WASHplus Year Five Annual Report, October 2015

WASHplus Year 5 Annual Report.png

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.

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Nepal: Clean Cookstove Demo

Nepal ICS demo

People view improved cookstoves at an outdoor marketplace. 

As part of its cookstove study in Nepal, WASHplus is conducting clean cookstove demonstrations in Tanahu and Kavre districts. The demonstrations include food preparation of daal and rice, two local staples, and have attracted a lot of people eager to learn more. The in-home trials of five different types of improved stoves started in 140 homes in Nawalparasi and Dang districts in June, and will be completed this month. Families are trialing only one of the five stoves but will have the opportunity to purchase any of the five at the end of the trial: Prakti Double Burner Wood Stove with Chimney, Eco-Chula XXL, Alternative Energy Promotion Center-promoted local chimney stove, Xunda Field Dragon, and the Greenway Jumbo. The willingness to pay assessment includes a lump sum payment option, as well as an installment plan offered through a local microfinance institution.

WASHplus Launches Cookstove Testing in Nepal

WASHplus is undertaking a comprehensive assessment to better understand consumer needs and preferences as they relate to increasing the uptake of improved cookstoves (ICS) in Nepal, building on similar research conducted in Bangladesh. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, this study will draw from social marketing and social science to explore consumer perceptions of five promising ICS, potentially available for distribution in Nepal. The study incorporates two-month household trials of the improved stoves, semi-structured questionnaires, household stove and fuel usage monitoring (via iButton temperature sensing data loggers and kitchen performance tests), stove performance testing (via controlled cooking tests), and willingness to pay assessments. Study participants will participate in public demonstrations and discussions of all study stoves, and finally, stoves will be placed in a temporary “market stall” at an actual open marketplace, where reactions will be collected by interaction and discreet observation.

WASHplus, implemented by FHI 360, is conducting the assessment in partnership with Winrock International,  and the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) in Nepal, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Bureau for Global Health.