Biweekly WASH research updates – December 8, 2020

Updates to Globalwaters.org

Blog – USAID Launches Water for the World Research Agenda – The agenda identifies 27 broad research questions that are critical to closing the lingering evidence gaps directly related to accomplishing all four USAID Water and Development Plan Development Results.

Blog – Less is More: Reducing Water Loss to Improve Resilience in Iraq – USAID and Coca-Cola through the Water and Development Alliance (WADA) have partnered with the Soran Water Directorate to improve water management practices and increase water availability by reducing water loss.

Blog – Emergency WASH Network’s Q & A With Albert Reichert – My name is Albert Reichert and I am one of the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance’s WASH Technical Advisors. I am an engineer by training, specializing in groundwater and surface water flows. I was based in East Africa for the past 10 years and cover East and parts of Southern Africa for BHA WASH.

Upcoming Webinar – WASH Collaboration: Two Projects, One Result – The presenters will discuss how the two projects collaborated successfully to advance WASH development in Ethiopia, and how other projects might increase the sustainability and impact of infrastructure-focused support through partnership and learning. Join the webinar on Wednesday, December 9.

Publication – Water Currents: Inclusive WASH – December 3, 2020 – This issue contains the latest studies and resources detailing inclusive WASH as it relates to gender, disabled groups, the elderly, incarcerated populations, and other at-risk groups.

 COVID-19 and WASH

Preparing for Outbreaks – Implications for Resilient Water Utility Operations and Services. Sustainable Cities and Society, January 2021. The purpose of this article is to discuss the economic and public health impact of outbreaks on water and wastewater utilities and utility workforce and to present case studies demonstrating utilities’ preparedness and response to COVID-19.

Institutionalising Wastewater Surveillance Systems to Minimise the Impact of COVID-19: Cases of Indonesia, Japan and Viet Nam. Water, Science and Technology, November 2020. This mini review describes the current status and challenges regarding institutionalization of wastewater surveillance systems against COVID-19.

Open Defecation and Squat Toilets, an Overlooked Risk of Fecal transmission of COVID-19 and Other Pathogens in Developing Communities. Environmental Chemistry Letters, November 2020. The authors illustrate the potential routes of transmission of COVID-19 and other fecal pathogens via human feces in communities practicing open defecation. Here, poor hand hygiene, contaminated shoes and objects, mechanical vectors, and outdoor human activities can all contribute to fecal transmission

HYGIENE/HANDWASHING ISSUES

Exploring the Use and Appeal of Playpens to Protect Infants from Exposure to Animals, Animal Feces, and Dirt in Rural Ethiopia. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, November 2020. Results support further exploration of the potential benefits and commercial viability of scaling up use of playpens in rural, agricultural households as part of a comprehensive approach to child development and women’s empowerment.

Can Social Motivators Improve Handwashing Behavior among Children? Evidence from a Cluster Randomized Trial of a School Hygiene Intervention in the Philippines. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, November 2020. The program had limited impact on the motivators targeted by the program, suggesting that the small improvements in handwashing may have been driven by increases in the availability of soap.

SANITATION ISSUES

Faecal Sludge Management in Africa. Socio-Economic Aspects, Human and Environmental Health. UNEP; IWMI, November 2020. This report explores current trends of fecal sludge management and how poor management practices worsen human and environmental health across Africa.

Comment: A Call for Global Monitoring of WASH in Wet Markets. Lancet Planetary Health, October 2020. Using monitoring data to target wet markets for hygiene and sanitation infrastructure upgrades, while protecting these marketplaces as vibrant, affordable, community spaces should be the global public health community’s next major focus.

Toilet Alarms: A Novel Application of Latrine Sensors and Machine Learning for Optimizing Sanitation Services in Informal Settlements. Development Engineering, August 2020. This study used cellular-connected motion sensors and machine learning to dynamically predict when daily latrine servicing could be skipped with a low risk of overflow.

What it Takes to Build a Sanitation Market: USAID Transform WASH and the Plastic Toilet Slab in Ethiopia. IRC WASH blog, November 2020. Market facilitation is what USAID Transform WASH is all about, but it takes time, patience, and tenacity. Nothing exemplifies this more than nearly three-years of experience introducing the plastic toilet slab to the Ethiopian market. 

WATER ISSUES

Striving for Borehole Drilling Professionalism in Africa: A Review of a 16-Year Initiative through the Rural Water Supply Network from 2004 to 2020. Water, November 2020. The initiative has raised the profile of drilling professionalism, provided a wealth of materials and inspired others to take action. Thousands of stakeholders have improved their knowledge.

Evidence-Based Chlorination Targets for Household Water Safety in Humanitarian Settings: Recommendations from a Multi-Site Study in Refugee Camps in South Sudan, Jordan, and Rwanda. Water Research, February 2021. Sphere chlorination targets may not ensure household water safety in refugee camps. This is most concerning in camps in hot settings where WASH conditions are poor. The authors investigated post-distribution chlorine decay in multiple refugee camps globally.

Data, Data Everywhere: New World Bank Water Data Portal. World Bank, October 2020. With support from the Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP), the World Bank has just launched the World Bank Water Data Portal. For the first time ever, a curated list of water data from the World Bank and other sources and institutions is now available in one place.

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