Sanitation Learning Hub user survey - have your say!

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  • ElaineMercer
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  • Communications and Networking Officer for the Sanitation Learning Hub, Institute of Development Studies, in the UK.
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Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear colleagues and friends,

As you may already know, here at the Sanitation Learning Hub, we’ve been working hard on a new website and branding, following the start of a new four-year programme funded by Sida.

You can view the new website https://sanitationlearninghub.org/

I’m delighted to say the website has now launched and we hope it will be a useful resource for the sector, offering practical support and current thinking on various essential themes.

Have a look around and let us know what you think!

Best wishes
Elaine
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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  • Developing methods and tools to support strategic planning for sustainable sanitation. Particular interested in novel technologies contributing to more inclusive and circular sanitation. Co-Lead of WG1
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear Elaine
Thank you very much for sharin this. I love the design and user guidance of the page, congratulations!
I miss a little bit the background of this to give further comments and could not find the information on the page: what is the purpose of this? is it a public knowledge management tool for your organisaiton and clients? or are there high ambitions? how did you select the approaches and readings to showcase? You can never be comprehensive and there is not much sense in trying to be, but it would be nice to understand the scope of the selection (at least for me, and I guess it would be relevant for a newcomer as well)? Also I understand that there must be a library (database) where you store the readings. What is the long term management plan for this and what are the overlaps with other libraries, e.g. the SuSanA library and the SSWM toolbox? Maintaining and managing a good library is something that takes quite some efforts and I am still hoping, that we as SuSanA find one day a way of "centralizing" at least the less sexy part of uploading, updating, correcting, etc...

Another minor comment: you showcase the Eawag Compendium as Christoph Zurbrügg et al 2014. 1) there is a new version from 2018; 2) the first author is Liz Tilley: www.eawag.ch/en/department/sandec/publications/compendium/
Cheers!
Dorothee
WG1 Co-lead
Developing methods and tools to support strategic planning for sustainable sanitation. Particular interested in novel technologies contributing to more inclusive and circular sanitation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • ElaineMercer
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Hi Dorothee,

Firstly apologies for the delayed response. You raise good questions here - many of which we have had to ask ourselves over the past year or so in the design and development of the website.

You were not only one wanting to know more about the process and thinking behind the new website so my colleague Alice Webb has put together this recent blog  Behind the Scenes: Creating the New SLH Blog , which answers many of your questions. 

It is actually very cathartic for me to read this blog as it reminds me of the passion, commitment and sheer hard work involved in putting the site together. The whole SLH team was involved but Alice and I led the project - and I'm really proud of our achievements.

I hope you find this useful. I'm more than happy to talk about any potential collaborations or ideas you might have in mind.

Many thanks
Elaine
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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  • Chaiwe
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  • Independent consultant (strategic planning, project management and M&E in WASH, climate action and, gender and HIV) and Part-time Solid Waste Management Lecturer at the University of Zambia.
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear Elaine,

I had all of the questions that Dorothee had and I appreciate your responses. Just an additional one, how do you feel the website complements SuSanA, or where do you feel it gap fills?Reading through one of thefeatured articles on World Toilet Day which had the theme ‘sustainable
sanitation and climate change’ was great!

I hope that the Sanitation Learning Hub remaining consistent to its cause of providingtimely, relevant and action-oriented learning and research to achieve safely managed sanitation and hygiene for all.Overall, great effort and keep remaining useful and relevant!

Chaiwe
SuSanA Forum Moderator
(With financial support by GIZ from June to October 2021)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Emails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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  • canaday
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear Elaine,

You have done a lot of work on this website, but I am also left wondering who it is for and how they would get there. Nor did I find it particularly engaging or explanatory. For example, I found no explanation of what sanitation is and how we could most efficiently improve it. I suggest that it somehow be made more interactive, maybe with a chatbot that asks the users what stage they are at and what they would like to learn. Also, all of the more complicated terms could have links to more info on them, like in Wikipedia. Does it support different languages?

On a related note, a friend sent this link to the IDS Brown Gold Project and I wrote to them 4 days ago to offer my help, but there is so far no response.
www.ids.ac.uk/projects/towards-brown-gol...-in-asia-and-africa/

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday
Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
inodoroseco.blogspot.com
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  • ElaineMercer
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear Chaiwe, 
 
Thanks for the positive feedback and really pleased you like the site overall and the blog ‘Addressing Climate Risks: Building from what we know’
 
In reference to your question – we did do some competitor/collaborator analysis at the end of 2019 before starting the design on the new website. We feel SuSanA does a great job in many areas which we didn’t want to duplicate. These being:  
  • Great place to set up a profile and promote work.  
  • The forum is great for networking – learning and sharing info.  
  • The forum in particular is very up-to-date as there is always current content moving.
  • SuSanA has great intentions! They are very similar values to SLH.   
  • SuSanA are very well connected which gives them a sense of authority.  
We felt to complement SuSanA and other great WASH websites we needed to offer something different. The overall feeling was that we didn’t want to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for WASH and try to cover too much but instead play to our strengths and experience and present an overall more curated website but which still encourages interactivity.   

With this in mind we divided the website up into 3 distinct sections which reflect our niche: 
  • Practical support: We focus on promoting the ‘how’ of participatory WASH research and programming. The practical support section of the website reflects this – it provides an overview of mainly participatory methods we use and champion, along with a curated collection of what we consider are the best resources to learn more about the approach and how to apply it to your work.
  • Current thinking: We decided on nine priority themes which reflect our vision and our commitment to helping the sector achieve SDG 6.2 by 2030. We thought long and hard about what to include and what to exclude in those themes, bearing in mind what we considered most useful to the sector’s efforts towards SDG 6.2. At this stage, we tried to focus in on what our target audiences would need and at various times we had to remind ourselves that we couldn’t cover everything. We hope that clear introductions and carefully considered recommended readings for each theme, sub-theme and approach will help users feel less intimidated by the sheer volume of resources available for the sector. In this section we also showcase SLH research and learning publication series co-produced with our excellent collaborators
  • Connect, share learn: The SLH blog is really important to us and since we have launched the new site we have had some great blog idea submissions. We work with blog authors to help them make their blogs as relevant and useful to our audiences as possible. This has worked really well.  We also have an event section where we feature SLH workshop reports and participant stories . Sadly this has not been updated as much as we would have hoped due to the lack of face-to-face events over the past year. However, our regional and/or thematic ‘Sharing and learning workshops’ are a really important part of our work and we are currently trying to figure out how to best share learning from the online workshops we have been running. It has been a steep learning curve for us switching all our workshops to online, but I know we aren’t alone! We are hoping to create more webinars and podcasts from our online workshops over the coming year - so watch this space!
A general note on interactivity and networking:  
  • We have become very engaged with social media over the past year – engaging in discussions, sharing other people’s great work, promoting our values and our own work. Please follow and talk to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  
  • We encourage our users to suggest resources to feature on the site – on research methods, learning approaches or specific WASH themes. We consider these alongside other resources we have found.  
  • We encourage people to submit their blog ideas and work with authors as mentioned above.
Sorry that response was longer than I had initially intended (and later)! I hope that this summary is useful to you and helps people see how SLH and SuSanA be complimentary rather than duplicate efforts in the WASH sector. 

Best wishes 
Elaine 
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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  • ElaineMercer
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear Chris, 
 
Thanks so much for your feedback and suggestions – they are very much welcomed.  
 
I hope the full response I gave to Chaiwe above goes some way to answering your questions about who the site is for and how we intend to support them. Also my colleague’s blog answers some of these questions too Behind the Scene: Creating the New SLH website.  
 
But to simplify things a little our two priority audiences are: 
1) WASH practitioners working at community level  
2) International WASH experts/consultants who have practical programming experience.  
We have other target audience but these are our priority and we have done research to find out their WASH learning needs.  
 
As for what who we are and what we stand for you can read a bit more about about our vision, mission, approach and niche in this blog. I think you are right that we maybe need to make some of this clearer on our website as it might help people to understand the thinking behind the website and our work in general.  
 
I like your idea for a glossary of key terms – I will talk to my colleagues about this.  
 
Yes the website features resources in other languages. At present these are mainly translations of our publications series, for example our Frontiers publication series.   We try to always translate key publications in French and Portuguese, but have also translated some resources into Arabic, Hindi, Khmer and Spanish. We are in the process of adding a language filter to the search page to make it easier to find other language resources.   
 
I’m not sure a chatbot would be right for us but I agree we could make it clearer how people can get in contact with us via email and social media and encourage this more.  
 
I’m sorry the IDS Brown Gold Project project is not part of the SLH project. As I’m currently working from home (due to Covid restrictions) I unfortunately can’t pop into the see Shilpi or Lyla! They are probably very overwhelmed with work at the moment and I’m sure they will respond in due course.  
 
Best wishes 
Elaine 
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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  • Chaiwe
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Dear Elaine,

Well broken down and very informative response. You actually raise something that has been on my mind lately, I think we can learn something in this social media age with respect to how to effectively use website based Knowledge Management platforms hand in hand with social media platforms that generally have more traffic and broader information flow such as Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook. 

I quote you here:

  • We have become very engaged with social media over the past year – engaging in discussions, sharing other people’s great work, promoting our values and our own work. Please follow and talk to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.  

How do you ensure that the platforms you mentioned are not a competing factor for information? Would you say that generally practitioners are still more trusting of the credibility of information on a website as opposed to a social media platform? Are these social media platforms more of a first point of contact leading practitioners to the learning hub?  

We recently conducted a survey about the SuSanA forum and included this investigation. Here is the discussion unbundling the results and somewhere within there you can see users perceptions about social media preferences and usage:  forum.susana.org/10-announcements-regard...ons-about-the-future  

Regards,
Chaiwe
SuSanA Forum Moderator
(With financial support by GIZ from June to October 2021)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Emails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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  • ElaineMercer
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Re: Announcing the new Sanitation Learning Hub website

Hi Chaiwe,
 
Thanks so much for these great questions! I have had a go at answering them below. It got me thinking which is good 😊.
 
Thanks also for the SuSanA user survey presentation – really informative and useful, for our work too. We are probably due to do a survey like this ourselves very soon.

How do you ensure that the platforms you mentioned are not a competing factor for information?
 
We’ve found that different social media platforms engage different WASH audiences and some are more popular in different countries. We slightly adjust our strategy, messaging and language to try to engage these different audiences on different platforms so this creates less competition and repetition between the platforms.
 
Unlike SuSanA we don’t have our own discussion forum as we felt that you already do this well. I would agree with the survey results that I use SuSanA less for discussion and more for learning and more in-depth knowledge. But this is an interesting discussion we
are having now – so I think your way of facilitating discussion and prompting people to continue is actually really good. The benefit of having this discussion on SuSanA as opposed to Twitter (for example) is the discussion can happen over a longer period of time and I feel I want to give a fuller response (plus I can use way more than 280 characters!).
 
Would you say that generally practitioners are still more trusting of the credibility of information on a website as opposed to a social media platform?
 
My perception is that social media gives you the boiled down message of an issue, resource, event, etc and then points to you a place where you can find out more, which is most often a website. This is often what we do when promoting our work. Then reading a resource summary or blog on a website, which gives you a bit more context and depth,  I think you can better make a decision as to whether it is credible and useful to your work. So I think they work hand in hand.
 
In terms of generating a sense of credibility on social media platforms in general - I think if you have strong and clear values in your organisation and make sure this is present in your social media messaging and language this really helps to build trust with
audience, as it comes from somewhere authentic. It has just been boiled down on social media.
 
I think social media is also a great way to get people thinking about new ideas, gaps and blind spots. Sharing thoughts and ideas on a Twitter discussion for example, can spark people to think about things differently, and engage a broader audience in this. For
example, the WASH failures team have done a great job on Twitter promoting discussion in the sector and beyond around calling out racism in WASH publishing which has linked in well with the in-depth decolonising WASH discussions SuSanA and others have had in the past year. 
 
So, in short, I don’t think you need to totally trust a social media platform in order to gain something useful from it. But with any source – whether it is a tweet or a journal article – you need to maintain a healthy curiosity (and maybe scepticism) towards the truth. Asking yourself what are the values being promoted here? What is the motivation for this? Do I agree with them?
 
Are these social media platforms more of a first point of contact leading practitioners to the learning hub?  
 
I think I have answered that question above – theycan be used in many ways. Social media platforms are also a great place to
connect with new people and issues. This was a very big motivator for us - to move outside of our regular and familiar contacts to connect with and learn from a greater diversity of people, with different perspectives and understandings of WASH. We are currently working on four country-specific strategies (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia) to better engage local WASH practitioners and promote local knowledge. Watch this space.

Thanks,
Elaine
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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  • ElaineMercer
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Re: Sanitation Learning Hub user survey - have your say!

Dear friends and colleagues, 

We are conducting a user survey to find out what we’re doing well, and what we could improve. We would love to hear from you.

We have tried to keep the survey as short as possible, and it shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete. Please be as specific as possible with your responses as this will really help us when we consider both our strengths and areas for developing.
 
Sanitation Learning Hub User Survey

Throughout the survey we refer to the following:
We are very grateful for your feedback which will help us make decisions on where to focus our energy going forward.
 
Many thanks
Elaine 
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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