Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS)
- Publish literature reviews related to community-led total sanitation (CLTS), market-based sanitation (MBS), and promoting hygienic environments for infants and young children to document the current state of knowledge and identify evidence gaps.
- Operational research in at least seven countries to address key evidence gaps related to CLTS, MBS and hygienic environments for infants and young children.
- Active dissemination of research results through peer-reviewed publications, presentations, webinars, national working groups, strategic partnerships, and policy-specific knowledge products.
- Disbursement of nine small grants to investigate and generate evidence to support innovative ideas in WASH behavior change programming. Documenting and sharing the results of the grantees work to encourage uptake and scale-up of the successfully approaches.
- Application of the learning generated by WASHPaLS by USAID missions, national governments and implementing partners.
TETRA TECH has over 30 years of successful WASH sector programming and thought leadership experience. Tetra Tech provides technical assistance in the areas of rural water supply, sustainability assessments, the sanitation value chain including fecal sludge management, and environmental compliance.
AQUAYA INSTITUTE offers experienced scientists and field-based WASH researchers who bring an objective and rigorous approach to implementation research. The Aquaya Institute provides technical assistance in the areas of CLTS, water quality, research design, data collection, and program evaluation.
FHI 360 brings three decades of experience in integrated WASH programming, implementation research, and behavior change approaches. FHI 360 provides technical assistance in the areas of WASH integration including WASH and nutrition, WASH in schools and healthcare facilities, hygiene, social and behavior change communication and comprehensive behavior-centered programming.
FSG offers a formal business analytics perspective to understanding successes and challenges of market-based sanitation interventions. FSG provides technical assistance in the areas of market-based WASH services, market assessments, and inclusive market development.
USAID/WASHPaLS’ core mission is to actively promote the dissemination and use of the evidence generated by the Project to influence policy and practice both within collaborating country contexts and globally. To this end, the WASHPaLS produces a range of knowledge products including reports, briefs, research summaries, webinars, and other materials tailored to various target audiences.
|Where Does CLTS Work Best? Quantifying Predictors of CLTS Performance in Four Countries
Improving the effectiveness of rural sanitation interventions is critical for meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and improving public health. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is the most widely used rural sanitation…
|How do rural communities sustain latrine coverage and use? Qualitative comparative analyses in Cambodia and Ghana
Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) is a popular intervention for eliminating open defecation in rural communities. Previous research has explored the contextual and programmatic actors that influence CLTS performance. Less is known about the…
|Sanitation, financial incentives and health spillovers: A cluster randomised trial
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability Project (USAID/WASHPaLS) engaged Thrive Networks Global to examine the effectiveness of targeted output-based rural sanitation subsidies in Laos. Drawing on the finding…
|Identifying Households Eligible for a Targeted Sanitation Subsidy in Rural Ghana - Policy Brief
In partnership with two District Assemblies, Tatale and Kpandai, in the Northern region of Ghana, UNICEF Ghana and USAID’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS) project are piloting and evaluating the…
| Identifying Households Eligible for a Targeted Sanitation Subsidy in Rural Ghana - Technical Brief
This brief describes an approach for deciding the eligibility of poor and vulnerable households for targeted subsidies to cover the costs of installing a durable toilet sub-structure (pit lining and slab) and ventilation pipe in rural Ghana. It was…
Check out the blogs written by or about the WASHPaLS program.
|Viable Sanitation Enterprises—The Linchpin in Sanitation Markets
Shukla Shauchalay is located in a bustling market in Samastipur in Bihar, India. The entrepreneur first got involved in the sanitation business a decade ago as a sub-contractor manufacturing cement pit rings for a local NGO’s sanitation program. In…
|Gaming for Profit: Using a Game to Learn About Market-Based Sanitation
This blog originally appeared on Climatelinks. Climate change worsens familiar challenges to water and sanitation services, including limited access and poor infrastructure. Innovative approaches, such as games to inform sanitation enterprise…
|Webinar Explores Barriers to Effective Sanitation Enterprises
The provision of sustainable sanitation for all is one of the world’s most important development priorities, yet 4.5 billion people lack access to a safe toilet. Past efforts to provide greater sanitation access, such as direct government…
|Webinar Explores the Complexities of the Sanitation Marketplace
If you thought that sanitation marketing required only the connecting of customers, products, and financing to succeed, then you may wonder why it has proven so challenging to take this intervention to scale. It turns out, “Not only is scaling…
|Learning from Market-Based Sanitation at Scale
Working through the private sector is one of the most promising approaches to solve the global sanitation crisis. Yet globally, few market-based sanitation programs have reached significant scale. Indeed, a forthcoming report from USAID’s WASH…
Through extensive desk reviews, in-depth key informant interviews and field-based implementation research, WASHPaLS works with implementing partners to broaden the evidence base on the use and effectiveness of sanitation interventions, including CLTS, MBS, and promoting safe hygiene environments for infants and young children (IYC).
CLTS: As guided by the findings of a comprehensive literature review (also available as a webinar) and consultation with global thought-leaders, WASHPaLS implementation research related to CLTS focuses on two overarching themes: 1) An examination of whether subsidies targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable households in a community may serve to improve the sustainability and equity of sanitation gains from Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Ghana is underway–a research brief and midline report are available; 2) WASHPaLS partnered with CLTS implementers and governments to research and better understand the range of conditions in which CLTS is most effective (the so-called “Performance Envelope”), to guide future implementation and investment decisions by governments, donors and implementers – available outputs include a research brief and country-level briefs for the results of quantitative analysis of factors contributing to the success of CLTS in Cambodia, Ghana, Zambia, Liberia. Research findings are also presented in a manuscript titled Policy Diffusion in the Rural Sanitation Sector: Lessons from Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). WASHPaLS also conducted a landscape assessment of information communication technology (ICT) use cases in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector as an initial step toward understanding the demand and potential use for development or customization of a technology solution to support large-scale implementation and/or monitoring of CLTS programs.
MBS: Using a similar literature review (also available in French and as a webinar) and consultative process to identify key knowledge gaps, WASHPaLS MBS implementation research focuses on two themes: 1) understanding the factors that impact viability of sanitation enterprises, the profile of entrepreneurs who are best suited to act as focal point of sales for customers, and the types of enterprise capital that are required to improve viability; and 2) understanding the changes in market rules (e.g., legislation, government policy, regulation) that can potentially improve viability of sanitation enterprises or increase toilet sales.The enterprise viability theme findings are captured in a report offering guidance to practitioners; case studies from in India, Cambodia and Nigeria; a webinar on designing sanitation enterprises; a game created as a learning tool for MBS practitioners; and a manuscript titled Global Assessment of Grant-Funded, Market-based Sanitation Development Projects. Findings from the market rules research are summarized in this conference poster and are being demonstrated through technical assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Libera, described below.
Hygienic Environments: The WASHPaLS Hygienic Environments desk review (and webinar) identified two under-emphasized aspects of Wagner and Lagnoix’s seminal F-diagram that are worthy of increased attention: 1) domestic animal excreta as an important reservoir of disease-causing agents in immediate living environments, and 2) exposure of IYC to pathogens via ingestion of dirt (geophagy) and/or human and animal excreta, as well as through exploratory mouthing behaviors as a critical exposure pathway not disrupted by the traditional suite of WASH measures. Through multi-year research effort including aspects of product development, formative research, and an experimental trial, WASHPaLS seeks to understand whether a protective play space (playmat and play pen) significantly reduces exposure of IYC to harmful enteric pathogens. Research findings are captured in a final Study Report and a manuscript titled Exploring the Use and Appeal of Playpens to Protect Infants from Exposure to Animals, Animal Feces, and Dirt in Rural Ethiopia.
WASHPaLS provides USAID Mission and technical bureaus short-term technical assistance (STTA) on a range of WASH themes. STTA provided under Component 1 is entirely demand driven.
NOURISH Impact Evaluation (USAID/E3 Office of Water, October 2018 – Ongoing): USAID’s Office of Water (now RFS/CW) commissioned an impact evaluation of the Integrated Nutrition, Hygiene, and Sanitation (NOURISH) activity, to understand the effectiveness of integrated nutrition and WASH interventions. NOURISH was a five-year (June 2014 - June 2019), $16.3 million USAID project to address several Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future (FTF) priorities by focusing on the key causal factors of chronic undernutrition specific to Cambodia. Fact sheet available. Final report and manuscripts pending.
Kenya RAPID Impact Evaluation (USAID/Kenya East Africa, June 2018 – Ongoing): USAID/Kenya and East Africa (USAID/KEA) requested that WASHPaLS conduct an impact evaluation of the information and communication technology-based (ICT) intervention portion of the Kenya RAPID activity. Kenya Resilient Arid Lands Partnership for Integrated Development (RAPID) was a five-year activity to address capacity, coordination, and communication constraints facing water access and delivery in five of Kenya’s Northern Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties: Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir. As part of Kenya RAPID, SweetSense installed data transmitting sensors on boreholes and provided tools and training for water service providers to access and use sensor data and other support. The impact evaluation seeks to better understand whether and how such an intervention affects functionality of water points. Baseline and midline reports are available, final report pending.
KIWASH Mid-Term Performance Evaluation (USAID/KEA, October 2018 – March 2019): USAID/KEA commissioned WASHPaLS to undertake a mid-term performance evaluation of Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH), a $51 million five-year, multi-pronged activity designed to institutionalize catalytic models of sustainable service delivery for accelerated expansion of water and sanitation services and to improve complementary hygiene behaviors. The integrated nature of KIWASH’s outputs are reflected in the diverse range of its activities, from technical assistance to water utilities and WASH enterprises, to Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and sanitation marketing, to nutrition counseling. Final report, Summary Report, and Key Findings Brief are available.
W4H Performance Evaluation (USAID/Ghana, July 2019 – February 2020): USAID/Ghana commissioned WASHPaLS to conduct a performance evaluation of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Health (W4H) Activity with an emphasis on assessing sustainability of interventions. W4H was a five-year (2015–2020), US$19M activity, the goal of which was to accelerate sustainable improvement in water and sanitation access and improve hygiene behaviors in 15 target Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Final Report, Summary Report and Key Findings Brief are available.
Kenya RAPID Performance Evaluation (USAID/KEA, May – December 2020): USAID/KEA, in conjunction with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) commissioned aperformance evaluation of Kenya RAPID, a US$35.5 million public-private partnership/Global Development Alliance activity (2015–2020), funded jointly by USAID, (SDC), private sector partners, and Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) members. The program seeks to ensure sustainable and resilient livelihoods for communities, increase access to water and sanitation and access to water for livestock, and rebuild a healthy rangeland-management ecosystem in five counties: Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana, and Wajir. Final Report, Summary Report and Key Findings Brief are available.
Sanitation Market Assessments
Ethiopia Decision Support Tools (USAID/Africa, October 2019 – Ongoing): The USAID Bureau for Africa requested that WASHPaLS conduct an assessment on the potential impact of reducing import tariffs and domestic taxes on the uptake of plastic sanitation products and the cost to the Government of Ethiopia for doing so. The request is in support of expanding the exemptions to the broader category of plastic sanitation products as a non-excludable public good. WASHPaLS will customize for the Ethiopian context a Decision Support Tool (DST) that simulates the impact of reducing the price (such as exemption from taxes and tariffs, access to foreign exchange for domestic private sector) on plastic sanitation-related products. DST outputs will present an estimate of the costs (e.g., loss in fiscal revenue) and benefits (i.e., increase in basic sanitation coverage) of lowering the price of these products, and help the GoE make an informed decision.
Kenya Rural Sanitation Market Assessment (USAID/KEA, December 2020 – Ongoing): USAID/KEA requested an assessment of the sanitation market in select counties in Kenya to inform future USAID investments in rural sanitation in Kenya. WASHPaLS will analyze the current state of the sanitation market in four counties, identified with USAID/KEA and UNICEF, by applying the MBS framework developed under WASHPaLS.
Liberia Sanitation Market Assessment (USAID/Liberia, January 2021 – Ongoing): USAID/Liberia requested an assessment of the sanitation market nationwide with deep dives in five select counties in Liberia. The objective of this assessment is to generate findings that inform future USAID investments in rural sanitation in Liberia. The primary audience for the activity is USAID/Liberia, the Government of Liberia (GoL), and its partners in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Hygiene Research and Other Technical Assistance
Menstrual Hygiene Management Action Research (USAID/E3 GenDev & W-GDP, February 2019 – Ongoing): USAID/E3’s Office of Gender and Development (GenDev) requested action research on Menstrual Hygiene Management, with additional contributions from the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) fund. WASHPaLS completed a review of the evidence on MHM and women’s economic empowerment (WEE), with findings captured in a literature review and webinar. The scope of work also included workplace MHM interventions in up to four sites accompanied by an economic impact study and a parallel activity to identify and field test a set of metrics for measuring the impact of MHM on working women and their economic empowerment. The intervention activities are underway at two companies in Nepal and two companies in Kenya. A situation analysis of MHM in the workplace will be conducted in Ethiopia using a Political Economy Analysis approach.
Formative Research for Gender and Hygiene Behaviors in Mozambique (USAID/Mozambique, July 2019 – Ongoing): USAID/Mozambique commissioned WASHPaLS to conduct applied research to generate a base of evidence for WASH behavior change and gender equity programming, which will be utilized in both the design and implementation of WASH project activities. WASHPaLS will conduct formative research on three components: decision-making for water and sanitation products and services (e.g., household connection to water system), barriers and motivations for various hygiene behaviors (e.g., handwashing, safe disposal of child feces, latrine adoption, etc.), and post-disaster recovery.
Growth through Nutrition (GtN) WASH-Nutrition Integration Assessment (USAID/Ethiopia, October 2020 - Ongoing): USAID/Ethiopia commissioned WASHPaLS to conduct a focused assessment of the integration of WASH and nutrition activities within the Growth through Nutrition Project (GtN), USAID/Ethiopia’s flagship, multi-sectoral nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activity. Synthesis Report and country reports are available.
WASH and COVID Trends and Futures Analysis (USAID/RFS/CW, June 2020 – Ongoing): USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS)’s Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene (CW) tasked WASHPaLS with assessing the effects of the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on access to WASH services and products in USAID high-priority and strategy-aligned countries. The assessment sought to characterize the current state of affairs and to forecast near-term (6–18 month) trends that could assist governments, donors, and implementers prepare an informed response to the WASH-related impacts of the pandemic. WASHPaLS conducted "deep dives” in seven countries (the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, and Senegal) and developed an econometric model linking income changes to WASH outcomes to generate WASH outcome forecasts for the 28 USAID high-priority and strategy-aligned countries. Synthesis Report and country reports are available.
Ghana WASH and COVID Trends (USAID/Ghana, October 2020 – Ongoing): Upon completion of the Ghana deep dive described above, the Ghana Mission requested WASHPaLS to conduct additional research on the impacts of COVID-19 on WASH services in Ghana. The follow-on assessment focuses on the operational status of small piped systems in Ghana, particularly the extent and likelihood of service disruptions, and the constraints on government institutions for tracking reimbursement needs and responding to reimbursement requests from small providers.
Approaches for Sanitation Access in Pastoralist Areas in Kenya (USAID/KEA, September 2020 – Ongoing): USAID/KEA requested WASHPaLS to conduct applied research that strengthens the evidence base to inform strategies for improving access to safely managed sanitation in pastoralist areas within the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) of northern Kenya. The study will inform future USAID investments in rural sanitation and support UNICEF and the Government of Kenya in the development of context-specific rural sanitation guidance.
Splash International implemented the grant WASH-in Schools Hygiene Nudges in Ethiopia to test the introduction of subtle environmental nudges in school and household settings to influence the adoption of handwashing with soap by children and their families. The grant began in January 2018 and results from the October 2018 baseline assessment showed higher than anticipated handwashing rates in both schools and homes, leaving the study underpowered to document impact from the proposed interventions, and, thus, unable to answer the proposed study questions. The final report summarizes the study approach, baseline intervention and findings.
iDE implemented the grant Expanding Women’s Role in Nepal’s Sanitation Value Chain to explore the role that women play in the sanitation value chain in Nepal, and how those roles may impact key behaviors such as latrine purchase and use. The research team conducted surveys of households that purchased a latrine from an iDE-trained sales agent and focus group discussions with sales agents to understand the attitudes, competencies, and execution strategies employed to promote latrine purchase and use. The final report summarizes the study approach, conclusions and recommendations for organizations seeking to leverage local sanitation entrepreneurs.
icddr,b implemented the grant mHealth Messaging: an Innovative Approach to Promote Improved Caregiver and Child Hygiene Practices in Bangladesh. The study developed and piloted WASH mHealth modules targeting safe child feces disposal, improved food hygiene, and safe child mouthing practices. The formative research included in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, mobile health workshops, laboratory analyses, and a pilot study. The aim of the formative research was to: (1) identify perceptions and practices around food hygiene, child mouthing, and child feces disposal behaviors among caregivers of young children and their household members; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to perform the target WASH behaviors; (3) identify beneficiary perceptions and preferences for delivering the Baby WASH mHealth program; and (4) determine the feasibility of program delivery. The final report summarizes the study approach, results and recommendations for a future study. A manuscript was also published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Icddr,b also implemented the grant Household Problem-Solving to Reduce Children’s Exposure to Chicken Feces in Bangladesh. This grant builds upon icddr,b ’s existing knowledge of backyard poultry raisers practices, risks, and incentives to identify and enhance scalable and sustainable strategies that neighborhoods can adopt to separate children under five years of age from poultry and poultry feces in Bangladesh. Through this grant, icddr,b will 1) identify and improve upon existing strategies that separate children and chickens; 2) develop neighborhoods’ problem-solving capacities as they implement a set of the improved strategies; and 3) assess the interventions while evaluating and refining intervention metrics.
Stanford is working in collaboration with World Vision and Sesame Workshop, who in 2012 created a partnership called WASH UP! that has implemented activities in 11 countries to date. WASH UP! includes a school-based curricular program developed by Sesame Workshop that targets 6- to 9-year-old primary school students with messaging about germ theory and healthy behaviors, such as handwashing and consistent latrine use. Using the planned launch of the WASH UP! program in India as a platform, Stanford is implementing the grant Bringing it Home: Driving School-Based WASH Messaging into the Household to test the use of learning communications objects and associated instructional guidance to enhance the likelihood of information transmission between teacher, student, and household.
Gram Vikas is implementing the grant Developing and Testing an Innovative Behavior Change Program for Safe Child Feces Management in Odisha, India to research the behavioral factors influencing the adoption of safe child feces management (CFM) practices and CFM hardware that reduce fecal exposure and is preferred by caregivers. The intervention focuses on two CFM behaviors of interest: (1) safe disposal of child feces and (2) child latrine training. Target participants are households that have a latrine and at least one child less than 5 years old.
IDinsight implemented the grant Testing Nudges and Lesson Plans to Increase Handwashing in Schools Among Pupils in the Philippines. The nudge intervention was designed to address the primary barriers to handwashing among children in the Philippines, which IDinsight’s previous studies have found to be forgetfulness and more broadly, a lack of habit formation. The tested intervention consisted of the following nudges: painted footpath with spray-painted footprints from toilet stall to handwashing station, calendar of handwashing posters, “watching eye” sticker above the handwashing station, and arrow sticker pointing to a soap dish. The final report details the results of the evaluation, which are intended to inform scale-up recommendations for schools across the Philippines.
The Water Trust is implementing the grant Improving Hygienic Management of Poultry in Rural Uganda to help rural poultry owners with children to hygienically separate chickens from children by focusing on a small set of key factors, including increased risk perception, increased perception of potential livelihood benefits, increased skills, and increased supportive social norms. To address barriers to behavior change in rural Uganda, the grant is implementing a series of participatory training exercises designed to (1) increase awareness of health risks and lost livelihood benefits of current poultry management practices, (2) build practical skills for poultry management that address risks and improve livelihood benefits, and (3) build supportive community norms for investing in poultry management through facilitating savings group discussions on poultry management.
EarthEnable is implementing the grant Behavioral and Biological Plausibility of the Protective Effects of Improved Flooring as part of a larger, on-going study in which EarthEnable is conducting an integrated study of willingness-to-pay, marketing messages, and health outcomes of its novel, plant-based floor varnish in Uganda. There is currently a knowledge gap regarding the types and degree of behavior change associated with the potential of improved flooring to reduce pathogen sequestration and viability. EarthEnable is seeking to fill this knowledge gap by understanding behavioral modification and the potential magnitude of effect on children by characterizing how much time they spend on improved versus unimproved surfaces and how often they mouth hands and objects that have been in contact with improved vs unimproved surfaces. Earth Enable’s grant will also evaluate which illnesses and pathogens are most likely to be influenced by the introduction of improved flooring.