Rural Sanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk-Based Review

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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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Rural Sanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk-Based Review

Dearfriends and colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our latest publication RuralSanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk-Based Review. SLHLearning Paper 11.

Of the two billion people worldwide lacking access to at least basic sanitation, seven out of ten live in rural areas. Progress has been made on increasing rural sanitation and access levels are rising, but barriers remain in reaching the ‘last mile’ or some 10 to 20 per cent of the population who live in the most challenging contexts. The Sanitation Learning Hub, UNICEF, and WaterAid commissioned thisstudy to map rural sanitation approaches in challenging contexts and the guidance currently being used, drawing out emerging experiences and lessons. It involved key informant interviews (KIIs) with 44 interviewees, and consulting over 180 documented resources.

This rapid desk review written by Will Tillett (Aguaconsult) and Oliver Jones (Bluechain Consulting) collated preliminary findings across five broad ‘categories’ of challenges:
  1. Poverty and social marginalisation
  2. Entrenched attitudes and social beliefs
  3. Tough physical environments
  4. Lifestyles and livelihoods
  5. Fragile contexts
Recommendations from the review include:
  • Address key knowledge gaps identified in the study and strengthen sector learning processes.
  • Build the evidence base to identify the 'last mile' groups and understand the barriers they face. Increase access to the evidence.
  • Develop approaches, models and products that are inclusive and can address challenges at scale.
  • Build in-country capacities to effectively address challenging contexts, and build the business case and commitment of stakeholders to prioritise and include last mile groups.
  • Harmonise definitions and help governments to develop specific targets and strategies for challenging contexts. Strengthen their monitoring and review processes to track progress.

A summary of the paper’s findings is available in the related Learning Brief .


A useful document repository was created as part of the review. It contains 333 resources found, as of October 2020. Documents were identified through the researchers own files, internet searches, and those provided by the commissioning organisations and key informant interviews from the sanitation sector. It includes the author, year and title as well as the geographical scope, a hyperlink, whether the resource is publicly available, the number of pages and whether it has an executive summary or not. In addition, it categorises the resources into type, what challenging context it relates to and the sanitation approach used. Download here: Document Repository – Rural Sanitation in Challenging Contexts 2021


All three commissioning organisations aim to work with the wider sector to explore the gaps and opportunities in more detail in a second phase of this work. For more information contact slh@ids.ac.uk

We hope you find this helpful to your work and welcome any feedback at slh@ids.ac.uk


Many good wishes,

Elaine Mercer
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: Rural Sanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk-Based Review

This is an excellent output Elaine, would be great if you can also upload it in the SuSanA library here .

I believe in order to strengthen the rural sanitation agenda, there is need for stakeholders to make concerted and urgent efforts to prioritize rural sanitation and hygiene and ensure that programs can deliver scale, equity and sustainability. Amidst growing attention towards urban sanitation in recent years, I find that (at least for Zambia) there is new interest once again towards rural WASH programming more broadly, this evidenced by increased rural programming and financing more recently.

Based on the experiences and efforts shared in the publication, it is important that rural programs be developed primarily to be equitable and sustainable in line with sustainable development goals and aim to ensure equal access to the benefits of the developed programs.

This is a useful tool that can be applied by stakeholders who would like to make a positive impact on sanitation challenges experienced in their respective rural areas.

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
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LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaiwe-mushauko-sanderse-21709129/
Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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  • chowdhuryrahman
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  • Professional Sustainability Officer with extensive experience analyzing and predicting the environmental impact of complex projects and operations and developing solutions to sustain processes and create accountability.
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Re: Rural Sanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk-Based Review

Dear Chaiwe,

The paper is uploaded to the SuSanA library. 

Please click  here to read the document. 

Thank you very much!

Best wishes,
Chowdhury
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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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Re: Rural Sanitation Programming in Challenging Contexts: A Desk-Based Review

Thanks so much for this positive feedback Chaiwe - I will pass it on to the authors and team.

Thanks also Chowdhury for sharing the link to the document in the SuSanA library.

Best wishes
Elaine
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/
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