Tag Archives: Water for People

Why women’s involvement in water and sanitation development is important

Women in WASH

Last week on March 8 was International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s theme was “Inspiring Change”.  Four women inspiring change in the WASH sector came together during the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, in September last year. They were Water For People’s Kate Fogelberg; IRC’s Vida Duti and Jane Nabunnya Mulumba, and Alice Bouman, President of the Women for Water Partnership. They talked about the role of women in the WASH sector.

Women leadership in WASH is needed and should be actively promoted. This was one of the main outcomes of the panel discussion on Women and WASH led by the four women mentioned above. The discussion highlighted the role of women leaders in WASH, the question of why more focus on the role of women is so important, and what lack of access to improved water and sanitation services means for women in rural areas in different country contexts.

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Microfinance as a potential cataylst for improved sanitation

. Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People

. Summary of sanitation lending and product delivery models. Water for People

Microfinance allows middle- and lower-income households to invest in desirable sanitation products, so that public funding can be freed up to reach the poorest, according to Water for People (WfP). In a new report [1], WfP reviews their experiences in piloting various lending models in seven countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, India, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda.

The report provides lessons and recommendations for donors wishing to engage in sanitation microfinancing. The four key recommendations are:

  1. Think like a business
  2. Support lending institutions based on the microfinance climate and capacity needs
  3. Build an autonomous sanitation microfinance market
  4. Track progress and lessons

The report is part of WfP’s Sanitation as a Business (SaaB) program, funded by a Gates Foundation grant.

Read the full report

[1]  Chatterley, C. et al, 2013. Microfinance as a potential catalyst for improved sanitation : a synthesis of Water For People’s sanitation lending experiences in seven countries. Denver, CO,USA: Water For People. Available at: <http://www.waterforpeople.org/assets/files/sanitation-microfinance.pdf>

Source: Christie Chatterley et al., Microfinance as a potential cataylst for improved sanitation, Water for People, 27 Dec 2013

Sanitation as a business – the poor will have to wait

Malawian sanitation entrepreneur Martius using

Malawian sanitation entrepreneur Martius using “The Gulper” to empty a pit latrine. Photo: Water for People

Providing toilets to the poorest may be “dear to the hearts of many non-profits, aid agencies and governments” but if you want to involve business you have to start with the better-off families first. So says business woman and sanitation entrepreneur Towera Jalakari who runs a pit emptying service in Blantyre, Malawi.

“We will get to Everyone in Blantyre one day, but the only way to make sure Blantyre actually solves its sanitation problems is to recognize that the market must function.  […]  As we get better, as we scale city-wide, then costs will come down, services will improve, and pressure will build for all people to have a toilet.  We will get to the poorest, but they are not our first targets.  […] If we rush too fast […] then the poor will not have lasting services but rather a lot of useless toilets and nowhere to go to the bathroom.”

Malawi is one the countries in Water for People’s Sanitation as a Business program (2010-2014), which is funded by a US$ 5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Water for People has contracted Tools for Enterprise & Education Consultants (TEECs) to support pit emptying businesses in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

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India, Bihar: Poo Highway

The high incidence of open defecation in the Indian state of Bihar is not due to a lack awareness about toilets, according to this new Water for People video. In their view, it’s more of a supply chain, marketing problem.

The toilets on offer are not particularly good.

Until recently, Water for People India had worked mainly in West Bengal state, but in 2011 the NGO expanded into Bihar, where it is collaborating with the local government.

The current sanitation coverage in Bihar is less than 25% with usage percentage much lower, according to the SWASTH (Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health) Programme web site. In the district where Water for People will be working, sanitation coverage is only 14%.

Related web site: Water for People – India

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sustainability Charter launched

On 27 July 2011, more than 20 leading international water and development organizations signed and launched the WASH Sustainability Charter. This Charter is a collaboratively-developed mission and set of guiding principles to advance lasting solutions in water, sanitation and hygiene education (WASH).  The Charter is available to read and endorse at www.WASHCharter.org.

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Sanitation graveyard video featured on Blog Action Day

The Water for People video “Sanitation graveyard”, filmed at at Ayabaraya Primary School in Rwanda, features in “Beyond the Ribbon Cutting” written by blogger Jennifer Lentfer for Blog Action Day.

When “solutions” are delivered to disadvantaged people without sufficient thought about how community ownership, maintenance, and long-term access to water and sanitation will occur, here’s what can happen:

Blog Action 2010 logo

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.

Rethinking schools-based programming

“Schools are graveyards of failed infrastructure”, says Water For People CEO Ned Breslin in his blog Rising Tide on 27 August 2010. To rectify this, Water For People is now promoting integrated water and sanitation programs that cater both for schools and communities. “We don’t help a school and not help a family”.

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