The Enhancing WASH (EnWASH) Research and Learning Agenda
Enhancing Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (EnWASH) is a five-year, $39.5 million activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana Mission. Global Communities leads the activity with 10 consortium partners: The Aquaya Institute, Afram Plains Development Organization, Be Girl, Deloitte, Manoff Group, Safe Water Network, Total Family Health Organization, WaterAid, Water 4, and World Vision.
EnWASH aims to increase the adoption of sustainable and equitable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and practices in households, communities, schools, and healthcare facilities. The project focuses on 30 rural districts within six northern regions of Ghana: Upper East, Upper West, North East, Northern, Savannah, and Oti. These areas have higher poverty levels than the rest of the country, limiting household’ ability and willingness to pay for water and sanitation services.
This note presents the EnWASH research and learning agenda, which The Aquaya Institute will implement by integrating applied research within program implementation. Aquaya identified three priority research topics through consultations with the 10 EnWASH consortium partners, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR), and UNICEF Ghana.
EnWASH Research Topics:
I. ECONOMICS OF RURAL WATER SUPPLY
- The EnWASH research will investigate the mismatch between rural households’ willingness-to-pay and the costs to sustainably operate and maintain rural water supply systems.
2. OPEN DEFECATION–FREE (ODF) SUSTAINABILITY
- Emerging evidence shows that sanitation conditions can deteriorate after communities have been declared open defecation free (ODF) (Trimmer et al. 2022). This suggests a need for additional or alternative solutions beyond Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) to maintain ODF gains, such as the introduction of household incentives (Cameron et al. 2021) and/or post-ODF follow-up to maintain a community’s ODF status (Wamera 2016).
3. MARKET-BASED SANITATION
- Prior research has shown that the amount rural households are willing to pay for toilet technologies is lower than the market prices (Mulatya et al. 2021; Peletz et al. 2019). This gap is the primary barrier to increased toilet sales. The EnWASH research will explore how much households are willing to pay for toilet technologies, including the Digni-Loo toilet substructure developed by Global Communities.