At the end of each definition in this Glossary there is a number in brackets. This indicates the number of the Study Session where the term is first used in this OpenWASH module.

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3Rs approach

improving waste management by reducing, reusing and recycling  - abbreviated to the 3Rs (2)



an obligation or willingness by an organisation or individual to account for their actions and accept responsibility for them (1)


making a case in support of a particular cause or activity and trying to convince other people, usually decision makers, that it is a good idea (9)

advocacy goal

the desired overall result of any advocacy activity (12)

advocacy objective

a specific description of an intended, desired impact of an advocacy activity (12)


barrier analysis 

an assessment tool used to identify barriers that prevent particular behavior (8)

behavioural barriers

reasons why people do not adhere to desired behaviour changes (10)

behavioural determinants

the reasons why people do or do not practice a given behavior (8)

behavioural indicators

measures used to assess progress towards achieving targets of a behaviour change intervention (15)

behaviour change communication (BCC)

communication intended to help people change their behavior (9)

behaviour change strategy

strategy for changing behaviour that sets out a plan for action and how resources should be allocated (9)


liquid waste that includes human faeces and urine (2)



process by which information is exchanged between individuals or groups (9)


group of people who are connected to each other by geographic location or common concern or interest (6)

community action groups  (CAGs)

small groups within a community tasked with managing individual projects (11)

community-based action plan 

a plan shared by all members of a community to take agreed actions to end open defecation; the output of the CLTS process (10)

community capacity building

improving the skills, knowledge and experience of the people in the community so they are better able to manage community projects and take part in partnerships and community enterprises (6)

community engagement

process of working with people in a community to address issues affecting their well-being (6)

community-led total sanitation and hygiene (CLTSH)  

the same as CLTS but includes explicit reference to hygiene (H); the name used in Ethiopia for CLTS

community-led total sanitation (CLTS)  

method for mobilising communities to completely eliminate open defecation by triggering collective behaviour change and installing and using latrines (10)

community mobilisation

process in which community members (individuals, groups and organisations) act together to achieve desired community goals (11)



unexpected and usually dangerous situation that calls for immediate action (14)


process whereby individuals or communities gain confidence, self-esteem and power (6)

environmental pollution

cumulative effect of the continued disposal of untreated waste and release of harmful substances into the environment (2)

equality of service

equal amounts of services allocated regardless of need (1)

equity of service

amounts of services allocated according to need (1)


objective assessment of an ongoing or completed project or programme to assess its design, implementation, results and the extent to which the stated objectives have been achieved (15)



process that assists groups of people to understand and agree on their objectives (7)


a person who guides the people in a meeting, discussion, planning session or other event to ensure that the objectives are met by the end of the event (7)

faecal sludge (septic sluge)

accumulated faecal waste plus urine, water and anal cleansing materials in pit latrines and septic tanks (2)

financial sustainability

when revenue (income) from a service is sufficient to cover expenditure (costs) so that the service can be continued over a long period of time (13)

flying toilets

buckets or plastic bags used for depositing human excreta and thrown into the street or on waste ground (2)



social and cultural difference between male and female (8)


high-level decision making and the development of strategies (1)


wastewater from baths, showers, handwash basins, and dish and clothes washing activities (2)


health behaviour

any action related to disease prevention, health maintenance, health improvement or the restoration of health (8)

Health Development Army (HDA)

organised groups of families who promote healthy activities and behaviour among other households (7)

Health Extension Workers

people trained to promote preventive healthcare practices, graduates of TVETCs or Health Science Colleges (7)

health promotion intervention or initiative

action intended to improve health by promoting positive behaviour and practices (10)

household water treatment (HWT)

treatment of water in the home with chemicals or other methods to ensure safety at the point of use (1)


impact indicators

used to measure the long-term effects, or end results, of a project or programme (15)


long-term effects and consequences of proejct or programme outcomes (15)


process of incorporating the needs of all vulnerable groups within, and not separate from, society as a whole (1)


something that can be seen, measured or counted and provides evidence of progress towards a target (15)


any action taken to improve a situation


key stakeholder

a person or group of people with significant influence over, or who will be significantly affected by, a project (4)


liquid wastes

any waste in liquid or semi-solid form including human excreta (both faeces and urine), industrial wastewaters, and other forms of waste from water-using activities in homes and institutions (2)


advocacy at government level (12)


abbreviation for logical framework; a tool used in project design and M&E that consists of a matrix linking planned activities with expected outputs, outcomes and impacts (15)


marginalised people

people on the edges (margins) of society who are treated as insignificant or not important (4)


systematic, purposeful observation and timely data collection that checks if programme activities are being implemented as planned (15)



collaborative body or group of people that involves many participants from many organisations (12)


one-to-five (1-5) network

a group of one model family and five other households within the Health Development Army (7)

open defecation

the practice of defecating (excreting faeces) in the open and not in a latrine (2)

outcome indicators

used to measure the outcomes that a programme hopes to achieve (15)


effects of a programme or project outputs, usually in the short to medium-term (15)

output indicators

used to measure the extent to which activities have actually been implemented and produced the planned outputs (15)


things produced or objectives achieved by a project or programme (15)


participant analysis

analysis of those directly affected by a particular problem, and those who influence them (8)


disease-causing agent (2)

peri-urban areas

areas on the outskirts of towns and cities, showing some urban and some rural characteristics (1)

personal accountability

the duty of the individual to take responsibility for his or her actions (5)

policy advocacy

approaches to senior politicians and administrators to explain the impact of an issue and the need for action and change of policy (12)

population density

number of people living per unit area (1)

potable (water)

water that is safe to drink; free from contamination (3)

priority behaviours

behaviour changes that could contribute to an improvement in the health of a target population (10)

private service providers

privately owned companies involved in service provision (3)

process indicators

used to measure the ways in which planned activities have been implemented (15)

programme advocacy

approaches to local leaders to explain the need for action at local community level (12)

project cycle

term used to describe the life of a project from start to finish (13)

public-private partnership

collaboration between a privately owned enterprise and a public or government office (1)

public services

services financed by public money (3)



prevention of human contact with all types of waste to protect health (1)


a system that supplies a public need, such as transport, communications or utilities (e.g. electricity and water) (3)


biological difference between male and female (8)

situation analysis

analysis of the situation in which a particular behaviour is displayed (8)


urban areas that are heavily populated with sub-standard housing and very poor living conditions (1)

social accountability

public officials, politicians and service providers are held accountable to the public and service users for their conduct and performance (5)

social change communication

communication approaches that focus on the community as the unit of change, rather than the individual (9)

social mobilisation  

process that enables people to organise themselves to act collectively to achieve desired goals (9)

social responsibility

individuals and organisations behaving and acting for the benefit of society at large, or at least not causing harm to society (5)

solid wastes

all types of waste that are solid in form and are discarded, including  paper, leftover food, plastic bags, cans, etc. (2)


any person, organisation or group with an interest (stake) in something, such as a particular situation, intervention, project or programme (4)

stakeholder engagement

processes by which the organisers of a project involve stakeholders in decisions about it (4)

stakeholder mapping

process of systematically identifying and analysing all the relevant stakeholders and their relationship to each other (4)


ability to last or continue for a long time; an approach that combines environmental, economic and social aspects to produce long-lasting development or prosperity (10)



amount of money that a user pays for a single unit of service (13)



increase in the number of people living in towns and cities relative to rural areas (1)


vectors (of disease)

animals that can be responsible for spread of diseases, such as mosquitos, flies and rats (2)

vulnerable groups

groups of people in communities that have particular additional needs and are more susceptibale to harm (1)


WASH services

systems that provide for water, environmental sanitation and hygiene needs of communities (1)

waste management system

the complete chain of service from waste collection, through transportation to final disposal (2)

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