WASHplus Weeklies

WASHplus Weekly: The WASHplus Weekly highlights latest research and resources on topics such as Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Household Air Pollution, Clean Cooking, Innovation, Nutrition, Food Safety, WASH in Schools, WASH Integration, and more.


Issue 224 July 8, 2016 Focus on WASHplus Project Publications
Issue 223 May 25, 2016 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene

Issue 222 April 5 2016 Focus on the State of Handwashing
Issue 221 March 21 2016 Focus on Water Quality, Supply, and Livelihoods

Issue 220 March 4 2016 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 219 Feb. 19 2016 Focus on Sustainability, Accountability, and Governance
Issue 218 Feb. 5 2016 Focus on Behavior Change and WASH
Issue 217 Jan. 22 2016 Q&A on Investments in Cookstoves with Jörg Peters, RWI
Issue 216 Jan. 8 2016 Q&A with Adam Creighton


Issue 215 Dec. 18 2015 Focus on Water Quality
Issue 215 Dec. 7 2015 Focus on WASH in Schools
Issue 213 Nov. 6 2015 World Pneumonia Day 2015
Issue 212 Oct. 30 2015 Focus on Enabling Environments
Issue 211 Oct. 23 2015 Lessons Learned in Sanitation
Issue 209 Oct. 9 2015 Focus on Global Handwashing Day 2015
Issue 208 Sept. 25 2015 Focus on Water & Agriculture
Issue 207 Sept. 18 2015 Focus on Handwashing Research
Issue 206 Sept. 11 2015 Focus on Cookstoves for Displaced Populations
Issue 205 Sept. 4 2015 Focus on Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue 204 August 28 2015 Focus on WASH & Innovation
Issue 203 August 21 2015 Focus on World Water Week 2015
Issue 202 August 14 2015 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Issue 201 August 7 2015 Focus on Animal Waste Management
Issue 200 July 31 2015 Focus on Wearables for WASH & Health
Issue 199 July 17 2015 Focus on WASH & Financing
Issue 198 July 10 2015 Focus on Waste Pickers
Issue 197 July 2 2015 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 196 June 26 2015 Management of Infant and Child Feces
Issue 195 June 19 2015 Role of Women in Clean Cooking
Issue 194 June 5 2015 WASH & HAP & Child Health
Issue 193 May 28 2015 Menstrual Hygiene Management
Issue 191 May 15 2015 Focus on WASH & Pastoralism
Issue 190 May 8 2015 Focus on Hygiene
Issue 189 May 1 2015 Focus on Desalination
Issue 188 April 24 2015 Behavior Change in the Clean Cooking Sector
Issue 187 April 17 2015 WASH and Enabling Environments
Issue 186 April 10 2015 WASH in Non-Household Settings, including Schools
Issue 185 April 3 2015 Focus on World Health Day 2015 – Food Safety
Issue 184 March 27 2015 Focus on Water Safety Plans (WSP)
Issue 183 March 20 2015 Focus on Microfinance
Issue 182 March 13 2015 Focus on Urban Wastewater
Issue 181 March 6 2015 Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 180 Feb 27 2015 Water Quality
Issue 179 Feb 20 2015 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 178 Feb 13 2015 Focus on Barriers to Improved Cookstove Adoption
Issue 177 Feb 6 2015 Focus on Rainwater Harvesting (RWH)
Issue 176 Jan 30 2015 Focus on Fecal Sludge Management (FSM)
Issue 175 Jan 23 2015 Focus on WASH & Zoonotic Diseases
Issue 174 Jan 16 2015 Focus on Handwashing Research
Issue 173 Jan 9 2015 Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services


Issue 172 Dec 19 2014 Focus on Clean Cookstoves
Issue 171 Dec 12 2014 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 170 Dec 5 2014 Focus on WASH & Climate Change
Issue 169 Nov 26 2014 Focus on Monitoring, Evaluation, Resolution, and Learning (MERL)
Issue 169 Nov 14 2014 Focus on World Toilet Day 2014
Issue 168 Nov 7 2014 Focus on WASH in Public Facilities
Issue 167 Oct 31 2014 Focus on WASH and Ebola
Issue 166 Oct 24 2014 Focus on Clean Cookstoves
Issue 165 Oct 10 2014 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Issue 164 Oct 3 2014 World Habitat Day – Focus on Slums
Issue 163 Sept 26 2014 Focus on Sanitation as a Business
Issue 162 Sept 19 2014 Focus on WASH & Human Rights
Issue 161 Sept 12 2014 Focus on Rural Water Supply
Issue 160 Sept 5 2014 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 159 August 29 2014 Focus on Cookstoves Monitoring & Testing
Issue 158 August 22 2014 Focus on WASH and Monitoring
Issue 157 August 8 2014 Focus on Disease Outbreaks
Issue 156 August 1 2014 Focus on Hand Washing
Issue 155 July 25 2014 Focus on Clean Cooking in Nepal
Issue 154 July 18 2014 Focus on Gaming Applications for WASH
Issue 153 July 11 2014 Focus on Fecal Sludge Management
Issue 152 July 3 2014 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 151 June 27 2014 Focus on Violence and Gender in the WASH and
Issue 150 June 20 2014 Focus on Gender Mainstreaming and Clean Cookstoves
Issue 149 June 6 2014 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Issue 148 May 30 2014 Focus on the Future of Water
Issue 147 May 23 2014 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Day
Issue 146 May 16 2014 Focus on Clean Cookstoves and Behavior Change
Issue 145 May 9 2014 Focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Issue 144 May 2 2014 Focus on Sanitation
Issue 143 April 25 2014 Focus on WASH and Nutrition=
Issue 142 April 18 2014 Focus on Sanitation and Water for All
Issue 141 April 11 2014 Focus on WASH and Maternal Health
Issue 140 April 4 2014 Focus on Child Feces Disposal
Issue 139 March 28 2014 Global Burden of Disease from Household Air Pollution
Issue 138 March 21 2014 Focus on World Water Day 2014
Issue 137 March 7 2014 Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services
Issue 136 February 28 2014 Focus on Learning from Failure
Issue 135 February 21 2014 Focus on WASH-Related Diseases
Issue 134 February 14 2014 Focus on WASH and Small Towns
Issue 133 February 7 2014 Focus on WASH and Design Thinking
Issue 132 January 31 2014 Focus on Handwashing
Issue 131 January 24 2014 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 130 January 17 2014 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 129 January 10 2014 Focus on Carbon Finance for Cookstoves
Issue 128 January 3 2014 Focus on Microfinance


Issue 127 December 20 2013 Focus on Inclusive WASH
Issue 126 December 13 2013 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 125 December 6 2013 Focus on ICS Adoption in Bangladesh
Issue 124 November 22 2013 Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
Issue 123 November 15 2013 Focus on World Toilet Day 2013
Issue 122 November 8 2013 Focus on Self Supply
Issue 121 November 1 2013 Focus on the Health Impacts of WASH Interventions
Issue 120 October 11 2013 Focus on Hand Washing
Issue 119 October 4 2013 Focus on Cookstoves and Consumers
Issue 118 September 27 2013 Focus on Management of Health Care Waste
Issue 117 September 20 2013 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 116 September 13 2013 Focus on Rural Water Supply
Issue 115 September 6 2013 Focus on Monitoring & Evaluation of Cookstoves
Issue 114 August 30 2013 Focus on Water Cooperation
Issue 113 August 23 2013 Focus on WASH and Emergencies
Issue 112 August 16 2013 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 111 August 9 2013 Cholera Prevention and Control
Issue 110 August 2 2013 Household Energy and Climate Change
Issue 109 July 26 2013 Focus on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation
Issue 108 July 19 2013 Focus on Food Hygiene

Issue 107 July 12 2013 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management, 2nd Edition
Issue 106 July 3 2013 Focus on Behavior Change

Issue 105 June 28 2013 Focus on Sanitation for Preschool-Age Children
Issue 104 June 7 2013 Focus on Microfinance for Sanitation
Issue 103 May 31 2013 Focus on Cookstove Fuels
Issue 102 May 24 2013 Focus on WASH-Related Diseases
Issue 101 May 17 2013 Focus on Rainwater Harvesting
Issue 100 May 10 2013 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 99 May 3 2013 Focus on Water and Food Security
Issue 98 April 26 2013 Cookstoves and the Environment
Issue 97 April 19 2013 A Hand Washing Update
Issue 96 April 12 2013 Focus on Financing WASH Services
Issue 95 April 5 2013 Focus on Urban Sanitation
Issue 94 March 29 2013 Focus on Health Impacts of Household Air Pollution
Issue 93 March 21 2013 Focus on World Water Day 2013
Issue 92 March 15 2013 Focus on WASH Sustainability
Issue 91 March 8 2013 Focus on Gender Issues
Issue 90 February 22 2013 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 89 February 15 2013 Focus on Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage (HWTS)

Issue 88 February 8 2013 Focus on Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue 87 February 1 2013 Focus on Cookstove Stacking
Issue 86 January 25 2013 Focus on WASH and Maternal Health
Issue 85 January 18 2013 Focus on Post-2015 MDG Goals, Targets and Indicators
Issue 84 January 11 2013 Focus on WASH and Environmental Conservation


Issue 83 December 21 2012 Focus on HAP and the Global Burden of Disease
Issue 82 December 14 2012 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 81 December 7 2012 Focus on Water Kiosks
Issue 80 November 30 2012 Focus on Fecal Sludge Management
Issue 79 November 16 2012 Focus on World Toilet Day 2012
Issue 78 November 9 2012 Focus on World Pneumonia Day 2012
Issue 77 November 2 2012 Focus on Water Conflicts
Issue 76 October 26 2012 Focus on Climate Change
Issue 75 October 19 2012 Focus on Waste Pickers
Issue 74 October 12 2012 Global Handwashing Day
Issue 73 October 5 2012 Focus on Water Technologies
Issue 72 September 28 2012 Focus on Entrepreneurship in WASH and Household Energy
Issue 71 September 14 2012 Focus on Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
Issue 70 September 7 2012 Focus on WASH and Child Survival
Issue 69 August 31 2012 Focus on Biogas for Cookstoves
Issue 68 August 24 2012 Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services
Issue 67 August 17 2012 Focus on Water and Food Security
Issue 66 August 10 2012 Focus on Cholera Prevention and Control
Issue 65 August 3 2012 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management
Issue 64 July 27 2012 Focus on Marketing Cookstoves
Issue 63 July 20 2012 Focus on HIV AIDS and WASH
Issue 62 July 13 2012 Focus on Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections
Issue 61 July 6 2012 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 60 June 29 2012 Focus on WASH in Emergencies
Issue 59 June 8 2012 Focus on Public-Private Partnerships
Issue 58 June 1 2012 Focus on WASH-Related Diseases
Issue 57 May 25 2012 Focus on the Integration of WASH and the Prevention of IAP
Issue 56 May 18 2012 Focus on Water Security

Issue 55 May 11 2012 An Update on Sludge Management
Issue 54 May 4 2012 Focus on Self Supply
Issue 53 April 27 2012 Focus on Cookstove Adoption
Issue 52 April 20 2012 Focus on Small-Scale WASH Service Providers
Issue 51 April 13 2012 A Hygiene Behavior Update
Issue 50 April 6 2012 Focus on the Informal Sector and Solid Waste Management
Issue 49 March 30 2012 Focus on Nanotechnology
Issue 48 March 23 2012 Focus on Urban Health
Issue 46 March 8 2012 Gender Considerations for WASH and IAP
Issue 45 March 2 2012 A Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS)
Issue 44 February 24 2012 A Focus on Adoption of WASH and IAP Interventions
Issue 43 February 17 2012 A Focus on Ecological Sanitation
Issue 42 February 10 2012 WASH and Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue 41 February 3 2012 Year in Review, Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
Issue 40 January 27 2012 Health Impacts of WASH and IAP Interventions from 2011
Issue 39 January 20 2012 Year in Review – 10 Key Studies on CLTS from 2011
Issue 37 January 6 2012 Focus on WASH and IAP Technologies


Issue 36 December 16 2011 Focus on Financing Examples for WASH and IAP Interventions
Issue 35 December 9 2011 Focus on Water Safety Plans
Issue 34 December 2 2011 Focus on Rainwater Harvesting
Issue 33 November 18 2011 Focus on World Toilet Day and Communal Sanitation
Issue 32 November 11 2011 Focus on the Prevention of Pneumonia

Issue 31 November 4 2011 Focus on Water Point Mapping
Issue 30 October 28 2011 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management

Issue 29 October 21 2011 Focus on Carrying Water
Issue 28 October 14 2011 Focus on WASH and Climate Change
Issue 27 October 7 2011 Focus on Hand Washing
Issue 26 September 30 2011 Focus on WASH and Humanitarian Assistance
Issue 25 September 23 2011 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 24 September 9 2011 Focus on Reuse in Sanitation
Issue 23 September 2 2011 Focus on WASH for the Disabled
Issue 21 August 19 2011 Focus on Sludge Management
Issue 20 August 12 2011 Focus on Cholera Prevention and Control
Issue 19 August 5 2011 Focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Issue 18 July 29 2011 Focus on Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhea
Issue 17 July 22 2011 Focus on Drinking Water Quality
Issue 16 July 15 2011 Focus on HIV AIDS and WASH
Issue 15 July 8 2011 Focus on Marketing Approaches
Issue 14 July 1 2011 Focus on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage
Issue 13 June 24 2011 Focus on Hygiene Behavior
Issue 12 June 17 2011 Focus on Mobile Technologies
Issue 11 June 10 2011 Focus on Monitoring and Evaluation
Issue 11 June 3 2011 Focus on the Health Impacts of WASH Interventions
Issue 9 May 27 2011 Focus on Financing
Issue 8 May 20 2011 Focus on WASH and Urban Issues
Issue 8 May 13 2011 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation

Issue 7 May 6 2011 Focus on Gender & WASH
Issue 6 April 29 2011 Focus on the Integration of IAQ WASH and Schools
Issue 5 April 22, 2011 Focus on the Integration of WASH and IAQ
Issue 4 April 15, 2011 Focus on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage
Issue 3 April 8, 2011 Focus on Handwashing
Issue 2 April 1 2011 Focus on Sanitation

Issue 1 March 1 2011 Welcome to Washplus Updates

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.

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.

Rosenbaum_Sacosan 6_PPT.png

See the presentation slides here.

Sanitation and nutrition: Let’s break the vicious circle!

This short, educational, animated video from Generation Nutrition explores the links between sanitation and nutrition. The video has been translated into English with funding from the USAID WASHplus project.

WASHplus is working on integrating WASH and Nutrition programming not only by improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in places where we work but also by working towards a fuller integration of WASH, health and nutrition programming. Learn more about WASHplus’s work in WASH-Nutrition Integration.


Bangladesh—Sending Poo to its Final Address

Bangladesh_Poster_What to do with Infant Poo_WASHplus

WASHplus continued pioneering work developing a menu of small doable actions for the safe disposal of infant feces. Working with program partners, the project team further refined doable behaviors for four cohorts of infant and young children, and worked with designers to develop a set of job aids to integrate Essential WASH Actions into Feed the Future nutrition implementing partner work. The materials all work around the theme “Poo’s Final Address,” highlighting that whether the child defecates in the courtyard, potty, or infant wrapper cloth, the poo needs to end up in the family latrine. This poster provides an overview of the WASHplus approach to infant feces disposal along with examples of small doable actions for several age groups.

Download the poster here.


The usefulness of a handwashing proxy in large household surveys

WASHplus’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning Advisor, Orlando Hernandez, co-authored a paper on the usefulness of a handwashing proxy in large household surveys. An abstract of the paper is provided below.

“Handwashing with soap is a cost-effective way of reducing diarrheal disease mortality in children under 5. Tracking this practice among child caretakers is a challenge, as the gold standard method – structured observations – is cumbersome, costly, and conducive to over-performance. The water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) field needs a valid, reliable proxy to track handwashing with soap in large surveys. This proxy is crucial as the new 2015–2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may track hygiene. Using data from the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) and the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) from five countries, we conducted multivariate analyses to explore an association between the presence of functional handwashing stations (HWSs), (together with needed supplies) and the likelihood of lower reports of child diarrheal disease. A limited to moderate association exists in three of the five countries considered characterized by comparable rates of childhood diarrhea: Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe. The relationship was detected when controlling for potential confounding factors (other WASH elements, socio-demographic factors, nutrition practices, and immunization status) and when accounting for cluster effects. The likelihood of reported diarrhea among children under 5 increases when there is no HWS, just a handwashing device with no supplies or only water or only soap. The relationship is moderate in Malawi and less strong in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. No relationship was found in Ethiopia and Ghana. Further exploration of the usefulness of this proxy in other African and non-African contexts is warranted.”

Read the paper here.

Citation: Victoria Shelus and Orlando L. Hernandez, The usefulness of a handwashing proxy in large household surveys, Available Online 20 August 2015, DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2015.184



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.




Voices from Bangladesh: Reflections on SACOSAN VI

Reblogged from PPPHW blog.

julia rosenbaumBy Julia Rosenbaum, Senior Behavior Change Advisor USAID/WASHplus Project

I recently attended the 6th South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN VI), held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Given the clear ties between sanitation and hygiene, I was asked to provide commentary on the prevalence and discussion around hygiene at SACOSAN. A commentary on hygiene, however, first begs the question, “What is hygiene?”, as it means many things to many sacosanpeople. To some, hygiene pertains exclusively to handwashing with soap. To others, it includes food hygiene and treatment and safe storage of household water. To others, still, it means any “software” or promotional aspect of within water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) generally, such as behavior change. It is fair to generalize that hygiene was comprehensively defined at SACOSAN including the “software” side of WASH, specifically regarding sanitation, handwashing, and menstrual hygiene management.

A major theme throughout the conference was a renewed call for representation and inclusion through the human right to sanitation. This was true in terms of hygiene, too.

Representation and inclusion were perhaps best represented in a session that highlighted a new publication and spotlighted issues facing women, adolescent girls, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and those in the sanitation workforce. Leave No One Behind, a stunning new publication of Freshwater Action Network South Asia and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, seeks to give voice to those too often neglected and excluded from both political processes and access to sanitation and hygiene services. The objective of the publication and the initiative is to assure inclusion and representation, considered essential to achieving the newly agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals.

The session corresponding with the Leave No One Behind report illuminated the tremendous obstacles and humiliation suffered by these individuals and the corresponding consequences—including indignities, poorer health, and safety concerns. Yet, despite the many conversations about access, what was most poignant to me was the overall inaccessibility of the conference center despite efforts to find a more accessible venue. Clearly, in many contexts, access needs to be better ensured and not merely discussed. While the focus of this session was to highlight the “voices” of those featured in the report, there was a striking absence of positive examples and best practices that have been refined over the past decade and do provide access to many who might otherwise be left behind. Showcasing ways that access can be achieved—for instance, displays of simple latrine and handwashing station modifications to allow access to the differently abled, the elderly, the deaf, blind, and mute—or outlining inclusion strategies and approaches gaining prominence could have prompted session participants to not merely discuss the need for inclusion but also inspired action.

While I wish that the accessibility issues faced by participants had been addressed, there were many highlights of the conference. It was heartening to see participants spontaneously organize a special side session on menstrual hygiene management (MHM), as it was not prominently included in the program. Facilitated by WaterAid and featuring a wide range of panelists including government officials, global leaders, and community representatives, this lively session filled a gap and helped to prioritize menstrual hygiene management in the SACOSAN declaration and commitments.

The meeting’s hygiene promotion session was coordinated by the Afghani Delegation. The four technical papers that comprised this session—including one co-authored by USAID/WASHplus—comprehensively defined hygiene promotion. As a result, there was a large focus on sanitation best practice and innovation, such as improving sanitation and hygiene (mostly handwashing) practices in geographically-challenged areas, fostering strategies to improve sanitation coverage and developing approaches to improving sanitation practice (i.e., latrine use) and consistent and correct handwashing with soap. A forth session focused on MHM, and boldly shared the failures attributed to not thoroughly consulting with school girls and administration, as well as successes.

Hygiene was also prominent in a plenary session chaired by BBC Media Action (formerly BBC World Service Trust). Via a provocative video presentation, behavior change specialist Dr. Val Curtis with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, highlighted three elements—surprise, revaluation, and performance—as fundamental and effective at improving WASH. This video was followed by prominent national journalists who discussed how to get the public to engage in topics considered unpleasant and often taboo by capturing audience attention and greater media visibility.

The linkages between sanitation and hygiene are clear, and it is encouraging that hygiene was featured prominently in the meeting’s Declaration and Commitments where every mention of sanitation included “… and hygiene”. I am hopeful that the calls for representation and inclusion of the vulnerable and underserved that were made during SACOSAN will lead to a truly enabling environment, and that we will learn from our oversights and collaborate going forward to improve access to sanitation and hygiene for all.

9 AM EST, Feb 16 Webinar: WASHing Away Diseases, Two Hands at a Time

WASH NTDs webinar

On February 18 at 9:00 AM EST, please join the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and the USAID/WASHplus project for a webinar discussing why water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) matter to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and addressing the need for new approaches for multi-sector initiatives to promote equity, poverty alleviation, health, and well-being.

Register here today!

Featuring experts from WaterAid, Sightsavers, the FHI 360-led USAID/WASHplus project, and USAID, this webinar is an excellent opportunity for those working in both WASH and NTDs to learn about the global landscape of WASH/NTD strategy and glean practical insights from projects that are operating in this context.

This webinar will include brief presentations on:

  • The link between WASH and NTDs
  • How we can work together to achieve common goals through the World Health Organization’s Joint WASH-NTD strategy; and
  • Integration in practice.

About the panelists:

  • Renuka Bery, MPH, Senior Program Manager for the USAID/WASHplus project, has an extensive background in WASH integration.
  • Sophie Boisson, PhD, Technical Officer for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health at the World Health Organization (invited).
  • Edouard Tianhoun, RN, MSc, WASH-NTD Coordinator for the USAID/WASHplus Burkina Faso pilot project, has been in involved in WASH programs in his native Burkina Faso since 2011.
  • Yael Velleman, MSc, Senior Policy Analyst on Health and Sanitation, leads WaterAid’s strategy, advocacy, and research agenda on health.
  • Merri Weinger, MPH, Senior Environmental Health Advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, has over 30 years of experience in health programs at USAID, WHO, and PAHO.
  • Geordie Woods, MPH, Technical Adviser-NTDs at Sightsavers, specializes in health behavior and strategic communication with a technical focus that includes NTDs and WASH.

Following the presentations there will be a Question & Answer session.

Register now!