Posters illustrate latrine construction in Mali

The WASHplus Project in Mali developed four posters to illustrate the construction process for latrines it designed for difficult-to-build geographies, such as rocky, sandy, and flood-prone areas.

Mali latrine construction poster

WASHplus will continue its market-based sanitation activities in Mopti. Local builders are currently prototyping latrine models with characteristics identified as preferable during a marketing assessment. A communications firm is implementing a media campaign and marketing strategy for the improved latrine models.

In addition, WASHplus is also working with local implementing partners YAG-TU and Sahel Eco, on Open Defecation Free (ODF) certification of additional villages and implementation of post-certification activities aimed at improving sustainability and minimizing “slippage” after the intervention. WASHplus is also applying the Small Doable Action (SDA) approach to behavior change to improve the adoption of healthy nutrition and hygiene practices among mothers with children under two. The NGO facilitation teams and relais (community health workers) at community level will fine tune the use of WASH-nutrition job aids to negotiate SDA at the household level, the project’s primary mechanism to influence the adoption of healthy practices.

Nutrition and Handwashing

This post is a re-blog and first appeared on the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) website here.

March 22, 2015

By Layla McCay, Secretariat Director, the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)

Love is in the air – or rather, in the water. This World Water Day, nutrition and handwashing with soap may be the hottest ‘celebrity couple’. The two have been enjoying a close relationship for years, so what has propelled them into the public eye, as seen in recent developments such as the new policy in India mandating handwashing before the midday meal in schools? The answer is integration.

Integration means linking different sectors together to leverage synergies and achieve greater impact than could be achieved working alone. It is also the latest buzzword in international development. At first glance, nutrition and handwashing may not seem like obvious bedfellows. One is about ensuring affordable access to adequately nutritious food; the other is about soap, water and turning a behavior into a habit to prevent infections. But in fact, nutrition and handwashing are closely linked.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tells us that 50 percent of child undernutrition cases are due to repeated diarrhea and intestinal infections caused by poor sanitation and hygiene conditions or by a lack of safe water. This means that handwashing with soap is a critical determinant for achieving and maintaining good nutrition. It plays an important part in preventing micronutrient deficiencies, stunting, wasting and nutrition-related deaths. To properly address child undernutrition, we need to address hygiene.

We know that good nutrition is about more than consuming nutritious foods; it’s about the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If people don’t wash their hands before handling food, disease-carrying germs have a direct route into their mouth and down into their gut where they can inhibit the body’s ability to use the food’s nutrients. In fact, germs can directly consume nutrients before they even get into the body.[i] They can also directly damage the intestinal lining (a condition called environmental enteropathy), which contributes to nutrients being lost in feces instead of being absorbed.[ii] Germs can furthermore irritate the gut lining so that toxins can get inside and cause inflammation – using up nutrients in the process.[iii] Since children who are undernourished are more susceptible to developing diarrhea when they come into contact with disease-causing germs, lack of handwashing and undernutrition can become a vicious cycle.

Good handwashing with soap can prevent nearly half of all cases of childhood diarrhea. It is also estimated that drinking clean water and handwashing with soap can reduce the loss of nutrients through diarrhea, and reduce stunting in children under the age of five by up to 15 percent.[iv],[v] Handwashing with soap should be an integral part of nutrition programs, and this World Water Day, let’s think seriously about their integration. #Wateris fundamental to good nutrition through handwashing. It’s time for handwashing and nutrition to take their relationship to the next level.

This World Water Day share what water means to you by using #WaterIs on social media. 

[i] Solomons NW. Pathways to the impairment of human nutritional status by gastrointestinal pathogens. Parasitology 1993; 107:S19–35.

[ii] Solomons NW. Pathways to the impairment of human nutritional status by gastrointestinal pathogens. Parasitology 1993; 107:S19–35.

[iii] Sharp TM, Estes MK. An inside job: subversion of the host secretory pathway by intestinal pathogens. Curr Opin Infect Dis 2010; 23:464–9.

[iv] Fenn, B. et al. (2012). An evaluation of an operations research project to reduce childhood stunting in a food-insecure area in Ethiopia. Public Health Nutrition, 15(9), 1746-1754.

[v]  Dangour, A. D. et al. (2013). Interventions to improve water quality and supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, and their effects on the nutritional status of children. The Cochrane Library.

What Does Water Mean To You?

World Water Day is marked on March 22 every year. It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water-related issues. Celebrate World Water Day 2015 by sharing your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #WaterIs. Show the world what water means to you!

March 22 is World Water Day!

Photos from WASHplus project in Bangladesh where the provision of improved WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) services is making a difference in the lives of children and communities! Learn more about how WASHplus is Improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Southwest Bangladesh through a three-year program, funded by USAID and implemented through WaterAid and local NGO partners.

Making a SPLASH: Celebrating World Water Day

Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) lead to poor health. Poor health keeps kids out of school, and when kids miss class, they can’t learn. Through the Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) project, FHI 360 and CARE, in partnership with USAID and the Ministry of Education in Zambia, are bringing water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene (WASH) to classrooms, turning a cycle of poor health, interrupted learning and gender inequity into a cycle of opportunity. SPLASH is a five-year project started in 2011 funded by USAID Zambia to reach more than 240,300 primary school pupils in four districts of the Eastern Province (Chipata, Lundazi, Mambwe and Chadiza). SPLASH aims to improve pupils’ health, learning and performance by increasing their access to safe water and adequate sanitation and improving their hygiene and health practices at school and at home. Join SPLASH in celebrating World Water Day!

Small Doable Actions: Simple Steps That People Can Take to Improve WASH

Small doable actions are simple steps that people can take to improve WASH in their communities!

Benin: Disappearing Tippy Taps, WASH Partout

Benin tippy tap

WASHplus’s peri-urban hygiene improvement project in Benin, being implemented by partner ABMS/PSI, encourages households to build their own tippy taps to facilitate handwashing. Outreach workers noted that tippy taps were disappearing shortly after installation. An inquiry revealed that children were appropriating the tippy taps to use as toys, for lack of better options. In a recent quarterly progress review meeting in two target neighborhoods, outreach workers consulted community leaders and household representatives to come up with solutions. As a result, the group decided to adopt more permanent handwashing stations using 25-liter jerry cans, and install them in the public toilets open to everyone, but which had lacked handwashing facilities.

In another development, in the spirit of “WASH Partout” (WASH Everywhere), the Benin program has branched out from promoting handwashing and water treatment at household level to promotion at the local schools. During a hands-on training, teachers learned how to make different models of tippy taps and incorporate handwashing into their hygiene lessons at school. The schools and staff from implementing partner ABMS/PSI seized the opportunity to formulate criteria and a point system to certify schools as WASH-Friendly.