In its Year Five Annual Report, WASHplus has stories to tell, results to share, events to celebrate, and studies that add to the evidence base. WASHplus activities serve as the backdrop for many stories: the Zambian school girl who has access to privacy and menstrual supplies when she needs them, the Malian household that can now build an improved latrine on their rocky soil, the mother in Bangladesh who understands the importance of a feces-free environment, the Nepali home breathing cleaner air as it trials an improved cookstove. And perhaps more compelling than the individual stories are the results the project is beginning to record through endline data collection in Kenya and formative research on school enrollment and in Zambia. Providing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure to schools is having a notable impact on enrollment. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) may be inoculating communities exposed to cholera. Numbers also tell the story of the project’s impact. Look for a snapshot of those figures throughout the report.
The conclusion of field activities in Uganda and Zambia this year provided opportunities to reflect, celebrate accomplishments through end-of-project (EOP) events, and share lessons learned. Several articles were published this year in peer-reviewed journals and others submitted on topics ranging from consumer preferences and willingness to pay for improved cookstoves to habit formation and costing of handwashing. WASHplus also played a key role in preparing the joint document on WASH and nutrition for publication and distribution.
WASHplus’s focus on integrating WASH into other development initiatives enabled the project to get in on the ground floor on subjects that are gaining traction at USAID and globally, such as WASH and nutrition, neglected tropical diseases, and MHM. This integration focus dovetailed nicely with the project’s mandate to serve a technical leadership role, and project staff had many opportunities this year to share its work and lessons from the field on a global stage, strategize with partners on important advocacy issues, inform policy, and develop guidance in multiple countries. Also toward that end, WASHplus launched its first two learning briefs on small doable actions and WASH and nutrition. This series details the variety of approaches WASHplus uses to improve WASH and household air pollution (HAP) across its portfolio of countries.
And finally, it’s been an exciting year for innovation with pilot projects underway in Ethiopia and Bangladesh focusing on sanitation marketing and sand envelopment. These two efforts will add to WASHplus’s body of knowledge on sanitation innovation and aligns closely with USAID’s global interest on the topic. WASHplus is also documenting its fecal sludge management work in Madagascar to tell the next chapter in that story.
WASHplus’s Julia Rosenbaum co-presented a paper on “Changing WASH Practices in Southwest Bangladesh– One Small Doable Action at a Time” at SACOSAN 6 in Dhaka in January 2016. An abstract for the paper is provide below. Read the paper here.
Abstract: The global USAID WASHplus Project successfully increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene by applying a comprehensive and innovative approach in hard-to-reach areas of southwest Bangladesh. Rather than promoting ideal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and behavioral improvements, households were encouraged to take ‘small doable actions’ – feasible yet effective improvements – that moved toward the ideal practice. Through taking this approach, the project met and surpassed all project targets before the end of the project period. Project implementers worked with community members to develop age-specific behaviors for safely disposing infant and child feces and also for patching leaky latrines that dump feces back into the environment.
Citation: Rosenbaum, Hussain, Ferdous, and Islam, January 2016, Changing WASH Practices in Southwest Bangladesh– One Small Doable Action at a Time, FHI 360/Bangladesh, WASHplus Project, WaterAid/Bangladesh, SACOSAN 6, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“When ODF is Not Enough: Using a Small Doable Actions Approach to Complement CLTS
and Get Faeces out of the Environment in Southwest Bangladesh,” Presentation by Julia Rosenbaum, Khairul Islam, Muhammad Faruqe Hussain, and Selina Ferdous, SACOSAN 6, January 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh. See the presentation slides here.
See the presentation slides here.
In August 2015, months of collaborative planning bore fruit as WASHplus carried out a training of master trainers with WASH and nutrition partner SHIKHA. The training for project managers responsible for community and household level outreach focused on Why WASH Matters for Child Growth, and provided new information and skills for safe feces management in USAID Feed the Future areas. Workshop sessions focused on breaking the fecal-oral cycle through latrine improvements and introduced WASHplus’s small doable action (SDA) approach to safe disposal of infant feces. Through this training and subsequent field visits, WASHplus was able to finalize a menu of SDAs for various infant and young child age cohorts. Workshop participants also provided input into job aids to help implement the SDA approach in the field. A second training was held in October. A poster on the subject of infant feces disposal was presented at the Integrated Nutrition Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, in September. In addition, WASHplus has published flipcharts, flashcards, and other materials in Bangladeshi on topics ranging from latrine improvement to tube well construction to menstrual hygiene management. Access the tools here.
To see improvements in health, social, and economic well‐being of families in the project districts in Southwest Bangladesh, the WASHplus activity works towards three objectives:
Objective 1: Improved access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation, and hygiene practices of poor and marginalized people in the targeted upazilas (subdistricts)
Objective 2: Build community and local government capacity to operate and
maintain facilities, and demand increased allocation of funds to ensure sustainability and impact
Objective 3: Strengthen the evidence base and programming guidance for
coordinated WASH‐nutrition programming in Bangladesh
While the need for improved water and sanitation access is clear, there is consensus that no
health or other development objectives can be achieved without the consistent and correct
practice of a suite of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) behaviors including:
- Safe and hygienic disposal of feces, including infant feces
- Consistent and correct handwashing at critical junctures, particularly after
defecation and before food preparation and feeding/eating
- Safe handling and storage of household water
- Menstrual hygiene management (MHM)
WASHplus is managed by FHI 360 and implemented in southwest Bangladesh through an agreement with WaterAid, who in turn have engaged local partner organizations (PNGOs) to implement in their respective upazilas or subdistricts. To guide the systematic and theory‐based activities of the PGNOs, WASHplus has developed these hygiene promotion guidelines for its partner NGOs to coordinate its approach in the field. In addition, capacity‐building and on‐going support to NGOs is offered to support improved WASH practice and ultimate achievement of target goals
WASHplus mounted intensive, accelerated efforts in a new expansion subdistrict in the Khulna District in response to USAID interests in water technology innovations. It has also been working with a new local NGO partner, Shushilan, to begin installation of rainwater catchment and pond sand filtration systems. In the original four subdistricts, WASHplus continues to construct water points and latrines as well as train community members on operations and maintenance for the new WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) facilities.
The numbers tell the story: WASHplus is well placed to reach, and even surpass, its proposed targets for open defecation free (ODF) communities, number of new water points and latrines, and water and sanitation beneficiaries. This is happening despite the fact that flooding delayed the documentation of ODF communities, and storms damaged a number of new latrines. Fortunately, new construction standards meant that the latrines sustained primarily superficial damage, and households were resilient enough to make repairs. Also, WASHplus has surpassed the target for number of people gaining access to sanitation facilities by 691 (100.78 percent), and is 88 percent of the way toward the three-year beneficiary target for water access.