Leading global health organizations have unveiled a groundbreaking analysis outlining what donors, national governments, and the private sector need to invest to accelerate progress for menstrual health and hygiene (MHH). The report, Making the Case for Investing in Menstrual Health and Hygiene, is part of a growing effort to advance gender equality and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The call for contributions is now open for the 42nd WEDC International Conference: Equitable and Sustainable WASH Services: Future challenges in a rapidly changing world.
The Conference will be held online from 13-15 September 2021.
The conference comprises three days of online presentations and interactive discussions of peer-reviewed content; agency events from international organizations working in the sector; online exhibitions; and the opportunity for delegates to meet and network in virtual rooms.
Climate change: weather extremes (e.g. floods and droughts) and water resources management, including but not limited to topics related to fundamental understanding, remote sensing, modelling and management strategies
Integrating disaster risk management into WASH interventions
Sanitation systems and services e.g. household and peri-urban approaches and faecal sludge management
Rural water supply e.g. approaches to sustainability and serving the hardest to reach communities and households
Innovations and advances in biowaste, wastewater treatment and waste to energy technologies e.g. anaerobic digestion, composting, thermochemical processing, resource recovery and circular economy concepts; and end-use applications
Urban water management
Institutional development and programme management
Data analytics, machine learning/AI applications in WASH
Infographic of the Biological Urban Sanitation project (BUSP) in Maputo
The Pia Fantastica toilet flushes with just one cup of water under an angle of 45 degrees and has no water seal. It has the convenience of a pedestal like a conventional ceramic toilet, and, if well installed, has no smell or fly problem. It is a toilet made out of concrete which can be produced for a price of just US$ 6.50 and is therefore attractive to the local sanitation market.
The Pia Fantastica was developed as part of the Biological Urban Sanitation Project (2016–2019) where Black Soldier Fly larvae were used for environmental friendly pit emptying.
The project has been translated into a social enterprise “Susamati” run by young professionals in Maputo, Mozambique. Setting up an enterprise is about building a team as well as marketing and sales. At this point, making a financially sustainable enterprise remains a challenge.
The Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) learning partnership is a collaborative activity funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop, test, and document high-potential “systems approaches” for local water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) service delivery. The five year project (2016-2021) in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda aims to provide concrete improvements to service delivery while placing a significant emphasis on building knowledge and providing evidence to USAID and the global WASH sector on how systems approaches can be applied, adapted, and scaled in different contexts.
Below are some of the most recent SWS publications:
Valcourt, N., Walters, J., Javernick-Will, A., Linden, K., and Hailegiorgis, B., 2020. Understanding rural water services as a complex system : an assessment of key factors as potential leverage points for improved service sustainability. Sustainability, 12(3), pp.1-17 : 3 fig., 3 tab.
Hollander, D., Ajroud, B., Thomas, E., Peabody, S., Jordan, E., Javernick-Will, A. & Linden, K., 2020. Monitoring methods for systems-strengthening activities toward sustainable water and sanitation services in low-income settings. Sustainability, 12(17), pp.1-16 : 10 fig.
University of Colorado Boulder. Environmental Incentives, 2020. Defining collective action approaches in WASH. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research brief). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 4 p. : 1 tab.
Harper, D., 2020. Using social network analysis in WASH programs. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Learning brief). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 5 p. : 2 tab.
Pugel, K., Javernick-Will, A., Koschmann, M., Peabody, S. & Linden, K., 2020. Adapting collaborative approaches for service provision to low-income countries : expert panel results. Sustainability, 12(7), pp.1-26 : 6 fig., 2 tab.
Chintalapati, P., 2020. Maintenance approaches to improve the sustainability of rural water supplies. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research brief). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 7 p.
Valcourt, N., Javernick-Will, A., Walters, J. & Linden, K., 2020. System approaches to water, sanitation, and hygiene : a systematic literature review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(3), pp.1-18 : 4 fig., 3 tab.
Ajroud, B., Hollander, D. & Peabody, S., 2020. Measuring systems change in WASH programming : a practical application of two tools. (Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. Research report). Washington, DC, USA: USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership. 31 p. : 6 boxes, 3 fig.
Sustainable Development Goal 6 for water and sanitation calls for the realization of safely managed services (SMSS) for everyone by 2030. While there has been significant research and implementation to improve the sanitation service chain in urban settings, little guidance is available on how to achieve and sustain SMSS in rural contexts.
In 2019, WSSCC commissioned this study conducted by Andy Robinson and Andy Peal to examine to what extent Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programmes enabled SMSS in rural areas with collective behaviour change approaches like CLTS.
This study includes: – A summary of SMSS concepts and issues in rural areas – SMSS findings from GSF-supported programmes in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia – Good practices for monitoring SMSS in rural areas – Recommendations for rural programming
Authors: WSSCC; Publication date: October 2020; Publisher: WSSCC; No. of pages: 155
Live & Learn Environmental Education’s training manual for toilet location and design is now available in English and Bislama! This practical manual contains a training schedule, and step-by-step instructions for the range of issues that need to be considered when a person or family decides to improve their household toilet – including cost, management of solid waste, and potential natural and environmental hazards.
This publication was supported by the Australian government, through the Civil Society WASH Program.
You can read or download Hazard and Environmental Considerations in Toilet Design resource here.
A new index for on-site sanitation systems is proposed and tested in the context of South Korea. It incorporates the technical, social, and economic aspects of sanitation systems, including onsite waste recycling.
Hashemi, S. Sanitation Sustainability Index: A Pilot Approach to Develop a Community-Based Indicator for Evaluating Sustainability of Sanitation Systems. Sustainability2020, 12, 6937. DOI:10.3390/su12176937
Abstract: Evaluating the sustainability of sanitation systems is essential in achieving the sixth sustainable development goal. However, there are only limited number of available evaluation indexes, which are utilized to macroscopically determine a community’s sanitation coverage. Consequently, an index is required, which can evaluate different sanitation options for a specific community. In this paper, the sanitation sustainability index (SSI) is suggested as an indicator for evaluating the sustainability of sanitation systems. The SSI has sub-indexes that consider the technical, social, and economic aspects of the sanitation system, and all the variables are dimensionless and heavily dependent on the current state of the community where the sanitation system is going to be implemented. The applicability of the SSI was demonstrated by evaluating the implementation of two onsite sanitation systems, including one septic tank system and one resource-oriented sanitation (ROS) system in South Korea. A sensitivity analysis defined the variables that have significant impact, and the statistical distribution of the SSI for both systems was forecasted. The results showed that for South Korea, which has a profound history of utilizing human waste as fertilizer, utilizing the resource-oriented sanitation system is more sustainable, although it has a lower social sub-index score compared to the septic tank system.
As of today, the #MakeRightsReal campaign is ready to be shared!
Before the campaign starts this 30 September, we are sharing information about the campaign with you – and hope you will be excited and take part!
What is the campaign about?
10 years after the human rights to water and sanitation were first recognised, the #MakeRightsReal campaign has three aims:
Enable you to share your experiences of working with the human rights to water and sanitation in practice.
Provide a platform for you to demand more action to #MakeRightsReal
Bring much needed attention and ultimately more support to this work, so that we can all #MakeRightsReal
Speaking together, we can show the potential of human rights – and demand more recognition and support for this vital work!
And here is how you come in!
You are already using human rights in your work? You think more should be done? Here is what you can do leading up to the campaign start on 30 September:
Learn everything you need to know to take part in the campaign here.
Prepare a story to share on social media. You will find inspiration in the Campaign Guide and materials.
You know someone who you think should share their experience? Tell them about the campaign!
Follow @RealiseHRWS on Twitter and @RealiseHRWS on Facebook and share information through your own channels.
And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Why a campaign?
Many WASH sector practitioners already use human rights in their work: Understanding inequalities in the enjoyment of services enables targeted planning to reach equality. With access to information for and participation by service users, their needs can be understood and met. If accountability is part of the service system, it will become more sustainable. All these are human rights principles and integrating them into practice yields results – and makes rights real!
10 years after the human rights to water and sanitation were first recognised, it is high time to focus on this practical value of human rights – and to demand that more attention, recognition and more support is given to this vital work! The #MakeRightsReal campaign aims to achieve this by showcasing experiences and demanding more action. Because it’s time to #MakeRightsReal!
We are looking forward to a great campaign start this 30 September!
Who is behind the campaign?
The campaign is intended as a neutral platform for all. It was developed by a group of WASH sector organisations: WASH United, WaterAid, Simavi, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, Unicef, Rural Water Supply Network, End Water Poverty. We share the interest of using the human rights to water and sanitation in practice to catalyse progress towards the realisation of services for all.
Tuesday, 28 July, marks the 10th anniversary of the recognition of the human rights to water and sanitation!
@WASHStrong takeover: How do human rights strengthen systems?
On this day, @RealiseHRWS and @sanwatforall will take over the @WASHStrong twitter account to discuss how human rights contribute to strengthening WASH systems. We will share local and global approaches from Making Rights Real and Sanitation and Water for All.
The takeover will take place from 8am to 8pm Central European Time / 11.30am to 11.30pm India Standard Time / 2am to 2pm US Eastern Time.
10 years after the human rights to water and sanitation were first recognised and with 10 years to go until the promise of SDG 6 should be fulfilled, we want to use this day as an opportunity for everyone to share their experiences of applying human rights to their own work.
Joins us if you…
– Have used human rights and it has helped to improve WASH systems
– Have questions on how human rights are relevant to WASH systems change
– Want to see what experiences other have made
We hope for a lively exchange among practitioners in this space!
See you there
Hannah (WASH United/Making Rights Real), Manishka (SWA), Alec (Agenda for Change)
Being true to #BlackLivesMatter. Report of an IRC Global Talk
Gay Village, Montreal. Credit: Martin Reisch/Unsplash
“The problem isn’t men, it’s patriarchy.
The problem isn’t white people, it’s white supremacy.
The problem isn’t straight people, it’s homophobia.
Recognize systems of oppression before letting individual defensiveness paralyze you from dismantling them”. (Ruchika Tulshyan, founder of inclusion strategy firm Candour)
This is not a quote you would expect to hear from an opening speaker in your usual WASH sector webinar, but the title of the IRC Global Talk on 16 July was anything but usual: “Decolonising WASH sector knowledge and decolonising systems thinking”.
On 18 June 2020, IRC posted a message from our CEO on Black Lives Matter with a commitment to the global struggle against racism. For this Global Talk, we found two, young undaunted voices to help IRC kickstart discussions on our commitments to #BlackLivesMatter. We asked them to elaborate on their recent provocative think pieces on decolonisation. First up was Euphresia Luseka, a WASH Governance Consultant from Kenya who wrote “Initiating De-colonization of WASH Sector Knowledge”, followed by the UK-based writer/facilitator and historian, Alara Adali who believes in “Decolonising systems thinking” for social change.
Euphresia Luseka confronted us with a practical example of WASH sector colonisation in Kenya, related to non-revenue water management. Despite years of increasing donor funding, non-revenue water losses are not declining and amounted to 43% for 2018/2019 according to WASREB, the Water Services Regulatory Board. Project design is conceptualised in the North and implemented by expensive Northern experts using expensive imported technologies. There is neither a deliberate focus on the unserved, nor on accountability that would support the scaling-up of sustainable services after the donor leaves the scene. There is no value for money.
Global Talk participant, Martin Watsisi from IRC Uganda gave the example of a Northern NGO that had installed an imported prepaid solar water meter and monitoring dashboard in Kabarole district. Both became dysfunctional and were never repaired.
Interactions between donors and Southern partners are always political, Euphresia remarked in response to a question from IRC Uganda’s Florence Anobe Komakech. Most donors want to hurry the process so consultation only takes place at the kickoff of the project. Southern partners are reluctant to voice their opinions, afraid to appear to be ungrateful and hope they can influence the process later in project monitoring meetings, which often never materialise. Euphresia stressed that consultation should be a continuous process starting at the project conception, supported by open communication channels amongst other social accountability tenets.
IRC CEO Patrick Moriarty reminded us that 10 years ago, country leadership was at the heart of the Dutch development aid effectiveness policy, supporting direct budget support, pooled funds and sector-wide approaches (SWAPs). Now the Dutch have largely rowed back from this.
Euphresia’s blog in Medium sparked a lively discussion with over 30 contributions so far, when she reposted it on the RWSN Leave No-one Behind Dgroup discussion forum [login required]. In the Global Talk she told us that before we can decolonise WASH sector knowledge, we first need to decolonise our minds. The next step is then to define what we consider to be a good knowledge product and a good knowledge producer, taking multilingualism and copyright into consideration.
Euphresia would like to see knowledge collections showcasing Black perspectives and knowledge products based on collaborative research and peer review. Ironically, COVID-19 may help speed up this process, as the “days of parachute research teams from [the] global North [are] winding up”. The “pause offers opportunities to develop greater, more equitable collaboration between researchers in the global North and South”.
Our second speaker Alara Adali wrote an opinion piece with the intriguing title “Decolonising systems thinking”. It was full of words and concepts that I never came across in IRC publications about systems thinking: empathy, support and care, creative acts of resistance, toxic positions of power, feminist, solidarity. Alara explained that she is using the term systems thinking not only within an international development and social change context, but also within a personal and political context. For her, indigenous knowledge, feminist theory and human rights are integral parts of systems thinking.
Within this integral context, Alara believes that decolonising systems thinking compels us first of all to come to terms with the legacy of colonialism and social injustice, which is now being amplified by COVID-19 and #BlackLivesMatter. We are not only responsible for existing systems but also those created by our ancestors. Secondly, Alara believes we must create safety and support networks for disadvantaged groups so that they can be honest when sharing their experiences for instance with development organisations. In this way communities can become active members within the system.
As a facilitator of workshops on migration and the climate emergency, and networking events, Alara says decolonisation requires communication and power sharing so that everyone can become agents of change. Within the London International Development Network, she is part of a group of young professionals involved in organisational change and systems thinking. At their events and team gatherings, group members promote horizontal leadership, switching between their roles of facilitator and participant. A safe space is created for all participants to share their experiences and ideas on decolonisation in an authentic way.
So what can IRC do?
Euphresia believes IRC is already on track to address decolonisation issues by opening platforms such as this Global Talk and should continue communication about these issues. She urges IRC to look beyond WASH SDG 6 to SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries) and SDG 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development). Together with promoting mutual accountability and, as mentioned, earlier, build knowledge collections showcasing Black perspectives.
Alara asks IRC to take decolonisation to a next level by incorporating indigenous knowledge or knowledge from activist communities, which can be practically applied in WASH systems. Secondly, learn to ask uncomfortable questions during IRC’s planned internal review on diversity performance in support of the commitment to the global struggle against racism.