Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene

partner of sustainable sanitation alliance

As of 2017, 2 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines, with 673 million of these practicing open defecation. Some 827,000 people in developing countries die as a result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene each year, representing 60% of total diarrhoeal deaths. Poor sanitation is believed to be the main cause in some 432,000 of these deaths.

Better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children aged under 5 years each year.

MCDI's most recent major water, sanitation, and hygiene projects include the Improved Access and Hygiene Practices in Rural Areas (PAPHyR) project in Benin and the Fond d'Appui pour l'Assainissement (FAA) project in Madagascar, both were funded by the Global Sanitation Fund.

Learn more about our WASH work in Madagascar

Community-Led Total Sanitation

MCDI is a global leader in designing and implementing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) as a core component of our WASH programs. CLTS mobilizes communities to completely and sustainably eradicate open defecation through a multi-step process of triggering, ultimately leading to the self-abandonment of open defecation practices. This process empowers primarily rural communities to take control of their sanitation and hygiene practices. The goal of our CLTS projects was to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in all of the communities MCDI works with.

MCDI's CLTS programs did not include subsidies for hardware or the building of toilets for villagers. Instead, MCDI built the capacity of the private sector in promoting and providing sanitation products and services, including in promoting alternative financing mechanisms to support private building of sanitation infrastructure. This ensured that communities take ownership of their sanitation facilities and are responsible for taking the lead in improving sanitation.

In Madagascar, the GSF Program was one of the leading programs in the WASH sector, became an important catalyst for the initiation and creation of a national, regional, and local movement to eliminate open defecation, and was a driving force in the development of a national roadmap to reach an ODF Madagascar by 2018. Under the leadership of MCDI, evidence showed that progress made by the FAA Program in Madagascar was greater than in any other GSF country, and the program was the most advanced in the GSF portfolio in terms of the strengthening of institutional linkages, development of leaders, and promotion of local innovation.

The PAPHyR program in Benin, based on the model of success achieved through the FAA program in Madagascar, was designed to benefit more than 1.9 million rural residents in approximately 8,200 locations throughout the country.

Behavior Change Interventions

In addition to CLTS, other behavior change interventions to improve community sanitation and hygiene practices included information-education-communication (IEC), behavior change communication (BCC) campaigns, and school hygiene promotion. MCDI developed educational materials for hygiene and sanitation promotion in primary schools, which supported the Government of Benin in implementing a comprehensive school health program.

In hygiene promotion activities, MCDI used Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) tools. PHAST tools are based on the concept that as communities gain awareness of their water, sanitation, and hygiene situation through participatory activities, they are empowered to develop and carry out their own plans to improve this situation. Community members are central participants in the planning process for the prevention of sanitation-related diseases.

Supplying Water and Improving Sanitation

MCDI worked to provide drinking water and sanitation infrastructure to rural communities. In collaboration with other organizations, MCDI worked to install pumps and planned construction activities, taking the lead for logistical support and identifying eligible locations for construction.

MCDI provided sanitary infrastructure to primary schools in Benin, and, in Madagascar, MCDI collected requests for improved latrines. In Mali, MCDI constructed wells, pumps, and latrines in the northern region of the country.

Wherever MCDI provides water facilities, health and hygiene promotion activities follow, including training villagers on how to manage their new facilities.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Emergency Response

In response to severe flooding in Myanmar that started in July 2015, MCDI, in collaboration with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, provided small-scale support to purchase and distribute shared water purification equipment to flood-affected families. Each unit provided purified drinking water for up to 10 households. These high-volume, point-of-use community water purifiers ensured that 1,200 people had safe drinking water.