Tag Archives: West Africa

Towards total sanitation workshop report – key findings

Cotonu Workshop Key Findings report

How can Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and other programmatic approaches be  integrated into a service-led rural sanitation delivery? This was the topic that attracted  around 70 practitioners from 16 different countries  to Cotonu, Benin in November 2013 for a Learning and Exchange workshop  “Towards sustainable total sanitation”. The workshop was organised  by IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre in partnership with WaterAid, SNV and UNICEF.

The key findings of the workshop a presented in a new report, which is divided into four categories, covering the four conditions to trigger a service:

  • strengthening the enabling environment
  • demand creation and advocacy to change behaviour
  • strengthening the supply chain, and
  • appropriate incentives and financial arrangements.

West Africa: Stopping cholera emergencies

Cholera outbreaks in West Africa generally trigger extra hand-washings in households and panic-buying of bleach for treating water. But beating the deadly – but easily preventable – illness requires that such hygiene practices become routine, health experts say.

Researchers with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) say knowing the drivers behind behaviour and tying hygiene messages to those impulses is crucial for preventing cholera, which has become a recurring health emergency in West Africa.

“If we want sustainable change we need to make sure people practice things so they become habits,” Jeroen Ensink of LSHTM’s environmental health group told IRIN.

One way for aid agencies to do so, he said, is to dissociate hygiene messages from cholera – which is seasonal – and link them instead to general diarrhoeal disease.

Ensink also said it might be time to “re-brand” hygiene and health messages, as knowledge of cholera’s causes does not always translate into new habits. “Hand-washing messages need not be just about health; they can be about: if you want to be modern, to smell nice, to be attractive to the opposite sex, use soap.” The use of proper latrines can be linked to privacy instead of just proper hygiene, he added.

LSHTM has studied the impact of government and aid agency prevention and preparedness measures in Guinea and Guinea-Bissau as part of a project funded by the European Commission humanitarian aid department (ECHO).

Coherent

The ECHO project aims to build a more coherent approach to cholera control with sound preparedness and early response. And ECHO says ‘quick impact’ actions in vulnerable communities should be accompanied by longer-term prevention measures.

To date, emergency and development strategies fail to address the disease properly, lacking common objectives and complementary actions, ECHO says.

ECHO is focusing on Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, where cholera has become endemic; during 2007 and 2008 over 23,000 people were infected and 560 died in the two countries.

But all of West Africa is highly vulnerable to cholera and a regional approach is needed; ECHO and its partners will study lessons from Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to see what might be applied more widely.

As part of the ECHO-funded project UN Children’s Fund and NGOs are training local health workers in responding to cholera, boosting communications strategies and developing emergency kits, which include sanitation and water purification materials, to keep outbreaks in check.

[T]o be effective anti-cholera actions must not be merely reactive, health experts say. LSTHM researchers observed in Guinea-Bissau that while most people could recite verbatim hand-washing and other hygiene messages, they apply them consistently only when cholera strikes. Changing such behaviour takes years, not months, said LSHTM’s Ensink.

Source: IRIN, 15 Oct 2009

West Africa Regional Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium, Accra, Ghana, 10-12 Nov 09

This regional sharing and learning symposium is the first major event marking the collaboration between RCN Ghana, WaterAid, and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre in West Africa.

Objectives:

  • To identify and share experiences of good practice in promotion of good hygiene behaviour and ensuring sustained access to sanitation in particular for the poor and vulnerable in West Africa;
  • To identify key policy messages based on these experiences to be promoted at subsequent advocacy opportunities;
  • To identify and initiate joint action-learning; and
  • To begin the process of developing a community of practice on sanitation and hygiene promotion at the West Africa level.

Abstract deadline: 01 June 2009

Further information and submission of abstracts: westafricasymposium@irc.nl

Read the first announcement and call for abstracts here.

West Africa: Region Ranks Lowest On Sanitation

West Africa is the worst sub-region in the world in terms of access to sanitation services, according to UNICEF Nigeria.

Mohammed El-Fatiih Yousif, the Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene section, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Durban, South Africa.

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He said:” Only about 36 per cent of the people have access to sanitation. The gap is big and it is expected that access should be about 76 per cent by 2015.

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