Category Archives: Research

Biweekly WASH research updates – January 4, 2021

This biweekly update contains the latest updates to Globalwaters.org as well as recent studies and reports handwashing, sanitation, WASH in schools, WASH in healthcare facilities, water supply issues and COVID-19 and WASH.

Updates to Globalwaters.org

Environmental Health

Using Feedback to Improve Accountability in Global Environmental Health and Engineering. Environ. Sci. Technol., December 2020. 

Handwashing/Hygiene

An assessment of availability of handwashing facilities in households from four East African countries. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. In press, 2020. 

Sanitation

Philippines: Can Subsidized Microloans Increase Toilet Ownership and Use for Poor Households? World Bank, November 2020. 

How Much Will Safe Sanitation for All Cost? Evidence from Five Cities. Environ. Sci. Technol., December 2020. (Abstract only for non-subscribers)

Cost effectiveness of community led total sanitation in Ethiopia and Ghana. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, March 2021. 

Water, Sanitation and the Risk of Chronic Conditions among Older Persons in Ghana: Results from the WHO Study on Global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Wave 2. African Population and Health Research Center, December 2020.

Modification of Major Contributors Responsible for Latrine Malodor on Exposure to Hypochlorous Acid: The Potential for Simultaneously Impacting Odor and Infection Hazards to Encourage Latrine Use. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, December 2020. 

Water Supply/Reuse

Evaluating self-reported measures and alternatives to monitor access to drinking water: A case study in Malawi. Science of The Total Environment, January 2021.

25 Years of Partnership with Karnataka: Evolving Model for Sustainable Urban Water Service Delivery. Asian Development Bank, December 2020. 

Announcing Release of USAID Water for the World Implementation Research Agenda

Dear Colleagues and Partners, 

I am pleased to announce that USAID has released its first-ever “Water for the World Implementation Research Agenda.” A newly published Globalwaters.org blog frames the key evidence gaps and questions included in the document. 

Evidence is critical to effective and efficient water security, sanitation, and hygiene development programming at USAID, among our partner governments, donors, and implementing partners. The research agenda identifies 27 broad research questions that are critical to improving implementation of programs that contribute to the goal and associated Development Results of the USAID Water and Development Plan within the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy. The identification of these questions represents the culmination of an extensive process of exploring the evidence base associated with current approaches to water security, sanitation, and hygiene development programming, and of prioritizing evidence gaps through consultations across USAID and with our partners

The Water for the World Implementation Research Agenda is a key contribution to the Agency’s “evidence cycle.” By looking to the past (through our Ex-Post Evaluation Series) to current evidence (through our Water and Development Technical Series) and to the future (through this agenda), USAID is seeking to coalesce partners and the sector around approaches that last, and to measure those results in meaningful ways (see our Water and Development Indicator Handbook).

The Water for the World Implementation Research Agenda will guide investments in implementation research across USAID’s water security, sanitation, and hygiene portfolio. We look forward to working with you on expanding the evidence base to improve the impact and sustainability of our work on water security, sanitation, and hygiene for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

Read the Agenda

Jeff Goldberg
Director, Center for Water Security, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Bureau for Resilience and Food Security
USAID

Biweekly WASH research updates – December 8, 2020

Updates to Globalwaters.org

Blog – USAID Launches Water for the World Research Agenda – The agenda identifies 27 broad research questions that are critical to closing the lingering evidence gaps directly related to accomplishing all four USAID Water and Development Plan Development Results.

Blog – Less is More: Reducing Water Loss to Improve Resilience in Iraq – USAID and Coca-Cola through the Water and Development Alliance (WADA) have partnered with the Soran Water Directorate to improve water management practices and increase water availability by reducing water loss.

Blog – Emergency WASH Network’s Q & A With Albert Reichert – My name is Albert Reichert and I am one of the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance’s WASH Technical Advisors. I am an engineer by training, specializing in groundwater and surface water flows. I was based in East Africa for the past 10 years and cover East and parts of Southern Africa for BHA WASH.

Upcoming Webinar – WASH Collaboration: Two Projects, One Result – The presenters will discuss how the two projects collaborated successfully to advance WASH development in Ethiopia, and how other projects might increase the sustainability and impact of infrastructure-focused support through partnership and learning. Join the webinar on Wednesday, December 9.

Publication – Water Currents: Inclusive WASH – December 3, 2020 – This issue contains the latest studies and resources detailing inclusive WASH as it relates to gender, disabled groups, the elderly, incarcerated populations, and other at-risk groups.

 COVID-19 and WASH

Preparing for Outbreaks – Implications for Resilient Water Utility Operations and Services. Sustainable Cities and Society, January 2021. The purpose of this article is to discuss the economic and public health impact of outbreaks on water and wastewater utilities and utility workforce and to present case studies demonstrating utilities’ preparedness and response to COVID-19.

Institutionalising Wastewater Surveillance Systems to Minimise the Impact of COVID-19: Cases of Indonesia, Japan and Viet Nam. Water, Science and Technology, November 2020. This mini review describes the current status and challenges regarding institutionalization of wastewater surveillance systems against COVID-19.

Open Defecation and Squat Toilets, an Overlooked Risk of Fecal transmission of COVID-19 and Other Pathogens in Developing Communities. Environmental Chemistry Letters, November 2020. The authors illustrate the potential routes of transmission of COVID-19 and other fecal pathogens via human feces in communities practicing open defecation. Here, poor hand hygiene, contaminated shoes and objects, mechanical vectors, and outdoor human activities can all contribute to fecal transmission

HYGIENE/HANDWASHING ISSUES

Exploring the Use and Appeal of Playpens to Protect Infants from Exposure to Animals, Animal Feces, and Dirt in Rural Ethiopia. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, November 2020. Results support further exploration of the potential benefits and commercial viability of scaling up use of playpens in rural, agricultural households as part of a comprehensive approach to child development and women’s empowerment.

Can Social Motivators Improve Handwashing Behavior among Children? Evidence from a Cluster Randomized Trial of a School Hygiene Intervention in the Philippines. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, November 2020. The program had limited impact on the motivators targeted by the program, suggesting that the small improvements in handwashing may have been driven by increases in the availability of soap.

SANITATION ISSUES

Faecal Sludge Management in Africa. Socio-Economic Aspects, Human and Environmental Health. UNEP; IWMI, November 2020. This report explores current trends of fecal sludge management and how poor management practices worsen human and environmental health across Africa.

Comment: A Call for Global Monitoring of WASH in Wet Markets. Lancet Planetary Health, October 2020. Using monitoring data to target wet markets for hygiene and sanitation infrastructure upgrades, while protecting these marketplaces as vibrant, affordable, community spaces should be the global public health community’s next major focus.

Toilet Alarms: A Novel Application of Latrine Sensors and Machine Learning for Optimizing Sanitation Services in Informal Settlements. Development Engineering, August 2020. This study used cellular-connected motion sensors and machine learning to dynamically predict when daily latrine servicing could be skipped with a low risk of overflow.

What it Takes to Build a Sanitation Market: USAID Transform WASH and the Plastic Toilet Slab in Ethiopia. IRC WASH blog, November 2020. Market facilitation is what USAID Transform WASH is all about, but it takes time, patience, and tenacity. Nothing exemplifies this more than nearly three-years of experience introducing the plastic toilet slab to the Ethiopian market. 

WATER ISSUES

Striving for Borehole Drilling Professionalism in Africa: A Review of a 16-Year Initiative through the Rural Water Supply Network from 2004 to 2020. Water, November 2020. The initiative has raised the profile of drilling professionalism, provided a wealth of materials and inspired others to take action. Thousands of stakeholders have improved their knowledge.

Evidence-Based Chlorination Targets for Household Water Safety in Humanitarian Settings: Recommendations from a Multi-Site Study in Refugee Camps in South Sudan, Jordan, and Rwanda. Water Research, February 2021. Sphere chlorination targets may not ensure household water safety in refugee camps. This is most concerning in camps in hot settings where WASH conditions are poor. The authors investigated post-distribution chlorine decay in multiple refugee camps globally.

Data, Data Everywhere: New World Bank Water Data Portal. World Bank, October 2020. With support from the Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP), the World Bank has just launched the World Bank Water Data Portal. For the first time ever, a curated list of water data from the World Bank and other sources and institutions is now available in one place.

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.

USAID WASH updates | World Water Week and COVID-19 updates | WASH research

UPDATES to Globalwaters.org

NEWS

World Water Week 2020 is cancelled – SIWI.

COVID-19

How Do You Wash Your Hands To Fend Off Coronavirus If Water Is Scarce? NPR Goats and Soda, March 30.

Access to water and COVID-19: seven measures countries in Asia can take now. SEI, April 2020.

COVID-19: The link between transmission, sanitation and hygiene services. WSSCC Blog, April 2020.

Key Recommendations on Water Sanitation and Hygiene: COVID-19 in the community. PAHO, April 2020.

HANDWASHING

Effects of Individual and Combined Water, Sanitation, Handwashing, and Nutritional Interventions on Child Respiratory Infections in Rural Kenya: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 30 March 2020.

Impact of Housing and Infrastructure on handwashing in Peru. International Health, April 2020.

USAID WASH updates | COVID-19 | Recent WASH research

USAID UPDATES

Updates to Globalwaters.org

Exploring a Network’s Value. Lessons from Ethiopia. USAID Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership, March 2020. Overall, it was an important finding that the members find a change of perspective a core value of the network. The project is using a systems approach and seeks to achieve a change in stakeholder understanding through the interventions.

HANDWASHING/HYGIENE

The determinants of handwashing behaviour in domestic settings: An integrative systematic review. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, June 2020. This review demonstrates that our understanding of behavioral determinants remains sub-optimal. We found that there are limitations in the way behavioral determinants are conceptualized and measured and that research is biased towards exploring a narrow range of behavioral determinants.

Webinar on reducing the spread of COVID-19 through handwashing promotion. Wash’Em, March 2020. Webinar – FrenchSpanish | Wash’Em COVID-19 Resources |

Handwashing with soap – a life-saving act. World Bank Water Blog, March 2020. Resources are also needed during a pandemic response to ensure that WASH services continue to function.

Coronavirus: what might more hand washing mean in countries with water shortages?. The Conservation, March 30, 2020. In places where a regular, safe water supply doesn’t exist, the risk of infection could multiply.

Current Priority: Coronavirus. Water Environment Federation, March 27, 2020. Currently, there is no evidence that coronavirus survives the disinfection process for drinking water and wastewater. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. The risk of transmission through feces is expected to be low based on data from previous outbreaks of related coronaviruses. At this time, the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through sewerage systems is thought to be low.

USAID WASH updates | Research on WASH impacts, health, water quality

UPDATES TO Globalwaters.org

PRO-WASH JOB OPENING

Senior Specialist, WASH Governance and Infrastructure – PRO-WASH (Practices, Research and Operations in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is a five-year project led by Save the Children and funded by the USAID Office of Food for Peace (FFP). The Senior Specialist for WASH Governance and Infrastructure has a broad range of experience working across relevant water approaches including IWRM, water governance, water service provisioning, watershed management, and infrastructure.

ECONOMICS/FINANCING

Forecasts of mortality and economic losses from poor water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS One, March 2020. Our simulations suggest that WASH-related mortality will continue to differ markedly across countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In many countries, expected economic growth alone will not be sufficient to eliminate WASH-related mortality or eliminate the economic losses associated with poor access to water and sanitation infrastructure by 2050. In other countries, WASH-related mortality will sharply decline, although the economic losses associated with the time spent collecting water are forecast to persist.

Framing the future for water sector financing. IWA, February 2020. The water sector needs to secure much greater investment, but also to direct this at the most appropriate solutions and to build creditworthy utilities

HEALTH ASPECTS

Changes in historical typhoid transmission across 16 U.S. cities, 1889-1931: Quantifying the impact of investments in water and sewer infrastructures. PLoS NTDs, March 2020. Our findings have important implications for the understanding of typhoid transmission dynamics and potential impact of improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure.

Effect of sanitation improvements on pathogens and microbial source tracking markers in the rural Bangladeshi household environment. Environ. Sci. Technol., March 13, 2020. Incomplete removal of child and animal feces or the compound (versus community-wide) scale of intervention could explain the limited impacts of improved sanitation.

Front-line rural health clinics: Water, sanitation and hygiene access in Ntcheu District (Malawi). Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, 20 March 2020. This study found that rural village health clinics generally had good coverage of water and sanitation, and better access than reported nationwide in rural households or schools, handwashing facilities are an important gap.

USAID WASH updates | Research on MHM, sanitation, nutrition, health

UPDATES TO GLOBALWATERS.ORG:

Menstrual Hygiene Management and Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Review of Existing Evidence. WASHPaLS, 2019. This report presents the findings of the review and describes some of the challenges experienced by working women and provides guidance for future investments.

The State of Women and Water in Cotton Growing Communities in India – One-third of surveyed women in Maharashtra express concerns with the stressful nature of sourcing water.

USAID Launches Bureau for Resilience and Food Security – USAID in the News.

WASH & NUTRITION

Risk factors for child food contamination in low‐income neighbourhoods of Maputo, Mozambique: An exploratory, cross‐sectional study. Maternal & Child Nutrition, March 12. Risk factors for child food contamination were identified, including type of food, food preparation practices, and hygiene behaviors. Critical control points included cooking/reheating of food and food storage and handling.

How water impacts early childhood nutrition: An integrated water and nutrition framework. World Bank Water Blog, March 2020. In collaboration with the teams focusing on Agriculture and Health issues at the Bank, the Water team developed an integrated water and nutrition framework to aid in understanding the various ways that water impacts early child nutrition.

SANITATION

Assessing the Impact and Equity of an Integrated Rural Sanitation Approach: A Longitudinal Evaluation in 11 Sub-Saharan Africa and Asian Countries. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, March 2020. We estimate that 4.8 million people gained access to basic sanitation in these areas during the project period. Most countries also demonstrated movement up the sanitation ladder, in addition to increases in handwashing stations and safe disposal of child feces. Results from this study revealed a successful model of rural sanitation service delivery.

This Women’s Day, we need to talk about toilet taxes. ICTD, March 2020.  They found that female traders paid up to 18 times more for their daily use of toilets than they paid in market taxes – equivalent to 20% of their daily income.

USAID WASH updates | Research on open defecation, MHM, water utilities, etc.


Updates to Globalwaters.org
:

Sanitation Studies and Reports

Understanding Open Defecation in the Age of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Agency, Accountability, and Anger in Rural Bihar. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, February 2020. Our study used ethnographic methods to explore perspectives on open defecation and latrine use, and the socio-economic and political reasons for these perspectives, in rural Bihar.

Human fecal contamination of water, soil, and surfaces in households sharing poor-quality sanitation facilities in Maputo, Mozambique. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2020 Mar 2. Our results describe a setting impacted by pervasive domestic fecal contamination, including from human sources, that was largely disconnected from the observed variation in socioeconomic and sanitary conditions.

Practices and Perspectives on Latrine Use, Child Feces Disposal, and Clean Play Environments in Western Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, March 2020. Barriers to safe disposal of child feces were lack of latrines, time associated with safe disposal practices, beliefs that infant feces were not harmful, and not knowing where children had defecated. Primary barriers of clean play environments were associated with creating and maintaining play spaces, and shared human and animal compounds.

Associations between enteric pathogen carriage and height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height in children under 5 years old in urban Dhaka, Bangladesh. Epidemiology and Infection, February 2020.  Stool-based enteric pathogen detection provides a direct indication of previous exposure that may be useful as a broader endpoint of trials of environmental interventions.

USAID WASH updates | Studies on WASH financing, WASH systems, health/MHM

Updates to Globalwaters.org

Emerging Lessons on Sustaining Rural Water Services in Uganda: A Case Study of Whave’s Preventive Maintenance Model. Whave’s approach focuses on results-based payment for avoiding breakdowns, rather than payment for repairs. By incentivizing performance, their goal is to establish a system that reduces water source downtime and therefore improves the reliability of water supply systems. Additional reports are on the Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) Learning Partnership website.

Maintenance Approaches to Improve the Sustainability of Rural Water Supplies. This document reviews literature about the factors influencing the sustainability of rural water services, and the emerging maintenance approaches seeking to address these factors and improve service reliability. Additional reports are on the Sustainable WASH Systems (SWS) Learning Partnership website.

Events – Sanitation and Water for All Finance Ministers’ Meeting, Washington DC, April 17, 2020 –

Health/MHM

Lessons from Rwanda on tackling unsafe drinking water and household air pollution. The Conversation, February 2020. A 2012 pilot demonstrated the viability and impact of this programme: households started, and continued, to use the water filters and cookstoves. These findings led to a larger roll-out which started in 2014.

Household Flooring Associated with Reduced Infant Diarrheal Illness in Zimbabwe in Households with and without WASH interventions. Trop Med Intl Health, February 2020. Our findings support the hypothesis that household flooring is an important pathway for the transmission of diarrheal pathogens, even in settings where other aspects of sanitation are sub‐optimal.