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Interim evaluation of an ACF WASH programme in Mongolia

In partnership with Toilettes du Monde, Groupe URD is carrying out an interim external evaluation of a programme by Action Contre la Faim in Mongolia entitled, “Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the yurt areas of Ulan Bator, by promoting innovative solutions”. The main donors are the Water Agencies of Seine Normandy and Artois Picardie, as well as the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

This project, which has been in place since 2009, aims to improve the precarious health conditions of vulnerable people in yurt neighbourhoods: these communities, who have often been the victims of extreme weather events, but are also part of a classic rural exodus (drawn by the services and economic opportunities of the city), have come in great numbers to settle on the outskirts of the Mongolian capital. There are problems in terms of access to water (less than 10L/person/day), the use of latrines which pollute the water table, and the continued use of hygiene practices from when they were nomadic, but which are not appropriate in densely populated areas. From the beginning, the ACF project was based on the idea that human excrement and grey water were resources which could be re-used, particularly as organic soil enrichment agents are rare and soil is very poor in Mongolia.

An initial three-year pilot phase made it possible to analyse this peri-urban context where there is an extremely cold climate and to test innovative solutions, particularly EcoSan and compost toilets.
Since May 2012, a second phase – which is currently underway – is focused on the involvement of local actors in the project (the Mongolian authorities, the private sector and civil society) by extending the activities tested during the preceding phase. The objective is to accompany the principal institutions and the Mongolian organizations involved to help them develop a large-scale, local water and sanitation system.
A partnership with academia has also made it possible to add a substantial operational research component, which is feeding into the development of the ACF programme. A thesis by a student at the University of Peking entitled “Sustainable Sanitation for vulnerable peri-urban populations” will be presented in 2015.

The Groupe URD evaluation will focus on the quality of the project to establish whether adjustments need to be made to optimize its long term impact. It will also look at the possible added value brought by having links between research and the development of the project.

Groupe URD will be present in Ulan Bator from 17 February to 1 March. The NGO “Toilettes du Monde”, which is recognized for its expertise in sustainable and ecological sanitation projects (the social engineering needed for this type of project and the technical design of networks), is providing remote support.