WASHplus Year Five Annual Report, October 2015

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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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New Learning Briefs from WASHplus

thumb_WASH+Nutrition_IconThis first in the series of learning briefs, “WASH and Nutrition,” documents the project’s WASH and nutrition integration programming efforts to stimulate the discussion and improve the evidence base as well as share experiences and approaches to integrating the two sectors at the global and country level. Read the brief here.

SDA (1)The second in the WASHplus series of learning briefs, “Small Doable Actions: A Feasible Approach to Behavior Change,” takes a look at how WASHplus has applied the Small Doable Action approach to handwashing, water treatment, improved sanitation, menstrual hygiene management, and food hygiene. Read the brief here.

cltsIn its newest learning brief, “CLTS-Plus: Value-Added Sanitation Programming,” WASHplus describes how it incorporated additional elements into the innovative community-led total sanitation approach and customized its application to different countries and circumstances. Read the brief here.

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.

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!