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Published on: 18/03/2014

While population growth and urbanisation give rise to new demands, sustaining existing services becomes an ever greater challenge. In many areas rapid groundwater depletion, inefficient water resource management and contamination of water sources are compounded by climate change. In sanitation, there are startling differences in progress between and within countries. Sustained and environmentally safe sanitation facilities are far from reality. There is an ever increasing need for sustainable solutions at scale to meet the challenges at hand.

A selection from IRC’s work in Asia is presented below.

Sustainable sanitation at scale in rural areas 

IRC has a strategic partnership with SIMAVI for the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water (SHAW) programme in East Indonesia. IRC supports the local partners to develop and apply a community-based monitoring system, to assess the performance of the local partners and support their capacity building efforts, and to document progress and facilitate learning.  Duration: 2010-2014.

IRC is a knowledge partner of BRAC and provides support on design, capacity building and implementation of the BRAC WASH programme. By June 2013, the programme had enabled 1.89 million people to access safe water, 28.6 million people to achieve safe sanitation and was on course to reach 63.5 million people with hygiene education. IRC leads a number of action research and innovation components such as performance monitoring, sanitation life-cycle costing, supply chain strengthening, faecal sludge management and low-cost sanitation technologies. Duration: 2007-2015.   

IRC has a multi-annual partnership relation with SNV Asia to support the implementation of the rural Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) programme. SSH4A is funded by AusAID, DFID, private donors and DGIS and implemented by SNV, IRC, local and national governments and civil society in Nepal, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. IRC’s support focuses on performance monitoring, hygiene effectiveness studies, and documenting, sharing and learning. Duration: 2010-2017.

Reliable information on life cycle costs for services that last

IRC initiated the WASHCost research programme on gathering information related to the true costs of providing water, sanitation, and hygiene services for the entire life-cycle of a service. The idea is that WASH governance will improve at all levels, as decision-makers and stakeholders analyse the costs of sustainable, equitable and efficient services and put their knowledge to use. WASHCost India was implemented in Andhra Pradesh. Its results were used in the formulation of the sanitation planning in India’s current Five Year Plan.  The life-cycle costing approach has now also been applied within the BRAC WASH programme for households and schools.

Learning, and sharing knowledge in the region

South Asia Sanitation and Hygiene practitioner workshops organised by IRC, BRAC, WaterAid and WSSCC aim to get key players and practitioners to identify and document good practices and experiences, share them in a constructive environment, and jointly analyse and formulate challenges, gaps, lessons learnt and next steps. Menstrual hygiene management is a good example of a topic discussed at this platform and taken further by participants.

IRC launched and coordinates the WASH Information Consortium, which forges collaboration among WASH information and resource centres. Participating organisations in the region include IRC, SuSanA, the Water Channel, the India Water Portal, Resource Centre Network Nepal, Akvo Foundation, WASTE, NETWAS Uganda and the WASH-Plus project.

Serving the urban poor

IRC has cooperated with Royal Haskoning DHV consultants to provide technical assistance to the Urban Sanitation Development Program (USDP) in 330 cities in Indonesia. The focus of this project is on city sanitation assessments, developing city sanitation strategies, monitoring, community empowerment and hygiene promotion. Duration: 2010-2015.

Capacity building and action research

IRC has joined forces with ranking Indian WASH sector officials in 2011 and 2012.

A comprehensive programme for promoting on-going learning among Public Health Engineering Department engineers was designed towards tackling key WASH sustainability challenges the country is facing, with a potential to reach 121 million people.

Innovations in monitoring at scale

IRC collaborated with WSP in developing and extensively testing an innovative and participatory monitoring approach which enables qualitative information to be quantified. The Qualitative Information Systems (QIS) methodology is now being applied in eight countries in three large-scale water and sanitation programmes in Asia (BRAC WASH, SHAW and SSH4A).

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