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What has worked for Bangladesh?

Over the past two decades Bangladesh has achieved significant successes around national sanitation coverage, through increased latrine access and sanitation education campaigns, which has resulted in a large part of the country’s population shifting away from open defecation to using household concrete-lined pit latrines.  In this post I provide an outline of changes in the sanitation situation in nine Bangladesh unions, mostly rural areas, over a period of five or more years, drawn from a recently published report from Plan Alternatives for Change LLC, ‘

Swachh Bharat Mission to achieve SDG Goal 6.2 in India: Reflections from the Water and Health Conference, 2017

In September 2017, as part of a research consultancy for the CLTS Knowledge Hub at the Institute of Development Studies, I travelled across India with the aim to study the adoption of septic tanks in rural India. The findings were fascinating and daunting at the same time. Quality of toilet technologies and faecal sludge management were found to be neglected areas across the states in India.

Leaving no country behind: Niger – A personal insight

Niger is an incredible country, the largest (by area) in West Africa, a relative haven of safety sandwiched between more turbulent neighbours (Libya, Mali, northern Nigeria), and of strategic importance for the security of the region. Ancient trade routes snake across the Sahara, where the Tuareg people are able to navigate endless dunes using the stars at night. Natural resources such as uranium and gold, oil and coal can be found. The Niger River runs through the west of the country, where island communities are skilled in building beautifully decorated mud houses.

On context, data and decisions: reflections from the UNC Conference 2017

Monday morning and the UNC Water and Health conference begins…there’s plenty of coffee to overcome the jetlag and joy in reconnecting with friends, colleagues and associates from around the world. Conferences in the WASH sector tend to be an incredible mix of academics, government officials, global decision-makers, donors and this one is no different. Some of us come with detailed knowledge of a specific context – a village, district or region. Others bring global and nationally representative data and show trends over decades.

An ongoing conversation: support versus subsidies for the most vulnerable

In the era of SDGs it is clear that there are no more easy wins and there is a need to move beyond the low hanging fruit. Sustainability studies show that slippage and poorly built or dirty latrines are most likely with the poor or most vulnerable in communities. There is clearly a need to make sure these groups are not slipping through the cracks. With many challenges around the issues of caste, gender, institutions, it is not enough to assume that intracommunity support is automatically given to those who need it the most.

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