Author Archives: usaidwaterckm

WaterAid webinar: Safety and well-being of sanitation workers during COVID-19 in South Asia – Sept. 3, 2020

WaterAid webinar: Safety and well-being of sanitation workers during COVID-19 in South Asia

Sanitation workers provide an essential public service – keeping our cities, towns and villages running and clean, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite working in a dangerous profession under heightened risks, little is known about how sanitation workers are coping with COVID-19.

WaterAid facilitated rapid assessments in four South Asian countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan – which identify the challenges being faced by sanitation workers in the midst of lockdowns, and proposes potential solutions to address both immediate and longer-term needs of workers.

There has always been a strong, but neglected, moral and public health imperative to protect sanitation workers’ rights. The COVID-19 pandemic not only strengthens that case, but also represents an opportunity to redress the historical neglect.

 We invite you to join us as we share the regional synthesis of these studies in a webinar on 3rd September 2020, followed by a panel discussion with members of worker communities, and experts from government and civil society across these countries.

Date: Thursday, 3rd September 2020
Time:
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM (Pakistan)
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM India)
3:15 PM – 4:45 PM (Nepal)
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM (Bangladesh)

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/s/81291488434

For any queries, reach out to Ms. Shahrukh Mirza, shahrukhmirza@wateraid.org.

USAID RFI – Research and Learning in Water Security, Sanitation, and Hygiene

USAID RFI – Research and Learning in Water Security, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Additional information and documentation about the RFI are available on Grants.gov and Betasam.gov.

The United States Government represented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security is in the process of designing a new activity or activities to answer critical implementation research questions in the WASH sector. We are seeking public COMMENTS on the below proposed concept to inform the design process.

THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) ONLY, issued solely for information and planning purposes, and responses do not constitute a proposal. It is not a solicitation and is not to be construed as a commitment by the U.S. Government or USAID to issue any solicitation or to ultimately award a contract or assistance agreement on the basis of this RFI. If a Solicitation is issued, it will be announced publicly later, and all interested parties must respond to that Solicitation announcement separately from any response to this announcement.

Responses to this RFI are strictly voluntary and USAID will not pay respondents for the information provided in response to this RFI. Information, comments, and suggestions received will be reviewed and may be incorporated into future solicitation(s) but USAID will not provide direct response to any individual submissions, and will not publicly release the responses.

The purpose of the activity or activities as envisioned under this RFI is to design, carry-out and ensure use of implementation research on the research questions identified below, and to provide high-quality and sector-specific analytical, technical and evaluation services to USAID missions and Operating Units. This will allow USAID to address critical knowledge and learning gaps related to achieving USAID’s goal of increasing the availability and sustainable management of safe water and sanitation for the underserved and most vulnerable, especially within countries designated as High Priority or Aligned for investments authorized by the 2014 Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act.

WASH & Health: Prevention is the Best Medicine – WASH in Times of COVID-19.

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) welcomes comments on this discussion paper.

Please leave your suggestions and comments in the Comment field or contact: Jona Toetzke, jona.toetzke@germantoilet.org, of the German Toilet Organization.

WASH & Health: Prevention is the Best Medicine – WASH in Times of COVID-19. A SuSanA Discussion Paper, July 2020

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), an international network of partner organizations and individual members, plays an important role at the WASH and health linkage. Direct and indirect connections are anchored in most of SuSanA’s 13 working groups. While none of them focuses on health only, all of them contribute to services, processes or approaches that are fundamental to achieve sustainable WASH and health impact.

This discussion paper visualizes current opportunities and activities from the SuSanA community and highlights synergies between SuSanA working groups and several key issues of the health sector. Furthermore, it is a starting point for dialogue and collaboration with / for implementing organisations of the health sector. In this regard, the discussion paper intends to address the following topics:

Contents

1 – No Health without WASH: How WASH contributes to key health topics
– Public Health Risks
– Zoonoses
– Neglected Tropical Diseases
– Large-Scale Outbreaks

2 – Approaches for Risk Reduction and Prevention
– One Health
– Health Care Facilities
– Hand Hygiene
– Comprehensive WASH

3 – SuSanA, a Network for Sustainable Solutions
– Beyond SuSanA
– Within SuSanA
– Timetable

COVID-19 & Sanitation: Water Currents, August 11, 2020

Below is an excerpt from the August 11, 2020 issue of Water Currents and the complete issue is on the Globalwaters.org website :

Overviews
Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and COVID-19: Critical WASH Interventions for Effective COVID-19 Pandemic Response . World Bank, April 2020. Good and consistently applied WASH and waste management practices serve as essential barriers to human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 in communities, homes, health care facilities, schools, and other public spaces.

Policy and Legislation Linked to COVID-19 and Pandemics . UN Environment Program (UNEP), June 2020. This policy and legislation guidance is intended  to help countries better respond to future waste emergencies such as COVID-19 and includes information on the types of measures that could be put in place, the coverage and scope of the measures, and how to monitor compliance and enforce the measures.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak: Some Serious Consequences with Urban and Rural Water Cycle . NPJ Clean Water, July 2020. Conventional sewage treatment methods with disinfection are expected to eradicate COVID-19. However, for densely populated countries like India that lack adequate sewage treatment facilities, chances of contamination are extremely high.

Waste Management: An Essential Public Service in the Fight to Beat COVID-19 . UNEP, March 2020. With COVID-19 continuing to spread and its impacts on human health and the economy intensifying day by day, governments are urged to treat waste management, including medical, household, and other hazardous waste, as an urgent and essential public service.

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Waste Management for the COVID-19 Virus: Interim Guidance . WHO, April 2020. This interim guidance summarizes WHO guidance on water, sanitation, and health care waste relevant to viruses, including coronaviruses and supplements previous infection prevention and control documents.

Exploring the Correlation Between COVID-19 Fatalities and Poor WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Services . Medrxiv, June 2020. In this study, researchers analyzed the latest data on COVID-19 fatality rates in sub-Saharan Africa with indicators of safe water and sanitation governance and found a strong correlation between a higher case fatality rate and poorer access to safe drinking water and safe sanitation.

Global Socio-Economic Losses and Environmental Gains from the Coronavirus Pandemic . PLoS One, July 2020. Using a global model, the authors of this study captured the direct and indirect spillover effects of COVID-19 in terms of social losses, economic losses, and environmental effects.

Wastewater/Wastewater Surveillance
Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19: An African Perspective . Science of the Total Environment, November 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, early warning wastewater systems have been proposed as a platform for surveillance and a potentially important public health strategy to combat the disease. This short communication on wastewater surveillance in sub-Saharan Africa highlights challenges, opportunities, and alternatives taking into account local context.

Wastewater Surveillance for Population-Wide COVID-19: The Present and Future . Science of the Total Environment, September 2020. This article explores wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), which the authors believe holds the potential as a key tool in containing and mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks while also minimizing domino effects, such as long stay-at-home policies that stress humans and economies alike.

Computational Analysis of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 Surveillance by Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Locally and Globally: Feasibility, Economy, Opportunities and Challenges . Science of the Total Environment, August 2020. In this study, researchers computationally examined wastewater as a matrix for detection of COVID-19 and found that combined use of WBE followed by clinical testing could save billions of U.S. dollars.

Read the complete issue .

2 reports on menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian settings

Practice Note: Menstrual Health Management in Humanitarian Settings. Chapter 45 in the Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, July 2020.

The authors are volunteers or staff with WoMena, an NGO that works to improve menstrual health and management in Uganda. Based on this experience and focusing on Uganda and Nepal, this practice note probes how the issue is approached in different contexts and at different stages—comparing urgent response after a sudden onset disaster (for example, earthquakes) to protracted crises (for example, long-term refugee settings). 

The authors discuss how interventions can be made sustainable beyond the short-term ‘kit culture’ response; they highlight experiences with more developmental approaches involving policy support, community participation, capacity building, and the use of products that are economically and environmentally sustainable.

Innovative Strategies for Providing Menstruation-Supportive Water, Sanitation And Hygiene Facilities: Learning From Refugee Camps In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Research Square, July 2020.

Background: There is growing attention to addressing the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) needs of the over 21 million displaced adolescent girls and women globally. Current approaches to MHM-related humanitarian programming often prioritize the provision of menstrual materials and information. However, a critical component of an MHM response includes the construction and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, including more female-friendly toilets. This enables spaces for menstruating girls and women to change, dispose, wash and dry menstrual materials; all of which are integral tasks required for MHM. A global assessment identi􀂦ed a number of innovations focused on designing and implementing menstruation-supportive WASH facilities in the refugee camps located in Cox’s Bazar (CXB), Bangladesh. These pilot efforts strove to include the use of more participatory methodologies in the process of developing the new MHM-supportive WASH approaches.

Results: Key findings included one, the identification of new female-driven consultation methods aimed at improving female beneficiary involvement and buy-in during the design and construction phases; two, the design of new multi-purpose WASH facilities to increase female beneficiary usage; three, new menstrual waste disposal innovations being piloted in communal and institutional settings, with female users indicating at least initial acceptability; and four, novel strategies for engaging male beneficiaries in the design of female WASH facilities, including promoting dialogue to generate buy-in regarding the importance of these facilities and debate about their placement.

Conclusions: Although the identified innovative participatory methodologies and design approaches are promising, the long term viability of the facilities, including plans to expand them, may be dependent on the continued engagement of girls and women, and the availability of resources.

Learning in the Sanitation and Hygiene Sector

Learning in the Sanitation and Hygiene Sector. Sanitation Learning Hub, July 2020.

How do you think we learn best? What barriers do you see and experience that make it more difficult for us to learn? And what steps should we be taking to reduce the barriers and improve how we learn more effectively?

This SLH Learning Paper summarises the key learning from a rapid topic exploration on ‘Learning in the Sanitation and Hygiene Sector’.

The study looked at how people in the WASH sector learn, the processes utilised and what works best, as well as the barriers and challenges to learning. It looks at learning from communities and peer-to-peer and how the learning gets translated into action at scale.

This paper shares the lessons from sector and associated actors working in low- and middle-income contexts around the world and makes recommendation on how to strengthen learning and sharing processes, as well as building capacities and confidence for learning, with the ultimate aim of turning that learning into action at scale.

Download/view the report.

Five Notes on the Inextricable Link Between WASH and COVID-19

Five Notes on the Inextricable Link Between WASH and COVID-19 by Pallavi Bharadwai. Engineering for Change, July 16, 2020.

One of the newer sad facts about poverty is that it makes the coronavirus harder to contain. Three billion people do not have access to handwashing facilities at home, making it difficult to perform on the basic preventive measures to protect against infection.

Global aid organizations are aware of the fact. This week, I had the fortune to attend the launch of the United Nations SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 6 Global Acceleration Framework. The event aimed to mobilize UN agencies, governments, civil society, private and all other stakeholders to drive progress on SDG6, Safe Water and Sanitation for All.

In more normal times, this event may have carried less weight. However, the urgency shared by all the panelists makes one realize the inextricable link between the pandemic and need for safe, potable water and sanitation for all. Thinking about discussions held at the conference and their place in these times, I’ve noted five takeaways on the links between WASH and COVID-19.

IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU LIVE IN A RURAL OR AN URBAN SETTING

COVID-19 has proved to be an unfortunate reality check for the already vulnerable communities that were facing a lack of water and sanitation services globally. More than half of the world’s 8 billion people lack access to safe sanitation. We are recommended to wash our hands several times a day, however 3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities.

I contributed to a recent study on water, climate and the migration crisis as a reviewer. The study attempts to explain how to assess water-migration interlinkages as water and climate crises are disproportionately impacting vulnerable individuals and groups. These may include water pollution, inability to meet daily water needs, climate extremes and limited options to income generation, especially for those who largely depend on land and water resources for survival. We witnessed this first-hand in the migration labor crisis in India.

Read the complete article.

Oxfam video on emergency sanitation – In Her Shoes

IN HER SHOES: The True Story of Emergency Sanitation

This new video In Her Shoes, made by Oxfam, highlights the drama faced by so many women and young girls in using communal latrines.

What is Sani Tweaks?
Recent research across our refugee response programmes has shown that a worrying number of women and girls are not using the latrines we provide. Low sanitation usage rates mean that we are not meeting the needs of the communities we work with and will additionally result in increased public health risks in emergency situations.

To address this, the Oxfam WASH team has developed a series of communications tools that seek to promote best practices in sanitation. The ‘tweaks’ highlighted by the series are intended to inform technical staff, to encourage continuous improvement and ultimately inspire a more effective approach to the design and construction of latrines. For it is such small improvements that will make the difference between whether a woman or girl uses the latrine or not.

Who is it for?
The series is aimed at technical WASH staff at field level, with the aim of encouraging proactive and practical implementation of the best practices highlighted. It is also very much intended to be used as universal guidance by all agencies and adapted to suit individual needs.
https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-approach/toolkits-and-guidelines/sani-tweaks

COVID-19 & Water Utilities – Water Currents, July 9, 2020

COVID-19 & Water Utilities – Water Currents, July 9, 2020

This issue contains recent studies, reports, blog posts, and webinars that discuss water utilities and COVID-19 on a global, regional, and country basis.

Overviews
USAID Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Strategic Approach to COVID-19 ResponseUSAID, April 2020. This document provides a comprehensive overview of USAID’s strategic approaches to WASH within the context of COVID-19 across health, emergency, and longer term recovery programming.

Utilities in Developing Countries, in Financial Tailspin, Try to Keep Water Flowing During Pandemic and BeyondNew Security Beat, June 2020. The global coronavirus pandemic is precipitating a financial crisis for water utilities in low- and middle-income countries as many of these service providers face drastic cuts in revenue and rising costs to respond to the public health emergency.

Supporting Water Utilities During COVID-19World Bank, June 2020. This blog post links to reports and tools which discuss challenges faced by water utilities during the pandemic.

COVID-19: A Utility Leaders’ ResponseInternational Water Association (IWA), May 2020. This online discussion brings together water utility leaders to share their perspectives, experiences, and response to COVID-19 challenges, the lessons being learned in adapting to a changing situation, and the main messages they are communicating to their customers.

The Unsung Heroes of the COVID-19 PandemicWaterAid, June 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention across the world to the vital roles of key workers such as those employed in health care and sanitation. This article highlights the daily dangers sanitation workers, who are often doing their jobs with minimal protective equipment, faced prior to the coronavirus and how the pandemic has exacerbated these working conditions.

What Water and Sanitation Operators Can Do in the Fight Against COVID-19Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), March 2020. Water and sanitation service providers (small-scale providers, utilities, and local authorities) can be instrumental in stalling the advance of COVID-19. Public utilities should work closely with local health officials and other relevant bodies to launch awareness campaigns about COVID-19 transmission.

Read the complete article.

Emergency WASH Network Biweekly Update, July 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

CKM’s role in managing the Emergency WASH Network will end later this year so we are searching for organizations that would be interested in managing the Network in the future. Please contact me if this is something you would like to discuss.

Also, let us know if you have research, reports or upcoming events that can be featured in the next biweekly update. 

Member Updates

From Michelle Tran – michelle.tran@ouce.ox.ac.uk
A Survey on Faecal Sludge Management in Emergencies: University of Oxford – Purpose of Survey: This survey inquires about the importance of FSM in WASH responses during first-phase emergencies (approximately the first 6 months of the response) and whether later stages of the FSM chain are prioritized in emergencies. The results of this study will estimate demand for FSM products and guidance among WASH practitioners. Survey results will be shared within the wider emergency WASH sector after publication of this research (September-November 2020).

Upcoming Webinars

July 14 (in English and French) Make Me a Change Agent: An SBC Resource for WASH, Agriculture, and Livelihoods Activities – USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)-funded SCALE and PRO-WASH awards invite you to this interactive webinar to dive into the Make Me a Change Agent: An SBC Resource for WASH, Agriculture, and Livelihoods Activities training manual, and discuss how these fundamental skills can improve your WASH, agriculture and livelihoods programming.

Culture, Context and Hygiene Promotion for COVID-19. This is a free interactive online module, delivered live by RedR UK’s hygiene promotion experts. You will learn the key public health risks related to COVID-19 and how these can be addressed by appropriate hygiene promotion.

News

USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance Fact Sheet, June 2020 – BHA leads and coordinates the U.S. Government’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas. The Bureau responds to an average of 75 disasters in more than 70 countries every year.

Twelve finalists in the running for the EIC Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid. European Commission, June 2020 – LORAWAN monitoring by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), real-time solutions for water tanker and water reservoir remote monitoring to improve the effectiveness of water trucking programming globally. WATER4HUMANITY by Tel Aviv University, a new circular economy solution allowing ultra-filtration of water using discarded “artificial kidney” filters.

WASH in Humanitarian Situations

Lebanon: Menstrual Hygiene Management Among Syrian Refugee Women in the Bekaa. Oxfam, June 2020. The research provides potential solutions and recommendations for integrating menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian responses, particularly targeted at the WASH, protection, education and health sectors.