When failure is an option

Innovative, unfiltered, and impact-driven. Lyndsay Stecher describes what it means for Oxfam to work in partnership with trusts and foundations. Everything we do at Oxfam is possible because of funding. We are not naïve to the fact that this has an impact on programme decisions. Funding provides great opportunities, but when misapplied, it can also drive the wrong priorities. Last …

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it: Quality in WASH responses

As we launch our WASH Impact Series, Oxfam’s Quality Assurance Project Manager, James Brown introduces a new global initiative to help organisations focus on achieving quality in humanitarian WASH responses. What would a quality assurance system for humanitarian WASH programming look like? That’s the question being explored by the Quality Assurance and Accountability Project, a Global WASH Cluster initiative led …

Using micro-hydro power for irrigation and energy in Nepal

LEARNING: Could micro-hydro power bring sustainable energy to remote villages around the world? Public Health Engineer Anjil Adhikari explains how Oxfam has been involved in bringing electricity to a village in Nepal through a micro-hydro project.  Until two months ago Jayathala village in Darchula District Nepal had no electricity. At night they burned Jharro (resin soaked pine wood) for light, …

Container based sanitation could solve the world’s toilet problems

LEARNING: Oxfam recently hosted its first International Toilet Summit, where participants were challenged to think big about one of the world’s biggest sanitation challenges: how to get a toilet into every household which currently lacks one. Container based sanitation could well be the solution as Brian McSorley, WASH Coordinator, explains. Our first ever toilet summit was organised jointly with Sanergy, …

Improving sanitation in Kenya: toilets have become an obsession

ON THE GROUND REFLECTION: In Kenya a child dies every 17 minutes of a preventable disease caused by diarrhoea. Brian McSorley, WASH Coordinator, is passionate about providing clean water and sanitation, here he explains what this involves in Oxfam’s Kenya programme. I spend a lot of my time looking into toilets. Some people have suggested toilets have become an obsession …

850,000 success stories for World Water Day

NEWS: The Oxfam-led SWIFT Consortium has successfully completed the first phase of a programme to bring sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to communities in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On World Water Day, SWIFT’s global programme manager Francesco Rigamonti considers whether implementing a Payment by Results WASH programme has to mean focusing on numbers rather than people. …

From faeces to fuel: innovation in sanitation

2.5 billion people around the world do not have access to decent sanitation. On World Toilet Day our WASH Coordinator, Brian McSorley, describes some of the innovative ways in which Oxfam is working with others to tackle this problem, providing toilets in slums and refugee camps, and even turning human waste into cooking fuel. Sanitation and sustainable energy are arguably …

Grand designs for low-cost latrines

A project in Northern Kenya using a build your own bog approach, otherwise known as Community-Led Total Sanitation, has led to some unusual and encouraging results. Oxfam’s Public Health Promoter Audrey Andwati and SWIFT’s Learning and Communications Support Officer Emma Feeny explain. It may not be a multi-bedroom mansion or cunning warehouse conversion, but Moru Echom is justifiably proud of …

Success in Syria: making sulphurous water drinkable

In the run up to World Humanitarian Day Leen Saeb, Public Health Engineer, shares a recent success from our Syria programme. In Salamiyah City, Oxfam has worked with local engineers to perform the impressive feat of setting up a reverse osmosis plant to treat sulphurous water, permanently. Salamiyah city in Hama Governorate, Syria, has been suffering from severe water shortages …

Fit for purpose or fit for payment?

Should payment by results be the new normal in programme funding? In this guest post, Nathaniel Mason, Research Fellow at the ODI, considers the experience of the SWIFT Consortium (Sustainable WASH in Fragile Contexts). He looks at what this funding approach means for the communities that SWIFT works with, and the challenges it presents for donors and implementing agencies. I’m involved in a payment by results programme providing …