World Water Day: Providing Jobs, Empowering Lives

In 2011, USAID/Zambia invested $18 million in a four-year WASH in Schools program that covered half the districts of Eastern Province and provided enough resources to meet the sanitation facility, water points, and hygiene education needs of the school population of those districts. These numbered 200,000 students attending more than 400 primary schools. SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) was implemented from 2012-2015. The USAID funded WASHplus project, managed by FHI 360, implemented SPLASH in partnership with CARE.

When 21-year-old Masauso Zimba of Fyofyo village in Lundazi District had to drop out of school for lack of school fees, he was confronted with a grim job outlook. When the SPLASH project began building school latrines nearby, Masauso went to see what was going on, “I kept observing the construction, offered my services, and helped out here and there.”

After two weeks, he was hired to carry materials for the artisans constructing the latrines; all the while he continued to observe what the workers were doing during the construction. Not long after, the project sent out engineers to teach skills in basic construction.


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On-the-job training with SPLASH inspired Masauso to pursue an engineering degree

“I signed up and was trained. Now, I have building skills. And I have made enough money to go back to school where I want to study engineering and supervise artisans. I am so grateful to SPLASH and USAID for bringing a flicker of light in my dark tunnel.”


Changing WASH Practices in Southwest Bangladesh– One Small Doable Action at a Time

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: Presentatgion on at SACOSAN 6

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.

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See the presentation slides here.

Galvanizing Schools to Take Action in Benin

benin school kids

Over the past few months, WASHplus through implementing partner ABMS/PSI has stepped up advocacy for latrine improvement in several public schools in Benin.  One school, with a student population of 1,500, has four latrine blocks that are unusable because they are full.  Even though WASHplus/ABMS and school officials successfully lobbied the Ministry of Education for a USD $200 line item for pit emptying, the urgency of the situation prompted the PTA to front the money and hire a pit empying service soon thereafter. The head of the PTA explained that joint meetings called by WASHplus/ABMS field staff to bring the group of teachers, the school director, and PTA members to the actual site of the latrine blocks and expose them to the extreme contamination “Woke us up.” WASHplus is supporting development of a sustainable usage and maintenance plan along with installation of handwashing facilities and possible additional latrine construction. Read the full story here.




Celebration Marks End of Open Defecation in Three Villages in Mopti Region, Mali

The WASHplus Project, funded by the United States Government via USAID, triggers change in sanitation practices through the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach with a “plus” component that includes an emphasis on hand washing with soap after using the toilet. In Mali the plus component also signifies supply-side interventions to develop and promote low-cost latrine models appropriate to the unique environmental conditions in each district coupled with training community-based masons to build robust latrines using local materials. To complement the CLTS-driven approach in rural areas, WASHplus is beginning a sanitation marketing activity to engage materials suppliers and local entrepreneurs to market a line of aspirational sanitation products in Mopti’s urban areas. The WASHplus project is led by FHI 360 globally. In Mali, WASHplus activities are implemented through CARE International and two Malian NGOs, YAG-TU and Sahel Eco.

Recently the WASHplus Project in Mali organized public ceremonies to certify Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of three villages in the Mopti Region. These villages, each of which are located in priority areas for USAID’s Feed the Future and Global Health initiatives, were recognized as being the first in their municipality to reach ODF status.

From September 25th to 27th 2014, the USAID/Mali Director Gary Juste, accompanied by the Governor of Mopti Region, and the National Director of Sanitation led certification ceremonies in three villages in the presence of national and regional authorities, the CARE Mali Country Director, as well as local officials and residents from the villages. All three villages reached or exceeded the targeted criteria for certifications. The village of Allaye-Daga built 31 latrines against a target of 28. Wendeguele achieved 150% of their latrine target, and Kanikombole built 28 latrines against a target of 10. Local community leaders, women and youth all recognized the importance of the project and the impact safe disposal of human feces with have on the health and nutritional status of the populations, especially children under five. In the village of Allaye Daga, there was not a single latrine before the project, but now everybody uses latrines and the community has adopted social conventions to deal with noncompliance with ODF standards.

Photos from the certification ceremonies are posted below. These photos and description of the certification ceremonies were originally published on the USAID website here: and here:

The Mayor of Sio hands out certificate to the village chief
The Mayor of Sio handing certificate over to the chief of the village of Wendeguele. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Youth in Kanikombole vow to abide by hygiene and sanitation standards
Youth in Kanikombole vow to abide by hygiene and sanitation standards. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID WASH Adviser engages communities on WASH
USAID WASH Adviser engages communities on WASH. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Girls stood up against open-air defecation
Community-Led Total Sanitation benefits girls in Kanikombole. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Communities in KaniKombole recognize USAID through a special award handed out to USAID WASH Advisor (Right)
Communities in KaniKombole recognize USAID through a special award handed out to USAID/Mali WASH Advisor (Right). Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID/Mali Director and Mopti Governor pose after unveiling the certification plaque. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID Director (right), WASH Adviser (midlle), and Health Office Director
USAID/Mali Director (right), WASH Adviser (middle), and Health Office Director. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
There is the toilet!! Mopti Governor and USAID Director pointing to it
There is the toilet!! Mopti Governor and USAID/Mali Director pointing to it. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID Director and Mopti Governor unveil certification sign board in Wendeguele
USAID/Mali Director and the Governor of Mopti unveil the certification sign board in Wendeguele. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
Mopti Governor and USAID Director visit a latrin under construction
Certification of End-of-open air defecation ceremony: Mopti Governor and USAID/Mali Director visit a latrine under construction. Photo Cresit: USAID Mali
USAID Director hand out certification for Allaye-Daga to Mopti Governor
USAID/Mali Director hand out certification for Allaye-Daga to Mopti Governor. Photo credit: USAID Mali.
USAID Director admires certification plaque for Allaye-Daga
USAID/Mali Director admires certification plaque for Allaye-Daga. Photo credit: USAID Mali.

Mali—CLTS in Tough Conditions

 Men building a latrine.

Before WASHplus, the national community-led total sanitation (CLTS) strategy in Mali suggested that implementers avoid areas with difficult soil conditions when applying the subsidy-free approach. Many of the WASHplus target communities, selected because of their high rates of undernutrition (primarily stunting) in children under 5, are located in areas where construction of traditional pit latrines is difficult—rocky, sandy, and flooded areas. To address this constraint, the WASHplus project team, in partnership with other local stakeholders (district technical staff working for the Ministry of Health and local masons), developed innovations for the building of improved latrines in each of these challenging environments. Working through local masons to propagate the innovative construction techniques among communities, this initiative resulted in thousands of latrines being built in areas long seen as off limits for a subsidy-free approach.

UNICEF invited WASHplus to share these experiences with stakeholders during a national workshop on CLTS in September 2014. As a result of the workshop, the national guidelines for CLTS in Mali were revised to include WASHplus’s solutions for building latrines on difficult soils.

CLTS Triggering and Local Adaptations in Mali


In Mali WASHplus uses community-led total sanitation (CLTS) “plus” to spur construction of improved latrines with hand washing stations in 18 communes within three health districts in the Mopti Region. The plus component includes training local masons in advance of triggering to assist households to construct latrines through the promotion of low-cost yet robust latrine models that can withstand the rocky, high water table, or sandy conditions found in participating communities. CLTS triggering is now complete in all 180 communities in the region, resulting in 4,930 public commitments to build latrines. By late March, monitoring visits in 30 of these villages recorded 945 new latrines constructed and 557 rehabilitated, more than 95 percent of which now include hand washing stations. Local masons have begun to cut large sheets of rock into latrine slabs, which fit the Joint Monitoring Programme definition of a hygienic sanitation platform. Latrines are being constructed without the use of cement or any other nonlocal building material. Other local adaptations observed include a machinist’s design of a clever hand washing station made of iron rebar that has separate pedestals for a water dispenser and a washbowl to catch the rinse water.