Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

Uganda – 1st National Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management, 2014

The theme of the conference was Break the Silence on Menstruation, Keep the Girls in School. menstruation_health_book-2

Author: Netwas Uganda

The conference had 4 objectives; a) to raise awareness on the impact of poor menstrual management, b) advocate for policy review, c) develop strategies for operationalizing existing policy, d) demonstrate sustainable good practices on menstrual management. The overall aim was to explore how best the School Health Policy can ensure girls get all the support they need to complete school and reach their full potential.

#CleanUpIndia: #Sanitation “All Stars” discuss plans to make India #opendefecation free

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up sanitation as a special cause. He would like to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019 by declaring India open defecation free. A noble goal, but is it realistic? The political will and financial commitment is there but can the shift in mindset from building infrastructure to behaviour change and ensuring toilet use and safe disposal be made?

As part of its #CleanUpIndia initiative, TV channel CNN – Indian Broadcasting Network (CNN – IBN) invited an “all star” cast of sanitation celebrities to discuss the Swach Bharat or Clean India campaign that Modi intends to launch in October 2014. What do they think needs to be done to clean up India for good?

In the line up are:

and invited guests:

Rose George – What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society?

What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society? by Rose George, WaterAid Blog, July 2014 |

Journalist Rose George reports on her visit to WaterAid Nepal, where she saw the impact of menstrual taboos on women and girls.

Excerpts – For Radha dinner is served at 7. She crouches down behind a shed, a good distance from her house, then waits.

She knows what the menu will be: boiled rice, the same as yesterday and the day before. She knows that it will be her little sister who serves it, throwing the rice onto her plate from a height, the way you would feed a dog.

Radha Bishwa Karma serving food behind the toilet. Credit: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu

Radha Bishwa Karma serving food behind the toilet.
Credit: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu

In Jamu, Radha’s village in western Nepal, her status is lower than a dog’s, because she is menstruating.

She is only 16, yet, for the length of her period, Radha can’t enter her house or eat anything but boiled rice. She can’t touch other women – not even her grandmother or sister – because her touch will pollute them. If she touches a man or a boy, he will start shivering and sicken.

If she eats butter or buffalo milk, the buffalo will sicken too and stop milking. If she enters a temple or worships at all, her gods will be furious and take their revenge, by sending snakes or some other calamity.

Here, menstruation is dirty, and a menstruating girl is a powerful, polluting thing. A thing to be feared and shunned.

 

WEDC – Menstruation hygiene management for schoolgirls

Menstruation hygiene management for schoolgirls, 2014.

Author: Tracey Crofts, WEDC.

This guide outlines the problems experienced by menstruating schoolgirls in low-income countries. Although its focus is predominantly sub-Saharan Africa, many of the issues raised are relevant to girls in most low-income countries, although there may be differences in popular practice and beliefs. Menstrual-hygiene-on-line-8

The guide also evaluates simple solutions to these problems including the use of low-cost sanitary pads, and suggests ways in which menstruation hygiene management (MHM) can be included in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.

Registration open for AfricaSan 4

AfricaSan web logo

AfricaSan 4 is being held on October 8-10 2014 in Dakar, Senegal. The website is now up and running and registration is open: www.africasan.com

AfricaSan 4 continues the AfricaSan tradition, building on approaches that have worked. It is essentially a political meeting seeking to raise the priority of sanitation amongst the new generation of san leaders. The timing is AfricaSan 4 is fortuitous both as the last AfricaSan meeting to assess progress against the MDGs; as well as being well-positioned to build momentum on sanitation and hygiene for the SDGs.

The theme of AfricaSan 4 “Making Sanitation for All a Reality in Africa” responds to the visionary ideals of a new generation of Africa’s sanitation ministers. It sets the bar high so that the highly successful eThekwini commitment process can consider a new set of targets and indicators to help accelerate progress towards universal coverage.

The AfricaSan 4 theme not only concerns itself with sanitation access. It seeks to address the full sanitation value chain (containment, emptying, transport, treatment, disposal and reuse). Moreover it also focuses on a full sanitation ladder of access, including making Africa open-defecation free. By sanitation is also implied hygiene: AfricaSan 4 will host a specific discussion on how to accelerate good hygiene behaviour change.

AfricaSan 4 has also had a strong regional and country process leading up to the Dakar meeting. Led by the chair of AMCOW’s AfricaSan Task Force Subcommittee, WSP, countries have engaged in three substantial sub-regional meetings in which countries have been involved in a peer-to-peer exchange on progress and sector bottlenecks in country action plans. Progress on country action plans and against the eThekwini commitments have been mapped and the results will be presented at AfricaSan 4. A feature of this preparatory process was the conscious effort to align the different sanitation sector monitoring processes in Africa.

Get in engaged with this important opportunity for sanitation in Africa, share this post with your colleagues who may be interested and come to Dakar!

Piers CrossBest wishes,

Piers Cross
AMCOW Lead Advisor on AfricaSan

Dutch WASH Alliance – The Diamond Business Approach in Sanitation: a Malawi Case

The Dutch WASH Alliance aims to establish sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene systems that can easily be replicated and scaled up. Within the domain of sanitation, we are creating a functioning WASH market and WASH public sector aiming to increase access to improved sanitation facilities. We support partner organisations that work on demand creation (amongst users); involve WASH entrepreneurs and financial institutions (a working private sector); and support the development of a working public sector. As an Alliance, this is what we refer to as “system change”. To realise system change, WASH Alliance partner WASTE has developed a unique approach called the Diamond Business Approach.

You too can become a poo!

Miraikan-Toilet-Exhibition-logo

You can dress up as a poo and get flushed down a gigantic toilet in Tokyo’s Miraikan science museum. The toilet is the centre piece of an exhibition on human excrement and the search for the ideal loo. At the end of the exhibition, visitors are thanked by a choir of toilets.

Children climbing into giant toilet

Photo: Japan Times

The exhibition, sponsored by the LIXIL Corporation, runs from 2 July until 5 October 2014 and costs 1200 yen (around US$ 11 ).

Web site: Miraikan – Special Exhibition “Toilet!? – Human Waste & Earth’s Future” English | Japanese

 

What we can learn from Brazil’s wastepickers

What we can learn from Brazil’s wastepickers | by Kyle Wiens

Excerpts: By the time the World Cup ends on July 13, experts estimate that World Cup spectators will generate a staggering 320 tons of trash. Enter the catadores—waste pickers who earn a living by collecting recyclables from the nation’s trash heap, men and women who will dig through the garbage and pick out each aluminum can, plastic bottle, and glass container. And while their jobs may seem humble, their sweat and solidarity are helping to transform Brazil into a true world power in recycling.

Illustrations by Ben Sanders

Illustrations by Ben Sanders

The movement to organize waste pickers in Brazil began in São Paulo in 1980, when the Catholic Church helped start the Association of Paper Pickers, but it only came into the spotlight nine years later, when association members began protesting on behalf of their right to collect material from public roadways. The association’s work inspired other cities around Brazil to start similar organizations, which (among other things) is helping to end child labor in Brazilian dumps.

A Future in Recycling

In 2009, filmmaker Sean Walsh spent a month following Claudinês Alvarenga, a carroceiro, or cart hauler, for his documentary Hauling. Alvarenga, a father of 27, drove the streets of São Paulo in an old Volkswagen bus, recovering materials from curbsides, businesses, and dumpsters. He fixed what he could, resold what was salvageable, and recycled all the rest.

“Haulers such as Claudinês and his family are the most vital and also the most marginalized group in this immense [recycling] industry,” Walsh says. “They are also the agents of a new environmental world order, which is growing ever more important to our sustainable survival.”

The truth is, catadores and carroceiros are remarkably good at what they do. Necessity has turned them into reuse masters, repair geniuses, and recycling experts. They can sort recyclables more precisely and comprehensively than a machine can, right down to different grades of paper. Because of catadores, Brazil is a world leader in recycling: The country has the highest recycling rates for used aluminum cans—around 98 percent—and is second in world for recycling PET, a plastic used in food packaging.

Focus on Violence and Gender in the WASH and Household Energy Sectors

WASHplus Weekly | Issue 151 | June 27, 2014 | Focus on Violence and Gender in the WASH and Household Energy Sectors

There have been several new initiatives to deal with the problem of violence and gender. In the WASH sector, several key organizations have worked together to publish a recent toolkit that discusses how to make WASH safer and more effective. In the household energy sector, the SAFE strategy, or the Global Strategy for Safe Access to Fuel and Energy was recently launched by the UN High High Commissioner for Refugees. The SAFE strategy principally addresses technology and program management and provides guidance on a holistic approach to the safety challenge in humanitarian settings. USAID has also published a new toolkit to support the implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally.

WASH RESOURCES/STUDIES

TOOLKITS

Violence, Gender and WASH: A Practitioner’s Toolkit, 2014. (Link)
The toolkit has been developed by Sarah House, Suzanne Ferron, Marni Sommer and Sue Cavill on behalf of WaterAid with contributions from a wide range of actors. It was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the British Government through the Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research For Equity (SHARE) Consortium. By recognizing both the risks of violence associated with WASH and the potential benefits of WASH, this toolkit aims to shine a light on this problem and encourage practitioners to recognize their capacity to make WASH safer and more effective.

Toolkit for Monitoring and Evaluating Gender-Based Violence Interventions along the Relief to Development Continuum, 2014. USAID. (Link)
USAID developed this toolkit to support the implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally. It provides guidance to USAID staff, implementing partners and the larger community of international relief and development practitioners on how to monitor and evaluate gender-based violence interventions along the Relief to Development Continuum (RDC). The RDC is divided broadly into three phases: (1) the pre-crisis phase, (2) the crisis phase, and (3) the post-crisis phase. The toolkit identifies opportunities for doing monitoring and evaluation along the RDC and gives advice on how to address constraints and challenges relating to each phase.

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Two girls died looking for a toilet. This should make us angry, not embarrassed

Two girls died looking for a toilet. This should make us angry, not embarrassed | by Barbara Frost, Winnie Byanyima, Corinne Woods and Nick Alipui in The Guardian, June 1, 2014

Excerpts – Attacks on girls and women as they look for somewhere private to defecate are frighteningly common. Improving basic sanitation, as a global goal, would do a lot to make them safer. 

Two teenage girls have been gang-raped and killed after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet.

A slum in India: for want of basic sanitation children often defecate near the railway tracks. Photograph: Jon Spaull/WaterAid

A slum in India: for want of basic sanitation children often defecate near the railway tracks. Photograph: Jon Spaull/WaterAid

A toilet, bathroom, powder room – whatever you want to call it – at home, at school, at work, in the shopping mall, is something many of us take for granted and cannot talk about without feeling embarrassed. But we must: because the lack of toilets is costing women their lives.

Today, 2.5 billion people live without access to a toilet, forcing women to walk to dark and dangerous places to find the privacy they need – those same dark and dangerous places where men wait to attack them.

So we must stop blushing when we talk about open defecation because it is not something to be embarrassed about: it is something to be angry about.