Journal Article

Acknowledging and Learning from Different Types of Failure

Published on 6 June 2021

The challenges faced in sanitation and hygiene programmes are numerous and complex. Failures are inevitable.

From our experience of working on rapid action learning and research in this sector the Sanitation Learning Hub (SLH) have found that when mistakes are shared they are usually those which were uncontrollable and unanticipated i.e. somebody else’s fault. In this perspectives piece Jamie Myers and Naomi Vernon propose a typology of failure alongside criteria for research and learning processes that prioritises timeliness, relevance and actionability.

The authors argue that these can be used together to identify and reflect on failures (and successes) quickly. They provide some practical suggestion for different stakeholders to support a shift towards a more open and reflexive sector, where all types of failures can be shared broadly.

Cite this publication

Vernon N and Myers J. (2021) 'Acknowledging and Learning from Different Types of Failure', Environmental Health Insights, January 2021, 15:1-4. doi:10.1177/11786302211018095


Jamie Myers

Research and Learning Manager

Naomi Vernon

Programme and Communications Manager

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Programmes and centres
The Sanitation Learning Hub

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