Job Opportunities at WSSCC

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is recruiting  for three Geneva, Switzerland-based positions:

  • Head, Resource Mobilisation (P4) — Application deadline 14 August
  • Resource Mobilisation Officer (P3) – Application deadline 14 August
  • Head of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (P4) – Application deadline 22 August

More information is found here:

Please feel free to share with interested candidates!

Aug 22 webinars and recent WASH research


Aug 22, 2018: 6:00 pm EST – The Forgotten Juncture? Handwashing and Safe Management of Child Feces – This webinar, entitled The Forgotten Juncture? Handwashing and Safe Management of Child Feces will be co-hosted by the Global Handwashing Partnership, USAID, UNICEF, WEDC, and the International Water Centre

Aug 22, 2018: 9:00 am EST – Strengthening the Health System for Sustainable WASH Improvements: Adopting a Health Systems Approach at All Levels of WASH in HCF Programs – A new action-oriented learning program that brings together the WASH and health communities to focus on policy, evidence, and practice in WASH in HCFs. On monthly webinars, we will discuss experiences, challenges, successes, and lessons learned on topics within WASH in HCF.


The effect of SODIS water treatment intervention at the household level in reducing diarrheal incidence among children under 5 years of age: a cluster randomized controlled trial in Dabat district, northwest Ethiopia. BMC Trials, July 31. The SODIS intervention substantially reduced the incidence of diarrhea among under-five children in a rural community of northwest Ethiopia.

Are schoolchildren less infected if they have good knowledge about parasitic worms? A case study from rural Côte d’Ivoire. BMC Public Health, Aug 2. Specific knowledge about different types of helminths might not suffice to induce behavioural change which in turn reduces infection and reinfection with helminths.

Bacterial contamination of frequently touched objects in a tertiary care hospital of Pokhara, Nepal: how safe are our hands? Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, Aug 6. High bacterial contamination of frequently touched objects with variety of potential pathogens and normal flora was detected. S. aureus was the most common bacterial isolate.


Child Height in India: Facts and Interpretations from the NFHS-4, 2015–16. Diane Coffey; Dean Spears, Aug 6. Factor (2)—the extent of open defecation—can be estimated using data from the NFHS-4. Coffey and Spears (2018) find that between the NFHS-3 and the NFHS-4, open defecation in India went down by 16.4 percentage points, from 55.3% to 38.9%. Combined with the Gertler et al (2015) effect estimate, this change in average exposure to open defecation would predict an increase in average height-for-age of 0.077 of a height-for-age standard deviation, due to improved sanitation.

Re-engineering the world’s trillion-dollar waste ecosystem. Medium, July 26. The Toilet Board Coalition wants to see recycling and reuse of biological waste become mainstream. It’s working with entrepreneurs and municipalities to find scalable ways to do it.

The impact of digitalisation on the water sector – An interview with Rebekah Eggers. IWA, Aug 7. We asked Rebekah Eggers, IBM’s WW IoT for Energy, Environment, & Utilities Business, and keynote speaker at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018, what ‘going digital’ / ‘digitalisation’ really means for the sector, how to overcome key barriers to successfully digitise water, and ultimately, who can reap the benefits of this technological revolution.


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Characteristics among HIV-Positive Households Participating in the Global Enterics Multicenter Study in Rural Western Kenya, 2008–2012. AJTMH, Aug 6. This suggests that within this region of Kenya, HIV programs are effective in promoting the importance of practicing positive WASH-related behaviors among PLHIV.

9 WASH studies published so far in August 2018

Sachet water quality and product registration: a cross-sectional study in Accra, Ghana. Jnl Water Health, Aug 2018.
The results of this study suggest that while a substantial proportion of sachet water is sold without formal product registration, the microbial quality of the unlicensed water is consistently high in Accra, Ghana.

Access to drinking water: time matters. Jnl Water Health, Aug 2018.
This study aims to demonstrate the effect of adding a 30-minute collection time component to monitor access to drinking water. This study draws on household surveys from 17 countries to highlight the widespread burden of fetching water and its significant impact on estimates of coverage.

Acceptability and Feasibility of Sharing a Soapy Water System for Handwashing in a Low-Income Urban Community in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Qualitative Study. AJTMH, Aug 2018.
Soapy water was an acceptable hand cleaning agent, with the bottle as a feasible dispenser. It was simple in design, cost-effective, replicable, popular with intervention recipient, and neighboring nonrecipients, and commonly shared among nonrelated households. The need to share expenses and product preparation served as a barrier.

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Sanitation and health: what do we want to know?

Experts meet to discuss reaching a consensus on what the evidence tells us.

Radu Ban

Radu Ban

Jan Willem Rosenboom

Jan Willem Rosenbom

This is the first of two blogs written about the “Sanitation and health evidence consensus meeting”, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Seattle on May 24 and 25 of 2018. It was written by Jan Willem Rosenboom and Radu Ban, who are both Sr. Program Officers on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WSH) team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This first blog will describe the process used to arrive at the consensus, while the second blog will describe the outcome of the consensus and will come out once the results of the consensus meeting have been published. Also, mark your calendars for a session during the 2018 UNC Water and Health conference dedicated to this consensus!

Cambodia - India Two sides of sanitation rubbish and cleanliness. Credit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Two sides of sanitation: rubbish and cleanliness. Credit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cambodia/India

Introduction: What is this about?

It is hard to imagine that making improvements in sanitation wouldn’t play a role in improving health. After all, we know that shit spreads disease and the F diagram shows us that sanitation is an important tool in blocking the transmission of pathogens from one person to the next, thus lowering exposure. And sure enough: we have strong evidence about the effectiveness of sanitation interventions and improving health and human capital outcomes from rigorous historical studies, from high- as well as low- and middle-income countries.

At the same time, looking at the specific impact of programmatic sanitation interventions, it can be hard to figure out what the evidence is really telling us. On the one hand, a systematic review of the whole body of evidence on sanitation and health (carried out by Freeman et al. in 2017) suggests that sanitation protects against diarrhoea, active trachoma, some soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections and schistosomiasis. It also improves height-for-age scores of children (i.e. it decreases stunting, which is an important measure of human capacity). On the other hand, several recent sanitation intervention studies have found limited or no impact on different health outcomes. The table below (copied with permission from a presentation by Tom Clasen), provides a summary of key findings from the most recent sanitation studies:

Sanitation blog - Summary of effects from recent sanitation studies

  1. Fewer observed flies and feces; no change in fecal contamination of water
  2. Fewer observed soiled hands and less fecal contamination of water
  3. Except in the study arm considering just water quality improvements

This seeming lack of agreement is confusing, and partly in response to questions from practitioners, on May 24 and 25 of this year WHO convened a meeting of experts to review the existing evidence and reach a consensus about what it is telling us. The group of experts consisted of researchers across multiple disciplines who had written extensively on the topic of sanitation and health. We thought it was necessary to reach consensus among researchers before engaging, in a unified voice, the practitioner community.

At the same time, to make sure that the concerns of practitioners would be considered in the meeting, we published a “request for input” online (through the SuSanA network as well as the Sanitation Updates blog) and we will summarise the responses here. But first…

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Recent research on sanitation,shared latrines, handwashing and other WASH issues

Below are links to an interesting report from the Rockefeller Foundation and other recently published journal articles and blogs:

Sanitation in the Context of Planetary Health: Opportunities and Challenges. Rockefeller Foundation, July 2018. Poor sanitation is a factor in an estimated 80% of all environment-related deaths. Poor sanitation costs countries between 0.5 and 7.2% of their annual GDP. The World Health Organization estimated total global economic losses to be US$260 billion annually in 2012. Investment in sanitation returns an estimated US$5-16 for every US$1 spen


Children Are Exposed to Fecal Contamination via Multiple Interconnected Pathways: A Network Model for Exposure Assessment. Risk Analysis, July 2018. This article describes a dynamic, multipathway exposure assessment model for children under five years of age in crowded, highly contaminated urban environments. Models of varying environmental concentrations of fecal microbes, child behaviors, and a comprehensive set of exposure factors were combined to simulate microbe transfer in a network structure from environmental sources to human ingestion.

Shared latrines in Maputo, Mozambique: exploring emotional well-being and psychosocial stress. BMC International Health and Human Rights, July 25.  Our data suggest that “improved”, shared facilities can reduce stress when proper maintenance and management systems are in place. Private, shared sanitation only had limited impact on users’ perceptions of safety, particularly at night, suggesting that safety concerns extend beyond the physical latrine structure. Our research demonstrates that factors including latrine location and neighborhood violence are important determinants of safety perceptions and corresponding psychosocial stress.

AJTMH Series on Typhoid

Introductory Article on Global Burden and Epidemiology of Typhoid Fever. AJTMH, July 25. This article is the introduction to a 12-paper supplement on global trends in typhoid fever. The Tackling Typhoid (T2) project was initiated in 2015 to synthesize the existing body of literature on typhoidal salmonellae and study national and regional typhoid fever trends.

Selected articles in the series



Social Influence on Handwashing with Soap: Results from a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial in Bangladesh. AJTMH, July 30. Our study supports the conclusion that the presence of another individual after a toileting event can positively impact HWWS in a primary school setting.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene practices mediate the association between women’s empowerment and child length‐for‐age z‐scores in Nepal. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 26 July 2018. Empowered women had better WASH practices than nonempowered women, which translated into higher child LAZ. Child DD was not a mediating factor in the association between women’s empowerment and child LAZ. More research is needed to explore other pathways by which women’s empowerment may affect child nutrition outcomes.


Reaching for Resilience in East Africa. New Security Beat, July 2018. “Resilience isn’t an outcome, it is a process—and capacity-building is crucial,” said Chelsea Keyser, Deputy Chief of Party for USAID’s PREPARED program, during a recent event at the Wilson Center marking the end of the five-year project. PREPARED (Planning for Resilience in East Africa Through Policy, Adaptation, Research, and Economic Development) developed 14 different tools to help communities adapt to the impacts of the changing environment in the East African region, including unreliable rainfall and rising temperatures.

Clean water for the residents of one of Africa’s largest rubbish dumps. WSUP, July 24. The DFID funded programme operated under a payment by results framework, which meant that WSUP had to make good use of its strong relationship with NCWSC to ensure it could achieve the demanding targets.

Can Flexible Funding Lead to Better and Longer Lasting Results When it Comes to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Interventions? By Susan Davis, July 2018. Improve International convened a group of 14 people for the 3rd gathering of the Funder Collective for More Effective Partnerships. Over coffee, they met or got re-acquainted. Then representatives of three different types of funders – the Stone Family Foundation, Vitol Foundation, and Viva con Agua — talked about their take on a similar topic: Can flexible funding lead to better and longer lasting results when it comes to water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions?

Ingenious upcycling turns discarded medical device into water filter. Israel21c, July 29. Israeli startup repurposes discarded kidney dialysis filters to make pure water in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Emergency WASH Biweekly Update – July 30, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The Emergency WASH Google Group will be sharing information with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance’s Working Group on Emergency & Reconstruction Situations so please check out the Working Group:


Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) Working Group 8 – Emergency & reconstruction situations – The objective of this working group is to combine the knowledge from experts in the fields of sanitation with the knowledge from experts in the field of emergency response and reconstruction.


Exploring menstrual practices and potential acceptability of reusable menstrual underwear among a Middle Eastern population living in a refugee setting. International Journal of Women’s Health, July 2018.
Menstrual hygiene beliefs, behaviors, and practices are mostly consistent with existing literature. An acceptance of the concept of reusable menstrual underwear was expressed, although the perceived benefits of this product did not outweigh customary practices. The use of menstrual underwear as a complimentary product to traditional absorbents was expressed as helpful for promoting dignity.


UNHCR Public Health 2017 Annual Global Overview. UNHCR, July 2018.
The average litres per person per day globally was at 21 litres. Where possible, high yield boreholes coupled with solar energy have been used to provide water to refugees through chlorinated gravity fed distribution systems. An average latrine ratio of 22 persons per latrine was achieved globally, which is just below standard and represents an improvement from 2016.

Management of radioactivity in drinking-water. WHO, 2018.
Management of radioactivity in drinking-water responds to Member States requests for additional guidance to support radionuclide management in drinking-water in emergency and non-emergency situations.

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Faecal sludge management – a critical pathway to safely managed sanitation

Faecal sludge management – a critical pathway to safely managed sanitation. WASHmatters, July 2018. fsm.jpg

Most people in South Asian towns and cities rely on toilets that are not connected to sewers. With the global urban population set to double by 2050, the need to ensure safe disposal of waste is growing ever more urgent. Jaison Thomas, WaterAid’s Regional Funding Manager for South Asia, reflects on the faecal sludge discourse in the region, taking reference to deliberations at the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) VII at Islamabad.

Eliminating open defecation is just the first step in ensuring everyone has safely managed sanitation services, as outlined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. In South Asia, where most people use on-site toilets and sewerage coverage is limited, faecal sludge management (FSM, which involves everything from emptying pits of faecal matter and transporting the sludge to treatment and disposal) is central to ensuring safely managed services.

Read the complete article.