Tag Archives: sanitation promotion

India, Bihar: if you want to be elected, get a toilet first

First we had “no toilet, no bride“, now you need a toilet to be elected in India. At least that’s  what chief minister Nitish Kumar is proposing for his state Bihar. He made the announcement on World Toilet Day, 19 November.

Candidates who don’t have a toilet in their home will not be allowed to contest rural (panchayat) and urban local body elections in the state.  The chief minister said he would ensure that relevant legislation (Bihar Panchayati Raj Act) would be amended to make this possible.

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Sanitation promotion history: US New Deal posters

Posted created in 1940 by John Buczak for the US Federal Art Project. Collection Library of Congress

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the US Government launched a series of economic programmes collectively known as the New Deal. The largest  of these programmes, run by WPA, the Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration), employed millions of unemployed people to carry out public works projects. Most famous was the WPA Federal Art Project (FAP) that employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.

The FAP created over 200,000 separate works including 2,000 posters. Shown  here are several posters promoting sanitation and hygiene from the WPA poster collection of the Library of Congress.

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India’s “sanitation crusader” Minister Jairam Ramesh stripped of post

Minister Jairam Ramesh and Bollywood actress and sanitation ambassador Vidya Balan at the launch of the Nirmal Bharat Yatra sanitation campaign. Photo: UNI

In a cabinet reshuffle Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has been stripped of his additional post as Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation [1]. His successor is Bharatsin Madhavsinh Solanki, a former railway minister and a Member of Parliament representing Gujarat’s Anand district.

News agency PTI reported that sources in Ramesh’s office were disappointed that their Minister was being replaced [2].

The Minister has been passionate about sanitation-related issues which he brought it in the limelight, they said, adding that Ramesh also managed to get additional funds to carry out the projects.

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Wherever the Need puts sanitation first (video)

Wherever the Need has produced a simple, but effective sanitation promotion video narrated by Baroness Glenys Kinnock. Wherever the Need is a small UK-based charity with projects in India, Kenya and Sierra Leone.

Their latest activity is the introduction of income-generating ecosan toilets in rural Tamil Nadu, India. The state government is providing 50% subsidy for each ecosan  toilet.

Disney’s 1940s sanitation and hygiene promotion films

Still from Disney short film "Cleanliness Brings Health"

In the 1940s, the Walt Disney Studios produced a series of educational films on sanitation and hygiene promotion for developing countries. The films, in the Health for the Americas series, were aimed at Latin America. They were commissioned by the now defunct Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), which was later renamed Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA).

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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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Leveraging Partnerships to Achieve Total Sanitation in East Africa

A 2010 analysis showed that most East African countries have national sanitation policies and plans in place, but that the actual programs often lack coordination. To meet the Millennium Development Goals for sanitation, such programs must combine their efforts to achieve behavior-change outcomes and focus on commonalities, which include an emphasis on learning, demand creation, and capacity building.

These key understandings are among several discussed in a new Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) Learning Note, Partnering on the Road Towards Achieving Total Sanitation in East Africa. The report highlights the objectives and initial outcomes of a learning exchange held in Tanzania, which focused on how governments and agencies can work effectively as partners to achieve sustained sanitation scale up.

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Learning by Doing: Working at Scale in Ethiopia

In the Amhara Region of Ethiopia, the Learning by Doing Initiative (LBDI), a joint project between the Government of Ethiopia, the Amhara Regional Health Bureau, USAID’s Hygiene Improvement Project (HIP), and the Water and Sanitation Program, started at large scale and then expanded, growing from an initial 93,000 households in four districts to include 5.8 million people in 94 districts.  LBDI resulted in 2.8 million more people stopping the practice of open defecation.

In  Learning by Doing: Working at Scale in Ethiopia, Kebede Faris and Julia Rosenbaum summarize key strategies and lessons from LBDI. Continue reading

Viet Nam: hygiene promotion should build on community action

The path down to a stream where children defecate. Viet Nam, Lao Ca province. Photo: Danida

More affordable sanitation technologies and participatory community interventions will make future hygiene promotion more effective, say two PhD-fellows Xuan Le Thi Thanh and Thilde Rheinländer. They have spent 16 months in ethnic minority communities in the Northern Province Lao Cai to do research on hygiene and sanitation promotion in the Danida-funded research project SANIVAT (Water Supply Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Vietnam). SANIVAT supports research and capacity building on the impacts of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions and investigates how people perceive hygiene, health risks and hygiene promotion.

Sanivat banner

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Greater access to cell phones than toilets in India: UN experts call for sanitation for all by 2025

A new UNU-INWEH report offers 9-point prescription for achieving Millennium Development Goal for Sanitation by 2015.

Far more people in India have access to a cell phone than to a toilet and improved sanitation, according to UN experts who published a 9-point prescription for achieving the world’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation by 2015.

They also urge the world community to set a new target beyond the MDG (which calls for a 50 percent improvement in access to adequate sanitation by 2015) to the achievement of 100 percent coverage by 2025.

Recent UN research in India, the world’s second most populous country, shows roughly 366 million people (31 percent of the population) had access to improved sanitation in 2008.

Other data, meanwhile, shows 545 million cell phones are now connected to service in India’s emerging economy. The number of cell phones per 100 people has exploded from 0.35 in year 2000-01 to about 45 today.

Worldwide some 1.1 billion people defecate in the open. And data show progress in creating access to toilets and sanitation lags far behind world MDG targets, even as mobile phone connections continue to a predicted 1 billion in India by 2015.

Says Zafar Adeel, Director of United Nations University’s Canada-based think-tank for water, the Institute for Water, Environment and Health: “It is a tragic irony to think that in India, a country now wealthy enough that roughly half of the people own phones, about half cannot afford the basic necessity and dignity of a toilet.”

“Popular education about the health dangers of poor sanitation is also needed. But this simple measure could do more to save lives, especially those of young people, improve health and help pull India and other countries in similar circumstances out of poverty than any alternative investment. It can also serve as a very significant boost to the local economy.”

The new UNU report cites a rough cost of $300 to build a toilet, including labour, materials and advice. Worldwide, an estimated $358 billion is needed between now and 2015 to reach the MDG for sanitation – some of this funding is already mobilized at national and international levels.

“The world can expect, however, a return of between $3 and $34 for every dollar spent on sanitation, realized through reduced poverty and health costs and higher productivity – - an economic and humanitarian opportunity of historic proportions,” adds Dr. Adeel, who also serves as chair of UN-Water, a coordinating body for water-related work at 27 UN agencies and their many global partners.

[I]f current global trends continue [there will be] a 1 billion person shortfall from the MDG sanitation goal in 2015 — in all, 2.7 billion will lack access. So, while the world will miss the MDG target, the absolute number of those without access to sanitation will actually go up.

The problem is a major contributor to water-borne diseases that, in the past three years alone, killed an estimated 4.5 million children under the age of five — a death toll roughly equal to the population of Ireland or Costa Rica.

“This report [1] notes cultural taboos surround this issue in some countries, preventing progress,” says Zafar Adeel, Director of UNU-INWEH. “Anyone who shirks the topic as repugnant, minimizes it as undignified, or considers unworthy those in need should let others take over for the sake of 1.5 million children and countless others killed each year by contaminated water and unhealthy sanitation.”

The UNU-INWEH report synthesizes information from a wide range of UN and sources:

  • Of the estimated $358 billion cost to meet the MDG target, $142 billion is needed to expand coverage (mostly to rural areas) and $216 billion to maintain existing services (mostly in urban areas)
  • For all of Africa to meet the water and sanitation MDGs, the number of people served must double from the 350 million served in 2006. At current rates of progress in Sub-Saharan Africa, the sanitation MDG might not be met until 2076
  • An estimated 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases
  • Once girls reach puberty, lack of access to sanitation becomes a central cultural and human health issue, contributing to female illiteracy and low levels of education, in turn contributing to a cycle of poor health for pregnant women and their children

The report offers nine recommendations:

  • Address sanitation in the context of global poverty and in concert with the other MDGs as part of an overall strategy to increase global equity;
  • Make sanitation a primary focus within the broader context of water management and access to safe water;Integrate sanitation into community life – holistic, community-based and communitydriven.
  • Empower local communities (not just households) to identify needs, change behaviour, create demand for ownership and overcome obstacles such as land tenure;
  • Make coordinated, long-term sanitation investments focused on both “software” (usage) and “hardware” (facilities). To make monitoring more valuable, integrate failures and successes associated with sanitation delivery in community-based evaluations;
  • Redefine “acceptable” sanitation access within the context of gender, economic realities and environmental constraints;
  • Adjust the MDG target from a 50 percent improvement in access to adequate sanitation by 2015 to 100 percent coverage by 2025;
  • Co-ordinate the responses of national NGOs to the sanitation crisis and enhance communication, especially regarding lessons learned, to form an effective and vocal sanitation advocacy group;
  • Design new business models to develop markets at the bottom of the pyramid and deal with the apexes of the water-sanitation-hygiene triangle concurrently;
  • Recommit to official development assistance equal to 0.7 percent of GDP and, within this framework, commit 0.002 percent of GDP to international investments in sanitation.

Says Dr. Adeel: “As president of the G8 in 2010, Canada has announced it will champion ‘a major initiative to improve the health of women and children in the world’s poorest regions,’ making this the top priority of the leaders’ meetings in June. Better nutrition and immunization are foremost among the remedies cited.”

“We would urge, however, that providing decent sanitation be emphasized among the simple, inexpensive solutions available, as it would do more to save the lives than any other possible measure.”

Says report co-author Corinne Shuster-Wallace of UNU-INWEH: “Sanitation for all is not only achievable, but necessary. There is a moral, civil, political and economic need to bring adequate sanitation to the global population.”

[1] UNU-INWEH (2010). Sanitation as a key to global health : voices from the field. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. Read the full report

Source: UNU-INWEH, Apr 2010