Category Archives: Sanitary Facilities

Hazard and Environmental Considerations in Toilet Design

Live & Learn Environmental Education’s training manual for toilet location and design is now available in English and Bislama! This practical manual contains a training schedule, and step-by-step instructions for the range of issues that need to be considered when a person or family decides to improve their household toilet – including cost, management of solid waste, and potential natural and environmental hazards.

This publication was supported by the Australian government, through the Civil Society WASH Program.

You can read or download Hazard and Environmental Considerations in Toilet Design resource here.

Sanitation Sustainability Index

A new index for on-site sanitation systems is proposed and tested in the context of South Korea. It incorporates the technical, social, and economic aspects of sanitation systems, including onsite waste recycling.

Hashemi, S. Sanitation Sustainability Index: A Pilot Approach to Develop a Community-Based Indicator for Evaluating Sustainability of Sanitation SystemsSustainability 202012, 6937. DOI:10.3390/su12176937

Abstract: Evaluating the sustainability of sanitation systems is essential in achieving the sixth sustainable development goal. However, there are only limited number of available evaluation indexes, which are utilized to macroscopically determine a community’s sanitation coverage. Consequently, an index is required, which can evaluate different sanitation options for a specific community. In this paper, the sanitation sustainability index (SSI) is suggested as an indicator for evaluating the sustainability of sanitation systems. The SSI has sub-indexes that consider the technical, social, and economic aspects of the sanitation system, and all the variables are dimensionless and heavily dependent on the current state of the community where the sanitation system is going to be implemented. The applicability of the SSI was demonstrated by evaluating the implementation of two onsite sanitation systems, including one septic tank system and one resource-oriented sanitation (ROS) system in South Korea. A sensitivity analysis defined the variables that have significant impact, and the statistical distribution of the SSI for both systems was forecasted. The results showed that for South Korea, which has a profound history of utilizing human waste as fertilizer, utilizing the resource-oriented sanitation system is more sustainable, although it has a lower social sub-index score compared to the septic tank system.

Sustainable WASH Systems – Water Currents, April 15, 2020

Sustainable WASH Systems – Water Currents, April 15, 2020

This issue of Water Currents focuses on the work of the many local governments, communities, and sector partners, as well as investments by USAID in programs like the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) that are exploring new approaches to strengthening local systems to achieve greater service sustainability.

In addition to SWS, we would also like to thank Agenda for ChangeMillennium Water Alliance, and the Institute for Sustainable Futures for contributing to this issue.

Learning Documents
Strengthening Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Systems: Concepts, Examples, and ExperiencesAgenda for Change, February 2020. This paper describes the concepts, frameworks, and tools that Agenda for Change members use for analyzing systems; provides practical examples of systems strengthening efforts; and outlines the journeys that members have gone through in progressively embracing systems strengthening approaches.

System Approaches to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: A Systematic Literature ReviewInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, January 2020. Based on this review, the authors propose four recommendations for improving the evidence base on evaluating interconnections among factors within WASH systems.

Sustaining Rural Water: A Comparative Study of Maintenance Models for Community-Managed SchemesSWS, July 2019. This study considers different variations of maintenance approaches. It provides a typology for characterizing maintenance service provision models, a framework for analyzing them, and an in-depth study of seven maintenance models that represent different cases from the typology of approaches.

Application of the District-Wide Approach in 5 Pilot Districts of Rwanda: Lessons LearnedAgenda for Change, February 2020. The district-wide approach is a relevant and effective approach for articulating WASH plans and to get buy-in from various stakeholders for attaining universal access and the stakeholders’ roles therein. As both a process and an output to investment planning, the district-wide approach has been effective.

Understanding Rural Water Services as a Complex System: An Assessment of Key Factors as Potential Leverage Points for Improved Service SustainabilitySustainability, February 2020. Researchers conducted four participatory factor mapping workshops with local stakeholders across multiple rural water contexts to identify the factors and interactions that support service sustainability.

Read the complete issue.

Article for discussion – Impact of an intervention to improve pit latrine emptying practices in low income urban neighborhoods of Maputo, Mozambique

We are posting this research article for discussion and below is an abstract and link to the full-text. Please leave any comments or questions about the study in the Comments section:

Impact of an intervention to improve pit latrine emptying practices in low income urban neighborhoods of Maputo, Mozambique. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Volume 226, May 2020. Authors: Drew Capone, Helen Buxton, Oliver Cumming, Robert Dreibelbis, Jackie Knee, Rassul Nalá, Ian Ross, Joe Brown

Link to full-text: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463919310260

Safe fecal sludge management (FSM) – the hygienic emptying, transport, and treatment for reuse or disposal of fecal sludge – is an essential part of safely managed sanitation, especially in towns and cities in low- and middle-income countries with limited sewer coverage.

The need for safe and affordable FSM services has become more acute as cities grow and densify. Hygienic pit-emptying uses equipment that limits direct human exposure with fecal sludge and hygienic transport conveys fecal sludge offsite for treatment.

We evaluated whether a program of on-site sanitation infrastructure upgrades and FSM capacity development in urban Maputo, Mozambique resulted in more hygienic pit-emptying and safe transportation of fecal sludge.

We compared reported emptying practices among multi-household compounds receiving sanitation upgrades with control compounds, both from the Maputo Sanitation (MapSan) trial at 24–36 months after the intervention. Intervention compounds (comprising 1–40 households, median = 3) received a subsidized pour-flush latrine to septic tank system that replaced an existing shared latrine; control compounds continued using existing shared latrines.

We surveyed compound residents and analyzed available municipal data on FSM in the city. Due to the recent construction of the intervention, emptying was more frequent in control compounds: 5.6% (15/270) of intervention compounds and 30% (74/247) of controls had emptied their on-site sanitation system in the previous year.

Among those compounds which had emptied a sanitation facility in the previous year, intervention compounds were 3.8 (95% CI: 1.4, 10) times more likely to have to done so hygienically.

Results suggest that the construction of subsidized pour-flush sanitation systems increased hygienic emptying of fecal sludge in this setting. Further gains in hygienic emptying in urban Maputo may be limited by affordability and physical accessibility.

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.

Faeces to fertiliser: innovations to solve the world’s toilets crisis

Faeces to fertiliser: innovations to solve the world’s toilets crisis. SciDev, July 2019.

Speed read

  • Pit latrines still best for regions without sewage systems
  • Improvements include membranes to collect faeces and dry flushes to save water
  • Community buy-in crucial to toilet innovation success

With nearly 1.4 billion people still lacking access to even the most basic toilet, researchers around the world are looking for innovative solutions, writes Inga Vesper.

First, some good news. Since the year 2000, the number of people forced to defecate in the open has fallen by more than half to an estimated 673 million. However, 2 billion people still lack basic sanitation services, with more than 700 million relying on rudimentary holes or pits, a World Health Organization (WHO) report showed last month. scidev

The problem is concentrated on around 60 high-burden countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, where water is scarce and infrastructure — such as sewer systems and water treatment plants — can be difficult to maintain. Open defecation is widely practised in some countries, but it is not a suitable alternative. It contaminates food and water through flies and can be dangerous to girls and women, as it forces them to seek out isolated spots away from their homes.

But changing toilet practices is surprisingly difficult. “It’s something quite intimate,” says Rémi Kaupp, a sanitation engineer for the UK-based charity WaterAid. “People don’t want governments or agencies to impose what kind of toilet they have in their home. What they want is someone to deal with the aftermath.”

Read the complete article.

Three things we have learned by creating shit-flow diagrams – WaterAid

Three things we have learned by creating shit-flow diagrams. WaterAid Blog, June 2019.

How do you get a full picture of how a city deals (or doesn’t deal) with its waste? Rémi Kaupp, urban sanitation specialist, swears by shit flow diagrams…

Think about your city. Hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of people, going to the toilet, every day. Do you know where it all goes after the toilet? And, crucially, do you know how much of it is treated? wateraid

In many cities where WaterAid works, the answer is: not really. Authorities might have a rough estimate of the proportion of people who have a toilet, and also know where treatment plants are, if there are any – but that’s not the whole picture.

Introducing: the shit flow diagram

To get the full view, my colleagues have been using one of my favourite tools in sanitation: the shit-flow diagram (also called SFD, or ‘excreta-flow diagram’, if you prefer). An SFD looks like the festive picture below. For a given city, green arrows represent the proportions of excreta that are ‘safely managed’ along the whole sanitation chain: from the toilet, through a pit or septic tank, via sewers or sludge tankers, to treatment stations and eventual disposal or reuse.

Read the complete article.

Peri-Urban Sanitation – Water Currents, June 11, 2019

Peri-Urban Sanitation – Water Currents, June 11, 2019.

This issue of Water Currents highlights recent studies and resources on fecal sludge management, container-based sanitation, shared sanitation, and other topics. As noted in USAID’s Water and Development Plan included in the U.S. Global Water Strategy, separating individuals and communities from human waste, properly treating fecal waste, and promoting key behaviors that lessen the risk of illness are critical sanitation and hygiene interventions that reduce diarrheal disease, child mortality, malnutrition, neglected tropical diseases, and other waterborne illnesses, such as cholera. sanergy.png

The first six studies are from the Creating Demand for Peri-Urban Sanitation (SanDem) project, which aims to better understand how to improve the quality of peri-urban sanitation using demand-side/behavior change approaches in Lusaka, Zambia.

We would like to thank staff from Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) for contributing content to this issue. SHARE generates evidence to improve policy and practice worldwide to achieve universal access to effective, sustainable, and equitable sanitation and hygiene.

Read the complete issue.

Webinar – Female-friendly public and community toilets

WaterAid, UNICEF and WSUP would like to invite you to the upcoming webinar on Female Friendly Public and Community toilets.
Date: Wednesday 3rd April
Time: 10am GMT

Join using this link: https://meet.lync.com/wateraid/andreshueso/CK25SZ4Y. If you have trouble joining, try the Skype Web App https://meet.lync.com/wateraid/andreshueso/CK25SZ4Y?sl=1.

Female-Friendly Public and Community Toilets: a discussion about why we need them and how to design them

Public and community toilets are often dirty, poorly maintained and have not been designed to meet the requirements of women and girls. But Governments and city planners can and should improve this situation by a) including women in the planning process and b) following basic principles of universal design that ensure public and community toilets are accessible for all users, are secure and well located, include context specific menstrual health features, cater for caring responsibilities (of all genders) and are maintained for cleanliness and safety. The practical “Female-friendly public and community toilets” guide is designed to help city authorities, planners and NGOs identify areas that lack public and community toilets and check if existing toilets are female-friendly while also giving some practical guidance for non-negotiable design elements. The webinar will highlight why it is important to look at public and community toilets through a gender lens, giving time for discussion and hoping for feedback from participants.

Presenters:
Priya Nath: Equality, Inclusion and Rights Advisor, WaterAid, UK
Olutayo Bankole Bolawole: East Africa Regional Director, WaterAid, Uganda
Lizette Burgers: Senior Advisor WASH, UNICEF, USA
Sam Drabble: Head of Research and Learning, WSUP, UK

The webinar will be recorded for those that cannot attend.

The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia

The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, March 2019.

This study explored the social dynamics affecting collective management of shared sanitation in the Bauleni compound of Lusaka, Zambia. In-depth interviews were conducted with landlords (n = 33) and tenants (n = 33). Elinor Ostrom’s eight design principles for the management of common-pool resources was used as a framework to analyse the data. jnl

Social capital within plots was also assessed. Pit latrines were predominantly shared by landlords and tenants on residential plots. However, unwelcome non-plot members also used the latrines due to a lack of physical boundaries. Not all plot members fulfilled their cleaning responsibilities equally, thereby compromising the intended benefits for those conforming. Landlords typically decided on latrine improvements independent of tenants.

Latrines were not systematically monitored or maintained, but punishment for non-conformers was proportionate to the level of infraction. There was no system in place for conflict resolution, nor local organizations to regulate the management of sanitation. Lastly, there were few enterprises associated with peri-urban sanitation.

Social capital was moderately high, and tenants were willing to invest money into improving sanitation. The social dynamics illuminated here provide an important basis for the development of a behavioural intervention targeted towards improving urban sanitation.