Welcome backstage to the inside world of sanitation. This site is the product of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation convening, where 40 sanitation practitioners from around the world came together to tell it like it is. What happens when User Centered Design is applied to their varied sanitation challenges? What works? What doesn’t?

Read on to find stories of struggles and success, potent tools to unblock your team, shared through videos and articles. Want hacks straight from the field? Browse through the Uncensored Boards. Straight talk. Unfiltered and uncensored. Somewhere in here might even lie the key to the next sanitation breakthrough.

UCD in sanitation event

Catch up on the event highlights with this video overview.

From the Field

In depth stories of how UCD can make a difference.

Tool School

All the help you need to get your UCD efforts up and running.


Stay connected to your convening cohort. Or create new contacts.

About the event


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes user centered design (UCD) can produce better results in sanitation. In the last eight to ten years, practitioners of sanitation have been increasingly embracing UCD principles in their approaches. However, there have been few opportunities to convene, share, and learn from each other, especially with an explicit focus on design for sanitation. The foundation saw that the time was now to create that opportunity–thus began the planning for the first official convening of UCD practitioners in sanitation.

On Tuesday September 26-28 2017, the foundation, in partnership with 17 Triggers, welcomed 40 participants from leading organizations to Seattle, WA, USA. Attendees included technology providers, NGOs, social enterprises, design firms, academic institutions, and funders. Through curated activities, participants built relationships, discussed the application of UCD in their work, and collaboratively envisioned a better way forward using UCD to develop better products, services, and business models.