Elaine Mercer

Elaine Mercer

Communications and Networking Officer

As Communications and Networking Officer with the Sanitation Learning Hub (SLH) (formerly the CLTS Knowledge Hub), Elaine leads the communications and networking activities for the hub – encouraging debate online and offline around Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues, with a focus on participatory, community-centred approaches that lead to sustainable and inclusive sanitation and hygiene programming.

Elaine brings experience and enthusiasm to a variety of activities including: developing and managing the Sanitation Learning Hub website (launching in June 2020) and newsletters; facilitating international learning and sharing events; creating multimedia and written learning outputs (often through participatory approaches); leading on participatory visual methods research in the team and supporting SLH social media channels.

She has worked within international development for the past 15 years. Her background is in social anthropology and she has previously worked with international women’s rights, gender and sexuality focused NGOs. During her twelve years at IDS she has greatly enjoyed working with research and knowledge teams on a variety of essential development issues – including gender, sexuality, climate change, health, nutrition, conflict, governance and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), amongst others. She is passionate about using and promoting creative, thoughtful, transformative approaches within development, for example, managing and facilitating digital storytelling and participatory video processes and outputs.



The Sanitation Learning Hub

Together with partners around the world, our focus is to support and strengthen the sector to tackle the complex challenges it faces in delivering the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2.


Balancing unpaid care work and paid work

The 'Balancing unpaid care work and paid work: successes, challenges and lessons for women's economic empowerment programmes and policies' project aims to create knowledge about how women's economic empowerment (WEE) policy and programming can generate paid work that empowers women and provides...


Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Food Security

This BRIDGE Cutting Edge Programme on Gender and Food Security makes the case for a new, gender-aware understanding of food security, arguing that partial, apolitical and gender-blind diagnoses of the problem of food and nutrition insecurity is leading to insufficient policy responses and the...


Malawi Development Exchange

The Malawi Development Exchange supports those interested in Malawian development issues, supporting dialogue, sharing news and research, and communicating development knowledge produced in Malawi.



The ethics of using photos in the WASH sector

Sanitation and hygiene issues deal with difficult, hidden, and taboo areas of life, which people often don’t really want to talk about, let alone look at. They can also deal with seemingly mundane issues (for example, going the toilet, washing hands) which people can overlook as...

Ruhil Iyer
Ruhil Iyer & 3 others

27 February 2024


Ways forward for rural sanitation in Africa

The CLTS Knowledge Hub at IDS has had a busy year! We have hosted and facilitated two regional rural sanitation workshops in Africa. The first held in Tanzania brought together sanitation experts from eight countries across East and Southern Africa, the second in Senegal brought together those...

22 October 2018



Exploring Female-headed Households’ Sanitation Needs, Tasikmalaya

SLH Learning Paper;17

Female-headed households often get left behind in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programming and policy. This Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Paper presents findings and recommendations for action, from the participatory video research project, ‘Sanitation, health and livelihood issues...

18 September 2023

Elaine Mercer’s recent work


Monitoring sanitation campaigns: Targets, reporting and realism

The Sanitation Learning Hub’s latest Frontiers of Sanitation edition shares key lessons learnt from government sanitation campaigns around the world, including India, China, Nigeria, Vietnam and Zambia. It is a vital learning resource for ongoing and future government campaigns aiming to end...

28 July 2021


New resource hub for the sanitation and hygiene sector

The Sanitation Learning Hub have recently been working hard to produce a new website with fresh branding, following the start of a new four-year programme funded by Sida.   We think everyone has the right to safely-managed sanitation and hygiene, and we need to make sure no one is...

22 June 2020


What’s new with the Sanitation Learning Hub?

You may have noticed that the CLTS Knowledge Hub has started calling itself the Sanitation Learning Hub. Why is this? With recently renewed funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), we renamed the organisation to better reflect our now broader approach to...

19 March 2020


Celebrating the Sanitation Learning Hub’s new lease of life

For over ten years, IDS’s Sanitation Learning Hub (previously known as the CLTS Knowledge Hub) has been supporting learning and sharing within the international sanitation and hygiene sector, using innovative participatory approaches. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency...

22 October 2019