We talk shit

Here are various places where we have spoken about WASH failures, or encouraged others to!

Practical guides

2023 Frontiers of Sanitation: Learning From and Preventing Failure in WASH


2022 FSMA Presents: WASH Failures

2021 The Meaning of Health: Sanitation, Toilets and Menstruation

2020 Disasters Deconstructed S3E8: Talking About Failure

2020 Water You On About: The Sidekick Manifesto

2020 Everybody Hates Me: Let’s Talk About Stigma: Water, Sanitation and Menstruation Stigma

2019 The Conversation: What will it take to build the toilets of the future?


2022 Learning from failures in environmental and public health research

2020 Fail Fast, Fail Forward, Fail Openly: The Need to Share Failures in Development

2020 Words Fail Us: Racism in International Development Publishing

2020 “What the F?”: How we failed to publish a journal special issue on failures

2018 Toilets of the future must be designed with people in mind, not technology

2018 Blunders, Bloopers and Foul-Ups: Sharing Failures in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs

2017 Toilet marketing campaigns in developing countries erode people’s dignity – this is not acceptable

Journal articles

2022 We guest edited a Special Collection of Environmental Health Insights focusing on Learning from Failure in Environmental and Public Health Research. You can read our editorial that ties it together, but more importantly, there are heaps of cool papers written by our colleagues!

Research briefs

We have published the following briefs from the ‘Amplifying local voices to reduce failure in the WASH sector’ project:

Project findings and recommendations (Accessible version here)

Malawi findings and recommendations (Accessible version here)

South Africa findings and recommendations (Accessible version here)

Zimbabwe findings and recommendations (Accessible version here)

Conference presentations

2021 42nd WEDC International Conference: Why shit happens: Amplifying the voices of frontline WASH professionals to reduce failure in the sector

2021 International Faecal Sludge Management Conference: Amplifying local voices to reduce failures in faecal sludge management

2021 Colorado WASH Symposium: Amplifying local voices to reduce failures in the Sub-Saharan WASH sector

2019 IWA Small Water and Wastewater Systems and Resource Oriented Sanitation Conference: Shit Happens