Author Archives: usaidwaterckm

WASH weekly research update – June 3, 2019

The USAID Water CKM project sends out an informal bibliography each week via email of some of the latest WASH-related studies, webinars, etc. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the subscription list.


Water as a Tool for Resilience in Times of Crisis – In this webinar, the Environmental Change and Security Program, USAID’s Sustainable Water Partnership, and Winrock International discuss where the challenges lie and what practitioners and policymakers can do to bolster effective water management for the world’s most vulnerable communities.


Lasting results: A qualitative assessment of efforts to make community-led total sanitation more inclusive of the needs of people with disabilities in Rumphi District, Malawi. Disability and Health Journal, 28 May 2019. Implications for future replication show the need to invest in training a wider group of people to assist with implementation and to keep the program simple and focused on more active learning methods to make sustainable behavioral changes.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: measuring gender equality and empowerment. WHO Bulletin, June 2019. Based on a process of expert input and literature review, here we offer a compilation of current water, sanitation and hygiene indicators that measure gender equality and empowerment in four interrelated priority areas.

When the pits fill up: (in)visible flows of waste in urban India. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, June 2019. Based on a rich ethnography of cleaning trucks in Bangalore, India, we show that trucking operations dispose of sludge in ways that harm both public health and the environment, and that the caste composition of sanitation work helps to keep it invisible from officials and the public.


WASH reflections series: Water safety planning: What have we learned so far? WHO, May 2019. Water safety plans have been implemented in at least 93 countries, with 46 countries reporting to have policies or regulations in place that promote or require WSPs.

Optimizing Access to Safe Water through Chlorinated Dispensers in Rural Kenya, Uganda and Malawi. Evidence Action, March 2019. Furthermore, community knowledge about the chlorine dispensers and other water treatments methods contributed significantly (p<0.001) to a household using chlorine across the three countries. In Kenya, households that attended Village Community Sensitization forums were 3.2% more likely to treat their water, while in Uganda and Malawi, households who attended Community Education Meetings were 2.5% and 7.0% respectively more likely to chlorinate their water.


 There’s a Better Way to Manage Human Waste by Pallavi Bharadwaj. Engineering for Change, March 2019. Sadly, from India all the way to Kenya, the practice of manual scavenging, as the dirty clean-up work is called, is still fairly common. Despite the practice being banned since 1993 in India, the news of sewer deaths are not rare.

Economist-engineers and public health economists: is WASH economics a “field”? WASHeconomics, May 29, 2019. This post explores ways of breaking down the “field” of WASH economics.

Reflections from a mother on Menstrual Hygiene Day. Water Blog, May 28, 2019. I recently returned to work after six months of maternity leave with my second child. Transitioning back to my ‘original’ role as a Water Supply and Sanitation Specialist at the World Bank, alongside my new role as a Mum, has been a challenging but fun experience!

Shaping the Sanitation Market with Product Innovations in Ghana

Shaping the Sanitation Market with Product Innovations in Ghana. WASHfunders, May 2019.

Over 10 million urban Ghanaians live with unimproved sanitation services or are openly defecating causing a severe public health concern according to WHO/UNICEF. The World Bank estimates that poor sanitation and hygiene in Ghana leads to $290 million in economic losses each year. ghana

While businesses are trying to address the sanitation crisis, they face several barriers including lack of high quality and affordable product offerings for consumers, poor access to financing, and insufficient support to manage their business better and more professionally.

The SATO pan, a plastic toilet pan with a self closing flush mechanism that provides product innovation to Ghanaian consumers is being marketed to sanitation businesses by Total Family Health Organisation (TFHO) and PSI with funding from the USAID Supporting International Family Planning Organizations 2 (SIFPO2) Project. The product is manufactured by LIXIL, a global corporation that makes water and housing products.

Read the complete article.

USAID news – The second round of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge is now open!

USAID news – The second round of the Humanitarian Grand Challenge is now open!

The second round call for proposals is now open! Final proposals are due on Tuesday 16 July 2019 at 11:00am ET. Visit the RFP section for detailed information on how to apply.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development, the Government of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with support from Grand Challenges Canada, are partnering on Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge. toilets

Through this Grand Challenge, we will identify and support groundbreaking solutions that engage the private sector and draw from the experiences of affected communities in order to significantly improve – and in many cases, save – the lives of vulnerable people affected by conflict.

WASH Innovators

Machine Learning Enabled Safe Water Optimization Tool for Humanitarian Response – by the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University. This project aims to build a novel safe water optimization tool, that leverages cloud computing and artificial intelligence to learn from the water quality monitoring data that humanitarian agencies already routinely collect for reporting purposes.

Solar-Powered Water Pumps for Regenerative Agriculture – by The Rainmaker Enterprise. The Rainmaker Enterprise’s innovation involves Installing solar powered water pumps and sensor-driven drip irrigation systems in villages across South Sudan.

Portable, Evaporative Toilets for Drop-In and Distributed Sanitation for Displaced and Urban Communities – by change:WATER Labs Inc. change:WATER Labs Inc. is developing a portable evaporative toilet to extend safe, private sanitation to homes with no power or plumbing. It evaporates more than 95 percent of daily household sewage without added energy or heat.

Water Aid and Renewable Power Systems for Yemen – by the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation. This project aims to bring solar powered water purification systems to three sites in Yemen. The project will install 4,000 watts of compact, flexible, adhesive solar panels with a battery bank to power a compact, robust, simple-to-use, and highly effective water purification system that can produce more than 1,000 gallons of clean drinking water per day, serving about 1,000 people in each community.

PathVis: A Water Monitoring Device for Vibrio cholerae Detection – by OmniVis. OmniVis has designed a smartphone platform diagnostic device that uses DNA amplification to detect for V. cholerae, at the source, in under 30 minutes. The data is immediately uploaded to a cloud-based server to automate the data logging process. In areas without connectivity, wifi can be used in a central location for data upload. OmniVis is the first and only water-based V. cholerae detection device that automates data logging with time-stamped, geographical location information.


Global Waters – May 2019 issue

The latest edition of Global Waters Stories from the USAID Water Office is out now:


  • Menstrual hygiene promotion empowers girls and women in Ghana
  • A podcast with water expert and engineer Eric Viala about water challenges in the Sahel
  • Harnessing the power of private sector partnerships to improve urban water security in the Philippines and more.

Be sure to explore the latest issue.

WASH research on container-based sanitation, water access data and more

Recent updates to include the blog post Finance for the Future: How Fintech Can Help African Governments Leverage Public Resources for More Inclusive WASH. mhm

Also the May 28, 2019 issue of the Global Waters newsletter features articles on menstrual hygiene management, a podcast on Strengthening Water Security in the Sahel and features on USAID projects in the Philippines and Madagascar.


Health Risks for Sanitation Service Workers along a Container-Based Urine Collection System and Resource Recovery Value Chain. Environ. Sci. Technol., May 13, 2019. This study assessed occupational exposure to rotavirus and Shigella spp. during CBS urine collection and subsequent struvite fertilizer production in eThekwini, South Africa.

What If Your Husband Doesn’t Feel the Pressure? An Exploration of Women’s Involvement in WaSH Decision Making in Nyanchwa, Kenya. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, May 2019. From this research, it is evident that economic challenges and cultural factors such as male dominance, greatly inhibit women and girls’ participation in WaSH decision-making and implementation processes. Other factors such as time constraints and low literacy rates also emerged.

Mapping access to domestic water supplies from incomplete data in developing countries: An illustrative assessment for Kenya. PLoS One, May 17, 2019. In developing countries where geospatial datasets concerning drinking-water sources often have necessarily limited resolution or incomplete spatial coverage, the modelled surface can provide an initial indication of the geography of unimproved drinking-water sources to target unserved populations and assess water source vulnerability to contamination and hazards.

Impacts of using the electronic-health education program ‘The Vicious Worm’ for prevention of Taenia solium. Acta Tropica, May 2019. Introduction to ‘The Vicious Worm’ led to changed practices and persistence in knowledge regarding T. solium.

The Impact of Improved Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene on Oral Rotavirus Vaccine Immunogenicity in Zimbabwean Infants: Substudy of a Cluster-randomized Trial. Clinical Infectious Diseases, March 2019. Improvements in household WASH led to modest but significant increases in seroconversion to RVV in rural Zimbabwean infants.

Feasibility of a Comprehensive Targeted Cholera Intervention in The Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 1 May 2019. Founded on a strengthened surveillance system, the CTI approach combines pointed health behavior messaging with traditional water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions and a single-dose OCV campaign (estimated to have a short term effectiveness of 87%) to prevent the spread of cholera once it strikes.


The Sanitation Cityscape Conceptual Framework: understanding urban sanitation systems – Paper for the WASH systems symposium. IRC, 2019. Using the Sanitation Cityscape Framework, 16 indicators describe the sanitation service delivery context under 4 thematic areas.

WHO resolution on Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities. WHO, 2019. The Executive Board, Having considered the report on patient safety: water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities, RECOMMENDS to the Seventy-second World Health Assembly the adoption of the following resolution.


Is There a Community of Practice for Handwashing Implementers in Lower-and-Middle-Income Countries? GHP, May 6, 2019. This video presents the landscape of communities of practice for handwashing programming in various contexts.

Menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian situations

May 28, 2019 is Menstrual Hygiene Day and below are excerpts from the May 23, 2019 issue of Water Currents: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 on menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian situations.

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 – This global advocacy platform for MH Day brings together the voices and actions of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector, and the media to promote MHM for all women and girls. This website contains campaign materials for this year’s theme—It’s Time for Action—and a list of events and resources. mhday2019

WASH Innovation Challenge on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and Incontinence – Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund is launching a challenge May 23, 2019, and will be seeking innovative projects exploring how to design safe and dignified MHM spaces in emergency camp settings and how to better engage with and understand the needs of people with incontinence in emergencies. We will especially welcome applications from broad partnerships that include NGOs as well as designers, academic institutions and local organisations, and we expect that any approach would take a participatory and user-centred approach to developing the innovation. Additional information will soon be posted on the Elrha’s website. You can also get in touch with Cecilie Hestbaek,, and Sophie Van Eetvelt,, for more information and advice on how to prepare for the call.

MHM and Humanitarian Situations
Pilot Study Findings on the Provision of Hygiene Kits with Reusable Sanitary PadsUnited Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), December 2018. In collaboration with AFRIpads, UNHCR Sub-Office Mbarara implemented a three-month pilot intervention to test the acceptability of introducing reusable sanitary pads to schoolgirls in the refugee context.

Periods Don’t Stop in Emergencies: Addressing the Menstrual Hygiene Needs of Women and GirlsHumanitarian Innovation Fund, August 2018. This article discusses the challenges that women and girls face around menstrual hygiene in emergencies.

Exploring Menstrual Practices and Potential Acceptability of Reusable Menstrual Underwear among a Middle Eastern Population Living in a Refugee SettingInternational Journal of Women’s Health, July 2018. Primary data analysis of narratives around the beliefs, behaviors, and practices of menstrual hygiene in this population revealed key themes related to the physical environment; the social environment; cleanliness, comfort, and health; and adaptation and coping.

Pilot Testing and Evaluation of a Toolkit for Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies in Three Refugee Camps in Northwest TanzaniaJournal for International Humanitarian Action, June 2018.  This paper describes the development and pilot testing of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies Toolkit in three camps hosting Burundian and Congolese refugees in northwest Tanzania.

Improving Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergency Contexts: Literature Review of Current PerspectivesInternational Journal of Women’s Health, April 2018. The objective of this review was to collate, summarize, and appraise existing peer-reviewed and gray literature that describes the current scenario of MHM in emergency contexts to understand the breadth and depth of current policies, guidelines, empirical research, and humanitarian aid activities addressing populations’ menstrual needs.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies ToolkitColumbia University Mailman School of Public HealthInternational Rescue Committee, 2017. The toolkit provides streamlined guidance to support organizations and agencies seeking to rapidly integrate MHM into existing programming across sectors and phases.

MHM and Waste Disposal
Menstrual Hygiene Management and Waste Disposal in Low and Middle Income Countries—A Review of the LiteratureInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, November 2018. A literature review showed that MHM and sanitation value chains often neglect the disposal of menstrual waste, leading to improper disposal and negative impacts on users, sanitation systems, and the environment.

Menstrual Hygiene, Management, and Waste Disposal: Practices and Challenges Faced by Girls/Women of Developing Countries. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, February 2018. At home, women dispose of menstrual products with other domestic waste. Outside of the home, they often flush them in public toilets without knowing the consequences of choking sewer pipelines.

Menstrual Waste Management: A Simple GuideMinistry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, 2019. This guide discusses composting and small-scale incineration of disposed menstrual hygiene products.

Continue reading

Water Currents: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019. Water Currents, May 23, 2019.

Every May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) raises awareness and combats taboos associated with menstrual hygiene with the goal of enabling women and girls to achieve their full potential. mhday2019

The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019—It’s Time for Action—not only emphasizes the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to unlock economic and educational opportunities for women and girls.

Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality are core operating principles of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID Water and Development Plan. To alleviate a major constraint to women’s and girls’ participation in education and public life, USAID seeks to integrate menstrual hygiene management (MHM) interventions where practical and improve MHM in key settings, including schools.

As a contribution to MH Day 2019, this issue contains links to recent studies on “period poverty,” MHM and its impact on schooling/education, MHM in humanitarian situations, and other MHM–related topics.

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 – This global advocacy platform for MH Day brings together the voices and actions of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector, and the media to promote MHM for all women and girls. This website contains campaign materials for this year’s theme—It’s Time for Action—and a list of events and resources.

WASH Innovation Challenge on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and Incontinence – Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund is launching a challenge May 23, 2019, and will be seeking innovative projects exploring how to design safe and dignified MHM spaces in emergency camp settings and how to better engage with and understand the needs of people with incontinence in emergencies. Additional information will soon be posted on the Elrha’s website.

MHM Overviews
What Is the Point of a Period? Scientific American, May 2019. Age-old taboos against menstruation have led to a lack of research on how women’s menstrual cycles work, with serious consequences for their health.

Period Poverty Impact on the Economic Empowerment of WomenKnowledge, Learning and Evidence for Knowledge, January 2019. Period poverty refers to a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. The problem exists in high as well as low- and middle-income countries.

Read the complete issue.