RWSN at the UNC Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy

The Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy, organized by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC), is one of the most important conferences for WaSH professionals. This year the conference has not only explored the interactions between drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene, water resources and public health, but put also a strong emphasis on rural water supply in developing countries. Researchers, practitioners and policy-makers had the chance to present and lively debate

by Sandra Fuerst and Sean Furey (Skat Foundation)

The Water and Health Conference: Where Science Meets Policy, organized by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC), is one of the most important conferences for WaSH professionals. This year the conference has not only explored the interactions between drinking water supply, sanitation, hygiene, water resources and public health, but put also a strong emphasis on rural water supply in developing countries. Researchers, practitioners and policy-makers had the chance to present and lively debate on following topics:

  • Measuring Progress Toward Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Targets
  • Water Scarcity
  • Rural Water Supply
  • WaSH Equity and Inclusion
  • WaSH in Emergencies

At this year’s conference, the RWSN and its partners have convened two side events, providing water professionals an interactive space for engaging on cutting-edge topics of rural water supply. These sessions translated the “virtual RWSN DGroups into real life discussion groups” as Stef Smits (IRC), the chair of the first side event, phrased it. The participating water experts shared their experiences and developed exciting ideas with their peers for challenging rural water contexts.

Universal and Sustainable Rural Water Services: Different Perspectives, Common Goals

In the first side event, participants were invited to understand two major concepts to apply them later through group discussions in a case study of an WaSH implementation organisation, HYSAWA, Bangladesh, presented by their Managing Director, Md. Nural Osman.

Md. Nurul Osman (HYSAWA)

Sara Ahrari presented the NGO perspective of how organisations, like Simavi, use monitoring and data systems to promote Social Accountability and the holding duty-bearers to account when it comes to the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation. Miguel Vargas-Ramirez from the World Bank and Ellen Greggio from WaterAid presented then the development partner perspective on how data and monitoring can be used to raise the capacity of governments and service providers to deliver sustainable rural WaSH services, particularly rural water supply. This included on-going work to develop benchmarks for rural water service delivery, which WaterAid is testing in Myanmar.

After the break, Elisabeth Liddle from Cambridge University, and Prof. Rob Hope from Oxford University, gave the research perspective on how data and monitoring is enabling them to generate deeper insights into why rural water supply systems fail and how to develop new ways of making them more sustainable.

After the concepts have been introduced, the participants applied them in smaller groups to the HYSAWA case study in Bangladesh. This case study was presented by HYSAWA (Hygiene, Sanitation and Water Supply) to come up with suggestions and advice on how his organisation can improve the quality and sustainability of their rural WaSH interventions. The audience debated questions around:

  • Who is responsible for monitoring and data collection? Who is accountable and feels responsible for what? Those who design the system?
  • Who is responsible for the service provision of water in rural areas? And who needs to be hold accountable for that?
  • What are the drivers to feeling responsible?
  • What are the services that needs to be done?
  • How do the processes need to be managed?
Stef Smits (IRC)

Stef Smits summarised the debates during this session on three levels:

Who? The answer that communities and local governments should be accountable for the service provision of water in rural areas seemed to be too easy as in fact it is not clear at all. The role of service providers in many contexts is not very well defined, also not in legal terms. Accountability is often spread over several layers. For example, minor operation and maintenance (O&M) services can be done on community level, while major O&M services can be provided through public services. Then the levels of accountability also need to be differentiated between service provider and service authority. This first differentiation will help to define who is responsible for what and will help the service authority to hold the service provider accountable. As soon as the roles of different stakeholders are clearly defined, it can be defined more specifically who needs to collect the data. The collection of data then needs to be spread over different levels, from household, community, service provider to authority level.

What? The debate started around the functionality of rural water supply devices and has shown that there is not a simple answer of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to functionality. Functionality needs to be distinguished between functional devices and functional services (i.e. O&M services). This led to the question how functionality should be measured and which other indicators should be taken into account. Should we bring water quality in as an indicator? Clearly, financial indicators are necessary. As the trend to use indicators and monitoring tools is increasing among service providers and governments in rural areas, it becomes increasingly necessary to define clear indicators for universal rural water services. Based on that development, we can start to understand rural water as a systemic issue.

How? The identified need to define clear indicators on different levels, raised the question of how the process of developing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems should be managed. Even though governments were identified to lead this process, NGOs could support to trigger it. However, if a NGO has developed a working M&E systems, it cannot be simply handed over from a NGO to the government, without a well-planned transition phase. It also needs to be taken into account who “the government” is and on which level the government operates. Data and M&E systems will at the end always need a sector development approach.

Pipe Dream or Possible: Reaching the Furthest Behind First in the WASH Sector? – RWSN Side Event 2

The second side event was convened by RWSN (Simavi, Wateraid) with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and World Vision. During this session, the participants developed human-centred solutions for “Reaching the Furthest Behind First” and “Leaving No One Behind” in the WASH sector.

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The participants worked in several groups on different case studies of extremely vulnerable people (i.e. disabled pregnant child) that are exposed to extreme hazards in their environment (i.e. arsenic contamination of groundwater).

In several steps, the participants developed possible solutions based on their field of expertise: In a first step, they illustrated the social, cultural, physical, political and legal barriers that the imaginary persona faced, regarding their social inclusion. Then they created inspirational ideas of possible solutions to these barriers. The different options were heavily discussed before choosing one or more solutions. To illustrate the actions and stakeholders needed to implement these solutions, a story board was created by each group. Finally, the persona, storyboard and possible solution were presented in pitches to all participants.

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The two side events have been great examples of how the RWSN works as its best: “Taking concrete examples and bring them together with key concepts from research and practice. This is the richness that RWSN provides: Linking practical questions with conceptional frameworks (Stef Smits)”.

Why getting ‘water affordability’ right matters – and how water diaries can be of help

re-posted from REACH

Dr Sonia Hoque, University of Oxford

Having access to 24/7 potable piped water in the comfort of our dwelling is a luxury that many of us take for granted. In the UK, an annual water and sewerage bill of £400 accounts for about 1% of the annual average household income of £40,000. This ‘safely managed’ water service, defined as having access to an improved source within one’s premises, is well within the widely established global affordability threshold of 3-5% of one’s household income. Estimating payments for water as a percentage of households monthly expenditures may adequately reflect ‘affordability’ in contexts where households have connections to piped water systems or rely on paid sources only.

Continue reading “Why getting ‘water affordability’ right matters – and how water diaries can be of help”

Safe Water for All: REACHing everyone in Bangladesh

by Dr. Rob Hope, University of Oxford, Prof. Mashfiqus Salehin, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and Dara Johnston, UNICEF Bangladesh , re-posted from REACH

A large concrete pipe belches untreated sewage into the Buriganga River in Dhaka, whilst men wade through the water to shift aggregate to construct more buildings for more people. The riverbanks team with life and colour as hospital bed sheets dry after being recently washed in the river, bamboo poles float-in-waiting for the next tower block and mountains of fresh fruit lie ready for sale in nearby markets while countless children play without a care in the water.

Continue reading “Safe Water for All: REACHing everyone in Bangladesh”

The most important stories in rural water supply // Les histoires d’approvisionnement en eau en milieu rural les plus importants

Making water work for women – inspiring stories from around the world

The reality in much of the world today is that collecting water for the home is a job done by women – so gender issues are central to everything we do in rural water supply – self-supply, pump design, borehole siting, tariff collection, water resource management, business models or using ICT to improve service delivery.

In this week’s webinar we have brought together more inspiring stories from Nicaragua, India and the World Bank.  We are taking ‘gender’ from being a tokenistic tick-box to a living, vibrant, practical core of every rural water service.

Join the us next Tuesday 23 May – it an opportunity to have your practical and policy questions answered from world class experts.

 Did you miss Part 1? Don’t worry. You can watch and listen to the inspiring experiences from Burkina Faso, India, Ethiopia and Bangladesh on the RWSN video channel:

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L’eau au service des femmes – des histoires inspirantes

La réalité dans beaucoup d’endroits dans le monde aujourd’hui est que l’approvisionnement en eau pour les besoins domestiques reste un travail porté par les femmes – donc les questions liées au genre sont au coeur de toutes les activités que nous entreprenons dans le secteur de l’eau rurale: auto-approvisionnement, conception des pompes, emplacement des forages, recouvrement des tariffs, gestion des ressources en eau, ou utiliser les TIC pour améliorer les services.

Le webinaire de la semaine permettra d’entendre des histoires intéressantes du Nicaragua, de l’Inde et de la Banque Mondiale. Nous souhaitons passer d’une compréhension de la notion de genre se bornant à cocher une case, pour mettre en avant les aspects vivants, pratiques et essentiels qui font partie de tous les services d’eau ruraux.

Joignez-vous à nous mardi prochain – ce sera l’occasion de poser vos questions sur la pratique et la politique à des experts du domaine.

Vous n’avez pas pu participer à la première partie de ce wébinaire? Vous pouvez écouter des expériences inspirantes du Burkina Faso, de l’Inde, de l’Ethiopie, et du Bangladesh sur la chaine viméo du RWSN:

 

 

In Memoriam: Abdul Motaleb

It is with great sadness that we have been informed that Mr Abdul Motaleb (61) passed away in the night of 30 April 2017.

Motaleb had over 36 years experience in the Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Sector in Bangladesh and was widely liked and respected figure in the Bangladesh WASH sector.

photo: Abdul Motaleb and Sean Furey, in Dhaka, February 2017 (photo: Md. Nurul Osman – with thanks)

It is with great sadness that we have been informed that Mr Abdul Motaleb (61) passed away in the night of 30 April 2017.

Motaleb had over 36 years experience in the Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation Sector in Bangladesh and was widely liked and respected figure in the Bangladesh WASH sector.

He graduated from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Dhaka in 1979 with a BSc in Water Resource Engineering and later in his career went on to gain a MSc in Sanitatary Engineering at the International Institute for Infrastructure, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (IHE) Delft, the Netherlands.

During his long career he worked for M/S Associated Consulting Engineers, the Department for Public Health Engineering (DPHE), King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, World Bank/UNDP, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and most recently the World Bank Group and as a freelance consultant.

Among his many works and achievements, it was on the topic of handpumps where he seemed to get most pleasure – from his involvement in the development of the Tara to his expertise with the Jibon Deepset and the No. 6 – handpumps on which tens of millions of people today in Bangladesh depend every day. He was a long standing member of HTN, later RWSN, and was an active contributor to the RWSN Groundwater group.

Abdul Motaleb inspecting a HYSAWA handpump installation near Khulna, SW Bangladesh, February 2017 (Photo: Sean Furey)

I had the pleasure of working with Motaleb from January onwards this year on an end-phase review assignment for SDC and we spent 10 intense days together in south-western coastal Bangladesh, with the staff of the HYSAWA Trust Fund.  He was utterly charming and humble, with a deep well of knowledge and experience. I could not have wished for a better colleague and in a very short space of time we became firm friends.

He will be greatly missed.

Sean Furey, RWSN Secretariat / Skat

 

Selected Publications

  • Technical Paper on Monitoring and Regeneration of Production Wells in Bangladesh. A paper presented by Abdul Motaleb (DPHE) and Drs. G.J.deWit (IWACO) at the seminar for Civil Engineering Division at the 34th Annual Convention of the Institute of Engineers, 1990 Dhaka Bangladesh.
  • Monitoring the Tara pump: An assessment of Functioning, Social Acceptability and O&M system. A report published by UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program RWSG-SA Dhaka
  • Quarterly Notes on Danida funded DPHE Handpump Training and Monitoring Program based on project implementation experiences published by UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program RWSG-SA Dhaka. Altogether 14 (Fourteen) HTMP Notes were prepared during 1993-1997.
  • Technology Development Never Stops-A story of Jibon Deepset Handpump Tubewell in Bangladesh. Paper presented in HTN Workshop on Civil Society and Government Partnership in Rural Water Supply, Hyderabad, India, 2000.
  • Village Organizations become Development Partners. Paper presented in 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka 2000.
  • SODIS – An Arsenic Mitigation Option. Paper published in 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka-2000.
  • SORAS –  A Simple Arsenic Removal Process. Paper published in 26th WEDC Conference, Dhaka-2000.
  • Total Sanitation Approach and Practice. A case study in Watsan Partnership Project (WPP). This paper presented in 19 AGUASAN WORKSHOP 2003 on This shit drama-Are there ways out? held in Switzerland organized by SKAT during June 23-27, 2003.
  • Arsenic Mitigation: Action Research Findings based on project implementation experiences in Watsan Partnership Project and published by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Bangladesh in June 2003.

 

 

 

3 ways countries can improve water supplies in small towns

by Fadel Ndaw, World Bank Global Water Practice – reblogged from http://blogs.worldbank.org/water/3-ways-countries-can-improve-water-supplies-small-towns

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A public faucet that serves 1,000 families in el Alto, Bolivia. Photo credit: Stephan Bachenheimer / World Bank

Small towns* typically have not been well served by national or regional water utilities. Decentralization has become increasingly widely adopted, but even if local governments at the small town level have the power to operate a water utility, they often lack the capital and skills to do so. In response, some local governments and public institutions concentrate improvements on upgrading public utilities’ operations or strengthening community based management. In other cases, they choose to bring in the private sector knowledge of how to get clean water and sanitation services to more people more efficiently, affordably or sustainably. There is no one solution to addressing often very complex water and sanitation challenges.

Continue reading “3 ways countries can improve water supplies in small towns”

Funding opportunity – Water Security

Happy New Year!

Let’s start 2016 with a bang:  a call for expressions of interest (EOIs) for ‘Catalyst Grants’ which are commissioned under the REACH programme.

Dr Katrina Charles explains the REACH Catalyst Grant process
Dr Katrina Charles explains the REACH Catalyst Grant process (click picture to see YouTube video)

These Catalyst Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 each are designed to explore novel approaches to water security and poverty research and policy that complement the core research conducted by the REACH programme. These grants will promote the co-production of effective tools and technologies relevant for and adopted by policy makers, practitioners, civil society organisations and enterprise.

There are three themes for this call:

  1. Water security for vulnerable people
  2. Water security risk science
  3. Water security partnerships.

Continue reading “Funding opportunity – Water Security”

Self-Supply at Scale: Lessons from rural Bangladesh

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Shops like this one satisfy local demand for new pumps and replacement parts. Pumps, like ipods, come in a range of colors! (photo: J. Annis, 2013)

by Jonathan Annis is a sanitation and innovation specialist with the USAID-funded WASHplus project (www.washplus.org). His views do not represent those of USAID or the U.S. Government.

I recently traveled to southeastern Bangladesh to support WASHplus’s local implementing partner WaterAid as it begins a multi-year project in the coastal belt. The coastal belt is a marshy delta formed by Himalayan sediments transported thousands of miles by an extensive river network that settle as they reach the Bay of Bengal. Surface water is ubiquitous, and flooding—from tidal flows, excessive rainfall, or cyclones—is an annual event. I had never been in an environment so waterlogged.   Continue reading “Self-Supply at Scale: Lessons from rural Bangladesh”

How three handpumps revolutionised Rural Water Supplies: the Afridev

1980 to 1990 was the International Decade of Water Supply and Sanitation and the greatest hand-pump project began.How Three Handpumps Revolutionised Rural Water Supply

In the new publication “How Three Handpumps Revolutionised Rural Water Supplies” from RWSN, Erich Baumann explains how three handpumps, the India Mark II, the Afridev, and the Zimbabwe Bush Pump were developed and Sean Furey explores what lessons can be learned for scaling up WASH technologies today.

As part of that UNDP and the World Bank established a joint Water & Sanitation Program (WSP, which still exists as part of the World Bank) and one of its flagship projects was the Hand-pump Project, led by Saul Arlosoroff, which rigorously tested all the hand-pumps around the world that they could get their hands on. Their final report “Community Water Supply: the Hand pump Option” (1987) is still the defining text in hand-pump literature.

The hand-pump project also defined Village Level Operation & Maintenance (VLOM), the concept of making hand-pumps easier to maintain by the users so that minor breakdowns could be repaired quickly.  The India Mark II was not a VLOM pump because it required specialist tools and some skill and strength to make repairs to the pump cylinder down in the borehole. This was addressed through a design revision, imaginatively called the India Mark III. However the hand-pump team throught they could still do better and so two handpump design projects began.

Continue reading “How three handpumps revolutionised Rural Water Supplies: the Afridev”