USAID Releases New Standard Indicators for Water and Sanitation

USAID Releases New Standard Indicators for Water and Sanitation., May 2019.

USAID uses standard indicators to aggregate the Agency’s work across all programs and report on outcomes. Previously, the focus was on reporting results for first time access to or improved service quality of water and sanitation services.

During the last strategy period (2013–2018), 22.4 million people gained access to new or improved water services and 15.6 million people gained access to new or improved sanitation services. indicators.png

While the focus on delivering water and sanitation services remains core to our work, the Plan adds an emphasis on sustainability through the inclusion of DR1 and DR4.

To better capture and report on achievements under these development results, USAID has developed three new standard indicators:

  • Number of water and sanitation sector institutions strengthened to manage water resources or improve water supply and sanitation services as a result of U.S. Government (USG) assistance
  • Value of new funding mobilized to the water and sanitation sectors as a result of USG assistance
  • Number of people benefiting from the adoption and implementation of measures to improve water resources management as a result of USG assistance

Read the complete article.

Emergency WASH – recent research & upcoming events


User-Centred Design,(UCD) and Humanitarian Adaptiveness. ALNAP, April 2019.
This case study seeks to explore the utility, applicability and effectiveness of UCD in supporting humanitarian adaptiveness, and to understand whether UCD can enable humanitarian actors to be more adaptive. Chapter 4 gives examples of applying UCD in the design of emergency sanitation. 

Cesspits and Soakpits. Global Water Pathogen Project, March 2019.
A soak pit is a covered, porous-walled chamber that allows water to slowly soak into the ground. A cesspit (cesspool) is a holding tank (or pit) designed for collection and storage of sewage or other waste for short periods.

Emergency Sanitation Guidelines Beira, updated on the 11th of April 2019. WASH Cluster Mozambique, April 2019.
The objective of this document is to provide technical guidance to partners implementing sanitation emergency programs and interventions in settlements. This document has been prepared by the Sanitation Technical Working Group, under the WASH cluster Beira. emergencies

No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections. WHO, April 2019.
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats we face as a global community. This report reflects the depth and scope of the response needed to curb its rise and protect a century of progress in health,” said Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Co-Chair of the IACG.


Humanitarian WASH Innovation. Elhra, April 2019. 31 videos discuss and describe a wide range of WASH innovations in humanitarian situations.


Community Engagement in WASH Emergencies: Understanding Barriers and Enablers Based on Action Research from Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Water, April 2019.
This article presents key findings from Oxfam’s recent responses in Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), describing the process of building trust and identifying barriers and enablers to meaningful CE in emergencies.

Evaluation of an Emergency Bulk Chlorination Project Targeting Drinking Water Vendors in Cholera-Affected Wards of Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, Tanzania. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, April 2019.
The results suggest high acceptability and use of the chlorine tablets by water vendors. However, given variation in the water source used and longer storage times, dosing could be increased in future programming. Bulk chlorination using chlorine tablets offers an efficient community-level approach to treating water closer to the point of use.

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iDE shares its secrets to achieving impact and scale

The market-based organization launches an online knowledge hub that dives deep into 10 years of learnings and insights in building markets for WASH.


After building one of the most successful market-based sanitation programs in the world, iDE is sharing its secrets to achieving impact and scale.

iDE, a Denver-based international nonprofit working to end poverty, launches a knowledge hub for market-based development professionals and enthusiasts, publishing over 10 years of learnings and insights from building markets for WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in developing countries around the world.

Explore the site:

“Critical for our own continued learning, even though it was not required by any donor, we decided we needed to write down, analyze, and reflect on the body of experience and evidence from our sanitation marketing program,” said Yi Wei, Director of Global WASH. “However, instead of the dreaded 100-page report, we decided to conduct this reflection and learning in a modern, dynamic way where others can be invited in to poke around and ask questions.”

iDE’s rigorous evidence and distilled insights highlight five key findings:

  • Markets can be effectively leveraged to reach the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
  • Product and business model design must start with a deep understanding of customer needs, and recognition that customers and their needs may change as the market evolves.
  • Iterative, data-driven programming is required to keep pace with rapid market changes.
  • Business and consumer financing are critical to deliver inclusive results, but nascent and dysfunctional markets mean that implementers must be creative in designing workable solutions.
  • Sanitation marketing and behavior change toward consistent latrine use can positively impact health.

The site primarily focuses on learnings from iDE’s sanitation program in Cambodia, which has facilitated the sale of 309,692 latrines (as of January 2019), improving coverage from 29% in 2012 to 69% today. Learnings from iDE’s other sanitation programs in Ghana, Ethiopia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Vietnam will be added later this year and next.

iDE’s site shows that market-based development requires constant innovation and iteration, which are not without hard-won lessons. Flexible, supportive partnerships are also critical to create the space to experiment, innovate, and learn adaptively. iDE opens its doors to share this history and experience in a spirit of collaboration and learning.

“The goal of the microsite is not to stand as a static repository of knowledge, but rather, to serve as a conversation starter. We hope visitors will be inspired to unpack assumptions, reconcile evidence with theory, and share with us their reactions,” said Wei.

Water Currents: Learning from Failures

Water Currents: Learning from Failures, April 23, 2019

Many international development projects have unintended negative consequences. Without post-implementation evaluation, these unintended consequences can go unnoticed by almost everyone—except the people who were supposed to benefit from the project. Even with evaluations, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) professionals are often reluctant to share poor findings due to perceived repercussions. However, allowing others to learn from mistakes could help to prevent the same problems from happening again. learning

Several organizations, including USAID, @FSM_Fail, Improve International, the World Bank, and others, are pushing to change this attitude toward failure. They see learning from failure as a way to improve the success and sustainability of programs and projects in the WASH sector.

This issue features articles that talk about failure, how to identify and avoid future failures, and the role of finance in mitigating failure. It includes case studies from Tanzania, Nigeria, and Nepal, as well as studies that discuss learning from failure in rural water supply and urban sanitation systems. Also highlighted are studies that looked at both success and failure, including the first four (in a series of six) ex-post evaluations that discuss factors that affect the long-term sustainability of USAID WASH projects. A special thanks goes out to @FSM_Fail and Improve International for contributing content and reviewing this issue.

Learning from Failures – Overviews
Blunders, Bloopers and Foul-Ups: Sharing Failures in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene ProgramsEngineering for Change, August 2018. Until a culture of sharing and learning from failures is more widely instilled in the WASH sector, practitioners will continue to make the same mistakes, possibly at the expense of those whom the programs are designed to benefit. This article describes how a “failure event” raised awareness of this topic.

The Nakuru Accord: Failing Better in the WASH SectorUniversity of Leeds WASH Blog, January 2019. In July 2018, an event at the Water Engineering Development Centre Conference in Nakuru, Kenya, “Blunders, Bloopers and Foul-ups: A WASH Game Show,” (mentioned above) inspired a call for WASH professionals to publicly commit to sharing their failures and learning from one another. The Nakuru Accord is that commitment.

Opinion: Want to Improve Development Outcomes? Anticipate the Failures. Here’s HowDevex, February 2018. This article discusses “premortems,” a strategy in which a team imagines that a project has failed, and then works backward to determine what can lead to failure in order to address the issues before projects start.

Read the complete issue.

Emergency WASH Websites, Online Guides and Other Resources

Dear Colleagues:

Please review and let us know if you have additional resources that should be added.

Emergency WASH Websites, Online Guides and Other Resources (April 24, 2019 update)

Recent Online Toolkits/Guides/Resource Centers

Compendium of Sanitation Systems and Technologies. EAWAG, 2016. This second, revised edition of the Compendium presents a huge range of information on sanitation systems and technologies in one volume. By ordering and structuring tried and tested technologies into once concise document, the reader is provided with a useful planning tool for making more informed decisions. emergencies

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies – The MHM in Emergencies project is a collaboration between Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the International Rescue Committee. The project has developed an MHM in emergencies toolkit and formative assessments were conducted in two humanitarian response settings.

Humanitarian Innovation Guide. Elrha, 2018. The Guide is written with two audiences in mind: humanitarian practitioners who are seeking to develop a new approach to their work and want to apply an innovation lens to solving problems; and social entrepreneurs from outside the sector who have identified an opportunity to engage with the sector and need a humanitarian framework to contextualise their innovation plans.

Resource Centers

Global WASH Cluster Resource Centre – The GWC Resource includes evidence-based publications and guidance related to WASH interventions for emergency response scenarios. The repository includes 130 of technical emergency WASH documents so far. The number of documents will be regularly incremented.

Humanitarian Library – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene – This online library contains more than 400 WASH related reports and studies.

Working Groups/Google Groups

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. Resources on the website include a factsheet, a library, and the report, Preferences for Accessing Emergency WASH Knowledge.

Emergency WASH Google Group – The Global WASH Cluster and USAID manages this information sharing forum. Its purpose is to provide group members with current research, upcoming events, etc. related to WASH issues in emergency situations.

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Cloth, cow dung, cups: how the world’s women manage their periods

Cloth, cow dung, cups: how the world’s women manage their periods. The Guardian, April 2019.

For women living without access to basic sanitation, menstruation can be especially challenging. Their resourcefulness knows no bounds mhm.jpg

From animal skins and old rags to cow patties and silicon cups, women around the world use all sorts of materials to manage their periods each month.

Basic necessities for dealing properly with menstruation, such as access to clean water or a decent toilet, are simply unavailable to millions of women and girls.

Without these services, menstruation can negatively affect women’s health as well as their involvement in social and economic activities, says Louisa Gosling of WaterAid, which has published a photo gallery detailing the various ways women around the world manage their periods.

Read the complete article.

@USAIDWater – Earth Day 2019

This April 22, join us in celebration of Earth Day 2019.

Learn more about how USAID and its partners around the world are laying the foundation for a more water-secure world.