Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

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.

Female parliamentarians want free sanitary pads for Uganda’s schoolgirls

Uganda’s female parliamentarians led by controversial Speaker of Parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga have called on the government to provide sanitary pads for all schoolgirls in the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme. Kadaga launched her call at the Annual General Meeting  of the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) on 16 May 2014.

Cover MHM study UgandaThe call was spurred by IRC’s research with SNV in Ugandan schools, which showed there is a higher likelihood of adolescent girls staying home during their periods. Girls in the 140 schools surveyed reported missing from 8 to 24 school days per year, resulting in lagging behind or some dropping out of school.

In August this year, IRC will present results from the Uganda study at the Menstrual Hygiene Management Conference taking place in Kampala, Uganda. NETWAS Uganda and partners are organising this event to encourage learning about what can be done to improve menstrual management in schools, institutions and communities.

Source:

  • Marielle Snel and Carmen da Silva Wells, Why focus on menstrual hygiene management?, IRC,, 27 May 2013
  • Olive Eyotaru, Include girls’ sanitary pads in UPE pack, Kadaga says, Daily Monitor, 18 May 2014
  • Editorial, Support low-cost sanitary pad drive, Daily Monitor, 20 May 2014
  • Support Uganda’s low-cost sanitary pad drive, SNV Uganda, 23 May 2014

Menstrual hygiene reports from Bolivia, Philippines and Sierra Leone

In 2012, UNICEF and the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University initiated a programme to support collaborative research focused specifically on exploring the MHM challenges faced by female students in Bolivia, the Philippines, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. The project includes developing or
strengthening MHM-related programming in schools in those countries. WASH_Philippines-6

Emory University sent research fellows to work with UNICEF and its in-country WASH in Schools partners on the programme. The assessment activities conducted and themes explored were guided by an ecological framework that covers societal, environmental, interpersonal, personal and biological factors. Questions for qualitative data collection were created to investigate and understand the personal challenges and needs girls have during menstruation in the school setting.

The results are now published as a series of reports:

Bolivia – Long, Jeanne, Bethany A. Caruso, Diego Lopez, Koenraad Vancraeynest, Murat Sahin, Karen L. Andes and Matthew C. Freeman, ‘WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education in Rural Cochabamba, Bolivia: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools’, United Nations Children’s Fund, New York, November 2013.

Philippines – Jacquelyn, Bethany A. Caruso, Anna Ellis, Murat Sahin, Jonathan Michael Villasenor, Karen L. Andes and Matthew C. Freeman, ‘WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’  Education in Masbate Province and Metro Manila, Philippines: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools’, United Nations Children’s Fund, New York, November 2013.

Sierra Leone - Caruso, Bethany A., Alexandra Fehr, Kazumi Inden, Murat Sahin, Anna Ellis,  Karen L. Andes and Matthew C. Freeman, ‘WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education in Freetown, Sierra Leone: An assessment of menstrual hygiene management in schools’, United Nations Children’s Fund, New York, November 2013.

 

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Day 2014

Issue 147 | May 23, 2014 | Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Day

This issue highlights Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2014. The idea for Menstrual Hygiene Day started in May 2013 when WASH United pioneered May #MENSTRAVAGANZA. This was a 28-day social media campaign cycle dedicated to generating awareness around menstruation and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) as important considerations within water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) development initiatives. mhd

Resources in this issue include a MHM toolkit by the SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) Project in Zambia, links to the Menstrual Hygiene Day website, fact sheets, events, and other resources.

EVENTS

May 28, 2014 – Menstrual Hygiene Day 2014. | Website | Fact Sheets | Toolkit |Global Myths & Taboos | Events & Celebrations |
The mission of Menstrual Hygiene Day is to help break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.

August 12–14, 2014 Menstrual Hygiene Management Conference, Kampala, Uganda. (Link)
Join NETWAS Uganda and partners for this exciting event and learn about practical approaches and tools to achieve healthier, affordable, and better results in menstrual management in schools, institutions, and communities.  The aim of the conference is to promote menstrual management awareness and advocacy. The primary target audiences are the different partners that want to see menstrual management concerns addressed both at institutional and community levels.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Waterlines January 2015 – Call for Papers on Menstrual Hygiene Management and WASH in Schools. (Link)
This edition of Waterlines, coordinated with the help of UNICEF, will cover steps to improve women’s menstrual management in their everyday lives and in humanitarian situations; and it has a special focus on girls menstrual management. The copy deadline is August 1, 2014.

REPORTS

Menstrual Hygiene Management Mini-Toolbox for Teachers and Schools in Zambia, 2014. SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) Project. (Link)
This toolkit was designed to help classroom and guidance teachers, and other school personnel in Zambian primary schools who are carrying out MHM programs or activities in their school. As MHM becomes more established in schools more and better tools will be developed and added to the toolkit. It should be considered a work in progress.

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Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference

WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education: Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2013.

There is increasing interest in exploring and addressing the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) barriers facing schoolgirls and female teachers in educational settings. Around the globe, WASH in Schools (WinS) focuses on fostering social inclusion and individual self-respect – and addresses MHM as a key agenda. By offering an alternative to the stigma and marginalization associated with hygiene issues, integrating MHM into WinS empowers all students, and especially encourages girls and female teachers. mhm

Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and UNICEF convened the Second Annual Virtual MHM in WinS Conference at UNICEF Headquarters in New York City on 21 November 2013. Building on recommendations from the MHM 2012 virtual conference, the 2013 conference focused on the research
tools and instruments being used to explore MHM barriers and practices and to evaluate the interventions being trialed or implemented in various contexts.

The one-day event brought together over 150 participants online, involving a range of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and MHM experts, global health and education researchers, social entrepreneurs and policymakers – from academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, advocacy organizations and UNICEF country offices implementing MHM-related activities.

Using WebEx, 16 presentations were made from countries around the world, on a wide range of MHM research being conducted in educational settings. The presentations focused on: (1) the tools and and instruments utilized to explore MHM requirements of schoolgirls; and (2) the tools/instruments utilized for monitoring MHM interventions for schoolgirls.

Waste not: Egypt’s refuse collectors regain role at heart of Cairo society

Waste not: Egypt’s refuse collectors regain role at heart of Cairo society | Source/complete article: The Guardian, March 27 2014 |

Excerpts - Zabaleen waste pickers are finally being re-integrated into the city’s services, a decade after they were sidelined.

A family at work in the Mokattam area of the Egyptian capital Cairo, where zabaleen collect, separate, sell or reuse rubbish. Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP

A family at work in the Mokattam area of the Egyptian capital Cairo, where zabaleen collect, separate, sell or reuse rubbish. Photograph: Bernat Armangue/AP

For the waste pickers that have traditionally made a living sifting through the mountain of discarded litter that blights the streets of Cairo, there has been scant cause for celebration these past 10 years. Marginalised by a 2004 Mubarak goverment directive that placed household waste collection in the hands of multinationals, their existence has been one of ever increasing struggle for steadily declining return.

But change is afoot. Government acceptance that the corporatisation of waste disposal in Egypt‘s capital has been a resounding failure has paved the way for the formal integration of the zabaleen – who, for more than half a century, went door to door gathering the vast majority of household waste in Cairo – into the city’s official refuse collection system.

For a community that has served Cairo well, the government’s U-turn offers a deserved chance to change their lives for the better. Before 2004, the zabaleen would take the rubbish they collected back to their homes on the edge of the city, sort through it, and make a living from selling the salvaged materials to factories and wholesalers. The remaining organic waste would be fed to their pigs, whose meat also brought them a steady income.

But 10 years ago, this informal arrangement came to an abrupt end when the Mubarak government contracted four corporate firms to do the work instead – cutting the 65,000 zabaleen out of the process, and wrecking their collective livelihood. The aim was to professionalise the capital’s waste management.

Government officials now admit that approach was flawed from the start, and for the first time are starting to make the zabaleen‘s role official, giving them uniforms and vehicles.

“The others have failed, be they the government or the foreign companies, and now [the zabaleen] should get a turn, having been sidelined for so long,” said Laila Iskandar, Egypt’s environment minister, who has prioritised the issue since her appointment in July. “They are the people who have the longest experience in refuse collection.”

Preventing violence linked to WASH: practitioners’ toolkit

WeCan Campaign poster used in an IDP camp in Batticoloa, Sri Lanka to help respond to and prevent violence against women

WeCan Campaign poster used in an IDP camp in Batticoloa, Sri Lanka to help respond to and prevent violence against women

Poorly designed and located water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions can increase people’s vulnerability to violence. This can range from sexual harassment when practicing open defecation or collecting water, to staff demanding sexual favours in exchange for access to WASH facilities.<

With this in mind, WaterAid/SHARE have published a toolkit  [1] to help practitioners make water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) safer for the most vulnerable.

The toolkit consists of briefing notes, a checklist of actions based on the ten key principles for reducing vulnerability to WASH-related violence, and a range of tools including case studies of good practice.  It is relevant for both humanitarian and development contexts. The materials also include videos, scenarios for training and tools for use with communities, key extracts from international human rights instruments and a folder of additional supporting information

Any actor working in humanitarian, development or transitional contexts can request free access to the materials by sending an email to gbv@wateraid.org.

[1] House, S., Ferron, S., Sommer, M. and Cavill, S. 2014. Violence, gender and WASH : a practitioner’s toolkit : making water, sanitation and hygiene safer through improved programming and services. London, UK, WaterAid/SHARE.

For more information:

  • House, S. et al., 2014. Violence, gender and WASH : a practitioner’s toolkit : making water, sanitation and hygiene safer through improved programming and services. Humanitarian exchange magazine, no. 60, February 2014. Available at: <http://washurl.net/5as6s3>
  • Violence and vulnerability: making WASH safe. Hygiene promotion in emergencies newsletter, no. 5, March 2014, Available at: <http://washurl.net/8k5b0a>
  • SHARE: Equity

In 2012 WaterAid America released “1 in 3“, a video highlighting the impact of the lack of sanitation on women.