SuSanA - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Tue, 02 Sep 2014 09:10:16 +0000 Kunena 1.6 SuSanA - Forum en-gb Re: Catalyzing Sanitation Businesses (Water for People, USA, Malawi, Uganda, India) - by: smunyana Enabling environment Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:02:52 +0000 Re: Evidence-based sanitation advocacy in India to promote latrine use - by: SangitaVyas
You are right. In India, very few people have inexpensive, simple latrines. These types of latrines are much more common to find in other parts of the developing world, even in South Asia. In Bangladesh, it's very common to find simple pit latrines, the kinds that UNICEF/WHO classifies as "unimproved." It's virtually impossible to find these in India. In India, people either build expensive latrines which often have septic tanks. And if they can't afford that, then they build nothing at all. There is no such thing as the sanitation ladder here.

Yes, there needs to be much more focus on IEC. In the past financial year, very little of the IEC budget was spent. We need to be spending all of it.

Enabling environment Fri, 29 Aug 2014 05:42:56 +0000
Re: Evidence-based sanitation advocacy in India to promote latrine use - by: pkjha
As per the guidelines of NBA (earlier TSC) financial incentive will be provided after the construction and use of latrines. At policy level there is no problem in this regard. Main problem is almost complete lacking of monitoring (of construction and use of toilets) at the state and centre levels. Lack of awareness in rural areas is the most important issue. In such areas sanitation is not regarded as a felt need problem due to lack of knowledge, awareness and motivation. In some states like Haryana, in a short period, there has been appreciable sanitation coverage due to involvement of Women Self Help Groups. Many households constructed toilets without taking any financial support from the Government.
Lack of sanitation is mainly a social issue- not financial or technical. One can easily see several households having good houses and personal vehicles but without toilet. Increasing rate of cash subsidy of construction of toilets is also one of the deterrents of the programme. Such subsidy has made the program a supply driven approach. In 2011 rural sanitation coverage, as per the IMS data of the Ministry (as provided by the States) was over 70%. However, Census 2011 data showed only 31-32% coverage. Obviously there were considerable no. of missing/ unfinished construction/ wrongly located toilets, constructed under subsidy, not fit for use. Therefore, proper construction of toilets is equally important. Without having a toilet there is no question of its use. The IEC program of the Ministry needs to be monitored by the States with measurable deliverables.
Enabling environment Fri, 29 Aug 2014 03:29:35 +0000
Re: Evidence-based sanitation advocacy in India to promote latrine use - by: SangitaVyas
You pose an interesting question. The government doesn't focus on latrine use simply because all incentives point towards focusing on construction.

Local level bureaucrats prefer construction projects to behavior change campaigns because they are more profitable. It is easier to skim money off construction projects. Politicians prefer construction projects because they are very visible, and they can easily claim responsibility. Many local level politicians actually get their names written on the latrines that are built during their time in office. And to people who don't know much about sanitation in India, construction sounds like the obvious solution. Finally, construction is the status quo. And inertia gets in the way of changing it.

Only a politician or bureaucrat who really cares about eliminating open defecation would emphasize latrine use.]]>
Enabling environment Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:28:38 +0000
Re: Evidence-based sanitation advocacy in India to promote latrine use - by: ggalli Thanks, for this. Had already followed your great work and the SQUAT report, and shared it internally within my organisation.

I have a question for you or your colleagues. The topic is named 'evidence-based sanitation advocacy' yet you end your post by saying that the biggest challenge is 'convincing politicians to emphasize latrine use, rather than construction'. Can you explain me what the reasons are why it is so difficult to convince politicians in India even though you have produced good evidence to back up your claim?

I am asking because more and more I am wondering whether we are wasting our time in generating more data and evidence. Political decisions are not made on basis of data, but on pressure, money and power. Maybe it is time to switch our strategy and start to get more 'dirty' (pun intended).]]>
Enabling environment Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:10:34 +0000
Evidence-based sanitation advocacy in India to promote latrine use - by: SangitaVyas
Today I would like to tell you about a sanitation grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that I am involved with at the r.i.c.e. (Research Institute for Compassionate Economics):

Title of grant: SQUAT (Sanitation Quality, Use, Access, and Trends): Evidence based sanitation advocacy for India
Subtitle (more descriptive title): To promote evidence-based sanitation policy-making in India that can reduce open defecation and improve children’s health by promoting latrine use
Name of lead organization: Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e.)
Primary contact at lead organization: Sangita Vyas
Grantee location: Amston, CT (Connecticut, USA)
Developing country where the research is being or will be tested: India
Start and end date: February 2013 – July 2015
Grant type: Global Development (e.g. Global Challenges Explorations, Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, Other)
Grant size in USD: $262,340 (as per grant database:

Short description of the project:

Open defecation imposes enormous costs on children’s health and human capital, and is exceptionally widespread in India. We believe that there is convincing evidence of the benefits for health and human capital of safe latrine use. What is needed now is (1) to convince policy-makers of this, and (2) a better understanding of the local political economy, social forces, and economic factors that constrain or promote latrine use.

Ultimately, our goal is to influence Indian policy, such that the government – at its various levels – might better pursue an end to open defecation, especially in rural India, which is r.i.c.e.’s focus. We note that we can only be a small part of this large process. However, many policy-makers still do not recognize sanitation as a top priority; others are missing opportunities to make programs more effective; and nobody fully understands, including we ourselves, how rural communities can be best encouraged to use latrines. Thus, there is a need for basic persuasion of the urgency of safe excreta disposal; for advocacy of more effective policies, based on latrine use, not construction; and for research into the social, institutional, and political mechanisms that might successfully promote latrine use.


Policy advocacy goals:

1. Sanitation as a policy priority. Although the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) has been a “flagship program” of the Indian government, there is still much scope for increasing the prominence of sanitation as a policy priority. A key part of this will be emphasizing the link between sanitation and stunting, commonly called “malnutrition.” Many activists who worry about children’s health advocate a “right to food;” others seek to promote medical care, or even access to water (rather than safe excreta disposal in particular); none of these promote the crucial public good of ending open defecation. Among those who do, there is debate over whether negative externalities imply that eradication of open defecation is necessary for a locality to see health effects.

2. Focus on latrine use, not construction. Too much of the policy discussion centers on building latrines, however building latrines has not significantly reduced open defecation over the past 15 years in India. Information, education, and latrine use promotion need to be the cornerstones of any successful program to end open defecation.

3. Central measurement of latrine use. Recognizing that any goal that is not measured is not achieved, the government should establish an independent, accountable mechanism of monitoring latrine use, not latrine construction.

4. Latrine use requires a ground staff. Rural sanitation teams at the block and district level require a new, dedicated staff responsible only for behavior change and promotion of latrine use, not for latrine construction.

o Conducting a new survey on sanitation attitudes and behaviors in rural north India
• SQUAT report based on findings
• Short contributions from many stakeholders
• “Launch party” conferences in Delhi and two state capitals (probably UP and Bihar, or maybe MP, three very poor Indian states where we have experience and connections)

o Conference jointly produced with the Delhi School of Economics and World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme about stunting of Indian children
o Newspaper articles authored by and not authored by rice staff, in English and Hindi press
o Continuing to meet with policy-makers in Delhi to advocate policy goals and report findings
o Meeting with 15-25 District Magistrates or District Panchayati Raj Officers (or similar local officers) note that this will work towards both research and advocacy goals
o Meeting with relevant state officials in at least two states
o Presentation at LBNAA (IAS academy)
o Encouraging other advocates (e.g. World Bank WSP, UNICEF) to cite our research and to promote our messages
o Offering to help the government design systems for useful monitoring data collection

Research or implementation partners: Delhi School of Economics

Links, further readings – results to date:

A policy brief summarizing the findings of the SQUAT Study can be found here:
SQUAT Study’s website:
r.i.c.e.’s website, the home of our blog:
NY Times article covering our research:
The Economist article covering our research:

Current state of affairs:

In August 2013, we organized a conference on stunting. Leading scholars of child height—economists, epidemiologists, nutritionists, and pediatricians—and government officials came together to discuss why children in India are so short? Height is an important indicator of overall health and human development because the same good health that helps a child grow tall can also help her grow smart. In presentation after presentation at the conference, sanitation stood out as an important part of this puzzle.

We have completed the data collection and entry for the SQUAT Study. Our working paper is available on the SQUAT Study’s website and is forthcoming in Economic and Political Weekly. The data was collected in villages in five states in India: Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. We found that rural households do not build inexpensive latrines of the sort that commonly reduce open defecation and save lives in Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Many survey respondents‘ behavior revealed a preference for open defecation: over 40% of households with a working latrine had at least one member who defecated in the open. In the sample from the four largest states, more than half of people in households which owned a government latrine defecated in the open. We applied a demographic model of latrine use which predicted that if the government were to build a latrine for every rural household that lacked one, without changing sanitation preferences, most people in our sample in these states would nevertheless defecate in the open. Further evidence supports a preference for open defecation: many survey respondents reported that open defecation is more pleasurable and desirable than latrine use. Among people who defecated in the open, a majority report that widespread open defecation would be at least as good for child health as latrine use by everyone in the village.

Numerous publications have covered our research including the New York Times, The Economist, The Hindu, among others. Additionally, numerous opinion pieces authored by us have appeared in a number of Indian newspapers.

In June and July of 2014, we sent the findings of our research and policy proposals to promote latrine use to 230 members of parliament, 377 ministry officials, and 389 district collectors by mail and email.

Biggest successes so far:

Sanitation has become a policy priority under the new government. We completed quantitative and qualitative research that explores sanitation attitudes and behaviors in north India perhaps more than any other study has. Our research and messages have been well-covered in the media.

Main challenges / frustration:

Convincing politicians who make policy decisions on sanitation to emphasize latrine use, rather than construction, in India’s sanitation policy.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have here on the forum.

Enabling environment Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:16:16 +0000
Re: SanMark-CITY: Intelligent Design in Urban Sanitation Marketing- quick glimpse - by: JKMakowka
I am just a bit concerned that the choice of technology options will limit the analytical outcome of this; it looks like it will be a case of comparing apples with oranges as the systems are so different in their method of operation, costs and level of development.

For example the tiger-toilet is (as far as I know) still quite early in development and only a hand full of working examples exist. The functioning principle of the Enbiolet seems to be based on what is also sold microbial pit-additives and sanitation expert opinion is that this is largely a scam (i.e. no need to empty is unrealistic). I can't really comment on the biofil as too little info is given, but the Sun-Mar seems way out of reach in regards to affordability for the targeted Bangladeshi urban slum inhabitant.]]>
Enabling environment Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:41:10 +0000
Re: SanMark-CITY: Intelligent Design in Urban Sanitation Marketing- quick glimpse - by: esthapit
Title of grant: SanMark-CITY
• Subtitle: SanMark-CITY: Intelligent Design in Urban Sanitation Marketing - Fostering Adaptation and Evolution
• Name of lead organization: ICCO Cooperation
• Primary contact at lead organization: Leonard Zijlstra
• Grantee location: The Netherlands
• Developing country where the research is being or will be tested: Bangladesh

Short description of the project:

The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) report 2012 of the World Bank highlights the continuing corrosive effect that poor sanitation and public health has on the Bangladeshi economy. Health-related losses are estimated at over 4 billion dollars, the equivalent of 5% of GDP. (Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in Bangladesh, WSP 2012), and human waste still drives forty-nine distinct disease vectors throughout Bangladesh.

Most of the existing sanitation interventions in Bangladesh have been based on pit latrines and septic tanks. It appears that some households were offered little choice in terms of the type of system that was installed. Neither of these technologies are particularly sustainable from a technical point of view in the absence of good faecal sludge management systems. A survey of several sanitation projects in 2010 showed that in many cases pit filling and operation and maintenance were concerns for households. Further, in crowded slum areas there may not be sufficient space to install latrines and service their emptying. This report highlighted the lack of sustainable sanitation options for slum areas, and high-water table and flood-prone districts.

Technology and business driven solutions have a major role to play in helping to deliver better sanitation for the poor in Bangladesh. This project includes to explore the potential of four toilet technologies to overcome some of the challenges faced in delivering a sustainable impact on this problem. It takes a market-led approach, and will focus on the role of the private sector to develop commercial ventures which are sustainable and scalable as the implementation vehicles. In line with lessons learned about inclusive innovation, it recognises that development and implementation requires collaboration with a number of partners including NGOs, research organizations, government authorities, and building on existing service providers.

Drawing on its growing thought leadership in combining sanitation technology, ICCO Cooperation along with two other implementing partners i.e. International Development Enterprises (iDE) and Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK) proposes to “adapt and evolve” four promising SanTechs similar to those developed through the Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenges (RTTC) and Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) to the realities and market systems of urban Bangladesh through the “Sanitation Marketing for Urban Onsite Sanitation in Bangladesh”, or “SanMark-CITY” project.

SanMark-CITY will explore critical gap that currently exist in introducing, adapting, and sustaining affordable sanitation technologies at scale for slums in urban Bangladesh and will inform key stakeholders in the public, private and nongovernmental sectors on how best to support the diffusion of such technologies for maximum impact.

The project has four objectives and through achieving these objectives, it would be possible to provide alternative toilet options to the poor slum dwellers of Bangladesh, which are affordable, environmentally sound, hygienic and approved by the institutes like Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE). Through the business promotion interventions of the project, tested and approved toilets would be easily available in the market, which will enable the slum dwellers to get access to those. Besides, through direct involvement of DPHE in the project, it would be possible to make the toilets available at the Municipality level throughout the country in future.


The overall objective of the SanMark-CITY project is to successfully adapt and develop commercialization channels for 4 improved on-site sanitation technologies for urban areas of Bangladesh.

These sanitation technologies are (for details see flyer in post above):


1. To test four selected toilet technologies and localize design to demonstrate their potential to meet the sanitation needs of urban poor communities in Bangladesh in sustainable, affordable way
2. To develop business model of viable toilet technologies
3. To explore and identify the commercial capacity and supply chain in Bangladesh to meet the demands of consumers, suppliers and large-scale sanitation programs
4. To facilitate knowledge management, dissemination and roll-out on a large scale

Start and end date: 1 January 2014 and 30 June 2015

Grant type: Global Development Grant Number OPP1097054

Size: USD 699,587

Research or implementation partners: International Development Enterprises (iDE) and Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK)

Links, further readings – results to date:

Current state of affairs:

Project is being implemented according to the plan. Few adjustments had to be made, which were done through consultation with the responsible Program Officer of the foundation.

Biggest successes so far:
The project is just above 6 months old. Updates will follow shortly

Main challenges / frustration: There is no such issue yet.]]>
Enabling environment Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:31:47 +0000
Performance Assessment Systems (PAS) for Urban Water Supply and Sanitation in India (CEPT University, India) - by: aasimmansuri
Here are some details on the Performance Assessment System (PAS) Project that aims to develop appropriate methods and tools to measure, monitor and improve delivery of water and sanitation in urban India. The Project has three major components of performance measurement, monitoring and improvement. It covers all urban local bodies (ULBs) in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Looking forward to discussions on the forum.

Title of grant: Performance Assessment Systems (PAS) for Urban Water Supply and Sanitation

Name of lead organization: CEPT University

Primary contact at lead organization: Dr. Meera Mehta / Dr. Dinesh Mehta

Grantee location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat , INDIA

Developing country where the research is being or will be tested: INDIA

Short description of the project:
Lack of reliable and updated information about operational and financial performance of urban water supply and sanitation services poses a key challenge in improving access to the poor and increasing efficiency of service delivery in India. New investments in urban water and sanitation are made, without proper performance assessment of existing system

The Performance Assessment System (PAS) Project has developed appropriate methods and tools to measure, monitor and improve delivery of water and sanitation in urban India. The Project has three major components of performance measurement, monitoring and improvement. It covers all urban local bodies (ULBs) in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The project team has worked with the state and local governments to institutionalize the performance assessment system (PAS). More details on

In recent years, the project team has focused on sanitation related activities. These include developing measurement systems and indicators for on-site sanitation, preparing and implementing city sanitation plans, developing tools for assessing sanitation improvement actions, and developing mechanisms for financing urban sanitation

The main aim of the proposed project is to develop and test, through implementation in two states in India, a performance assessment system for urban water supply and sanitation. The working hypothesis of this project is that a well performing and sustainable PAS will make service delivery more efficient, equitable and sustainable.

Objectives: The key objectives of the project are :

o Objective 1 : To develop and implement a performance measurement system for regular and reliable UWSS information
o Objective 2: To analyze and share results on a regular basis with ULBs, state government agencies and other stakeholders through performance monitoring and dissemination system for use in decision making and providing incentives.
o Objective 3: To facilitate development of performance improvement plans by urban local bodies with support from state government, NGOs and private sector.
o Objective 4: To develop an assessment framework and financially feasible planning approach for citywide sanitation

Start and end date: 1st December, 2008 to 30th June, 2016

Grant type: Research grant (see here in BMGF database :

Grant size: USD 9,840,056

Funding for this research currently ongoing: yes

Research or implementation partners: Urban Management Centre (UMC), Ahmedabad, Gujarat and All India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG), Mumbai, Maharashtra

Links, further readings – results to date:

Current state of affairs:
Well established systems of information and tools for performance monitoring and improvement have been set up in both the states. Apart from this during the course of the work in both the states, it was found that in nearly two-thirds of cities, on-site sanitation is practiced, and very little information is available for this aspect. Thus in January 2012, CEPT started to work on Sanitation related issues, focusing on sanitation assessment, developing sanitation plans and looking at governance of sanitation at local level. During the past years, various activities have been initiated on sanitation by the CEPT team, viz. development of a citywide sanitation assessment framework, preparation of city sanitation plans, exploring private sector engagement to improve service delivery and studies on regulation of onsite sanitation systems.

Biggest successes so far:
Over the five years period, CEPT has worked closely with state governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra and over 400+ cities in these two states to generate information. There is now a well-established system of information and tools for performance monitoring and performance improvement have been developed. State PAS/SLB Cells have been formed in both states for regular performance monitoring and support preparation of PIPs. They have actively coordinated data collection.

The PAS web portal ( is fully operational and provides public access to performance information for last 5 years for 419 ULBs in the two states. Recently, information from other Indian States has been added. I tis now the largest information base for urban water and sanitation in India. PAS has also strengthened the data visualization component by developing interactive dashboards. These dashboards enable review of state and local level indicators by State and local Governments to monitor performance

Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India has designated CEPT as National Technical Support Centre for benchmarking of water and sanitation. The PAS team has provided training to other States to adopt the PAS framework. PAS will also coordinate and support activities of the National Steering Committee on benchmarking water and sanitation

A decision-support model for Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) developed by PAS project team was used for city sanitation plan (CSP) exercises. The PIP model simulates outcomes and financial implications of a comprehensive set of actions to improve performance of water and sanitation services in municipalities. The model links capital and operational costs of improvement actions with overall municipal finance. It identifies financing options and tariff revisions for various options. A dashboard of the model enables quick comparison of major options.

Challenges :

Onsite Sanitation system: Most cities in India have either full on-site sanitation systems or mixed system with both sewerage and on-site system. However, there are no performance indicators (or benchmarks) to assess on-site sanitation. PAS team is working on developing a set of performance indicators across the sanitation value chain for non-networked cities. However, the information is not readily available with service providers.

Moving away from community/shared toilets: Moving to Open Defecation Free (ODF) cities has emerged as an important agenda our sanitation work. PAS Project has provided support to a number of cities in developing plans for making their cities ODF. Current approach in India is to provide “community toilets”. Our work suggests that this is not an appropriate strategy, as it has high costs –both financial and administrative – to the local government. Instead providing a toilet for each family has a far greater benefit. This idea is being tested in two cities, where the Local City Council have adopted a programme that focuses on facilitating family or group toilets (shared by 2 or 3 families) and agreed to provide partial funds form council budget. Will this programme work?

Sanitation Financing: The current mindset of most local governments is to wait for grants from state or national governments to undertake sanitation projects. This has been the fate of over 200 city sanitation plans in India that were prepared with expectation of large grants from the national government. However, this has not happened. Instead of large-scale centralized systems, we have advocated on-site sanitation. An advantage in such a system is that the investment costs are shared by public agencies and households. But how can cities and household mobilise additional resources? We are working with cities to explore PPPs for Integrated fecal sludge management (IFSM) and consumer finance for own toilets. We are also working at state and national levels to explore mechanisms of “Urban Sanitation Fund” to leverage private funding from corporates (CSR) and social investors (foundations, high net worth individuals, etc.)]]>
Enabling environment Mon, 18 Aug 2014 07:15:48 +0000
SanMark-CITY: Intelligent Design in Urban Sanitation Marketing (ICCO Cooperation, Bangladesh) - by: esthapit
ICCO Cooperation, together with our partners iDE and DSK,is implementing the SanMark City Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project has been basically designed to explore the critical gap that currently exists in introducing, adapting and sustaining affordable on-site sanitation technologies on a large scale. The project aims to successfully adapt and develop commercialization channels for 4 improved on-site sanitation technologies for urban areas of Bangladesh.

The flyer is attached and we will share with you the progress of the project shortly.

Thanks, Eliza]]>
Enabling environment Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:37:20 +0000
Re: Wanting a better way to test pathogen inactivation? Us too! Can you help me crowdsource a better way? - by: BJimenezC
Enabling environment Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:10:27 +0000
The Newsletter "Boues mag" N°3 of Program of Structuring of Fecal Sludge Market for the Benefit of poor households in Dakar, Sénégal (ONAS) - by: Onasbv
Thank you to find enclosed in English the magazine “Boues mag” number three (N°3) of Program of Structuring of Fecal Sludge Market for the Benefit of poor households in Dakar (PSMBV).
Good reception.

Cover page:


P. 03 Editorial

P. 04 News

P. 04 Reinvent the Toilet Fair the Promotion of Innovation

P. 06 Second Steering Committee of the PSMBV

P. 07 Innovative Sanitation Technologies in Flooded Areas: Two Prototypes Selected

P. 08 Submission of the first funding application files

P. 9 Project dynamic

P. 9 Ordering desludging services on the phone in Dakar, now a reality

P. 11 Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (SEP) and Decision Making

P. 14 The WSA agency in the PSMBV project

P. 16 Panafrican Agency for Water and Sanitation in Africa (WSA)

P. 17 Innovation

P. 17 Sustainable access of the poor to adequate sanitation

P. 18 Innovative Sanitation Technologies (IST) in Dakar’s Suburbs: A real need for populations living in flood-prone areas

P. 19 Reduction of electricity costs: A New Approach to behavioral Change

P. 21 RANAS research technology

P.24 Adding value to sludge from wastewater or desludgings

P. 26 Dossier

P. 26 Collective sanitation and management of fecal sludge in Dakar

P. 33 Focus

P. 33 Innovative technology for the value addition to fecal sludge

P. 35 Interview

P. 35 Dr. Doulaye Koné, Project Manager at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Best regards,
Aissatou Basse]]>
Enabling environment Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:57:58 +0000
Re: Wanting a better way to test pathogen inactivation? Us too! Can you help me crowdsource a better way? - by: BJimenezC
Please find below more information about our UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) team project to identify and quantify pathogenic helminth eggs:

Title of grant:

Software to identify and quantify pathogenic helminth eggs

Subtitle: Software to automatically identify and quantify pathogenic helminth eggs in water, wastewater, biosolids and excreta.

Name of lead organization: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Primary contact at lead organization: Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, Ph.D.

( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Grantee location: UNAM, Instituto de Ingeniería, Mexico City

Developing country where the research is being or will be tested:
Mexico, Colombia, some countries of Africa (as Namibia, South Africa, Kenya), Brazil, Philippines, India, as well as developed countries such as USA, Spain and Germany.

Short description of the project:

The following activities have been performed:

a) Integration of a library of helminth eggs images including eight different species, at three viability stages: viable eggs, non-viable eggs, and larval eggs.

b) Software development. Its functions involve detecting and labeling all visible objects in an image, using different processes (filtration, equalization, application of algorithms, etc.), and afterwards the classification of each detected objects based on shape (area, perimeter and eccentricity), and texture properties. The image library was needed to train the software on how a specific helminth egg would look like.

c) Software first validation. Comparative tests were conducted to determine the difference between software performance, and the results given by the standard identification and quantification technique performed by expert microbiologists. Most of the validation and software improvement have been done simultaneously.

The following activities are still ongoing:

a) To include additional helminth eggs species to the recognition protocol.
b) To finish the lab validation so all the objectives can be achieved.
c) To perform international peer-labs test and validation.
d) To develop a user friendly software that may be widely distributed.
e) To find a proper distribution channel that benefits target users (mostly) in developing countries.

Goal(s) Phase I:

To provide an image processing tool to reduce the cost and time consumed by the identifying and quantifying of helminth eggs.

Objectives (Phase I):

a) Setting a workstation: the first task to begin the project was to put a microscopic image processing workstation.

b) Generating helminth eggs image library: with the workstation ready, several helminth eggs images were acquired. The species used for this objective were selected, based on their medical importance and worldwide ubiquity.

c) Developing identification software: a comparative study of the available recognition protocols and image processing techniques was performed.

d) Increasing the number of involved species of helminth eggs: additional species of helminth eggs were selected regarding the difficulty level of identification and the widespread presence.

e) System improvement: New image processing tools and changes were applied to the software. At this point a series of filters were added for image processing.

f) System validation: The validation was made using wastewater samples of three different quality levels.

Goal(s) Phase II:

To distribute this tool worldwide, and ensure mainly that those regions that have limited resources to perform wastewater, sludge, biosolids and excreta quality assessments have easy access to this tool.

Objectives (Phase II)

a) To increase the sensibility of the identification system when dealing with high solids content water (class III or raw wastewater) and establish the protocol for this case.

b) To validate the software to detect and quantify different genera of helminth eggs from samples of different water qualities including wastewater and greywater, and also from sludge, biosolids and excreta samples.

c) To include additional helminth eggs species to the recognition protocol.

d) To validate the system with international partners.

e) To test the system with Mexican partner labs which are certified in the standard technique to start local distribution.

f) To obtain a patent for the system.

g) To launch a worldwide distribution strategy.

h) To develop an easy-to-use platform of the software and the distribution strategy to reach the final users.

i) To test the last version and establish the distribution strategy.

Start and end date:

Phase I: 02/01/2012 to 06/01/2013
Phase II: 02/01/2014 to 01/01/2016

• Grant type: The Grand Challenges Explorations Grant.

Phase I: USD 100,000 (
Phase II: USD 354,284 (

• Funding for this research currently ongoing (yes/no): Yes

• Research or implementation partners: Fernando Arámbula, Ph.D. CCADET, UNAM.

• Links, further readings – results to date:

a) So far, the system:

• is able to process images with a 99% of specificity, which means that it can distinguish between helminth eggs and other objects with a 99% of reliability.

• has also been validated to yield a 90% reliability to distinguish among five different helminth genera from water samples with a less than 150 mg/L of total suspended solids.

• is being tested and validated to be used for different samples (water, sludge, biosolids and excreta), so the protocol for each type of sample will be properly established, which gives the system a great versatility.

• is including additional species of helminth eggs species to the recognition protocol.

• is also aiming to take third party trials before the final version is delivered, and afterwards, to build the most suitable platform to develop a user friendly system, so we may focus on the distribution strategy.

• The patent is pending, but the methodology is already safeguarded.

• To develop an easy-to-use platform of the software and the distribution strategy to reach the final users.

• Current state of affairs: The developing team is in direct contact with international peer-labs interested on validating the software.

• Biggest successes so far: Platform ready to distinguish among eight genera of helminth eggs with 90% of reliability and 99% specificity for water samples.

• Main challenges/frustration: To broaden the software capability to analyze wastewater with higher content of total suspended solids, and develop the protocol for biosolids and excreta.

In the following paragraphs it is presented a short summary about the first results:

Software to identify and quantify pathogenic helminth eggs

The analytical technique used to identify and quantify helminth eggs, besides its time consuming nature, involves a key step in which highly trained laboratory technicians have to properly identified different types of eggs and count them. This step is the main source of errors impacting the reliability of the fulfillment of the norms or the performance of a treatment process. To overcome this problem, this project focused on the development of a software to identify and quantify different species of helminth eggs in samples.

Helminths (parasitic worms) are the origin of health risks associated with the lack of or a deficient sanitation service, the use of polluted water for irrigation, and the disposal of excreta or contaminated sludge in soils. Helminths are transmitted to humans through their eggs which are highly dangerous due to their low infectious dose, their high persistence in the environment, and their high resistance to inactivation processes. Helminthioses are endemic in Africa, Latin America and East Asia, provoking diarrhea, undernourishment, and anemia. It is estimated that around 350 million people are infected worldwide, especially children between 5 and 15 years of age.

For these reasons, since 1989, the WHO and since then many other organizations have set guidelines of standards limiting the content of helminth eggs in wastewater (1 egg/L or less), greywater, and sludge (1 egg/gTS or less) when used for agricultural irrigation. The limit values always involve the need to use a highly accurate analytical procedure. Nevertheless, it is always available, notably in developing countries, limiting the possibility to enforce the standards in the countries where it is more needed.

Given the above explained complexity to accurately analyze biological images to identify and count helminth eggs, it was decided to develop an image processing software in order to identify and count eggs from photographs taken on a microscope of a processed sample of wastewater, greywater, excreta or sludge. The developed software comprises two steps: the first is to detect and label all visible objects using different processes (filtration, equalization, application of algorithms, etc.). The second step is to classify each of the detected objects based on shape (area, perimeter and eccentricity) and texture properties (energy, mean gray level, contrast, correlation and homogeneity) as one the helminth eggs specie recognizable by the software.

Currently, the software is able to identify five species (Ascaris lumbricoides as fertile and unfertile, Trichuris trichiura, Toxocara canis and Taenia saginata) and in a next version three species more will be included (Hymenolepis nana, Hymenolepis diminuta and Schistosoma mansoni). In total, 360 images of the different species were used to set the range values for each classification property.

The software has 90% sensibility (ability to identify one specie among the others in a wastewater sample) and 0.99 specificity (potential to distinguish an egg from any other objects in a wastewater sample). Currently, the software is under adaptation to process excreta and sludge samples. Based on experimental tests the use of the software reduce the identification and quantification time response. This represents savings on the time of highly trained personnel per analysis. In addition, the reliability of the analysis increases by 90%.

More information about the pathogens inactivation is included in the next two files. The first is a paper about the synergy with different environmental conditions to inactivate helminth eggs in sludge samples, and the second one is a PDF presentation in the Disinfection World Congress (paper is in press) about the inactivation of different microorganisms.

Viability of six species of larval and non-larval helminth eggs for different conditions of temperature, pH and dryness
C. Maya, F.J. Torner-Morales, E.S. Lucario, E. Herna´ndez, B. Jime´nez*

Water Research 46 (2012), 4770 - 4782

A b s t r a c t
Helminth eggs are the most difficult biological parasites to inactivate in wastewater and
sludge. In developing countries, in particular, they are present in high concentrations and
are the cause of many diseases that impact seriously on the human population. The
process conditions for affordable inactivation are very variable, leading to different inactivation
efficiencies. Temperature, dryness, pH and the developmental stage of the eggs
must be taken into consideration to achieve complete inactivation. The objective of this
research was to study the inactivation of six species of larval and non-larval helminth eggs
of medical importance in developing countries under controlled conditions of temperature,
pH, dryness and contact time. Results showed considerable differences in inactivation
conditions among helminth eggs and a high level of resistance was confirmed for the eggs
of Ascaris lumbricoides and Ascaris suum. The appropriate conditions for inactivation of all
types of eggs were found by applying combinations of pH, temperature and dryness. At
45 C it was possible to inactivate all species with a pH of 5.3 and 90% dryness within 6
days. If alkalization was applied, a pH of 12.7 was sufficient over 19 days at the same
conditions of dryness and temperature. From these results it is proposed that both Ascaris
spp. and Taenia solium may be used as indicators of biological contamination in wastewater
and sludge.

Enabling environment Mon, 14 Jul 2014 20:00:57 +0000
Re: Structuring of the fecal sludge market for the benefit of poor households in Dakar, Senegal (ONAS) - by: jonpar
I am working on a project design for a proposal to BMGF for Freetown and we are considering various mechanisms that may strengthen the lines of accountability between customers and service providers.

I am very interested to learn note about the call centre works that you refer. As well increasing competition and lowering prices for the customer, this may also help with monitoring and regulation. So, as you say, this is a novel idea that can have various benefits.

I would be very interested to hear more about how this is structured according to different customer groups

Is this the same for all types of customer? Are there service levels that are specified that the operator needs to adhere to/achieve?

Is this only for small businesses for trucks? Presumably, the operators have to be registered to receive the request for pit emptying - do they also need to be members of the association of pit emptiers?

I understand that the bargaining is based on one submission from the desludging company. What happens if the job turns out to be much more difficult than they expected due to local situation? The benefit of negotiation on the ground is that the desludger can assess more easily the scale/nature of the job and adjust the charge accordingly. If this is done remotely, then this is difficult. I suppose the desludger can visit the site, but I am not sure that this is realistic. So, there is possibility that the householder ends up paying more than they were quoted for, or the operator takes a loss or does the job poorly to cut costs.... what happens in this case ?

Look forward to hearing from you and learning more from your experiences.

best regards, Jonathan]]>
Enabling environment Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:18:14 +0000
Structuring of the fecal sludge market for the benefit of poor households in Dakar, Senegal (ONAS) - by: muench
Thanks for your detailed responses to my questions!

I think your case could be very interesting for the people following the other discussion thread on "treatment options for septage":

So in your case, you are using the "conventional" treatment of faecal sludge which consists of:

The three existing fecal sludge treatment plants (FSTP) in Dakar works well. Actually, they consist of a solid/liquid separation process contiguous to wastewater treatment plant. After this solid/liquid separation process via a settling/thickening tank, the solids are dried in drying beds and liquid (supernatant from settlers and leachate from beds) are sent by co-treatment with sewage to the wastewater treatment plant.

The dried sludge from beds are sold as fertilizer to gardeners.

I look forward to hearing more from you, when the results become available, regarding:
  • "We launched an international tender and more than 20 bids were received. They range from traditional dry toilet to toilet producing energy and without sludge. The selection is about to be made and detailed information will be shared later."
  • "A biogas production unit from fecal sludge is under construction at Keur Massar (suburb of Dakar)."
  • "The omni investor is always under development and will be tested in Dakar at the end of this year." (my explanation about the "omni-ingestor": it is a piece of equipment that is meant to treat faecal sludge at the point of the vacuum tanker so that clean water is left behind at the premises and only the more concentrated (thickened) sludge is removed in the vacuum tanker).

Also, it was nice to see that you and ONAS got a raving review from Brian Arbogast from the Gates Foundation in his latest blog post:

A Tale of Two Cities: Accra and Dakar

(perhaps the people in Accra were less happy about this, but some health competition between two cities may be a good thing. )

Brian wrote:

The National Office for Sanitation in Senegal (ONAS) is a well-run organization populated by professionals who take their roles seriously. They have traditionally owned and operated all of the fecal sludge and waste-water treatment plants in the country. But last year, they privatized the operations of three fecal sludge treatment plants in Dakar, something rare in Africa.

The plants’ new operator is led by Mme. Faye Lena Tall, who owns vacuum trucks of her own. Since taking over the plants she has doubled the hours they are open and improved maintenance, while dramatically improving their profitability. Her agreement has her share her profits with ONAS, who now are happy making more money than they did when they had to run the plants!

Enabling environment Fri, 11 Jul 2014 08:29:54 +0000