“$25 will give a person water”…for a little while

Great blog post about lifecycle costs

Improve International

By Susan Davis, Improve International

Really? Spotted in this month’s Instyle magazine.

“Donate $25 at xxx.org and supply one person with clean water for life.” Really?

For years, charitable organizations have been attaching “dollar handles” to development items. I was just reminded of it while perusing the February Instyle magazine (see pic). This is a fundraising method that is intended to help the donor feel like she has made a tangible difference.

Someone in the philanthropic world decided that $20-$25 is the magic number, and we see it a lot related to “saving lives with safe water,” or occasionally, with a toilet. Interestingly, this number seems to apply to all sorts of systems in many different countries.  The cost of a beer varies much more than that (and I have done extensive research).

I was going to provide a list of examples – but that might hurt feelings.  But you can…

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“We ate all the meat; there are only bones to chew on now”

analysis of life cycle costs in Honduras

water services that last

Comimos toda la carne; sólo nos quedan los huesos” (we ate all the meat; there are only bones to chew on now”, said Luis Romero of CONASA (the water and sanitation policy making body in Honduras), in response to the graphs below, when we presented these as part of the sharing of the results of the life-cycle costs analysis in Honduras.

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Defender or Prius? When it comes to WASH technologies, are we asking the wrong questions?

In her latest blog post "What’s wrong with a free car?", Susan Davis of Improve International argues that giving away cars for free would not solve mobility problems for those on low incomes and that likewise, with WASH projects, giving away a capital asset does not help a 'beneficiary' if it leaves them with crippling running … Continue reading Defender or Prius? When it comes to WASH technologies, are we asking the wrong questions?