The 3rd Annual Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in WASH in Schools Virtual Conference, Wednesday 29 October 2014
The 3rd virtual MHM in WinS conference will build on the content and recommendations of the prior two conferences and continue the effort to fill in the gaps in the existing knowledge and advocacy around this important issue. The one-day conference will bring together academics and health, gender, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts from around the world currently implementing MHM-related activities.
- To share recent research findings that relate to various aspects of MHM in WinS
- To highlight school-based MHM program descriptions and their potential for scale
- To share recommendations about how new MHM programs can be developed by WinS practitioners
After a few years researching and working on sanitation, I feel (felt) that I have a good knowledge about the topic, or at least good knowledge of most of it and a clear picture of the areas I should learn more about. Moreover as a shit-worker I –and probably most of us in the sector– have developed a sort of pride or even vanity about being a herald of a neglected cause…
Last week at the UNC Water and Health Conference I was humbled and even slightly embarrassed when I ‘discovered’ the world of children’s faeces in an exciting side session: “What to Do with Infant Poo? Evidence-based Programming to support safe disposal of young children’s faeces”. Convened by WSP, UNICEF and USAID / WASHPlus Project, the session included presentations of experiences from Kenya, Bangladesh and Cambodia, followed by group work on ways forward.
It is not that I ignored everything about child faeces; I had read something, had had some coincidental observations while staying in Indian villages, where I also included the issue partially in household surveys by gathering information of individuals’ defecation practices. But overall my knowledge was limited to the fact that child faeces have more pathogens than adult shit, and therefore should be disposed of safely; I had not fully acknowledged the complexities of the issue and kind of took for granted that improvements in adult sanitation would automatically lead to better management of child faeces. I was thus struck by a study in Bangladesh (by ICDDR,B), a country where adult open defecation is minimal, that showed that only 11-14% of children’s faeces are disposed of in latrines.
This was the first time I have been to the annual four and a half day conference of the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina. Like the annual WEDC conference, there was a huge, almost overwhelming, harvest of information and learning. Here are some bullets of things that struck me:
Inequality is big, big now, with the post-2015 agenda. It will be picked up and reported in the JMP. We are entering a new space. Good.
Ash. Soap or ash for handwashing. A JMP committee was unwilling to mention ash because there has been no study of the health effects, only those of soap, although there is no question that microbiologically it is nearly as good as soap. Let us hope that research will be funded – there are people willing to carry it out. But the big money for HW research comes, I suppose, from Unilever and Proctor and Gamble. There is scope here for funding from others. Ash is poor-friendly – widely available, costless, can be left outside without being stolen or taken by teachers, and is not eaten by goats. But the deeply rooted refrain is ‘handwashing with soap’. Again and again one has to argue for including ash – ‘handwashing with soap or ash’ or for that matter, soil, depending on the soil.
Behaviour change. This came up repeatedly. Far too much to absorb or report but some snippets:
- Signing a pledge can be effective
- When someone has invested (e.g in building their own toilet) they may feel they have to keep up appearances and justify it by using it
- Frequent rewards can reinforce behaviour
- Special times can be picked as opportunities for change – e.g. a marriage or funeral
- New behaviours can piggy-back on one another through linking
- ‘Choice is the enemy of behaviour change’.
- People infer motives from observing their own behaviour (linked with dissonance reduction)
Read the complete post
The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance is inviting all users of its discussion forum to a survey
Membership in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) recently surpassed 4000 people residing in 150 countries. The vibrant SuSanA Discussion Forum as well as the continually improving website have contributed to a strong growth in membership since SuSanA’s founding nearly eight years ago. The following ten countries have at least 100 SuSanA members each: USA, India, Germany, UK, Kenya, South Africa, Netherlands, Bangladesh, Uganda, Nigeria.
The SuSanA secretariat and SuSanA partner Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) are now inviting all users of the SuSanA Discussion Forum to take part in a Forum User Survey. The aim is to find out opinions regarding possible improvements of the Forum. The survey and resulting Forum improvements are a component of the co-funding that was received by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the Discussion Forum via a grant to SEI.
Everyone is warmly invited to participate, whether they are members of SuSanA or not – provided they have used the Discussion Forum in the past, be it for reading or for writing.
As a thank you for participating in the survey, all participants are eligible to win one of 150 prizes:
Issue 164 | Oct 3, 2014 | World Habitat Day: Focus on Slums
The first Monday in each October is World Habitat Day. This year the theme is Voices from Slums. This issue of the weekly contains news of upcoming urban events, urban innovation awards, recent urban WASH studies, and other reports and resources on issues faced by the urban poor.
World Habitat Day: Voices from Slums, October 6, 2014 – Link
Each year World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the habitat agenda. The themes are selected to bring attention to UN-Habitat’s mandate to promote sustainable development policies that ensure adequate shelter for all. This year’s theme, Voices from Slums, is intended to give voice to slum dwellers for improving quality of living conditions in existing slums. This is the UN’s official website for the event.
International Conference on Urban Health, March 9-12, 2015, Bangladesh – Link
The International Society for Urban Health is an association of researchers, scholars, professionals, community members, and workers and activists from various disciplines, roles, and areas of the world whose work is directly related to the health effects of urban environments and urbanization. The International Conference on Urban Health provides an international forum for information exchange among urban health stakeholders. The theme for the 2015 conference is Urban Health for a Sustainable Future: The Post 2015 Agenda.
URBAN HEALTH STUDIES
USAID/WASHplus Urban Health Updates – Link
Urban Health Updates contains more than 800 peer-review articles and “gray” literature reports on health issues faced by the urban poor.
Urban Health: It’s Time to Get Moving! Global Health Science & Practice, May 2014. V Barbiero. Link
Policy makers must commit to a long-term action plan that addresses the triple burden of health issues faced by growing urban populations. A comprehensive global urban health strategy is in order; one similar to the global approach to HIV/AIDS, polio eradication, and malaria. The strategy should build on the urban experience, both positive and negative, from all regions of the globe and provide a clear vision and programmatic guidance.
Published on Sep 5, 2014
This video is one of the promotional materials used in the SHARE-funded food hygiene intervention trial in Nepal, conducted by Om Prasad Gautam, PhD Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK. Copyrights reserved with O Gautam.
You can read more information about this study here: http://www.shareresearch.org/NewsAndE…