Barbara Evans


Independent advice and consultancy services in

  • Sanitation
  • Hygiene
  • Water Supply
  • Poverty and Development

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Click on the links below to download a selection of Barbara's publications on sanitation. The text below provides a brief introduction to these papers. Additional external links to a selection of the best papers and sites on the topic are given at the end of this page.

Community Incentives

Sanitation 21 (IWA) - draft for comment

Programming Guidance

Making the Case for Sanitation


Sanitation: Thinking Again

Sanitation may be one of the most urgent and difficult development challenges of the coming decade.  While the need for action is well-recognised (for example in MDG Target 10, and as reinforced in Chapter 3 of the 2006 Human Development Report) there is little concensus on what actions should be taken.  The root of the problem lies in the fact that sanitation is not a recognisable 'sector' in the same way that water, education or health are.  Sanitation itself is a term which means many things to different people but fundamentally the 'idea' of sanitation combines elements of infrastructure (eg.  latrines or toilets, water supplies, wastewater treatment, stormater drainage), elements of services (eg. solid waste management, sludge management, wastewater management) and elements of behaviour change (eg.  using a latrine, washing hands after defecation).

In any given context the appropriate balance of interventions across these three 'elements' of sanitation is heavily dependent on the current situation, and in particular on:

  • current practices and beliefs within households and society;
  • current levels of provision;
  • personal/ household priorities;
  • public sector development priorities;
  • density of settlement;
  • potential for individual and communal action; and
  • availability of public service and facilities.

This diversity can best be understood when considering the differing nature of the sanitation challenge for example in a dispersed rural area in war-ravaged DRC, and in a heavily congested urban community in downtown Dhaka.  When both are compared with the situation in a well-established sanitation environment (such as the UK for example, where incremental issues of environmental management and utility tariffs dominate the debate) it  becomes clearer that there is no such thing as a universal 'sanitation sector' simply a range of different environments within which sanitation interventions need to be designed and implemented.  The fact that sanitation is almost invariable 'lumped' with water supply becomes particularly unhelpful except in those situations when utility-provision of networked water and sanitation services is the most appropriate option; a rare situation indeed.  Rather it seems that sanitation needs to become embedded in health, education, rural development and urban poverty thinking so that the delivery of all its parts becomes a part of development in general; it is time for sanitation to come into the mainstream of development thinking.

Barbara has worked on a number of interesting sanitation projects in rural and urban areas and has done much thinking on the subject.  Some of her recent published papers which may be of interest are listed above and described briefly below:

Based on some early thinking on the institutional economics of urban sanitation provision the community incentives paper provides some ideas on an analytical framework for assessing the balance between community and utility service provision in urban areas.  A more nuanced debate has subsequently begun to develop; the International Water Association has done useful work pulling together some of the thinking which links technical issues with the political economy of the city and has developed a framework for planners which is summarised in Sanitation 21. Some practical guidance on national and regional programming can be found in the WSSCC document on Sanitation Programming.  Finally a useful summary of the economic case for investing in sanitation, along with a more generalised institutional analysis is provided in Making the Case for Sanitation.

Other useful links include:

Top Sanitation Websites:

IWA Sanitation 21:

Sanitation Connection (a web portal to a wide range of sanitation resources):

The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap:

School Sanitation Toolkit:

Joint Monitoring Program:

WEDC/ WELL Resource Centre:

Stockholm International Water Institute:

Hygiene Central (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine):

Some useful recent publications:

The 2006 HDR:

WHO data on costs and benefits:

BPDWS paper on sanitation partnerships:

The WELL briefing note on Total Sanitation Campaigns, Sanitation marketing and Community-managed toilets in India:

Smart Sanitation Solutions from the Netherlands Water Partnership: 

A selection of recent publications for direct download from WSP and its partners, which focus on innovations in sanitation:

Financing sanitation (global review)

Mobilising resources for sanitation

The case for Sanitation Marketing

Understanding demand for latrines

A review of CLTS (Total Sanitation) in South Asia