Category Archives: Africa

Indigenous plants for informal greywater treatment and reuse by some households in Ghana

Indigenous plants for informal greywater treatment and reuse by some households in Ghana. Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination (2018) 8 (4): 553-565.

Poor greywater management is one of Ghana’s sanitation nightmares due to longstanding neglect. This study looks at local practices of informal phytoremediation, and identifies commonly used plants and benefits. Greywater (kitchen, bathroom and laundry) is mainly disposed of into the open, with few using septic tanks and soakaway systems.

The majority of respondents perceived plants as agents of treatment and most could list 1–2 beneficial functions of the plants. A total of 1,259 plant groups were identified which belonged to 36 different plant species. The top five indigenous plants used are sugarcane, banana/plantain, taro, sweet/wild basil, and dandelion.

The major plant benefits identified were food and medicine. Statistically, no association was identified between the numbers of plants grown and their perceived plant roles, with the exception of an association between plant numbers and benefits. There is demand for improving local practices of using plants in greywater treatment and reuse, since native plants also come with other benefits.

Involving local communities for sustainable WASH in Schools

This IRC WASH Talk podcast episode discusses the creative solutions Simavi and Aqua for All use in Africa.

The importance of WASH in schools has been globally recognised by its inclusion in the SDG targets 4.a, 6.1 and 6.2. WASH coverage in schools is not adequate. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 53% of schools have limited drinking water services, 14% have limited sanitation services and 21% have basic hygiene services. (Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: Global baseline report 2018)

In episode 20 of WASH Talk, host Andy Narracott talks about WASH in schools with Linda Lilian, Knowledge Management and Learning Specialist at Simavi Uganda and Machtelt Oudenhuijzen, Senior Programme Manager at Aqua for All and lead of the Football for Water programme.

Linda is involved in the WASH and Learn! programme which Simavi is leading with six local partners in Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda. Linda shares examples on generating income to maintain facilities in schools, involving school leaders, communities, parents and children. Policies differ per country so context specific solutions need to be found. Machtelt as lead of Football for Water, a unique programme in Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique, explains that it is difficult to motivate local stakeholders. Therefore, they advise on appropriate design, easy to clean facilities that are affordable and safe for children. Football for Water uses the game of football to instigate behaviour change in children and teaches them life skills.

For more on WASH in Schools click on the link

Shared Sanitation Management and the Role of Social Capital: Findings from an Urban Sanitation Intervention in Maputo, Mozambique

Shared Sanitation Management and the Role of Social Capital: Findings from an Urban Sanitation Intervention in Maputo, MozambiqueInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2222; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102222

Shared sanitation—sanitation facilities shared by multiple households—is increasingly common in rapidly growing urban areas in low-income countries. However, shared sanitation facilities are often poorly maintained, dissuading regular use and potentially increasing disease risk.

In a series of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, we explored the determinants of shared sanitation management within the context of a larger-scale health impact evaluation of an improved, shared sanitation facility in Maputo, Mozambique. ijerph-logo

We identified a range of formal management practices users developed to maintain shared sanitation facilities, and found that management strategies were associated with perceived latrine quality.

However—even within an intervention context—many users reported that there was no formal system for management of sanitation facilities at the compound level. Social capital played a critical role in the success of both formal and informal management strategies, and low social capital was associated with collective action failure.

Shared sanitation facilities should consider ways to support social capital within target communities and identify simple, replicable behavior change models that are not dependent on complex social processes.

Assessing equity: a way to improve sanitation service delivery in South African informal settlements

Assessing equity: a way to improve sanitation service delivery in South African informal settlements. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, September 2018.

This paper discusses the need to incorporate equity assessment into the planning and monitoring of sanitation service delivery to South African informal settlements. Equity assessment criteria were drawn from literature and a study of sanitation service delivery to informal settlements in three South African municipalities (Cape Town, Johannesburg and eThekwini) over the period 2012–2015. wash

Three key dimensions of equity – resource allocation, access and stakeholder perceptions – were identified. These had eight associated criteria: (1) funds allocated for basic sanitation, (2) number of staff allocated to informal settlements, (3) disparities in access, (4) proportion of functioning sanitation facilities, (5) menstrual hygiene management (MHM) inclusion, (6) access to information, (7) meets users’ notions of dignity, and (8) integration of the perspectives of key stakeholders.

Key findings of the study indicate that the current focus on reducing service backlogs largely ignores equity and there is a need to better address this through the incorporation of: equity assessments, improving access to information, and the inclusion of marginalised communities in the planning of sanitation services.

Collective Efficacy: Development and Validation of a Measurement Scale for Use in Public Health and Development Programmes

Collective Efficacy: Development and Validation of a Measurement Scale for Use in Public Health and Development ProgrammesInt. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2139. ijerph-logo

Impact evaluations of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions have demonstrated lower than expected health gains, in some cases due to low uptake and sustained adoption of interventions at a community level. These findings represent common challenges for public health and development programmes relying on collective action.

One possible explanation may be low collective efficacy (CE)—perceptions regarding a group’s ability to execute actions related to a common goal. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a metric to assess factors related to CE. We conducted this research within a cluster-randomised sanitation and hygiene trial in Amhara, Ethiopia.

Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were carried out to examine underlying structures of CE for men and women in rural Ethiopia. We produced three CE scales: one each for men and women that allow for examinations of gender-specific mechanisms through which CE operates, and one 26-item CE scale that can be used across genders.

All scales demonstrated high construct validity. CE factor scores were significantly higher for men than women, even among household-level male-female dyads. These CE scales will allow implementers to better design and target community-level interventions, and examine the role of CE in the effectiveness of community-based programming.

SEI – How can sanitation policy deliver in Africa? Insights from Rwanda and Uganda

How can sanitation policy deliver in Africa? Insights from Rwanda and Uganda. Stockholm Environment Institute, August 2018.

Sanitation is currently high on the international development agenda. But for policy to be effective, basic enabling factors are required – the right institutional environment and the right governance structures – which in many countries are not yet fully in place.

It is even more important to get these basic factors right as increasing numbers of public, private, and philanthropic bodies at different levels of society become involved in promoting and providing sanitation, driven largely by global goals and international development agendas.

This growing focus on sanitation has led to top-down pressure to meet prescribed targets, which in most cases miss the complexity of context, distort service priorities, and in some cases compromise sustainability.

Based on four years of research in Rwanda and Uganda examining sanitation governance structures, the author sets out policy insights on what is needed for sanitation policy to succeed in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Scoop on Poop: How Open Defecation Free Data Led to Activity Program Pivots in Ethiopia’s Lowlands

The Scoop on Poop: How Open Defecation Free Data Led to Activity Program Pivots in Ethiopia’s Lowlands. Author(s):Nikita Salgaonkar. Organization(s):USAID/Ethiopia, AECOM, September 2018. cla

Sanitation behavior change is a notoriously complex intervention. In the harsh, remote environment of the Ethiopian lowlands, this is particularly so. Community-Led Total Sanitation and Hygiene (CLTSH) interventions, while successful in Ethiopia’s densely populated highland areas, have never been implemented at scale in the lowlands.

We learned that in these communities, dominated by (semi-) pastoralist groups, that the operating conditions for effective, sustained behavior change are highly variable. A Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) approach helped the program team define, pivot and re-design activities that addressed project effectiveness.

Our experience is drawn from the USAID/Ethiopia-funded Lowland Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Activity that works to accelerate access to improved WASH in three rural lowland regions: Afar, Somali, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples (SNNP).

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