By: Tyhra Kumasi, Senior Research Officer, Triple-S Ghana
Dora is a 33 year old teacher living in Agbedrafo in the Akatsi South District. She depends on the only handpump in the community for her daily domestic chores; however she laments the difficulties in getting access to fetch water. According to Dora “even though fetching is on a first-come-first-serve basis, people bring very big receptacles and containers that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for others to get the opportunity to fetch…
December 11, 2013 Webinar - Introducing and scaling up sustainable water and sanitation technologies
The WASHTech Consortium is organising a webinar to introduce the WASHTech’s tools and launch the online resource base
Wednesday 11 December, 12.30-13.30 pm CET
This webinar introduces two new tools that will help to select water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) technologies that keep working. The first, the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF), has been extensively tested and is now available on
Stef Smits summarises some key points arising from the webinar and the discussion that followed:
Handpumps have still a role to play in 1) small dispersed rural communities [of less than let's say 2000 people], and in 2) bigger or more dense communities as a complementary or back-up source to piped supplies. They are and will remain an important source of supply and need to have proper management arrangements. These arrangements should – as much as possible – follow arrangements for other communal supplies, or even drawing on good practices from urban management and when they are located close to a town they could even be managed by an urban provider under a “service area” approach
Professional management arrangements exist, but they do cost. The case of Vergnet comes down then to about 3 US$/family/month or 36 US$/family/year. This is in line with the WASHCost findings, which showed that all minor O&M ánd capital maintenance would be about 3 US$/person/year, or some 15 US$/family/year. But if you add the costs of professional support to that (e.g. in the form of handpump mechanics, or local government support), another 15 US$/family/year should be added, summing to about 30 US$/family/year. So, if we accept that this figure gives the right of order magnitude, rightfully the question may be asked on who pays for what.
After this year’s ‘Water & Health’ conference at UNC, I visited some organisations along the East Coast of the US. On Wednesday 23rd October, I visited the headquarters of charity: water in New York. The largely open-plan office was quietly buzzing with activity.
charity: water was founded in 2006 by a young night club promoter, Scott Harrison, who decided to put his considerable influencing and networking skills to a new, more productive (as he saw it) purpose. His idea has been to tap into a different demographic than is usual for charitable donations – those below the age of 40, who have grown cynical of what charities actually achieve. To do this they use social media and celebrity endorsement (charity: water is currently the featured charity of Depeche Mode’s latest tour). Their hook is a 100% model where all money donated goes directly to projects, implemented by established NGO partners such as Water For People, Water For Good (ICDI), Splash and World Vision. The completed projects are shown on the website, as part of proving that work has been done.
This year I was fortunate enough to attend the ‘Water & Health Conference’ at UNC, North Carolina, USA again. I was running a side event on WASHTech, and my partner in crime was Andrew Armstrong, Water Missions’ community development programs manager who gave a great presentation on the experiences of Water Missions in introducing solar water pumping and water pre-payment systems in Uganda.
On Monday 21st October, after the conference, I was in Charleston, South Carolina, standing in large a naval dockyard surrounded by towering steel cranes and fat oil depot tanks. On one side of the sparse car park was a sizeable array of solar panels and opposite was long, low warehouse on which the name “Water Missions International” was emblazoned in precise, blue lettering.
I was shown around the Water Missions International facility by Andrew. There are 27 staff based in this location and numerous volunteers. The building acts an office, workshop, storage area and display area, the latter being open to groups to visit and find out about their work.
Water Missions was created in 1998 in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, which devastated much of Central America, particularly Honduras and Nicaragua. After running operations out of their environmental engineering firm for a few years, the founders sold their company in 2001 and set up the charity and today they work in Belize, Indonesia, Malawi, Mexico, Uganda, Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Peru and Honduras.
A few months remain before the end of the WASHTech project in Burkina Faso. The project team composed of the Burkina Faso Offices of Intergovernmental Panafrican agency Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) of Water-Aid and IRC, steps on the accelerator to finalize the remaining activities before the end of the project in December 2013.
Among the key activities at the end of the project, there's the organization of a national training workshop for actors in the WASH sector that will be driven by the the Department of Studies and Information one Water (DEIE).
I was excited to attend the session on "Making Evidence Count in the WASH Sector" at Stockholm World Water Week. The description noted that the "WASH evidence base is complex and offers few simple answers to the question of 'what works'," but the discussion seemed focused more on "why WASH?"
I liked Oliver Cumming's (LSHTM/SHARE) three questions for policymakers:
By Harold Lockwood -
This is great news and fantastic to see USAID adopting and promoting this approach which aims to really track and better understand the underlying causes of poor sustainability in the WASH sector. Sustaining WASH services is complex and dependent not only the hardware (the pumps, latrines and pipes), but also a range of the so-called software elements, for example reliable management entities, long-term external support and monitoring, adequate financing and so on.