Water Currents: WASH & Human-Centered Design

Water Currents is produced biweekly by USAID’s E3 Water Office. Each issue contains recent news and articles on water sector issues, partner and donor updates, latest sector research, and a special focus on one topic. Please provide your feedback and suggestions by contacting the waterteam@usaid.gov.

According to USAID Global Health Bureau’s Engage HCD and others, human-centered design is a way of thinking and problem solving that places the people you're trying to serve and other important stakeholders at the center of the design and implementation process. This issue features lessons learned on using the HCD approach in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector as well as other sectors. It also includes general HCD resources such as manuals and online courses. 


Water Currents - In Focus

Human-Centered Design in the WASH Sector

Expanding Access to Improved Sanitation for the Poor: Insights from the PhilippinesInternational Finance Corporation (IFC), January 2018. IFC and its partners conducted a three-part study that assessed why low-income urban households in the Philippines still do not have improved sanitation facilities and tested possible solutions that would improve sanitation conditions.
Ethiopian Summit Focuses on Participatory Co-Design to Develop Low-Cost WASH ProductsGlobalwaters.org, February 2018. In this blog post, USAID’s Abigail Jones discusses some of the lessons learned at the USAID-supported Transform WASH Sanitation Co-Design Summit in Hawassa, Ethiopia, held January 22–February 2, 2018. The three blogs below go into more detail on each stage of the workshop.
Let’s Design Our Own Solutions! Not for the Community but with the Community: Highlights from the Transform WASH Design Summit in Ethiopia – Part 1PSI Impact, February 2018. PSI organized this event as part of the USAID Transform WASH project in Ethiopia. This is the first of three blog posts that discuss the summit and gives an overview of the event and its goals.
Moving from Information Gathering and Idea Generation to Concept Selection: Highlights from the Transform WASH Design Summit in Ethiopia – Part 2PSI Impact, February 2018. Summit participants have the challenge of selecting from many ideas for WASH product concepts and deciding on one that should be tested further and eventually prototyped.
How to Use HCD to Build Prototypes for WASH: Highlights from the Transform WASH Design Summit in Ethiopia – Part 3PSI Impact, February 2018. This post gives an overview of the final day of the design summit and its accomplishments.
‘Cool Foam’: How Constraint Yields NoveltyASME Global Development Review, Spring 2017. The “Povu Poa” is a novel and innovative handwashing station being used in Kenya, which was developed and tested with USAID support. Though it appears simple, finalizing the household and institutional models took time and field testing to ensure they could withstand regular use and work effectively for adults and children.
This Organization Uses Human-Centered Design to Deliver Impactful Sanitation SolutionsMashable, October 2017. The director of global WASH at iDE explains how the organization leverages the power of local entrepreneurs to enact change from the ground up.
Interactional Co-Design and Co-Production through Shared Dialogue WorkshopsInternational Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, September 2017. Solar disinfection technologies such as solar jerry cans and solar-ceramic filtration are being designed, piloted, and manufactured in a multi-disciplinary collaboration among designers, engineers, health and social scientists, and end users in Europe and Africa.
Designing for People, Not Problems, Will Help Us Tackle the Global Sanitation CrisisHuffPost, November 2017. This blog post, published on the lead-up to World Toilet Day, explains how human-centered design approaches are being used to deal with sanitation challenges in India.
Strengthening Markets for SanitationPSI India, September 2017. As part of the Supporting Sustainable Sanitation Improvements project, PSI and its partners used HCD to improve toilets in India. This case study describes how they focused on desirability improvements, such as allowing more light to enter the toilet, but also how they drastically reduced the price to $225 by finding ways to reduce labor costs during the construction process.
Sanitation in CambodiaTEDxChange, 2011. In this talk, Jeff Chapin discusses his work with the design firm IDEO and takes a closer look at latrine and handwashing projects in Cambodia. He advocates for design to be used as a tool to enable a deeper, better, and different conversation that can lead to unexpected ideas.

Human-Centered Design in Other Sectors

Beyond Buying: The Application of Service Design Methodology to Understand Adoption of Clean Cookstoves in Kenya and ZambiaEnergy Research & Social Science, May 2018. The research described in this article found that complex factors affect people's decision-making around the purchase and use of clean cookstoves. The authors highlight the need to carefully map users’ experiences to better understand and address these factors.
Human-Centered Design Is Key to Forming Partnerships for Large-Scale Conservation SuccessPhys.org, March 2018. Virginia Tech researchers examined participation in a payment for ecosystem services program for fishermen in Chile. They found that more fishermen voted in favor of adopting the program when it was designed to incorporate their preferences and set reasonable expectations of good outcomes for the fishery.
Traditional Socio-Behavioral Research and Human-Centered Design: Similarities, Unique Contributions and SynergiesIMPT for Reproductive Health, December 2017. This report presents learnings and reflections on traditional sociobehavioral research and HCD as they apply to the global health context.

Human-Centered Design Resources

Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design – ­­IDEO.org and Acumen Fund created this nine-week course as an introduction to the concepts of human-centered design. It starts on May 8.
The Field Guide to Human-Centered DesignIDEO.org, 2015. This manual from IDEO.org contains 57 design methods for new and experienced practitioners, and from-the-field case studies of human-centered design in action.
Engage HCD website – USAID’s Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact is partnering with Dalberg’s Design Impact Group to utilize HCD across the Bureau for Global Health's work. This site offers case studies and resources to help users leverage HCD in their health-related activities.
Building Markets for Sanitation – Drawing on lessons learned from its Cambodia Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up program, iDE created this microsite to inform the design, implementation, and cost-effectiveness of future sanitation marketing projects.

If you would like to feature your organization's materials or suggest other content for upcoming issues of Water Currents, please send them to Dan Campbell, Knowledge Creation/WASH Specialist, at dcampbell@waterckm.com.



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