Category Archives: Middle East & North Africa

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.”

Cairo: Finding its own way in waste collection

Cairo: Finding its own way in waste collection – Danish Architecture Centre | Source/complete article: Sustainable Cities, Jan 2014

Excerpts – For decades, much of Cairo’s waste has been resourcefully collected and reused by a poor working class known as the Zabbaleen. After a failed attempt to modernise and sanitize this system by bringing in foreign waste-collecting companies, some major advantages to developing a sustainable, economically logical and uniquely Cairo waste-collecting system have become clear.

Skraldebyen Ezbet El Nakhl, Af Creap, 9. maj 2005, Flickr, Creative Commons, Foto # 13067241

Skraldebyen Ezbet El Nakhl, Af Creap, 9. maj 2005, Flickr, Creative Commons, Foto # 13067241

Since the 1950’s, a group of lower class garbage collectors known as the Zabbaleen have wandered the city of Cairo, Egypt, using donkey carts to pick up waste left on the streets. After bringing this waste to their homes that collectively make up Cairo’s “garbage city” the waste it is sorted and eventually turned into quilts, rugs, pots, paper, livestock food, compost, recycled plastic products such as clothes hangers, and much more. Reusing and recycling about 85% of all waste that they collect, the Zabbaleen have far surpassed the efficiencies of even the best Western recycling schemes, which, under optimal conditions, have only been able to reuse 70% of all material.

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Assessment of Beliefs and Practices Relating to Menstrual Hygiene of Adolescent Girls in Lebanon

Assessment of Beliefs and Practices Relating to Menstrual Hygiene of Adolescent Girls in Lebanon. International Journal of Health Sciences and Research (IJHSR), 2013; 3(12): 75-88.

Authors: Tania Santina, Nancy Wehbe, Fouad M. Ziade, Mona Nehme.

Abstract
Introduction: Poor menstrual hygiene prevents achieving the several Millennium Development Goals. The aim of this study was to assess menstrual hygiene practices based on sociocultural beliefs of adolescent girls in Lebanon.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional survey was conducted, in 2010, among 389 post-menarcheal adolescent girls aged 13 to 19 years, at five high schools in Sidon city and suburbs, using a cluster randomized sampling and self-completed questionnaires. Collected data was analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results: Of 389 participants, 89.5% did not follow all menstrual hygiene practices recommended, they adopted menstrual practices based on the dominant sociocultural beliefs found in the Lebanese society about these matters: 66.9% and 16.5%, respectively, did not shower in the first three days of menstruation or during all days of menstruation, and activity restrictions included physical (70.3%) and social (18.2%) activity and diet (35.5%).

A significant association was found between describe menstrual hygiene practices based on sociocultural beliefs and type of school, religion, both parents’ education levels, as well as family monthly income. Logistic regression analyses indicated that significant variables predicting describe menstrual hygiene practices based on sociocultural beliefs were mother level education (OR = 2.8; P < 0.001), and religion (OR = 0.7; P = 0.002).

Conclusion: Findings indicate the need for health school education programs during puberty; they also can help design appropriate intervention strategies.

Will a “cottage industry” approach make emergency WASH more sustainable?

Al Madad hygiene and sanitation project in Aqbiyeh

Al Madad hygiene and sanitation project in Aqbiyeh, Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Photo: Al Madad Foundation & AUB Association

An NGO is employing a self-help “cottage industry model” to introduce water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)  services in refugee camps. Instead of relying on handouts, refugees are offered a steady wage to participate in the improvement of their own living conditions.

The NGO promoting this approach, is the Al Madad Foundation, a UK registered charity since 2001, based in London. The Foundation is active in two main areas:

  • education and literacy programmes for refugee and disadvantaged children
  • sustainable relief in emergencies

The Foundation’s Director is Aya Haidar, a Lebanese multimedia artist/activist with an MSc in NGOs and Development.

In Lebanon, the Al Madad Foundation is partnering with the AUB Association’s Community Project Development Unit to improve water, sanitation and hygiene within the country’s Syrian refugee communities. Under the supervision of qualified architects and civil engineers from the AUB Association, refugees will be employed to help dig holes, build toilets, pipe laying, and installing septic tanks and drainage systems.

The Foundation thinks this “cottage industry model” could eventually be extended to other fields such as education, by employing refugee women, many of whom are qualified teachers.

The Foundation chose to focus on WASH services in the camps, not only to “minimise avoidable morbidity and mortality” but also to “minimise the resulting impact upon the local Lebanese environment, including fresh water, ecosystems and the impact upon agriculture”. Hygiene promotion and awareness raising will go hand-in-hand with the provisions of water and sanitation infrastructure.

The UK government is considering implementing cash-for-work (CFW) programmes for both Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese as part of their new £50 million (US$ 77 million) humanitarian aid initiative [1].

Oxfam implements a CFW initiative, that includes latrine construction, in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp, the world’s largest refugee complex housing more than 400,000 people. Men and women are paid between 250 and 500 Kenyan Shillings (about US$ 3 – 6) $ per day depending on their skill levels [2].

The most well-known CFW aid programme was implemented by Mercy Corps in post-tsunami Aceh, Indonesia.  At its peak the seven-month programme employed nearly 18,000 participants and disbursed over US$ 4.5 million in direct payments [3]. Based of their experience in Indonesia and other countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan, Mercy Corps published a CfW manual in 2007 [4].

[1] DFID, £50m UK support to Lebanon as refugee numbers soar, Gov.UK, 18 Jul 2013

[2]  Cash-for-work in Kenya: Building latrines at Dadaab camp, Oxfam, 15 Aug 2011

[3] Doocy, S. et al., 2005. The Mercy Corps Cash for Work Program in post-tsunami Aceh. Available at: http://preventionweb.net/go/2171

[4]  Mercy Corps, 2007. Guide to cash-for-work programming. [online] Portland, OR, USA: Mercy Corps. Available at: <http://www.mercycorps.org/files/file1179375619.pdf>

Source: Al Madad Foundation – Lebanon Emergency Aid Report 2013

New study analyzes options for wastewater treatment in Lower Egypt

New study analyzes options for wastewater treatment in Lower Egypt

Source: Daily News Egypt – February 24, 2012

CAIRO: Egypt has made good progress towards increasing access to sanitation in urban areas but access to waste water treatment in rural areas lags far behind, a recent study showed.

The World Bank and the University of Leeds launched a new study in Cairo that analyzed the cost-effectiveness of a range of investment options for wastewater treatment in terms of the relative health benefits these are likely to generate for downstream farmers and consumers.

The study [1], conducted by the University of Leeds, UK, in partnership with the World Bank and the Holding Company for Water and Waste Water, discussed the benefits of differing strategies for Wastewater Management in Lower Egypt using Quantitative Microbial Risk Analysis (QMRA).

“The study, which we are presenting today, discusses the selection of efficient and effective treatment technologies and would be a useful input to policy makers in the sanitation and health sectors in Egypt,” said David Craig, the World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.

Rates of sewerage connection in rural Egypt remained at only 18 percent in 2008. There is substantial evidence that informal discharges of untreated domestic wastewater in agricultural channels is widespread – and it is not surprising given the lack of facilities for collection and safe disposal of wastewater from household vaults.

The high rate of informal reuse of agricultural drainage water means that these wastewater discharges have a significant negative health impact. Domestic waste has significant potential as an input to agriculture and can be safely used as fertilizer if appropriately treated and regulated.

Many technologies exist, and indeed, simple improvements to existing domestic sanitary facilities could have significant benefits at a relatively low cost. The challenge is to work out what investment strategies make the most sense in terms of delivering a good service to citizens, protecting health and promoting agricultural efficiencies at the most efficient price.

The World Bank has been supporting Egypt’s reforms in the water supply and sanitation sector and continues to support improved access to sustainable rural sanitation services in Egypt, given its strong linkages to health and environment.

[1] Evans, B. and Iyer, P., 2012. Estimating relative benefits of differing strategies for management of wastewater in Lower Egypt using quantitative microbial risk analysis (QMRA). Washington, DC, World Bank Water Partnership Program, World Bank. viii, 36 p. Download report

Focusing Attention on the Critical Role of Gender in Water and Sanitation

In Nepal, reducing the time it takes to fetch water by just one hour could increase girls’ school enrollment by 30%.

While women’s lives around the world have improved dramatically, gaps remain in many areas, including water and sanitation. For example, a recent study in 44 developing countries found that women carry water more often than men by a ration of nearly 2 to 1. Time is but one cost. There are many. How can we draw more attention to gender issues in water and sanitation ? Perhaps through drawings.

The World Bank/WSP 2012 Calendar combines illustrations,  humor, and data to focus attention on the role of gender in developing countries’ ability to ensure improved water and sanitation services for all citizens.  Gender is also the focus of the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development .

Take a look. Images are worth a thousand words– and they can speak on behalf of billions.

Comments and feedback on the calendar are welcome at wsp@worldbank.org.

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Iraq: Saddam’s prison toilet destined for US museum

Saddam Hussein's prison toilet as shown on a 2008 CNN report

The U.S. military is taking Saddam Hussein’s prison toilet home to be displayed in a military police museum, Reuters says.

The stainless steel commode and a reinforced steel door have been removed from the cell where the dictator spent two years before his 2006 execution. [..] The villa where American troops built a maximum-security jail for Saddam and his henchman Chemical Ali sits on a U.S. complex near Baghdad’s airport known as Victory Base, which is scheduled to be handed over to Iraq’s government in December as U.S. forces withdraw completely by year’s end.

The toilet was removed in August 2011. It is being shipped to the US Army Military Police Museum at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, said U.S. military historian Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Brooks. Chemical Ali’s standard-issue combination toilet-sink is still in place, he added.

To see how Saddam’s prison cell looked like, see a 2008 CNN video report.

Source: Jim Loney, Reuters, 07 Nov 2011 ; CNN, 27 Mar 2008

International hygiene study: scores for personal and household hygiene in 12 countries presented

In the wake of Global Handwashing Day, the Hygiene Council has released more findings from its international HABIT Study (Hygiene: Attitudes, Behavior, Insight and Traits). Below are charts comparing handwashing and household hygiene scores for 12 countries.

Percentage of respondents who wash hands 5+ times daily

Percentage with High Household Hygiene Score

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UAE: Students learn good health goes hand in hand with hygiene

The results of the international Dettol HABIT Study (Hygiene: Attitudes, Behaviour, Insight and Traits) were recently presented to health and safety professionals by expert professors from the Global Hygiene Council in Dubai. During the symposium, the Dubai Ministry of Education invited a number of young school students to learn about the importance of hygiene.

Professor Tariq Madani of the King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, held an interactive workshop for the children, which involved a demonstration of the Interactive ‘Glow germ Booth’.

The Dettol HABIT Study was carried out in 12 countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the only countries where face-to-face interviews were conducted. The study found that people who have good manners have better personal hygiene and are almost two and a half times more likely to have good health with low levels of colds and diarrhoea.

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Tunisia-Libya border: UNICEF sets up sanitation facilities at transit camps

UNICEF is covering the sanitation needs for more than 7,000 people who have fled the violence in Libya and find shelter in transit camps in southern Tunisia. The refugees first get registered in Ataawan transit camp, where they spend the night before moving on to Shousha camp.

Hygiene kits are being distributed in the camp and messages are also being prepared to raise awareness of good sanitation and hygiene practices, such as hand-washing.

UNICEF WASH Specialist Ahmedou Ould Sidi Ould Bahah is working at the border, assessing sanitation facilities including latrines, showers and water tanks in the Ataawan and Shousha transit camps.

He meets daily with national partners and volunteers, and liaises with the local municipality of Ben Guardane to ensure septic tanks are cleared in a timely manner.

A total of 632 latrines have been set up by UNICEF and partners at the camp, and more are being constructed.

Trucks are currently providing safe drinking water to Shousha but the drilling of a borehole at the camp is being considered to address water supply issues during the upcoming hot season.

Source: Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF, 30 Mar 2011