Final Report from Afghan Water and Sanitation Project Highlights Sustainable Health Outcomes Unit's Impact

Final Report from Afghan Water and Sanitation Project Highlights Sustainable Health Outcomes Unit's Impact

In Moen Kas, one of the villages where the project introduced community-led total sanitation, officials and villagers celebrate Open Defecation Free (ODF) certification. {Photo credit: Noorgha CLTS Supervisor/Afghanistan.}Photo credit: Noorgha CLTS Supervisor/Afghanistan.

A new report from the USAID-funded Afghan Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation (SWSS) Project, led by Tetra Tech ARD, describes the methodology and results from the Sustainable Health Outcomes component, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH). The SWSS project worked to improve the health and infrastructure of rural Afghans, with an emphasis on providing water supply and sanitation facilities and improving community hygiene behaviors (read stories).

SWSS was the first project in Afghanistan to implement community-led total sanitation (CLTS) on a broad scale. While challenges for ongoing hygiene and sanitation remain, the project’s success led the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development to include CLTS as part of its national water and sanitation policy and strategy.

The project utilized two tailored approaches (Provincial and Flexible Response) to achieve sustainable health outcomes.

The Provincial approach combined CLTS and hygiene education in six provinces. After understanding the health and financial costs of open defecation, communities mobilized to ensure that all households built and used a safe latrine --- with no project subsidies. At the same time, community leaders were trained and women’s Family Health Action Groups were formed to promote hand washing and home hygiene practices.

The Flexible Response approach trained 2,019 schoolteachers and community leaders as hygiene educators in communities in other provinces that had received new water supply points.

[A new hand-washing station in Toghak, Afghanistan.] {Photo credit: Nikmohammad CLTS Facilitator/MSH}A new hand-washing station in Toghak, Afghanistan.Photo credit: Nikmohammad CLTS Facilitator/MSH

[Improved latrine with hand washing facility in Baghalak village of the Nahrin district, Baghlan province, Afghanistan.] {Photo credit: Bashir Ahmad, CLTS Supervisor/SWSS}Improved latrine with hand washing facility in Baghalak village of the Nahrin district, Baghlan province, Afghanistan.Photo credit: Bashir Ahmad, CLTS Supervisor/SWSS

[Washing hands. Badakhshan, Afghanistan.] {Photo credit: Mahjan CLTS Facilitator}Washing hands. Badakhshan, Afghanistan.Photo credit: Mahjan CLTS Facilitator

SWSS introduced the CLTS program in 1,031 communities within 36 districts. Of these, 611 communities were certified as Open Defecation Free. Householders in these communities built over 40,000 latrines, benefiting an estimated 300,000 people. Seventy percent of women were washing their hands at all appropriate times. An additional 200,000 people with new water sources benefited from hygiene education.

Read the complete Afghan SWSS Project: Sustainable Health Outcomes Unit Final Report (PDF)

Iain Aitken was principal technical advisor for the SWSS project at MSH.

The USAID-funded Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project, Afghanistan (SWSS) project, led by Tetra Tech, increases access to potable water and sanitation services in Afghan communities and decreases the prevalence of water borne diseases through household hygiene interventions. The MSH hygiene and sanitation components of the project have succeeded under the astute leadership of Dr. Shakoor Hatifie, the team leader for Sustainable Health Outcomes, and Dr.Javed Logarwal, the Behavioral Change Communication Material and Media Specialist. 

To learn more about SWSS’s accomplishments, please see the cover article in USAID Global Waters magazine and read stories from four of the ODF villages.

 

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