Category Archives: Progress on Sanitation

Moving Towards ODF Status in Cambodia: iDE Shares Findings in New Tactic Reports

3-2-iDE-Cambodia WASH DIB-PR-07_Photo by Chhom DinatSince the beginning of iDE Cambodia’s sanitation marketing initiative in 2009, we have facilitated the sale of over 325,000 latrines, while sanitation coverage has increased from 23% to over 70% in the provinces where we work. Our latest tactic reports provide new insight into how this expansion of sanitation coverage was achieved:

Reaching Open Defecation Free Status with Grassroots Partnerships

iDE is supporting the further development of a sustainable sanitation ecosystem, to and beyond Open Defecation Free status. Our Cambodia team’s Public Private Partnership Department is facilitating deeper connections between the private sector and government, while generating, sharing, and applying market data to help communities bridge the gap to ODF. 

Reaching the Poorest with Sanitation Through Targeted Subsidies

A recent World Bank report describes several common pitfalls of the delivery of WASH subsidies worldwide, including being pervasive and poorly targeted, non-transparent, expensive for implementers, and distortionary for markets. iDE developed its targeted subsidy model to address each of these issues and help poor household sustainably participate in the Cambodian sanitation market.

Addressing Fecal Sludge Management in Rural Locations

iDE is scaling supply and sales of a new type of Alternating Dual Pit product. Equipped with lime treatment service and a device to indicate when the new pit is filling, this technology allows customers to alternate pits back and forth and empty safely composted waste indefinitely. Guiding businesses deeper into the sanitation market has been a challenge, and in order to more smoothly facilitate this process iDE has increased support for businesses on ways to retain staff, provide adequate protection and equipment, and follow a cleaner, safer installation protocol.


iDE pioneered the market-based approach in sanitation, incorporating private businesses, NGOs, and government stakeholders. In 2003, iDE launched the world’s first market-based sanitation program in Vietnam, and, since then, the model has been successfully replicated across iDE’s global portfolio and by other organizations.

Celebrating the Sanitation Learning Hub’s new lease of life

Celebrating the Sanitation Learning Hub’s new lease of life. CLTS Knowledge Hub, November 2019.

Over the past few years, the Sanitation Learning Hub has responded to this challenge by broadening its focus to include an array of community-focused approaches, as an innovator within the sector. clts

The Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach still plays an important part but is no longer the sole focus of the Hub, and a new, more encompassing name, the Sanitation Learning Hub, promotes and reflects this change in focus.

Going forward, the thrust of the Hub’s work will be to promote timely, rapid and adaptive learning and sharing, alongside honest reflections of what works and what doesn’t.

The Hub will also be playing an important role in tackling essential emerging questions and issues within the sector such as:

  • How to achieve safely managed sanitation for all
  • The complex and different challenges of urban, peri-urban and rural settings
  • How to ‘Leave No One Behind’ in programming
  • The value of gender transformative approaches
  • How to strengthen supply chains in order to climb the sanitation ladder
  • Better understanding of the links between sanitation, hygiene and other endemic issues such as undernutrition
  • The need to prioritise hygiene practices, especially handwashing
  • How to tackle ‘slippage’ back to open defecation.

Read the complete article.

Why are support mechanisms in rural sanitation programming important?

Why are support mechanisms in rural sanitation programming important? CLTS Knowledge Hub, November 2019. clts

In this blog I give recommendations for introducing additional support mechanisms into rural sanitation programming. It includes some great case studies from Vietnam, Zambia and Tanzania where support mechanisms have been successfully combined with community-led processes to support the most disadvantaged people gain access to sanitation facilities.

This newsletter is largely inspired by the recent edition of Frontiers: Support Mechanisms to strengthen equality and non-discrimination in rural sanitation (part 2 of 2).

Support mechanisms: what are we talking about?

Support mechanisms encompass both ‘hardware’ mechanisms (for example, financial and physical subsidies) and ‘software’ approaches (for example, inclusive sanitation training, research or policies), as well as various combinations of the two.

Read the complete article.

3 ways India can tackle its human-waste problem

3 ways India can tackle its human-waste problem. World Economic Forum, October 2019.

On 2 October, the government of India declared the country open defecation-free (ODF). This is a significant milestone, which has addressed mindset, behavioural change and infrastructure gaps “Before the Flush”. But what happens “After the Flush”?

It is estimated that poor sanitation costs India 5.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually. While much is being done to create access to toilets, the fact remains more than 57% of human waste globally is not contained, transported, or treated in a way that safely contains harmful pathogens. wef

A staggering 78% of sewage generated in India remains untreated and is unsafely disposed of in rivers, groundwater or lakes, contaminating 90% of all surface water.

India must find ways to manage its faecal sludge to secure clean water sources to meet the needs of its burgeoning population of 1.37 billion, and facilitate their healthy, productive participation in the economy.

Read the complete article.

Tackling slippage – Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights

Tackling slippage – Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights, September 2019.

This issue of Frontiers of CLTS explores current thinking and practice on the topic of tackling slippage of open defecation free (ODF) status. clts

It looks at how slippage is defined and identified, and at different patterns of slippage that are seen after ODF is declared.

Although a considerable amount has been written on how to establish strong Community-Led Total sanitation (CLTS) programmes that prevent slippage from happening, this issue looks at how to reverse slippage that has already taken place.

From the literature, there is little documented evidence on how slippage can be reversed; evidence and guidance tend to focus on prevention. This review begins to address this gap.

Implementers are encouraged to use the proposed patterns of slippage
framework and slippage factors section to understand the type and extent of slippage experienced, then use the examples in the section on tackling slippage to identify potential slippage responses.

UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2019 report National systems to support drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene – Global status report 2019

UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2019 report: National systems to support drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene – Global status report 2019. WHO; UN Water, August 2019. who

There is widespread recognition that sustainable and effective WASH service delivery is not only determined by the state of infrastructure, but also by complex institutional, governance and financial management systems.

While a “system” may be interpreted or defined in different ways, core elements examined by the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) initiative include the extent to which countries develop and implement national policies and plans for WASH, conduct regular monitoring, regulate and take corrective action as needed, and coordinate these parallel processes with sufficient financial resources and support from strong national institutions.

GLAAS findings on the status of WASH systems are varied. Most countries have requisite components in place, but many countries responded that they have yet to operationalize and fully implement measures to support and strengthen their national WASH systems.

GLAAS findings highlight gaps and vulnerabilities in WASH systems and the need for further strengthening to assure sustainable and effective WASH service delivery in countries.

GLAAS data also allow an analysis of the extent to which, almost five years into the SDG period, countries have responded to the ambitious WASH targets established by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With the understanding that achieving SDG 6 will require dramatic changes by countries, the GLAAS results show encouraging signs that countries have begun efforts to align with elements of the SDGs this early in the SDG era. However, the results of these efforts, and the vast majority of WASH progress in countries, are still to come.

Keep It Simple, Sanitation – experiences of app development

Keep It Simple, Sanitation – experiences of app development, by Rosie Renouf, Research Officer, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP). WASHfunders blog, July 25, 2019.

Going to the toilet hasn’t changed much over the last few millennia and the nuts and bolts of the biological side of it are unlikely to change anytime soon. What has changed over the last 20 years of so, though, is our ability to collect reams of information about where we go to the loo, what we do when we get there, and what happens afterwards. Tools like Shit Flow Diagrams give a clear picture of where human waste goes, while organisations like mWater or Gather are pioneering ways of sharing real-time data about WASH. washfunders

While the act of going to the toilet hasn’t changed, removing waste safely is getting much more complex as urbanisation pushes more people closer together. WSUP works in crowded, low-income areas that lack adequate water or sanitation, and we recognise that information about residents and the services they can access is needed as much as infrastructure – perhaps even more so.

This blog shares our experience of developing a mobile phone application for the people who work in sanitation in those cities: the business owners who own the tankers that travel across the city emptying full pit latrines and septic tanks, and the employees who drive and operate them. Our main recommendation: keep it simple!

Tech and toilets

The FSM5 conference held in Cape Town earlier this year showcased a wealth of examples of data being captured, analysed and used to improve urban sanitation services around the world. For example, Sanergy, the container-based sanitation company operating in Nairobi, explored using sensors in their Fresh Life Toilets to record use and estimate toilet fill level as a way of improving waste collection.

In two cities in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme is tracking and scheduling regular desludging online, with households automatically scheduled for a vacuum tanker visit based on the date that their facility was last emptied. They have also developed an app that monitors urban local bodies’ progress in improving septage management.

The overarching aim isn’t to produce something shiny or to reinvent the wheel – it’s to help sanitation service providers do their jobs and to ensure that as many people as possible can access safe sanitation services. So the real question is: how do we not only collect data but how can it be made useful to those who need it?

Read the complete article.