WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Officer Interview Preparation Guide
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WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Officer Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with experience in WASH Officer. These questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job test and quickly revise the concepts

26 WASH Officer Questions and Answers:

1 :: What is Community-led total sanitation?

CLTS is a grassroots approach originated in Bangladesh and uses community involvement to increase sanitation coverage. Based on Participatory Rural Appraisal tools and approaches, CLTS emphasizes the importance of self respect and dignity to help communities achieve open defecation free status. Its application implies a shift from counting latrines to counting sanitized communities, abandoning the use of subsidies. CLTS was developed by Kamal Kar with support from WaterAid and the Bengali NGO Village Education Resource Center.

2 :: What is Likert-type scales?

The scale, named after Rensis Likert, requires respondents to a survey to indicate their level of agreement to a given questionnaire item. The scales use a bipolar scaling method, measuring positive or negative responses to the item. In its most typical form, it has five items: strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree.

3 :: What is Chronbach's alpha?

This is a statistical procedure that helps determine how well a set of variables measure a latent construct. It is commonly used as a measure of internal consistency in a scale constructed from different items that presumably measure one construct.

4 :: What is Factor analysis?

A statistical method used in social and behavioral sciences to reduce variables in a variable set by combining two or more variables into a single factor. Factor analysis assumes that data on different attributes can be reduced to a limited number of dimensions as the attributes may be interdependent.

5 :: What is Thermotolerant coliforms?

Coliform bacteria that can multiply at certain temperatures. Because some coliforms such as E. coli can be found in the lower intestines of humans, optimal temperature for growth is 37.5 degrees Celsius.

6 :: What is "sanitation"?

The first challenge for most countries is to define what sanitation really means. The second challenge is to decide what aspects are most important. Sanitation as a whole is a "big idea" covering everything from safe collection, and disposal of human excreta (faeces and urine); to the management of solid wastes (trash or rubbish.) Each community, region or country must understand the most sensible and cost-effective way of thinking about sanitation, both in the short and long term, then establish appropriate national plans and priorities, and last but not least - implement!

7 :: Explain why does sanitation matter?

Lack of improved sanitation is a global crisis directly impacting the health, education, productivity and economic status of a household and often becoming the catalyst towards propelling a family out of poverty.
Improved sanitation and hygiene education will speed the achievement of all MDG's, helping eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child-mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV and AIDS; malaria and other diseases; as well as ensure environmental sustainability.

8 :: Explain how does sanitation affect the environment?

Inadequate sanitation, particularly in the context of urbanization, allows for sewage or waste to flow directly into streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands, affecting coastal and marine ecosystems, fouling the environment and exposing millions of children to disease. Improved sanitation reduces environmental burdens, increases sustainability of environmental resources and allows for a healthier, more secure future for the population.

9 :: What is Bivariate analysis?

Analysis of data that includes two variables. It generally implies looking for relationships between the two variables. For example, whether sex and education are related or whether the practice of hand washing with soap is related to either sex or education.

10 :: What is Continuous variable?

These are variables that may be measured quantitatively and that can take an infinite number of values. The most commonly used continuous variables in social science are interval variables. In interval scales, differences between two values are meaningful and equivalent. For example, the difference between 100 and 90 and the difference between 90 and 80 are identical. In interval variables, there is no absolute zero value. Examples of interval scales include attitude and opinion scales requiring an individual to express a level of agreement regarding a statement such as "My husband wants me to wash my hands before I cook."

11 :: Why is the sanitation and hygiene stuff so important? Clean water is clean water, right?

Water without sanitation and hygiene doesn't work, because the clean water gets contaminated so easily. When people defecate in the open -- as is customary in many areas without proper sanitation facilities -- the rain will wash fecal matter into ponds, rivers, and other water sources, spreading disease and bacteria.

Also, if people are not taught how disease is spread, the clean water could easily be contaminated through dirty water containers, dirty hands, and dirty dishes. These practices are a major cause of diarrhea, which contributes to many preventable child deaths. Education about hygiene is very important, and implementing sanitation practices, such as latrines and places to contain human waste, is also foundational.

12 :: What is the size of the problem?

1.1 billion people still practice open defecation and 2.5 billion people still lack access to sanitation. Most countries that are not on track to meet the MDG target are in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.

13 :: What is Categorical variables?

A dimension that organizes a phenomenon studied into simple classification groups such as "open defecators" vs. "sanitation facility owners" regarding access to sanitation. Categorical variables assume no intrinsic order of the categories. Also known as
"nominal" variables.

14 :: What diseases are associated with poor sanitation?

Human excreta have been implicated in the transmission of many infectious diseases including cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. Undernutrition, pneumonia, worm infestations, are also associated with unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene resulting in reduced physical growth, weakened physical fitness and impaired cognitive function, particularly for children under the age of five.

15 :: What is Chlorine residual?

The total amount of chlorine remaining in water at the end of a specified period following chlorination. A positive residual is an indication that water is still safe to drink since it would still have an acceptable level of chlorine remaining.

16 :: What actions are most urgent in relation to water, sanitation and health?

The three top priorities are the provision of sufficient quantities of safe water, basic sanitation arrangements and promotion of good hygiene behaviours.

The first priority is to provide an adequate quantity of water, even if its safety cannot be guaranteed, and to protect water sources from contamination. A minimum of 15 litres per person per day should be provided as soon as possible, though in the immediate post-impact period, it may be necessary to limit treated water to a minimum of 7.5 litres per day per person. During emergencies, people may use an untreated water source for laundry, bathing, etc. Water-quality improvements can be made over succeeding days or weeks.

17 :: What is Coliform bacteria?

A bacterial indicator of the sanitary quality of food and water. This bacterium is abundant in feces of warm-blooded animals and can be found in aquatic environments, in soil, and in vegetation. Coliforms may not be the cause of disease, but they can be easily cultured and may indicate that pathogens of fecal content are present.

18 :: What are some of the biggest challenges you face in teaching hygiene and sanitation?

Feminine hygiene for girls -- it's something you might not think of, but school attendance drops off dramatically once girls reach puberty. This is because of the stigma surrounding menstruation, lack of latrines and places to wash up at school, and lack of education about how to make and maintain reusable feminine hygiene products.

World Vision is helping to address these problems, along with installing pit latrines and washrooms at schools, so girls have a safe place to wash up so they can keep going to class. We are all about removing barriers to education.

19 :: What is Colilert test?

A test for detecting coliforms and E. coli in water that produces results rapidly. The Colilert test suggested in this document is a presence/absence test. It is inexpensive and detects E. coli down to 10 coliform forming units (CFU) per 100ml, below which is considered low risk.

20 :: Why is water, sanitation, and hygiene so important?

WASH is foundational to our development model as an organization. When we work with communities to help them become self-sustaining, water, sanitation, and hygiene are some of the first things we look at and the first programs we implement. These elements need to be in place for education, health, and economic development to work.