WaSH Policy Research Digest

Issue #1, July 2015: Sanitation Subsidies

Our first Digest deals with the difficult issue of when and how to use subsidies for on-site sanitation.

Issue #2, October 2015: WaSH in Healthcare Facilities

Issue two of the WasH Policy Research Digest digs in to the critical issue of WaSH in health care facilities, including a detailed review of WHO and UNICEF’s 2015 report on the topic and a synthesis of literature and solutions to address its impact on infection, mortality, maternal and neonatal health.

Issue #3, March 2016: Handpump Functionality Monitoring

The third issue of the WaSH Policy Research Digest focuses on handpump functionality monitoring. This issue of the Digest explores recent literature on this topic, focusing on policy implications, recommendations, and a call for standardized functionality measurements.

Issue #4, August 2016: Sanitation and Nutrition

Our fourth digest addresses sanitation and nutrition. This issue explores recent literature and the emerging evidence base on the connection between sanitation, nutritional outcomes, and child stunting.

Issue #5, December 2016: Water Tariffs and Subsidies

The fifth issue of the Digest focuses on subsidy targeting, specifically the poor performance of increasing block tariffs in targeting subsidies to low-income households. This issue explores recent literature on this topic, focusing on policy implications, and calls for decision-makers to consider alternative subsidy delivery mechanisms.

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About the Digest

Video: Water Institute Director Jamie Bartram introduces the WaSH Policy Research Digest

In 2013, The Water Institute and the Global Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted civil servants from finance ministries in six African countries to learn about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) sector decision making. This group unveiled perceptions of sector weaknesses that cause skepticism in finance ministries about sector investment effectiveness. The findings from this meeting suggest that the people making investment decisions, while convinced of economic and social benefits of WaSH, are unsure of how best to target financing. This highlighted the need for an information resource focused on supporting decision makers to develop effective policy in countries that are faced with WaSH challenges.

The WaSH sector lacks an easy-to-access resource that provides balanced information on policy best-practices, based soundly in evidence. Key country actors face time and resource constraints that prevent them from finding and analyzing the myriad of existing information for policy advice on WaSH programs.

The Water Institute at UNC developed the WaSH Policy Research Digest to meet the evidence needs of in-country decision makers. The Digest, published quarterly, has two sections: the first summarizes and explains the significance of recently published policy-relevant research or analysis, highlighting implications for WaSH policy. The second section focuses on a particular policy-relevant question with synthesis of available literature to reaching specific conclusions, highlighting policy relevant implications, and providing guidance to additional resources on the topic.