Category Archives: Africa

Unclogging the Blockages in Sanitation

Unclogging-Blockages-brochure

Perhaps one of the more ignored or misunderstood elements of water poverty by the general population and even the charitable sector is sanitation services. When you think about providing clean water, you conjure images of clear drinking water pouring out of a tap or buckets of well water used to water crops and serve livestock.

But then there’s the other stuff—the stuff that is not as pretty to think about or even to deal with, but is just as important—like unclogging toilets, and building latrines, and providing sanitary napkin containers and services for female students. That’s all sanitation.

The first Unclogging the Blockages conference organised by IRC, PSI, Water for People and WSUP Enterprises, took place on February 18-20, 2014 in Kampala, Uganda. More than 170 people from in and out of the sector and around the world came together to explore the various challenges for sanitation as a business (SAAB) and began working on short and long-term solutions.

Participants identified seven key components to SAAB: (1) public sector; (2) business models; (3) finance; (4) technology; (5) demand creation and behaviour change; (6) monitoring; and (7) intersectoral links.

For each component participants plotted out potential outcomes and ways forward based on their ideas and a 30-day challenge, for example:

Business Models
Blockage: lack of models that are pro-poor inclusive; lack of understanding of technology
Desired outcome: Consumer understanding/happiness: Families say, “The toilet is my favorite part of the house.”
30-Day Challenge: Know your customers deeply for better service and success. —Advocacy through creative formats, get to the point and make it attractive, prove we have results.

The full set of action plans with a detailed breakdown by tasks and groups responsible for each of the seven themes is in the Unclogging the Blockages report. The Conference report and an accompanying factsheet are available at: www.ircwash.org/resources/unclogging-blockages-sanitation-business

A full set of conference materials including Powerpoint presentations can be found on the SuSanA website at: www.susana.org/en/events/past-event-pages/details/8

Three articles published in the July 2014 edition of Waterlines emerged from the conference:

Mulumba, J.N., Nothomb, C., Potter, A. and Snel, M. 2014. Striking the balance : what is the role of the public sector in sanitation as a service and as a business? Waterlines, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 195-210. DOI: 10.3362/2046-1887.2014.021

Rojas Williams, S.M. and Sauer, J. 2014. Unclogging the blockages in sanitation : inter-sector linkages. Waterlines, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 211-219. DOI: 10.3362/2046-1887.2014.022

Sugden, S., 2014. Latrine design: go in peace. Waterlines, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 220-239. DOI: 10.3362/1756-3488.2014.023

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.

Kenya – Ministry alarmed by ‘long calls’ along highways, to build toilets along Nairobi-Nakuru highway

Kenya – Ministry alarmed by ‘long calls’ along highways, to build toilets along Nairobi-Nakuru highway | Source: by Antony Gitonga, Standard Digital, Aug 8, 2014 |

NAKURU COUNTY: The ministry of health has expressed its concern over the high number of people who defecate in the open mainly along the main highways in the country. Following the revelation, Nakuru County has announced plans in major centres along the Nairobi-Nakuru and Naivasha-Mai Mahiu road to construct public toilets. According to the department of health, the open defecation was one of the leading causes in the increase in the number of typhoid and diarrhoea cases in the county.

Nakuru County director of health Dr Benedict Osore with county public health officer Samuel King’ori and USAID's WASHplus project manager Evelyn Makena examine some chairs used for defecation for the disabled at Longonot village in Naivasha. He said that around 300 of the 1,949 villages in the county had been declared open defecation free.  [PHOTO: ANTONY GITONGA/STANDARD]

Nakuru County director of health Dr Benedict Osore with county public health officer Samuel King’ori and USAID’s WASHplus project manager Evelyn Makena examine some chairs used for defecation for the disabled at Longonot village in Naivasha. He said that around 300 of the 1,949 villages in the county had been declared open defecation free. [PHOTO: ANTONY GITONGA/STANDARD]

This emerged during celebrations in Longonot Primary school in Naivasha where Longonot was declared as the first Open Defecation Free (ODF) village in Nakuru County. According to Nakuru County director of health Dr Benedict Osore, open defecation on the highways was a major problem which needed to be addressed urgently.

He said that the county in conjunction with other partners was planning to construct public toilets along the highway which would come in handy for motorists and passengers. “The centres will also offer other services like HIV testing and counselling and the public toilets will help deal in containing cases of diarrhoea and typhoid,” he said. He said that the county was committed to eradicating communicable diseases in the next five years and was working on how to dispose pampers which had turned out to be public nuisance.

On his part, Nakuru county public health officer Samuel King’ori said that around 300 of the 1,949 villages in the county had been declared open defecation free. King’ori said the campaign aimed at sensitizing residents on proper hygiene and had seen the number of sanitation related diseases drop significantly. “So far we have trained 235 public health officers who are tasked with training residents on the use of sanitation as one way of eradication communicable diseases,” he said. “Through ODF we have been able to reduce diarrhoea and typhoid cases by 75 percent and we seek to have them eliminated in the county,” said King’ori.

The campaign which is targeting various villages in the county as one way of reducing disease burden has been funded by USAID Washplus and FHI360. During the celebrations a natural leader Pauline Nduta expressed her concern over the number of passengers defecating along the highways while traveling to their destinations. Nduta said they had formed a group of villagers who were monitoring the situation and sensitizing the passengers on the need to use latrines instead of defecating in the open. “We have seen a drop in the number of typhoid cases amongst our school going children thanks to this campaign against open defecation,” she said.

AMCOW AfricaSan Awards 2014: call for nominations

The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) is pleased to invite entries for the AMCOW AfricaSan Awards to be announced on the 10th October 2014 at AfricaSan 4.

The AMCOW AfricaSan Awards are dedicated to recognizing outstanding efforts and achievements in sanitation and hygiene in Africa which result in large-scale, sustainable behavior changes and tangible impacts. The aim is to raise the profile of sanitation and hygiene by drawing attention to successful approaches, promoting excellence in leadership, innovation and sanitation and hygiene improvements in Africa.

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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

Innovative communal sanitation models for the urban poor: Lessons from Uganda

Innovative communal sanitation models for the urban poor: Lessons from Uganda, 2014.

Authors: Greg Bachmayer, Noah Shermbrucker. SHARE.

This paper describes the construction and management processes related to two toilet blocks in Uganda, one in Jinja and one in Kampala. Designs, financial models and insights into the process and challenges faced are presented and reflected on. Discussions about scaling up sanitation provision through these models are also tabled. To strengthen their planning processes, the Ugandan federation sought to draw on other community driven processes in India and Malawi. With divergent contexts, especially in terms of density, lessons were adapted to local conditions. SHARE_ResearchReport_Uganda_final-20

Through unpacking these experiences the paper draws attention to a number of key points. Firstly it argues that organised communities have the potential to develop functional and sustainable systems for the planning, construction and management of communal toilet blocks. Secondly, how shared learning, practical experience and exchanges driven by communities assisted in refining the sanitation systems and technologies piloted and thirdly the value, especially in terms of scale and leverage of including City Authorities in the provision of communal sanitation. A fourth key point, interwoven across discussions, relates to the financial planning, costing and affordability of the sanitation options piloted. Understanding the seed capital investments needed and various options for cost recovery is vital in assessing the affordability and scalability of pilots.

The paper mixes one of the co-author’s reflections (written in first person) with descriptions and analysis of the sanitation projects supported. This narrative method is deployed to emphasise the collegiate manner in which learning takes place across a country-spanning network of urban poor communities.

How and Why Countries are Changing to Reach Universal Access in Rural Sanitation by 2030

How and Why Countries are Changing to Reach Universal Access in Rural Sanitation by 2030 | SOURCE: Eddy Perez, The Water Blog, July 2014.

In this article Eddy Perez discusses how many countries have started working to achieve the goal of universal access to improved sanitation by taking steps to make the transformational changes needed to stop doing “business as usual” in their sanitation programs. 690

He provides several examples of what countries are doing to achieve this. One method is that governments are establishing a shared vision and strategy for rural sanitation among key government and development partner stakeholders by building on evidence from at-scale pilots that serve as policy learning laboratories.

Governments are  also partnering with the private sector to increase the availability of sanitation products and services that respond to consumer preferences and their willingness and ability to pay for them and are also working to improve the adequacy of arrangements for financing the programmatic costs.

He then writes about specific sanitation progress in Indonesia, Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania, one of the key interventions through which the government of Tanzania is expected to achieve its sanitation vision and targets is the National Sanitation Campaign (NSC).  The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare coordinates the implementation of the National Sanitation Campaign with funding from the Water Sector Development Program.  There have also been efforts to further strengthen and sustain the NSC structure by establishing linkages to other sectors experts and also getting the Ministry of Health to dedicate a budget line for community sanitation. The Water Basket is the main financing mechanism for community sanitation and hygiene in Tanzania. In the Water Basket, there is a clear budget line for sanitation.