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WaterAid regularly produces materials about policy and practice in WASH.
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Financing sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure in African cities

Essential element: why international aid for WASH is still a critical source of finance

Essential element: why international aid for water, sanitation and hygiene is still a critical source of finance for many countries

2015 is a landmark year for the water, sanitation and hygiene sector.

It brings to a close the Millennium Development Goals period, marked by its many successes but also its failures. It also signals the start of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development era with all countries committing to end water and sanitation poverty for good, achieving universal provision of these essential services by 2030 at the latest.

Effective financing is critical to this new agenda and many developing countries face an increased number of options for financing their national plans – from domestic, international, public and private sources – than they did at the turn of the millennium. Related to this, the increased availability of private finance and some real progress made in lifting economic growth rates has led to an assumption that international aid is declining in importance, even becoming redundant.

On the eve of the new post-2015 sustainable development framework, it is important to look ahead at the challenges to financing universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. This report shows that for many countries aid will be a vital international resource.

WHO UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program Update 2015

Everyone, Everywhere 2030: WaterAid's Global Strategy 2015-2020

Everyone, Everywhere 2030

WaterAid’s Global Strategy 2015-2020

Our global strategy designed to help reach everyone, everywhere with safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030.

We believe extreme poverty cannot be eradicated without universal access to these basic services. Everyone on our planet needs them to live healthy, dignified and productive lives.

Our strategy is designed to accelerate transformational change towards our vision of a world where everyone, everywhere has safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

We have four aims that will address the inequalities in access to water, sanitation and hygiene and assist in strengthening sustainable services. We will also work with others to integrate water, sanitation and hygiene into their plans and policies - such as the health and education sectors - and demonstrate the importance of water and sanitation to sustainable development. We will also have a strong focus on hygiene behaviour in order to drive demand and to maximise the benefits of having access to water and sanitation.

Measuring what matters: WASH in the Sustainable Development Goals

Financing universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030

Financing universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030

2015 marks a critical year for sustainable development, with three summits that will define the global development agenda for the next 15 years: the Third Conference of Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) United Nations (UN) General Assembly in September; and the UN Climate Change conferences in December.

This WaterAid briefing note focuses on Addis Ababa, and considers some of the key financing issues to be addressed for universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to be achieved by 2030.


WaterAid Nicaragua country program evaluation

Total sanitation coverage in East Asia

Total sanitation coverage in East Asia

This research paper sets out some findings from ongoing research in East Asian states on the political economy of sanitation and hygiene services that delivered total coverage within a generation. 

These conclusions are not intended to claim blueprints for success but rather to input into the emerging dialog in the sanitation and hygiene sectors on how the necessary step change for delivering universal access to services can be achieved by 2030.

Case study data

WaterAid contracted a research consultant to conduct fieldwork in the three case-study countries of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. The information he found is presented in the three research reports below. 

The research used a combination of archival searches for legislation, speeches, press and official documentation, as well as key informant interviews and data analysis. WaterAid analyzed this data to produce the synthesis paper above.

Information about Thailand was taken from earlier research commissioned by WaterAid, also available below.

Optimization of a low-cost urine treatment system for resource recovery

Optimization of a low-cost urine treatment system for resource recovery

Today, over 800 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished and 2.5 billion live without basic sanitation facilities (FAO, IFAD and WFP, 2014; UN Water, 2014). Current sanitation challenges require new alternatives to conventional sewerage systems. Among them, the reuse of source-separated urine could help mitigate poverty and malnutrition by providing an in-country supply of fertilizer.

Historically urine has been applied as a fertilizer to a variety of crops in numerous countries including Japan, Yemen and Sweden (Schönning, 2001). Scientific research as well as development projects have studied and demonstrated the efficiency of urine reuse in agriculture (Richert et al., 2010). Lately, research has focused on nutrient recovery from urine as struvite (Wilsenach et al., 2007). However, studies on the recovery of urea from urine are scarce although urea constitutes the main source of nitrogen in urine. Therefore this study aims to provide an understanding of the potential for nutrient recovery from urine as urea and recommendations of practices based on experimental work.

Sponsored by WaterAid UK, this project aimed to test a new low-cost solution for urine management in developing countries based on the production of urea using solar powered evaporation for use as a fertilizer. This study investigated the performance of urine evaporation in producing urea, leading to recommendations on the design and broader application of the system and on its viability as a business model. As concluding remarks, the project assessed the relevance of the proposed system in the production of urine derived-urea for agricultural purposes in developing countries.

Preliminary analyzes of urine chemical composition were carried out in order to compare the results with the literature review. Five samples of one-liter urine were evaporated using an experimental set-up under different conditions. In particular, the influence of pasteurization and the design characteristics of the prototype (surface area and height of the light) on the chemical composition of the final product and its stability were considered. The results suggest that pasteurization of urine impacts the initial chemical characteristics and crystallization process. Ventilation and temperature were also identified as a parameter of major impact on the speed of crystallization of urine. With a view to a possible implementation, the mass of recovered urea crystals, around 13 g of dry product per liter of urine, appears as a limitation to this technique.

Although the recovery of urea by solar pasteurization and evaporation requires little maintenance and low-cost materials, and is particularly adapted for developing countries, our work showed that urine evaporation is a slow process producing limited amounts of urea. In addition, the end product appeared very unstable as it easily absorbs atmospheric moisture. Our findings suggest that the implementation of the current system is not viable. Further research is specifically required to optimize the process in terms of yield and quality/stability of the final product.

Summary report >

Undoing Inequity: inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene in Zambia