March 2010 Improving access to water supply and sanitation services for the poor
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New Study Analyzes Financing of On-site Sanitation for the Poor
Public investments of varying forms enable an absolute increase in the number of poor people gaining access to sanitation, varying from 20 to 70 percent, according to a study by the World Bank and WSP of six cases in Bangladesh, Ecuador, India, Mozambique, Sénégal, and Vietnam. Financing On-Site Sanitation offers evidence on alternative financing approaches for on-site household sanitation that can help identify the best-performing approaches and the relevant factors and issues to consider in designing a sanitation financing strategy.

“The case studies reveal a wide spectrum of options: from a minimal investment in start-up of a revolving fund, to significant community mobilization and demand stimulation, all the way to hardware subsidies of up to 75 percent of capital costs in addition to community mobilization. The choice is thus not ‘Subsidy or no subsidy’ but rather, ‘What form and level of public funding makes sense in a specific context?’”

- WSP Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist Eddy Perez

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Partnership Helps Malawi Implement Large Scale Sanitation Marketing for Urban Poor
African Countries Develop Water and Sanitation Service Monitoring Portal
Niger Implements a Demand-Responsive Planning Tool for Water and Sanitation
Rwanda launches community-based environmental health promotion program
Mayors Say WSP Guide Paves the Way for Philippine Utility Reform
East Asian Governments Vow to Reverse Sluggish Sanitation Trend
New WSP Study Says Access to Sanitary Toilets Still Rising in Rural Vietnam Communities Years after Sanitation Marketing Project End
Stakeholders Agree on Total Sanitation Indicators in Indonesia
Indonesia Adds Urgency to Search for Acceptable Monitoring System
Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Scales Up in Lao PDR
New Study Identifies Sanitation Finance for the Poor that Works
Effective Communications Increases Cost Effectiveness of Water and Sanitation Projects
Public-Private Partnership Produces Inexpensive Soap Dispenser, Improves Hygiene of 430,000 Children in Peru
Over 400 Indian Cities to be Rated on Sanitation
New Study Aims to Identify Keys to Success in Sanitation Sustainability in Bangladesh
Moving From Asset Creation to Service Outcomes through Benchmarking
SACOSAN IV to Focus on Climate Change, Economics, Scalability
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Insights from Designing a Handwashing Station for Rural Vietnamese Households
  Multiple iterations of prototyping and field-testing of a handwashing station prior to manufacturing are critical to identify user preferences and practices, according to a new WSP note outlining the design process and emergent learning on handwashing station preferences and handwashing practices in rural Vietnam.
Contact: Jacqueline Devine at
Prospects and Pitfalls in Integrated Water Services in the Philippines: An Analysis of 35 Water Districts
  In the Philippines, where water supply utilities number in the thousands spreading across the archipelago, integration of utilities is an option of interest and a study was conducted to look at how this phenomenon worked in practice to guide advice. This study looked at the experience of 35 water districts that have integrated and confirmed that there are gains to be made from economies of scale, but that integrated utilities tended to perform poorly compared to same-size non-integrated utilities. The underlying inefficiencies of the utilities to be merged need to be addressed up-front to take better advantage of scale.
Contact: Yosa Yuliarsa at
Introducing SaniFOAM: A Framework to Analyze Sanitation Behaviors to Design Effective Sanitation Programs
  Why do individuals with functioning toilets at home continue to defecate in the open? What factors influence individuals or households to move up or down the sanitation ladder? WSP’s SaniFOAM has released a working paper designed to assist program managers and implementers in answering some of these questions.
Contact: Jacqueline Devine at
Marching Together with a Citywide Sanitation Strategy
  This report provides an overview of the principles of preparing a citywide sanitation strategy, serving as a guide for decision-makers to develop their city sanitation sector into one that is all-inclusive and sustainable.
Contact: Isabel Blackett and Yosa Yuliarsa at
AMCOW AfricaSan Awards 2009: Winners’ profiles
Contact: Toni Sittoni at
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March 14-18, 2010 - LatinoSAN - Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
March 15-18, 2010 - 15th International African Water Congress and Exhibition - Kampala, Uganda
March 22, 2010 - World Water Day
A coalition of health, hygiene, sanitation, and water organizations has come together for World Water Day 2010 to raise awareness and call for action to ensure universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation everywhere. The coalition will kick off two days of activities in Washington, DC on Monday, March 22 including a day of advocacy on Tuesday, March 23. Supporting partners include: Action Against Hunger, AED, Africare, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, charity: water, P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, Global Water Challenge, H2O for Life, InterAction, Millennium Water Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, ONE, PATH, PSI, U.S. Coalition for Child Survival,, Water Advocates, WaterAid, Water and Sanitation Program, Water For People and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. For more on the global water crisis – including the problems facing women and children in the developing world – look for the April issue of National Geographic magazine on newsstands in late March. For more information, visit
March 22-26, 2010 - World Urban Forum - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For details on these and other upcoming events, please see our events calendar.
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News from our partners

Global Water Challenge has released a report entitled, “Clean Start: Focusing on School Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.” The report makes the case for investing in school WASH programs and offers predictors of success based off GWC’s experiences and other research.

WaterAid has released a new ten minute film, We are WaterAid, that introduces WaterAid's work with stories about life with and without water, sanitation, and improved hygiene told by individuals from Nepal and Burkina Faso.

After years of failed water supply systems and the destruction of some systems during armed conflict, many Kosovars finally have running water in their homes. This is the result of the rehabilitation of the water system financed by the Community Development Fund (CDF), an initiative supported by the World Bank and the Government of Netherlands.
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Partnership Helps Malawi Implement Large Scale Sanitation Marketing for Urban Poor

Malawi’s Blantyre Water Board is at an advanced stage of preparing for large scale roll out of a sanitation marketing strategy focusing on infrastructure improvement, strengthening the enabling and policy environment, and hygiene promotion, with implementation underway since 2008 demonstrating positive preliminary results.

In 2008 civil society organizations Water for People and Hygiene Village Project began to implement a marketing strategy developed through collaboration between the Blantyre Water Board, the Lilongwe Water Board, the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development, and WSP, with immediate outputs showing 112 latrines fully paid for by the households and with local artisans generating income from this sanitation business.

The strategy was developed to assist the mainly poor households in low income areas to improve their sanitation situation. Through this partnership, the City of Blantyre aims to improve sanitation through a demand-driven commercially orientated approach to 500 households in 2010 and hopes to increase the target number as the partnership gains experience.

Malawi will scale up implementation using funding from the World Bank, the European Union, and the European Investment Bank with continued advocacy, coordination, and technical expertise from WSP, and the community mobilization skills of Water for People and Hygiene Village. The partnership has recently expanded with the coming on board of the Opportunity Investment Bank of Malawi, which is providing sanitation improvement loans to groups of home owners.

The partnership could further benefit from agencies interested and able to support small scale pit emptiers, business skills development for the artisans, and improvement of sewage disposal facilities. The partnership has the potential to demonstrate that sanitation marketing works on a large scale in Malawi and to make Blantyre a leader in Southern Africa in this area.

With a population of about 800,000 people, Blantyre is Malawi’s second largest city, where 60 percent reside in unplanned, low-income settlements with limited access to water and sanitation services. Only 10 percent of the population has access to water borne sewerage, while over 78 percent rely on pit latrines.

Contact: Barbara Kazimbaya-Senkwe at
African Countries Develop Water and Sanitation Service Monitoring Portal

Several African countries together with WaterAid and WSP are collaborating to develop an internet portal for water and sanitation to maximize the value that IT-based systems can add towards ensuring effective management of water and sanitation services. The WatSan portal will enable African countries to rapidly set up a free database and website for monitoring service performance.

Individual country web portals housed on the site will provide regulators, policy makers, service providers, and consumers with basic data on water and sanitation services at both national and regional levels. Among other features, the portal can be used to generate maps that highlight the distribution of water and sanitation services, inform citizens on access to water and sanitation in their areas, and offer consumers a forum to express opinions and receive updated information on services.

Sector stakeholders – including community-based organizations, civil society organizations, project affiliates, and government bodies will have an opportunity to present their projects, activities, and results and to demonstrate their contribution towards agreed sector targets. The portal will also serve as a one-stop resource center with information for professionals related to their activities. The WatSan portal will feature the latest multimedia and web mapping components to spur interest and to ensure user-friendliness. Ten African countries have contributed towards the conceptualization: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. The first country portals will be launched during the second half of 2010.

Contact: Thomas Fugelsnes at
Niger Implements a Demand-Responsive Planning Tool for Water and Sanitation

Niger is developing the use of local water and sanitation plans, locally called PLEA (Plan local d’eau et d’assainissement) to improve interventions of different stakeholders at the local level. Two pilot projects were carried out in late 2009 in the districts of Gotheye and Fakara. In order to develop the demand-responsive plans, four steps were followed: physical water and sanitation infrastructure inventories were carried out, current access rates were established, appropriate solutions responding to community demand and national targets were identified, and lastly, priorities were endorsed by the local district councils in a local development plan.

The lessons learned were disseminated last month through a national workshop, at which stakeholders recommended that PLEA be mainstreamed as a local planning tool, capacity at both district and national levels be strengthened, and national budget proposals and projects draw on these district plans and provide budget ceilings.

Contact: Barbara Kazimbaya-Senkwe at
Rwanda launches community-based environmental health promotion program

The Government of Rwanda last December launched a community-based environmental health promotion program to support national efforts to fight disease, including those related to water and sanitation. The program aims to strengthen the capacity of all 45,000 community health workers through an approach that empowers communities to identify their personal and domestic hygiene and environmental health related problems - including safe drinking water and improved sanitation - and thereafter to actively participate in the process of solving them.

The community health workers will facilitate formation of Community Hygiene Clubs in every village in order to achieve practical hygiene behavior change in each homestead. Institutions such as schools, clinics, and prisons are also targeted.

Minister of Health Dr. Richard Sezibera said most diseases attended to at health facilities can be prevented through improved hygiene behavior and sanitation. The top ten leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Rwanda are caused by infectious diseases; while over 90 percent of consultations at rural health facilities include malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, skin diseases, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, typhus, cholera, meningitis, and intestinal parasites.

The major contributing factors are inadequate and unhygienic facilities for excreta disposal, poor management of liquid and solid wastes, and inadequate practices of handwashing with soap. WSP has been supporting the preparation of a roadmap to implement the community-based environmental health promotion program.

Contact: Harriet Nattabi at


Mayors Say WSP Guide Paves the Way for Philippine Utility Reform

The Guide to Ring-Fencing of Local Government-Run Water Utilities will help pave the way for utility reform in the Philippines, according to mayors speaking at a recent launch of the publication in Manila. “Ring-fencing [waterworks accounts] makes it easier for us to monitor and track the financial performance of our water utility. It opened our eyes to unnecessary subsidies that we are providing,” said Margosatubig Mayor George Minor.

Ring-fencing is a legal or financial arrangement of separating the activities, assets, revenues, costs, and liabilities generated by a specific business from the general business of an entity. In the context of this Guide, the water supply operation of the local government is being isolated or ‘fenced-off’ from its other activities.

“Ring-fencing enables us to gauge the viability of our water utility and determine the proper actions to enhance service delivery. Aside from ring-fencing our waterworks and solid waste management operations, we intend to apply this approach in other economic enterprises in our municipality,” added Mayor Exuperio Lloren of Jagna, Bohol.

Meanwhile, Mayor Wilfredo Arambulo of Magallanes, Sorsogon, said that ring-fencing has helped the city determine the appropriate level of tariff for water supply services.

Launched in October 2009, the Guide was developed by WSP with funding support from the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. It was implemented in cooperation with the Department of the Interior and Local Government as well as the Cooperative Development Authority. These agencies have been committed to advocating and rolling out the ring-fencing of water supply operations to other local governments and multipurpose cooperatives, and to integrating ring-fencing in their capacity-building programs as well as work for its institutionalization at the national level. For a copy of the guide, click here.

Contact: Leila Elvas at
East Asian Governments Vow to Reverse Sluggish Sanitation Trend

Governments from 13 East Asian countries are committed to taking action to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve the proportion of people without access to improved sanitation by 2015. Latest statistics indicate that the MDG target for sanitation might be missed by six percent if development trends of the past years persist to 2015.

The pledge was the highlight of the Manila Declaration (link to complete declaration) at the Second East Asia Ministerial Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene (EASAN 2) in Manila, Philippines last month. While reiterating the commitments expressed in the Beppu Declaration at EASAN 1 in 2007, the Governments went on to express their belief that countries can achieve sustainable sanitation if they work together.

Eight hundred million people in East Asia still lack access to improved sanitation facilities, resulting in poor health and quality of life and imposing heavy economic burdens. The Governments pledged to reverse the trend by making sustainable sanitation a part of their national development strategy, committing to specific time-bound targets, and formulating national sustainable sanitation roadmaps with the appropriate allocation of human, financial, and logistical resources for implementation.

Addressing the plenary session, WSP Regional Team Leader Almud Weitz released preliminary findings of the coming report “Economics of Sanitation Initiative Phase 2, Regional Study: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Sanitation Options,” which measures the costs and benefits of a range of sanitation improvement options in selected rural and urban field settings.

After two days of deliberation, the governments agreed to adopt a four-pillar platform for EASAN: strengthening regional forums, exchange of information, training, and sector monitoring and assessment. The heads of delegation also decided to keep the current EASAN approach in which a host country will lead all arrangements for holding the meeting every two years.

At the end of the conference—which was organized by the Philippine Department of Health with support from WSP, WHO, USAID, ADB, and Unicef—World Bank Country Director for Philippines Bert Hofman praised the event as a regional advocacy and knowledge exchange platform that effectively raises critical issues in sanitation and hygiene among governments and development partners, and urged participants to further facilitate collaboration to tackle these challenges.

EASAN 3 is scheduled for 2012 in Indonesia.

Contact: Almud Weitz at
New WSP Study Says Access to Sanitary Toilets Still Rising in Rural Vietnam Communities Years after Sanitation Marketing Project End

In the three years since a rural sanitation marketing pilot project ended in Vietnam, the sample communes are demonstrating sustained rates of increased access to sanitary toilets. This is according to a WSP case study to assess the sustainability of a rural sanitation marketing pilot project implemented in two provinces of Vietnam from 2003 to 2006 by International Development Enterprises.

Case Study on Sustainability of Rural Sanitation Marketing in Vietnam, slated for release next month, shows that overall access for poor people to sanitary toilets jumped from 44 percent in 2006 to 59 percent in 2008, maintaining the average annual growth rate achieved during the pilot project.

Community health workers, women’s union leaders, and village heads had continued to promote safe sanitation in addition to performing their usual job duties, albeit at a lower intensity and using fewer methods. Of the providers interviewed, three-quarters said that they now had more customers and over half reported a greater business volume. Two-thirds said that they made more profit and had higher incomes in the last three years. Though the providers expanded their services and customer base, sales and marketing efforts had not developed further.

While many results were promising, the case study also found that under current conditions, sustainability is not ensured. The lack of integration of the sanitation marketing approach in provincial and district strategies, the absence of budgeting for an ongoing supply of promotional materials, and the lack of continuous training of new promoters and providers are among the reasons found.

The study was executed by International Water and Sanitation Center and Vietnamese consulting firm ADCOM in collaboration with WSP.

Contact: Jacqueline Devine at
Stakeholders Agree on Total Sanitation Indicators in Indonesia

Sector practitioners in Indonesia last month identified and agreed on indicators for each of the five pillars of the 2008 National Strategy for Community-based Total Sanitation. Participants in a workshop in Jakarta discussed and agreed on, among other things, indicators for a village to be considered free from open defecation:

  • All villagers have access to improved latrines
  • Baby/child feces disposed of to improved latrines
  • No feces found/smelled in house surroundings

Meanwhile, participants decided indicators for handwashing with soap should consist of:

  • percentage of people reported and observed to have practiced handwashing with soap
  • percentage of facilities available and actively utilized for handwashing

Participants agreed that monitoring indicators for all five pillars should include behavior change aspects, number of people with access to sustainable facilities, community-based management for sustaining the program, and the enabling environment.

Led by the National Development Planning Agency, Bappenas, the workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Health, and representatives from international organizations and civil society organizations. Aimed at fostering promotion and implementation of the community-based total sanitation strategy by local governments and sector players, the meeting was supported by WSP’s Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing Project and the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap.

Contact: Djoko Wartono and Ida Rafiqah at
Indonesia Adds Urgency to Search for Acceptable Monitoring System

Indonesia’s National Working Group on Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation last month held a stakeholders meeting to discuss a strategy for building a sector monitoring system in a decentralized environment.

Nugroho Tri Utomo from National Development Planning Agency Bappenas said that there is still no acceptable monitoring system to measure sector achievement and performance. “Developing a WSS monitoring system is very urgent so that WSS performance becomes increasingly seen as an aggregation of local and central efforts,” said Nugroho.

This meeting was part of a Dutch-funded technical assistance grant to the Government of Indonesia, which is managed by the World Bank and WSP.

Contact: Gary Swisher and Jemima Sy at
Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Scales Up in Lao PDR

WSP and international civil society organization (CSO) Netherlands Development Organization/SNV have designed and carried out a series of activities to promote and test the Community-Led Total Sanitation methodology and improve the capacity of local CLTS facilitators.

With technical support from WSP, a four-day training of trainers was held in the Vientiane Province as part of efforts for a wider adoption of the CLTS approach. The trainers—representatives from government agencies and CSOs—have now begun to train local CLTS facilitators in the northern province of Lao. Based on this effort, the trainers will compile and finalize lessons learned from the trial— including what works and what doesn’t work in CLTS triggering—focusing on methodology and tools in preparation for a nationwide training, which is part of the CLTS scale-up activity.

Contact: Viengsamay Vongkhamsao at


New Study Identifies Sanitation Finance for the Poor that Works

Public investments of varying forms enable an absolute increase in the number of poor people gaining access to sanitation, varying from 20 percent to 70 percent, according to a study of six cases in Bangladesh, Ecuador, India, Mozambique, Sénégal, and Vietnam by the World Bank-administered Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).

Financing On-Site Sanitation seeks to identify the best-performing approaches and the relevant factors and issues to consider in designing a sanitation financing strategy. The report offers guidance to sector professionals developing on-site sanitation projects and programs, which play the leading role in providing access to sanitation.

The study compares alternative financing approaches based on a set of common indicators, including in terms of the effectiveness in the use of public funds and targeting.

The first step up “the sanitation ladder” for those without access is on-site sanitation, the report says. "Promotion of household investment in sanitation is a cost-effective public health intervention, in terms of the ratio of public cost to estimated health benefits," said co-author and WSP Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist Eddy Perez. “The case studies reveal a wide spectrum of options: from a minimal investment in start-up of a revolving fund, to significant community mobilization and demand stimulation, all the way to hardware subsidies of up to 75 percent of capital costs in addition to community mobilization. The choice is thus not ‘Subsidy or no subsidy’ but rather, ‘What form and level of public funding makes sense in a specific context?’”

Related links: /wsp/node/89
Contact: Eduardo Perez at

Effective Communications Increases Cost Effectiveness of Water and Sanitation Projects

Effective communications is good business and improves water and sanitation projects, according to government officials from 21 countries attending a recent workshop in Lima, Peru on communications for development in infrastructure projects.

Successful communications experiences from Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, and Peru were presented in this three-day event, which enabled participants to share experiences and concerns based on their own development projects.

Participants at the World Bank and WSP-hosted workshop included national sanitation directors from Brazil and Uruguay and Peru’s Minister for Communication and Transport.

Some of the lessons resulting from the discussions included the following:

  • Effective communications is good business. Studies demonstrate how communications can increase a project’s cost effectiveness. For example, Colombian Water Utility Aguas de Manizales successfully implemented a communications campaign to reduce household water consumption, resulting in a decrease from 15.49m3 to 15.10m3 in 2008 and to 14.75 m3 in 2009.
  • Communications can prevent social conflicts by promoting dialogue and filling information gaps. A WSP Study reviewed 39 cases of water and sanitation projects where communications contributed to foreseeing social conflicts in reform processes, enabling dialogue and generating citizens’ awareness of their duties and rights.
  • More communications assessment tools are needed for infrastructure, sanitation, and water projects. The World Congress on Communication for Development Report declared the need for communications to focus on identifying and utilizing the most appropriate approaches, methods, and tools to stimulate and support a sustainable social change.
Contact: Yehude Simon at
Public-Private Partnership Produces Inexpensive Soap Dispenser, Improves Hygiene of 430,000 Children in Peru

The Handwashing Alliance in Peru along with Duraplast, a plastics company, have joined efforts to design, test, and produce an easy-to-use and inexpensive recycled plastic soap dispenser, which has been delivered to more than 15,000 households and 2,000 schools of both rural and urban areas of Peru.

Estimates based on a WSP report establish that the introduction of this new device would increase the number of people who wash their hands by 16 percent.

The interest in this device has recently crossed Peru’s borders when the World Health Organization’s regional office, the Pan American Health Organization, bought 10,000 of the dispensers from the Handwashing Alliance in Peru to support their national hygiene program in Guatemalan schools.

The importance of this device, which was originally voiced by a mother in a handwashing workshop, lies in its capacity to face two important hygiene triggers: soap must be located in a fixed place beside the sink (availability); and the device itself must work as a visual reminder of using soap (behavior).

WSP is a member of Peru’s Handwashing Alliance along with other public and private institutions.

Related links: Resumen_Ejecutivo.pdf
Related links: HW_eng.pdf
Contact: Rocio Florez at
Over 400 Indian Cities to be Rated on Sanitation

India’s target of 100 percent sanitation in cities received a boost in December when the Ministry of Urban Development introduced a new benchmarking tool aimed at encouraging cities to promote safe and improved sanitation. The ratings compare sanitation indicators in 441 cities and towns with a population over 100,000.

Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy said that “from Project funding, we are now moving towards awareness raising and rewarding outcomes.” The ministry will provide US$750,000 to three agencies that will be conducting the ratings periodically. Top performers will be given a national award –“Nirmal Shahar Puraskar.” Cities will be rated on parameters such as complete elimination of open defecation, elimination of open scavenging, and safe collection and disposal of total human excreta. On the basis of the rating, cities will be classified as Red (lowest), Black, Blue, or Green (highest) to denote increasing achievement of environmental and health outcomes.

The ratings demonstrate the implementation of the National Urban Sanitation Policy, launched by the Government of India in 2008, and for which WSP continues to provide technical and advisory support.

Contact: RaviKumar Joseph at
New Study Aims to Identify Keys to Success in Sanitation Sustainability in Bangladesh

In collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh and local stakeholders, WSP has launched a study to assess the determinants of sustainability of sanitation behaviors, facilities, and programs in communities and Union Parishads declared 100 percent sanitized or open-defecation free (ODF) at least four years ago.

“We are looking at communities and Unions that reached ODF status at least four years ago to help us understand whether and why their sanitation coverage and use have, or have not been sustained over a longer time period,” said WSP Water and Sanitation Specialist Craig Kullmann.

The study will also analyze the durability of sanitation facilities built under these approaches, the perceived benefits to households and communities, whether programmatic inputs from local and national governments and civil society sanitation programs have been sustained, and how growth or attrition of sanitation products and services have affected sustainability.

The results of the study are expected in mid-2010, and are aimed to inform sanitation programs and policy in Bangladesh as well as in other countries.

Contact: Craig Kullmann at
Moving From Asset Creation to Service Outcomes through Benchmarking

Results from a service level benchmarking (SLB) exercise for 27 cities in India show that coverage for water supply services, in terms of direct connections, is at 66 per cent. Compared to the Government of India’s estimate for access to safe water (90 percent), the results indicate significant gaps in extent and quality of access to services.

The study also showed that at 3.3 hours per day, service continuity is also low despite the fact that India’s population consumes higher quantities (126 liters per capita per day) than the average for South Asia. Consumer- level metering has improved to 50 per cent, compared to earlier estimates of half that number, while non- revenue water levels remain high at 44 percent.

These and other results were shared recently in Delhi at a national workshop jointly organized by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and WSP. Cities presented their performance data along with gap analyses, which helped identify areas for intervention for improving performance and data quality.

The SLB program is primarily aimed at delivering improved accountability and a shift in focus from asset creation to service outcomes. It is based on a uniform performance monitoring framework developed and disseminated by the Government of India, as per its Handbook on Service Level Benchmarking. The SLB program encompasses data gathering and development of Performance and Information Systems Improvement Plans by the cities.

This is the first such initiative of the Government of India, and gains particular significance against the background of increased government funding to urban local bodies through projects like the US$10 billion Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns.

While deliberations were held on the data findings at the workshop, discussions centered on performance gaps identified, data quality issues, experiences on performance improvement planning, as also best practices emerging in the pilot cities.

In his opening address, Dr. M. Ramachandran, Secretary, MoUD, said that the aim of the Pilot Initiative was to “create a demonstration effect and capacity in utilities.” He added that “tremendous value can be obtained from institutionalizing the practice of benchmarking by integrating it with the day to day working (of the service providing agency).” The workshop drew over 150 participants from 27 cities across the country.

Contact: Vandana Bhatnagar at
SACOSAN IV to Focus on Climate Change, Economics, Scalability

Climate change and its impact on sanitation, the economics of sanitation, and scalability and sustainability of sanitation initiatives, were among focus areas identified by South Asian countries for the next regional conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN IV) slated for February 2011.

At a conclave on sanitation in Colombo, participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka also endorsed the role of media in policy change and outreach and the need to address the urban-rural gap in sanitation services. Focus on behavior change communications and financial innovations for sustainable quality sanitation were identified as areas that need special attention.

Sanitation indices in South Asia remain a challenge, as despite progress, nearly 48 percent of the population resorts to open defecation (about 740 million), double the proportion in sub-Saharan Africa. South Asia also has the largest number of people without access to improved sanitation, as defined by the WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, 2008.

SACOSANs are ministerial level conferences focusing on sanitation among the South Asian countries that also include Nepal and the Maldives. These hold a potential to push the sanitation agenda high on the priority lists of governments and promote knowledge sharing for innovations and sustainable options. Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India have hosted the first three SACOSANs and the fourth will be held in Sri Lanka.

The participating countries at the conclave, organized by WSP, also decided to re-energize the Inter Country Working Group (ICWG) - the focal group for regional dialogue among the countries. Sri Lanka announced that it would host the next ICWG meeting in August 2010 and also requested WSP to help organize the media session for SACOSAN IV.

More than 75 participants representing government, media, multi-lateral agencies, NGOs, and grassroots communities attended the three- day conclave from December 6-8, 2009. The conclave was organized by WSP in collaboration with the Department of Drinking Water and Supply, Ministry of Rural Development, India, and the Sri Lanka Water Board.

Contact: Geeta Sharma at
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Fax (91-11) 2462 8250

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