Category Archives: Campaigns and Events

International conference on public services in the global South

Protesters  in Cape Town, June 2013, demanding better service delivery

Protesters in Cape Town, June 2013, demanding better service delivery. Photo: yazkam.wordpress.com

Cape Town, the city where “poo has become a politcial issue“, is hosting an international conference on “Putting Public in Public Services: Research, Action and Equity in the Global South” from 13-16 April  2014 .

Organised by the Municipal Services Project, the conference  brings together researchers, activists, labour representatives, development practitioners and policy makers from around the world working to promote progressive public services,  including water and sanitation.

The following presentations focus specifically on sanitation:

  • Dieter Wartchow (Brazil) – National sanitation laws in Brazil: An opportunity lost?
  • Melanie Samson (South Africa) – Including the informal, transforming the public: Insights from innovations in the waste sector
  • Federico Parra (Colombia) – Recognition of the ‘recicladores’ as public managers of waste in Colombia
  • Poornima Chikarmane (India) – Of users, providers and the state: Solid waste management in Pune, India
  • Mary Galvin (South Africa) – Dealing with shit in sub-Sahara Africa: The impact of “new” approaches to sanitation on human rights
  • Julieta del Valle (Argentina) – Guaranteeing access to public water and sanitation: ‘Acompañamiento social’ in Buenos Aires

Read more in the full programme.

Registration is free for observers but priority wil be given to people with a demonstrated interest in conference themes.

Registration deadline: 14 March 2014

Those unable to attend can follow debates via video streaming, podcasts and social media.

Conference websitemunicipalservicesproject.org/about-conference

WASH Advocacy Day at the US Capitol, March 13

Join together for greater U.S. leadership on safe drinking water and sanitation, Advocacy Day at the US Capitol, March 13.

US residents who support safe drinking water and safe sanitation (WASH) for the world’s poorest people can join us to meet with Congressional offices to let them know that we need greater U.S. leadership for WASH.

WASH is one of the most cost-effective interventions available to improve health and reduce poverty.

WASH has major impacts for all people – but they are most dramatic in the life of a girl as she grows up:

  • Access to WASH will prevent her from dying from diarrhea and other water-related illness as a child.
  • It will allow her to attend school instead of spending hours collecting water.
  • It helps her to care for her children, who are also made healthier with reliable access to safe water and sanitation.
  • It helps her to earn an income.

WASH is foundational for healthy and productive families and communities.

Can’t be in DC on March 13? You can conduct Congressional meetings in your U.S. city, too. Just register as an “in-district” participant and we will provide all the information you need to be an effective advocate for vital WASH action.

Continue reading

Brazil: toilet protest on Ipanema beach against sewage pollution

In the wake of the World Cup and the Olympics, activists in Brazil are taking to the streets (and the beaches) demanding more investment in neglected public services like sanitation.

Activist group Meu Rio (My Rio)  sat on lavatories on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro to raise awareness about the dumping of untreated sewage into the sea. The group also laid out coloured silhouettes of common bacteria found in sewage on the sand.

My Rio sanitation protest poster

Some 70% of Rio’s sewage is said to be untreated as it flows into the sea off the beaches of Copacabana, Ipanema and the Guanabara Bay, which will host several events at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

Source: Sky News, 26 Jan 2014

 

 

Seminar on monitoring of decentralised WASH services in West Africa

This is a bilingual seminar on Monitoring the decentralised delivery of WASH services in rural areas and small towns in West Africa in Ouagagoudou, Burkina Faso organised by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre and pS-Eau.

Date: 07 – 09 April 2014

Designed in priority for stakeholders working in collaboration with local governments, this seminar will be an opportunity to share experiences in the field of monitoring WASH services at local level in West Africa.

The seminar will be structured around four themes:

  1. Monitoring and evaluation to support local governments’ water and sanitation strategic planning
  2. Monitoring and evaluation to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services
  3. Monitoring and evaluation to manage water and sanitation services
  4. Monitoring and evaluation to regulate water and sanitation services

but related topics are also of interest to the organisers.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 17 February 2014

More information: www.irc.nl/page/82341

Campaign uses “Slum Britain art” for fundraising

Slums encroach on Buckingham Palace - still from Practical Action video

Slums encroach on Buckingham Palace – still from Practical Action video

A UK charity has set images of iconic landmarks like Buckingham Palace in typical South Asian slums for its latest campaign to tackle urban poverty. Practical Action’s Safer Cities Christmas appeal aims to provide clean water, sanitation and safe housing to over 4,000 poor people in Nepal and Bangladesh. The appeal is backed by the government’s UK Aid Match initiative which matches public donations pound for pound. UK Aid Match will award up to £120 million (US$ 200 million) in grants over 3 years.

Source: Practical Action, 20 Dec 2013 ; The Independent, 22 Dec 2013

Toilet takes up seat at the UN

At the first official UN celebration of World Toilet Day on 19 November 2013, a “mobile” toilet takes over the seat of Yemen at the UN headquarters in New York. Listen to the podcast of the UN Seminar and panel discussion entitled “Sanitation for All”  here.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar UNICEF ambassador for hygiene & sanitation in South Asia

Recently-retired Indian cricket legend SachinTendulkar has become UNICEF Ambassador for South Asia to promote hygiene and sanitation in the region over the next two years.

“I was disheartened to know was that 1600 children die everyday because of diarrhoeal infected diseases”, Tendulkar said at a press conference on 28 November in Mumbai. “I just want to help UNICEF to make more people aware of this initiative that I am part of. It is as simple as washing your hands with soap”.

A video compilation highlights Tendulkar’s involvement in UNICEF campaigns over the past ten years on issues including polio, HIV/AIDS and handwashing.

Source: UNICEF, 28 Nov 2013 ; Times of India, 28 Nov 2013

Why World Toilet Day 2013 matters: unblocking constipated progress on sanitation

Why World Toilet Day 2013 matters: unblocking constipated progress on sanitation

Author: Julian Doczi, Research Officer – Water Policy, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, UK, j.doczi@odi.org.uk

A few months ago, the sanitation world received a welcome boost when the UN General Assembly officially recognised World Toilet Day. Founded in 2001 by popular sanitation advocate Jack Sim, and celebrated on November 19 each year, this Day aims to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis via the toilet, a topic which causes discomfort or giggles for many. Indeed, the Day has always had both a fun and serious side, with healthy doses of toilet humour running alongside the sobering headline that 2.5 billion people worldwide still lack access to improved sanitation. But its formal recognition this year is an important milestone, and one of several recent developments that could mark the beginning of a real sea change in political momentum toward the achievement of decent sanitation for all. wtdlogo

There is still a long way to go. Poor sanitation exacts a huge human burden and costs the global economy over US$260 billion per year, with health, education, personal security, human dignity, and the environment all affected. While sector specialists have long recognised these impacts, skewed heavily towards women and children, ministries and politicians have often preferred to look away.  In the first iteration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, sanitation was ignored completely, and was included only as an afterthought in 2002. Afterthought or not though, the target – to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to  safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015 – has stimulated a healthier public and political debate, though progress is still slow. While the world has already met the drinking water target, it remains off-track for the sanitation target, with rural dwellers and the urban poor lagging most.

From the MDG target came further breakthroughs. The focus on water and sanitation in the 2006 Human Development Report was a timely reminder of the link between poor sanitation and poverty, and was followed by the UN General Assembly’s declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation. Evidence suggests that this event galvanised a new surge of activity on sanitation that has continued to this day. Rose George’s widely read book on sanitation, The Big Necessity, which looked at the many factors constraining sanitation progress, provides a useful reference point for assessing the level of progress over the last five years.

So what does this new surge of activity on sanitation look like, and who is championing the cause? Since 2008 we have seen:

  • Matt Damon, Bono, Richard Branson and many others going on a ‘toilet strike‘ for sanitation earlier this year
  • Unprecedented levels of investment in sanitation by donors like USAID (investing $1 billion USD in their new ‘Water and Development Strategy’ for 2013-2018), DFID (investing £104 million in their new ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Results Programme’) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (investing at least $250 million USD in water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives since 2010, including their ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge’)
  • Access to water and sanitation declared a fundamental human right by the UN General Assembly in 2010, affirmed by UN Human Rights Council, and now allowing citizens to legally demand these rights from their states
  • Strong likelihood of an independent and more holistic goal (not just a single target) on ‘water and sanitation for all‘ in the Sustainable Development Goals set to succeed the MDGs in 2015, driven by strong advocacy and clear global demand
  • The Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, established in 2010, consisting of high-level representatives from 44 developing country governments and a variety of development partners, meeting regularly to catalyse more political leadership and action on sanitation
  • Major national campaigns for sanitation in many off-track countries, such as the recent ‘Nirmal Bharat Yatra‘ in India: a sanitation awareness and behaviour change ‘travelling carnival’ that directly reached over 160,000 attendees last year

and now:

  • An official, UN-approved and permanent day for drawing attention to the sanitation crisis – World Toilet Day!

Have we now have reached a point of no return for sanitation? Big challenges remain, and the test will be progress on the ground, but the growing momentum can only be cause for optimism. World Toilet Day provides an opportunity for advocacy on sanitation at all levels, raising interest, helping to overcome shame and embarrassment, and stimulating investment. No longer is sanitation mainly an engineer’s domain either. The development community increasingly understands that the social and political incentives for sanitation decision making, among both politicians and citizens, are key to unblocking progress. This means that solutions are not straightforward, and points to new directions for engagement at the country level.

So congratulations to Jack Sim and all the other sanitation advocates as we take stock today, and remind ourselves of what still needs to be done. World Toilet Day is a clear sign that we’re moving in the right direction.

“Poo, Pee and be Happy” sculpture unveiled in Singapore for World Toilet Day

Mr. Toilet Jack Sim unveils sanitation sculpture in Singapore

Mr. Toilet Jack Sim unveils sanitation sculpture. Photo: Sunday Times, Singapore

A sculpture representing the World Toilet Day logo has been unveiled on Singapore’s Marina Barrage. Commissioned by the World Toilet Organization, the sculpture’s title “Evolution of Man: Poo Pee Happy” represents the evolution from cave man to civilised man, who enjoys clean sanitation.

World Toilet Day logo

World Toilet Day logo

The World Toilet Organization organised the unveiling ceremony together with PUB, Singapore’s water agency, and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).

World Toilet Day is the brainchild of “Mr Toilet” Jack Sim, co-founder of the World Toilet Organization. Celebrated each year since 2001 on 19 November, the day has now been officially recognised by the United Nations. An interview with Jack Sim in the wake of World Toilet day was broadcast on Channel News Asia.

Related web site: World Toilet Day

Source: “Poo Pee Happy” sculpture to remind S’poreans of global sanitation crisis, Channel News Asia, 16 Nov 2013 ; Linette Lai, ‘Poo Pee Happy’ sculpture unveiled at Marina Barrage to commemorate World Toilet Day, Sunday Times, 16 Nov 2013

This World Toilet Day sing #ThankYouToilet with WaterAid!

Join Louie the Loo to celebrate the little guy in the corner – your toilet! Did you know he’s a life-saver, and where toilets don’t exist, thousands die?