Background: The challenge of technology in WASH
The world is a market place of diverse and innovative water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) technologies.
Cheap and affordable solutions that can provide sustained access to WASH services are within reach, yet very few of these have been implemented effectively. Despite the technological leaps achieved in the last few decades, progress towards improved access to WASH services, particularly in many rural areas, is at a staggering low
With peoples lives at the centre of technological innovation and development, WASH technologies have the potential to facilitate a more dignified and humane way of life for all.
In the coming decades it is expected that the drive to develop innovative and potentially cheaper WASH technologies to serve the poorest in the world will only strengthen.
The challenge is to provide the sector with a systematic and participatory way of assessing and adopting technology innovation that effectively takes the poorest of the world a step closer to expanding their life choices and opportunities for development.
However, there is no guarantee of adoption, even if WASH technology shows that it has promise for tackling the problems faced in a particular region or country. Many great ideas fail to get to scale and disappear in the so-called 'Valley of Death' between being pilot project and a mainstream product. The lessons learned from technologies such as the VIP latrine, the India Mark II and Afridev handpumps indicate that successful uptake needs an introduction process based on a strong partnership with dynamic leadership from one or more champions.