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Water and sanitation issues: Making a difference in the developing world

Summary: Water and sanitation issues: Making a difference in the developing world (22 March 2007: Brussels)

Research financed by the EU is playing a major role in finding new ways to manage water and sanitation issues in the developing world.

An example is a project among coastal communities in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, which has involved local woman in the production, installation and maintenance of sanitation facilities. The joint development of decent sanitation adapted to local conditions, the treatment of waste and its impact on local water supply have had very direct influence on human health. In association with creating income for the women from sanitation facilities, composting waste, safe rainwater collection and similar activities, the action research has improved conditions on the ground.

By measuring the effects in the project areas in comparison to control areas, it has been possible to have a very clear idea of the success of the project, which included considerable increases in ownership of sanitary facilities and a much higher quality of facility. As a result, the approach is being implemented in neighbouring communities. Research activities like this can help to change things on the ground.

Other successful examples include locally adapted technologies such as solar disinfection which were developed in the Mediterranean or by providing tests to measure the quality of household water. This is just one example of research funded under the EU's Research Framework Programme and the EU Water Initiative that is making a real difference to people's lives in the developing world. For details on more such projects across the world, visit:

  • Ref: EC07-074EN
  • EU source: European Commission
  • UN forum: 
  • Date: 22/3/2007

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European Union Member States