todavía no lo hacemos.

La joven defensora de la educación paquistaní Malala Yousafzai fue una co-panelista conmovedora con el Primer Ministro Trudeau. “Necesitamos enseñar a los niños a ser hombres. La educación de los hombres jóvenes sobre los derechos de las mujeres es un paso crucial para acabar con la desigualdad de género,” dijo. “Los hombres tienen que jugar un gran papel… Tenemos que enseñarles a los jóvenes cómo ser hombres y reconocer que todas las mujeres y todos los que te rodean tienen los mismos derechos y que todos formas parte de este movimiento por la igualdad.”

Sé que esto es cierto por nuestro trabajo en Water For People. Hacer que las mujeres participen en el liderazgo también requiere que los hombres de las comunidades apoyen y respalden a las mujeres. Y lo sé por mi propia experiencia personal en las empresas estadounidenses. Mis mentores y defensores masculinos me ayudaron a lograr mis objetivos mediante el entrenamiento y la influencia sobre otros, y al ser modelos a seguir. ¡Mi esposo es el mejor ejemplo de modelar el camino!

Aquí es donde realmente acertamos con nuestro trabajo en Water For People. Nuestro “por qué” se trata de obtener Cobertura Total Para Siempre en servicios confiables de agua y saneamiento, para garantizar un mejor acceso a la educación, una mejor salud y mayores oportunidades económicas. Esta es la forma de salir de la pobreza. Llevar a las niñas a la escuela y mantenerlas en la escuela les da muchas más posibilidades de éxito en el futuro.

El futuro que imaginamos es uno con muchos más hombres y mujeres de todo el mundo que obtengan empleos en el sector del agua con paridad de género: ingenieros, constructores, operadores, y trabajadores de mantenimiento. Hace apenas un par de años, los países se unieron y acordaron un conjunto de objetivos ambiciosos pero factibles llamados Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible. El objetivo número 6 es “garantizar el acceso al agua y al saneamiento para todos” para el año 2030. Necesitamos el doble de profesionales del agua de los que tenemos hoy para construir la infraestructura para alcanzar ese objetivo. Las mujeres pueden jugar un papel importante en llenar ese vacío.

Otro tema importante de Davos fue la gravedad de la desigualdad de ingresos y el costo que tiene para las personas de todo el mundo. Una de mis sesiones favoritas fue con mi amiga Winnie Byanyima de Oxfam. Un nuevo informe de Oxfam detalla cómo la desigualdad de ingresos empeora. ¿Sabía que el 82% de la riqueza generada el año pasado se destinó al 1% más rico de la población mundial, mientras que los 3.700 millones de personas que conforman la mitad más pobre del mundo no vieron un aumento en su riqueza? La riqueza multimillonaria ha aumentado en un promedio anual del 13% desde 2010, seis veces más rápido que los salarios de los trabajadores comunes. Este gran aumento habría sobrado para resolver siete veces la pobreza extrema en el mundo.

Esto es lo que me llama especialmente la atención: Todo el dinero que necesitamos para poner fin a la crisis mundial del agua y sacar a la humanidad de la pobreza ya existe en el mundo. Simplemente se distribuye incorrectamente. Me encantaría si pudiéramos reasignarlo de manera más apropiada. Un futuro sin pobreza es posible si nuestras economías se rediseñaran para recompensar el trabajo duro, no solo la riqueza.

Me hace pensar en las comunidades donde Water For People trabaja. Estas son algunas de las comunidades más pobres con la gente más trabajadora que he visto en mi vida, personas que están dispuestas a caminar horas para obtener agua limpia. Water For People les está ayudando a usar los recursos que tienen para obtener acceso a sistemas de agua potable y saneamiento, pero podrían hacer mucho más si solo tuvieran más.

Uno de los desafíos de Davos es que no hay suficiente tiempo para hacer todo lo que uno aspira hacer. Utilicé mi tiempo para reuniones personales con muchos directores generales corporativos, funcionarios gubernamentales, líderes de fundaciones y emprendedores sociales. Tuve algunas de las conversaciones más esclarecedoras y enriquecedoras de mi carrera, y todos los que conocí fueron muy receptivos con Water For People y con nuestro modelo de Cobertura Total Para Siempre.

Mi punto principal es que Water For People tiene una plataforma que puede ayudar a resolver la crisis mundial de agua y saneamiento. Ya hemos demostrado el impacto de nuestro modelo. Las organizaciones que buscan invertir en bienes sociales o mejorar sus propios programas para incluir agua o saneamiento creen que haríamos que su trabajo sea más significativo. ¡Y aquí es donde comienza la buena química para la asociación!

Ahora estoy de vuelta en Denver, completamente descansado después de una semana agotadora y estimulante. Tengo mucho seguimiento que hacer con todas mis nuevas pistas. Confío en que nuestro trabajo y Water For People se beneficiarán positivamente de mi experiencia en Davos, tanto financiera como programáticamente. Y personalmente, he aprendido y crecido enormemente como líder.

El espíritu de Davos es respetar la humanidad, la dignidad, y la diversidad; ser un fideicomisario de las generaciones futuras; y servir a otros más que a nosotros mismos. Me conmovió profundamente y creo en vivir este espíritu.

Splash Brings Clean Water to Every Orphanage in China

20 March 2018 at 08:01
By: Splash

More than 90,000 of China’s most vulnerable children now have access to clean water

Splash Founder and Executive Director Eric Stowe enjoying clean water with a child in a Chinese orphanage.

Splash, a Seattle-based, nonprofit organization providing water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions to children in urban Asia and Africa, today announced that 100 percent of orphanages in China have ultrafiltration systems to provide clean water — a huge milestone ten years in the making.

After a decade of hard work and close collaboration with the Chinese government and local non-government organizations (NGOs), over 190,000 vulnerable children, elderly adults, and staff at over 1,100 orphanages have consistent access to clean, safe water.

These orphanages span 32 provinces, across China’s 3.7 million square miles, from Shanghai to Xinjiang and Tibet to Inner Mongolia.

“Working in China ten years ago, the stark inequity in urban areas was shocking. Hotels and restaurants were serving filtered water to their customers, but across the street, children at poor schools and orphanages were drinking unclean water from the tap,” said Eric Stowe, Founder and Executive Director of Splash. “We believe that access to clean water is a basic human right and matter of social justice.”

Thanks to the commitment of the Chinese government, NGOs, corporate partners, generous donors, and the local Splash team, every orphanage in China now has clean water to drink, improving the overall quality of life for over 90,000 children.

In China, orphanages and homes for the elderly are often co-located in the same facility. As a result, Splash is also serving clean water to over 58,000 elderly, as well as more than 41,000 staff.

Poor water quality and inadequate sanitation are leading causes of disease and malnutrition, especially for children. Where most water-focused organizations are focused on bringing clean water to rural areas, Splash is one of the leading organizations focused on urban settings. The United Nations predicts that by 2030, the global population will increase to 8.5 billion, and by 2050, 75 percent of the world’s population will be in urban cities, with growth centering in developing countries. This explosive change creates a dire need to improve critical water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and infrastructure now.

“The need here is very real,” said George Russell, founder of Russell Investments. “I’ve invested in this organization for years. I am proud of their work, and more importantly, the results.”

Splash’s work to improve WASH services in major cities in Asia and Africa supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Six (SDG 6) to ensure universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, for all by 2030. The work is targeted on kids and schools, as they are access points for influencing parents, families, and communities.

“Over the past several years, the Chinese government has prioritized improving the policies and practices around domestic adoption, foster care, and orphanage management,” said Hailan Qi, director of China at Splash. “The collaboration with local governments in each of the 32 provinces has been critical to our work to bring clean water to more than 1,100 orphanages around the country.”

Splash’s work in China does not stop with 100 percent coverage. This year, the organization is continuing sustainability planning to keep clean water flowing at all of the Chinese orphanages over the long-term. Outside of China, Splash has a goal to reach 100 percent of government school children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Kolkata, India with clean water, clean hands and clean toilets, benefitting one million children by 2022.

For Splash, this is just the beginning. They believe every child should have access to clean water, not just today, but every day.

About Splash

Splash is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 focused on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions for children in urban Asia and Africa. They work in some of the fastest growing cities in the world, where they focus on child-serving institutions including schools, orphanages, shelters, and hospitals to help kids lead healthier lives. To date, Splash has completed over 1,700 projects across eight countries in Asia and Africa (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Vietnam and Thailand), serving more than 400,000 children. Ultimately, Splash aims to use schools as an access point to reach families and communities, improving WASH services for the urban poor. To learn more about Splash, visit www.splash.org or follow them on Twitter at @splash_org or Facebook @splashglobal.

Overcoming flooding in Peru

26 March 2018 at 16:48

In March 2017, the worst flooding in a lifetime hit northern Peru. Districts like Cascas, where Water For People works, was hit especially hard. The flooding was attributed to the combined effects of a changing climate and El Niño, and many people in Cascas were left to rebuilt homes and livelihoods and even entire water systems in the aftermath. To commemorate the floods and celebrate the resiliency of the people of Cascas, we want to share how three people overcame challenges brought by the flooding.

Don Ángel

“The force of nature was so strong that I saw huge rocks and big trees moved by the force of water,” Don Ángel said.

Don Ángel inspecting a community water system

Don Ángel leads the water and sanitation office in the district of Cascas, Peru. He says he was hired because of his experience in environmental management and past work in rural communities. That experience was invaluable when the 2017 flooding washed away most of the district’s water systems.

“Eighty percent of the water systems in Cascas were affected,” said Ángel.

District water and sanitation offices like those Ángel leads provide direct support to community water committees that manage water systems. Because of its close relationship to those committees, Angel’s office could quickly understand the damages and create a plan to repair water systems.

Read how Ángel helped the entire district recover after the flooding.

Doña Maria

Like many families in Cascas, Maria Montalvo Arce grows grapes. Cascas is known for its winemaking, which is an economic driver for the region.

Last year, the floods washed away nearly all of Maria’s harvest. She said she harvested less than 10% of her usual harvest.

Maria surveying her grapes after the flooding

The floods also left Maria without water for the first time in 20 years.

“The rain this year was different,” Maria said. “Every year there is rain in this area, but never rain so strong that it cut off the water supply.”

Read how Maria is moving forward.

Don Michael

“Everything was gone,” Michael said. “The rain left nothing.”

Michael next to the rehabilitated water source for his community

Michael Sagastegui is the president of the water committee in his small town of Pampas de San Isidro. In 2016, Michael spent his first year as president overseeing some much-needed repairs to the community water system, only to watch last year’s flooding wash it all away.

With support from the Cascas district water and sanitation office and Water For People, and with hundreds of hours of hard work from his community members, Pampas de San Isidro rebuilt their water system. Michael says they rebuilt it stronger than before, protecting it from future disasters.

Read how Michael led his community to rebuild their water system.

Water Currents: Hand Hygiene and Sepsis Prevention, May 15, 2018

15 May 2018 at 14:32
Water Currents: Hand Hygiene and Sepsis Prevention, May 15, 2018
May 5, 2018 marked World Hand Hygiene Day, an annual awareness day and call to action for promoting hand hygiene in health care
Bringing you some of the latest water sector research, resources, and news.
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May 15, 2018 – Hand Hygiene and Sepsis Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global Infection Control Supervisor Simone Loua (left) reinforces proper handwashing techniques during a field supervision visit to a clinic in Guinea. Photo credit: Lindsey Horton
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global Infection Control Supervisor Simone Loua (left) reinforces proper handwashing techniques during a field supervision visit to a clinic in Guinea. Photo credit: Lindsey Horton
May 5, 2018 marked World Hand Hygiene Day, an annual awareness day and call to action for promoting hand hygiene in health care. This year’s theme was “It’s in your hands—prevent sepsis in health care.” Sepsis—when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs—affects more than 30 million patients every year worldwide and leads to an estimated 6 million deaths. Proper hand hygiene is a critical step to preventing sepsis and providing quality health care.
This issue contains recently published studies on hand hygiene, as well as studies on water and sanitation conditions in health care facilities (HCFs). We would like to thank the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) for contributing to this issue. GHP is a coalition of international stakeholders working to promote handwashing with soap as a pillar of international development and public health. USAID is a founding member of the Partnership and has contributed funding annually to the coalition since 2001.

Looking for a back issue of Water Currents? Check out the archive on Globalwaters.org.
GHP Resources 
Infographic: Hygiene in Health Facilities. GHP, April 2018. May 5 marks two important global advocacy days: World Hand Hygiene Day and International Day of the Midwife. This infographic introduces key data on hand hygiene and sepsis, and shares what you can do to support health workers and prevent sepsis.
Advocacy Toolkit: Clean Hands for All. GHP, February 2018. Handwashing with soap is critical to health and development. This toolkit provides resources to help hygiene advocates promote and facilitate handwashing and engage others to do the same.
Fact Sheet: Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Facilities. GHP, August 2017. This fact sheet explores the health care-related risks of poor hygiene and the critical elements of hand hygiene needed to improve quality of care and reduce negative outcomes of poor compliance (e.g., infections and antimicrobial resistance) in HCFs. It also provides recommendations for improving hygiene in health.

Reports/Blog Posts
Every Newborn Deserves Caring, Clean Hands. GHP, May 2018. In this blog post, Dr. Pavani K. Ram from the University at Buffalo discusses the importance of hand hygiene, summarizes findings from recent hand hygiene research, and gives a call to action for understanding and responding to the key barriers to hand hygiene among health workers caring for mothers and newborns.
Opinion: Clean Water Is Health. Devex, May 2018. Toyin Ojora-Saraki, founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, states that the global health and development communities can no longer stand by in silence while mothers and newborns die from preventable and unnecessary complications, simply because the most basic of WASH services are not available.
WASH in Healthcare Facilities: Recommendations for Donors. Improve International, February 2018. It is widely acknowledged that access to quality essential health care services cannot be achieved without access to basic WASH services. This blog post provides recommendations to donors for funding WASH in HCFs.
Water and Sanitation for Health Facility Improvement Tool (WASH FIT): A Practical Guide for Improving Quality of Care through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Health Care Facilities. World Health Organization (WHO); UNICEF, 2018. WASH FIT is a risk-based, continuous improvement framework with a set of tools for undertaking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) improvements as part of a wider set of improvements in HCFs.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene at the Health Center. USAID Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), February 2017. This two-page brief outlines challenges facing WASH in maternal and perinatal health and proposes actions to address them via improved WASH in HCFs, greater leadership for ministries of health, increased coordination with other sectors, and better accountability.
WASH for Neonatal and Maternal Sepsis Reduction Study: Phase 1 Report. USAID MCSP, May 2017. The USAID-funded MCSP commissioned this study to investigate the current hygiene practices of health care staff, mothers, and other caregivers from the onset of labor through the first two days of life.
Achieving Quality Universal Health Coverage through Better Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services in Health Care Facilities: A Focus on Cambodia and Ethiopia. WHO, 2017. The situation analyses outlined in this report capture mechanisms that jointly support WASH in HCFs and quality of care improvements. They also identify barriers and challenges to implementing and sustaining these improvements.

National Guidelines for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Healthcare Facilities in Tanzania. Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, October 2017. This guide provides a standardized approach to the provision of WASH services in public and private HCFs throughout Tanzania. It offers guidance for planning and budgeting, as well as technical designing and construction of recommended WASH facilities, operation and maintenance, and monitoring of the performance of services.
Guide to Infection Control in the Hospital: Hand Hygiene. International Society of Infectious Diseases, February 2018. The Guide to Infection Control includes this chapter on hand disinfection methods, the WHO Multimodal Hand Hygiene Strategy, and other topics.

Journal Articles
2018 WHO Hand Hygiene Campaign: Preventing Sepsis in Health Care and the Path to Universal Health Coverage. Lancet Infectious Diseases, May 2018. Infection and control measures are essential for preventing avoidable infections that can lead to sepsis. Hand hygiene is both the cornerstone and entry point for infection prevention and control. (This article is open access, but a login is required to view/download the full article.)

Environmental Conditions in Health Care Facilities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Coverage and Inequalities. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, April 2018. In this report, researchers identify important, previously undocumented inequalities and environmental health challenges faced by HCFs. The information and analyses provided can be used to develop evidence-based policies and efficient programs, enhance service delivery systems, and make better use of available resources to improve HCF conditions.
Barriers to and Motivators of Handwashing Behavior Among Mothers of Neonates in Rural Bangladesh. BMC Public Health, April 2018. This thematic analysis explains some of the determinants of maternal handwashing behaviors. Factors adversely impacting handwashing behavior include lack of family support, social norms, perceptions of frequent contact with water as a health threat, and a mother’s restricted movement during the first 40 days of a neonate’s life.
Water Treatment and Handwashing Practices in Rural Kenyan Health Care Facilities and Households Six Years after the Installation of Portable Water Stations and Hygiene Training. Journal of Water and Health, January 2018. Many HCFs and households in low- and middle- income countries have inadequate access to water for hygiene and consumption. In 2005, handwashing and drinking water stations were installed in 53 HCFs in Kenya, in conjunction with hygiene education for health workers and clinic clients. This study analyzes results six years after the intervention to assess longevity of impact.

An Educational Intervention to Improve Hand Hygiene Compliance in Vietnam. BMC Infectious Diseases, February 2018. A simple educational model implemented in a Vietnamese hospital was shown to improve hand hygiene compliance for an extended period of time.
Unpacking the Enabling Factors for Hand, Cord and Birth-Surface Hygiene in Zanzibar Maternity Units. Health Policy and Planning, July 2017. Maternity units in Zanzibar have substantial gaps in infection prevention practices essential at the time of birth. This study describes areas for further improvement such as knowledge and training and infrastructure, which are becoming increasingly important as more women in Tanzania opt to deliver in HCFs.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Infrastructure and Quality in Rural Healthcare Facilities in Rwanda. BMC Health Services Research, August 2017. In this survey of 17 rural HCFs in Rwanda, 60 percent of water access points were observed to be functional, 32 percent of handwashing locations had water and soap, and 44 percent of sanitary facilities were in hygienic condition and accessible to patients. Regular maintenance of WASH infrastructure consisted of cleaning, while no HCF had on-site capacity for performing repairs.

Impact of Adding Handwashing and Water Disinfection Promotion to Oral Cholera Vaccination on Diarrhoea-Associated Hospitalization in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Evidence from a Cluster Randomized Control Trial. International Journal of Epidemiology, December 2017. Neither cholera vaccination alone nor cholera vaccination combined with behavior change intervention efforts measurably reduced diarrhea-associated hospitalization in this highly mobile population. Affordable community-level interventions that prevent infection from multiple pathogens by reliably separating feces from the environment, food and water, and with minimal behavioral demands on impoverished communities remain an important area for research.
Approaches to Hand Hygiene Monitoring: From Low to High Technology Approaches. International Journal for Infectious Diseases. December 2017. Approaches to monitoring hand hygiene compliance vary from simple methods such as direct observation and product usage to more advanced methods such as automated electronic monitoring systems. Current literature supports a multimodal approach, supplemented by education, to enhance hand hygiene performance.
Awareness of Hand Hygiene Among Health Care Workers of Chitwan, Nepal. Sage Open, October–December 2017. A study was carried out in three hospitals to identify the knowledge and practice of hand hygiene. The results showed that half of the health care workers were lacking in knowledge and practice regarding important components of hand hygiene.
WASH in Health Care Facilities: A Toolbox for Improving Quality of Care. This USAID MCSP microsite includes a toolbox of resources, as well as perspectives and an emerging approach from MCSPs’ experience integrating WASH in support of quality of care improvements that lead to improved health outcomes.

Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP). The GHP is a coalition of international stakeholders working to promote handwashing with soap and advocate for hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health. Their website includes materials, case studies, and publications to support handwashing programs.

Save Lives: Clean Your Hands. This WHO site contains reports and other promotional materials for the annual WHO-led Clean Your Hands campaign.

WASH in Health Care Facilities. WHO provides reports and others resources on this site for users to learn about and improve WASH in HCFs.

WASH FIT Digital. WASH FIT Digital is a free, open-access digital tool, based on the WASH FIT guide developed by WHO and UNICEF. It is designed to help HCFs improve quality of care through improved WASH and includes a set of forms for implementing a risk-based management approach.

If you would like to feature your organization's materials or suggest other content for upcoming issues of Water Currents, please send them to Dan Campbell, Knowledge Creation/WASH Specialist, at dcampbell@waterckm.com.
USAID Water Team, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment.
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20523
Sent by waterteam@usaid.gov

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended to monitor and share current news and research relevant to the water sector. Items included in this publication are not endorsements and do not represent the views of USAID or the U.S. Government, unless stated otherwise.

Water Currents: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018, May 22, 2018

22 May 2018 at 15:22
Water Currents: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018, May 22, 2018 Menstrual Hygiene Day, May 28, is an annual global event is to raise awareness about the challenges women and girls face due to menstruation 
Bringing you some of the latest water sector research, resources, and news.
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May 22, 2018 - Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018

This cover photo from the “Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools: South Asia” study shows students in a school in Pakistan that had only two toilet blocks to serve 400 girls and 10 teachers. With support from WaterAid and UK aid, the school set up a hygiene club and is now a model in terms of its sanitation facilities. Read more about the study below. Photo credit: WaterAid/Sibtain Haider.
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), May 28, is an annual global event to raise awareness about the challenges women and girls face due to menstruation and to highlight solutions that address these challenges. MH Day also provides a platform to advocate for making menstrual hygiene management (MHM) a part of local, national, and global policies, as well as programs, projects, and activities across global development sectors. MH Day is organized by WASH United, which has run the event since its inception in 2013. It is an alliance of 340 partners worldwide, including WaterAid, Save the Children, and USAID, to foster policy change, fight stigma, and educate girls about menstruation. Follow MH Day on Twitter using the hashtag #NoMoreLimits.

This issue of Water Currents features MH Day resources from 2018, including reports and journal articles from studies in Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and other countries. The issue also includes recent blog posts and news articles from Africa, India, and Pakistan.
Menstrual Hygiene Day Resources 
Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018. WASH United created this site to promote MH Day and provide additional resources and information on MHM that can be accessed year-round.

Menstrual Hygiene Webinar Series - WASH United, Simavi, World Vision and GIZ are launching a webinar series on menstrual hygiene as an activity under the MH Alliance. The webinars will take place every Thursday starting on 31 May 2018.

The Menstrual Health Hub. This is a global organization that establishes strategic partnerships to promote collaborative, systemic impact around menstrual health worldwide.

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018: Empowering Women and Girls Through Good Menstrual Hygiene. Globalwaters.org, April 2018. This event post provides links to stories and resources on USAID's MHM-related work, which is an important part of USAID's WASH-related activities.

#NoMoreLimits! WSSCC Members Called to Act, Advocate on Upcoming Menstrual Hygiene Day. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), May 2018. WSSCC is asking members and partners to share their planned MH Day 2018 activities to feature on its website, along with a special social media package to help promote MH Day.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools: South Asia. WaterAid, March 2018. These reports detail the status of MHM in schools in South Asia and identify progress and gaps in achieving sustainable and inclusive MHM services. They include a synthesis report, as well as country profiles on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and others.

Reports on Menstrual Hygiene in Senegal, Niger and Cameroon. UN Women Africa, February 2018. WSSCC, in collaboration with UN Women, implemented a joint program on Gender, Hygiene, and Sanitation in Senegal, Niger, and Cameroon. Three case studies were published based on experiences from each country.

Keeping African Girls in School with Better Sanitary Care. University of Cambridge; The Impact Initiative, March 2018. Research from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London demonstrates that in rural Uganda, providing free sanitary products and lessons about puberty to girls may increase their attendance at school.

Journal Articles
Pilot Testing and Evaluation of a Toolkit for Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies in Three Refugee Camps in Northwest Tanzania. Journal of International Humanitarian Action, May 2018. This paper describes the pilot testing of the MHM in Emergencies Toolkit in three camps hosting Burundian and Congolese refugees in northwest Tanzania. MHM in this context consists of access to supplies and information, private WASH facilities, and discrete disposal options. Key findings include the identification of content gaps in the draft toolkit and the mapping out of a training and capacity-building approach needed for integrating MHM into ongoing programming.

Improving Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergency Contexts: Literature Review of Current Perspectives. International Journal of Women’s Health, April 2018. The objective of this review was to collate, summarize, and appraise existing literature on the current state of MHM in emergency contexts.

Menstrual Hygiene Management Among Women and Adolescent Girls in the Aftermath of the Earthquake in Nepal. BMC Women’s Health, March 2018. In the immediate aftermath of a massive earthquake in April 2015, immediate relief activities by humanitarian agencies failed to account for MHM needs. An improved understanding of MHM practices and the use of local resources, such as the reusable sanitary cloth, can help address MHM needs in post-disaster situations in Nepal.

Transgender-Inclusive Sanitation: Insights from South Asia. Waterlines, January 2018. This paper provides insights from initiatives to include transgender people in sanitation programming in South Asia. Three case studies of recent actions to make sanitation inclusive for transgender people in India and Nepal are presented, accompanied by reflections and recommendations to guide future practice.

The Relationship between Household Sanitation and Women’s Experience of Menstrual Hygiene: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Survey in Kaduna State, Nigeria. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, May 2018. Researchers in Nigeria investigated the relationship between household sanitation and women’s MHM practices. They found that household sanitation can influence women’s choices for MHM, yet existing indicators for sanitation improvement are not sensitive to menstrual needs.

Menstrual Health and School Absenteeism Among Adolescent Girls in Uganda (MENISCUS): A Feasibility Study. BMC Women's Health, January 2018. A study of a peri-urban Ugandan population found a strong correlation between menstruation and school attendance. To keep girls in school, future interventions must factor in both the psychosocial and physical aspects of menstruation.

Menstrual Hygiene, Management, and Waste Disposal: Practices and Challenges Faced by Girls/Women of Developing Countries. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, February 2018. Many rural Indian women are unaware of the environmental pollution and health hazards associated with the improper disposal of sanitary pads, according to the authors of this study. The researchers recommend the use of reusable sanitary products or natural sanitary products made from materials like banana and bamboo fibers and water hyacinths.

Accessibility of Low Cost Sanitary Napkin in Rural and Semi-Urban Community of Bangladesh. Islam Medical College Journal, January 2018. This study found that affordability is the main constraint to using pads for MHM, suggesting that future MHM interventions should be more inclusive by accounting for the sometimes prohibitive cost of sanitary napkins.

Blog Posts/Podcasts
How Did a Bollywood Film Affect Menstrual Hygiene in India? IRC, May 2018. This podcast includes discussions about the economic, social, health, and environmental aspects of MHM in India and “Pad Man,” the Bollywood film inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham.

What Makes a Period a Healthy Period? Plan International, April 2018. Take this online quiz to find out how periods impact your health in more ways than you might think (or have ever been taught).

Bloody Hell: The Challenges of Starting Your Period in a Refugee Camp. Bloody Good Period, April 2018. Dr. Sarah Simons writes about the personal hygiene challenges that women must deal within refugee camps.

Mainstream Bollywood Movie Influencing Age-Old Taboos about Menstrual Health in India. End Poverty in South Asia, March 2018. This blog post discusses a Bollywood movie that tells the story of "Pad Man," a school drop-out and social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu who invented a low-cost, sanitary pad-making machine.

Design for Girls, By Girls. Period. UNICEF, March 2018. The School of Leadership—a national youth-led organization in Pakistan—launched the MHM Innovation Challenge in June 2017. This article highlights innovative solutions that were received in response to the challenge.

The Power of Involving Boys in Menstrual Hygiene Management. WASH in Schools, January 2018. This article discusses the WASH and Learn program and its efforts to educate and involve boys and men in MHM.
Ground-Breaking Menstrual Health Symposium Will Be a First for the Region. UN Population Fund (UNFPA) East and Southern Africa, March 2018. UNFPA and its partners will hold the first-ever meeting on managing menstrual health for women and girls in the east and southern Africa regions at the MHM Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 28–29, 2018.

Kashmiri Women Promote Menstrual Hygiene. Times of India, April 2018. This video is about a self-help group in Kashmir that manufactures low-cost sanitary pads. Taking inspiration from the Bollywood film “Pad Man,” women in the Samba district are producing affordable pads and educating rural women about the importance of maintaining hygiene.

Akshay Kumar Lends Support to New Campaign on Menstrual Hygiene. Hindustan Times, May 2018. Even months after the release of “Pad Man,” Bollywood star Akshay Kumar has continued his effort to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene.

Opinion: Menstrual Pads Can’t Fix Prejudice. New York Times, March 2018. The author states that cultural stigma is the core problem surrounding menstruation. 

If you would like to feature your organization's materials or suggest other content for upcoming issues of Water Currents, please send them to Dan Campbell, Knowledge Creation/WASH Specialist, at dcampbell@waterckm.com.
USAID Water Team, Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment.
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20523
Sent by waterteam@usaid.gov

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended to monitor and share current news and research relevant to the water sector. Items included in this publication are not endorsements and do not represent the views of USAID or the U.S. Government, unless stated otherwise.

Water For People’s Work Supports National Recognition of West Bengal Community

25 May 2018 at 18:01

One of the communities where Water For People works in West Bengal, India, has been recognized for its achievements to significantly enhance the quality of life for its residents. One of the three awards for Best Gram Panchayat (a governed area similar to a U.S. county) recognizes Digambarpur out of the 250,000 gram panchayats in India for its progress in improving conditions for the more than 34,000 people living there. This work has been carried out in pursuit of the Indian government’s National Rural Drinking Water Program and Swacch Bharat Mission on water and sanitation, respectively. This was the first year this award was presented.

Water For People honors the successes and commitments of the gram panchayat leadership and the community members themselves, with whom Water For People has been working in partnership since 2006 to develop water and sanitation services. Digambarpur is open defecation free after establishing a program that provides every family with bins for household waste and schedules waste pick-ups every morning. This program costs families 10 rupees ($0.15 USD) per month. For drinking water, every community in the Digambarpur Gram Panchayat has reliable water services. Families pay 50 rupees ($0.75 USD) per month for water service. Initially, there was some resistance from families about paying for these services, but the gram panchayat held meetings and awareness campaigns explaining how payments contribute to the long-term sustainability of these vital services.

A Jalabandhu (local handpump mechanic) repairs a community water point in India

Water For People helped establish water users committees in communities, and water and sanitation committees in schools, to support the sustainability of these services. The gram panchayat was also instructed in monitoring levels of service, and Jalabandhu (Friends of Water) and Nirmal Bandhu (Friends of Sanitation) were trained to repair and maintain water and sanitation infrastructure. The gram panchayat highlights the key role women played in the transformation through building awareness about safe water and household sanitation practices.

“Since 2006, Water For People India has engaged with all eight villages of Digambarpur Gram Panchayat for implementing our Everyone Forever approach,” said Water For People India Country Director, Meena Narula. “This has meant engaging with local communities and institutions to build a strong foundation for sustained management of services, systems for drinking water and sanitation, and adoption of safe hygiene practices. The recognition of Digambarpur Gram Panchayat as the best in the country is a result of exemplary leadership of individuals, especially women, in a collective form and their spirit of enterprise and determination.”