The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria | Source: Council on Foreign Relations Blog, July 23, 2015 |

This is a guest post by Anna Bezruki, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Global Health Program. She studies biology at Bryn Mawr College.

According to the final report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) released earlier this month, more than a third of the world population (2.4 billion) is still without improved sanitation.

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

The target to halve the global population without adequate toilets by 2015 has not been reached. Consequently, sanitation has been pushed on to the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Although India is perhaps the most widely cited failure, accounting for roughly half of open defecation worldwide, it is at least making progress toward the SDG target. The same cannot be said for Nigeria. Lacking the political infrastructure to reform sanitation and faced with security and political concerns that overshadow development goals, Nigeria is struggling to reverse the trend.

Unlike in India, where the percentage of people with access to a toilet shared by only one family increased by eighteen points between 1990 and 2012, that percentage declined in Nigeria from 37 to 28 percent.

This incongruity is best illustrated by the fact that there are more than three times as many cell phones in Nigeria as people who have access to adequate toilets. This means thirty-nine million defecate outside, sixteen million more today than in 1990.

Poor sanitation contributes to diarrheal diseases and malnutrition through fecal contamination of food and water. One gram of feces can contain one hundred parasite eggs, one million bacteria, and ten million viruses.

Diarrheal diseases kill approximately 121,800 Nigerians, including 87,100 children under the age of five each year. Eighty-eight percent of those deaths are attributed to poor sanitation. Poor sanitation is thought to strain the immune system to the point that permanent stunting and other manifestations of malnutrition can result.

More than 40 percent of Nigerian children under the age of five are stunted, and malnutrition is the underlying cause of death in more than 50 percent of the approximately 804,000 deaths annually in the same age range.

The impact of inadequate toilets goes beyond hazardous exposure to feces. A survey conducted by WaterAid, a nonprofit organization focusing on providing safe water and sanitation access, in a Lagos slum revealed that the 69 percent of women and girls without access to toilets are at higher risk of verbal and physical harassment when they relieve themselves.

The effects of poor sanitation are also costing Nigeria economically. The Nigerian Water and Sanitation Program estimates that poor sanitation costs the country at least three billion U.S. dollars each year in lost productivity and health care expenditures.

While estimates vary, in 2011, Nigeria invested approximately $550 million, less than 0.1 percent of GDP, on sanitation, a number which has likely decreased since then. This is less than a quarter of the approximately $2.3 billion annually that would have been necessary to meet the MDG target.

It will take more than money and infrastructure to fix Nigeria’s sanitation. Even if investments were to sufficiently rise, the lack of a single government entity with complete responsibility for sanitation within the government, as well as widespread corruption and a lack of community support, would likely hamper efforts.

Providing latrines without first creating demand within the community has failed repeatedly, including in India, where latrines have been repurposed for extra storage. There are also other problems, like a treasury emptied by corruption and the war on Boko Haram, that top President Buhari’s agenda.

While these are immediate threats that require intense focus, sanitation is an essential long-term investment that will help Nigeria grow.  

UNICEF Consultancy Assignment: Support for Private Sector Development of Low-Cost Sanitation Products

UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) has recently engaged with a global private sector partner to conduct market research and test improved sanitation products with end-users. The intended outcomes of the project are: 1) detailed market information on the needs of the “base of the pyramid” (including both functionality of the products and price point); 2) a more thorough understanding of sanitation marketing techniques and the supply chain for difficult–to-reach communities; and 3) more appropriate and affordable sanitation products available on the local market

UNICEF is now seeking a consultant to document the ESARO project, conduct a lessons learned, and develop a standard methodology that can be replicated in other regions and countries. Depending on interest and commitment from WASH staff, the project envisions applying the methodology in other regional and country office programmes and their respective private sector partners.

For for information on this 6-month consultancy and how to apply for it please go to: http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_82546.html

The deadline is  29 July 5:00pm CET.

Can WASH deliver more than just sanitation?

Through successful WASH intervention, communities access a new service that improves their quality of life, and also learn about equity and inclusion.

Blog by development expert Suvojit Chattopadhyay

The abysmal state of access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the developing world is currently a major cause for alarm; 580,000 children die every year from preventable diarrheal diseases. This is due largely to the 2.5 billion people around the globe who do not have access to safe sanitation. Not only can an effective WASH intervention save lives, it can also engineer changes in the social fabric of communities that adopt these behavioural changes. This points to a key attribute of a successful WASH intervention – that through these programmes, communities not only access a new service that improves their quality of life, but they also learn from being part of a concrete intervention that emphasises equity and inclusion.

Let me explain how. Safe sanitation is essentially ‘total’. In a community, even one family practising open defecation puts the health of other families at risk. Also, unsafe sanitation practices pollute local potable and drinking water sources in the habitations. Together, this can undo any gains from partial coverage of WASH interventions. This much is now widely accepted by sanitation practitioners around the world. However, there remains a serious challenge when it comes to the implementation of this concept.

When a community is introduced to a WASH-focused behaviour change campaign, there are often variations in the levels of take-up in different families. This could be because of several barriers – financial ability, cultural beliefs, education levels, etc. In response, external agencies have many options. They can focus more on families in their behaviour change campaigns, offer them material and financial support or incentives, or exert peer pressure (which may in some cases become coercive, etc).

However, the best approach – whether facilitated by an external agent or not – is for a community to devise a collective response. The issue should be framed as a collective action problem that requires solving for the creation of a public good. In many instances, communities have come together to support the poorest families – social engineering at its finest. At its best, recognising the needs of every member of a community will lead to a recognition of the challenges that the typically marginalised groups face. It is this recognition that could prompt a rethink of social norms and relationships.

Read the full article on the WSSCC Guardian partner zone.

Breaking the Next Taboo: Menstrual Hygiene within CLTS

Breaking the Next Taboo: Menstrual Hygiene within CLTS.  Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights, July 2015.

Authors: Sharon Roose and Tom Rankin, Plan International and Sue Cavill, Independent Consultant

Most adolescent girls and women menstruate. This means that for five to seven days each month they bleed through their vagina. This monthly bleeding is often accompanied by abdominal cramps, headaches, mood changes and general lethargy all of which can be exacerbated by social stigma, myths and a lack of requisite infrastructure to manage menstruation safely, privately and hygienically. Frontiers_Issue-6_MHM

The accumulated impact of these issues have significant implications for women and girls and the potential to limit their opportunity for education, equality, income generation and societal participation, all of which hamper self-worth and confidence.

This edition of Frontiers of CLTS illustrates how CLTS programmes can be expanded to address menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools
and communities to alleviate these stresses on women and girls.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • Increase the awareness of policy-makers and practitioners on MHM.
  • Engender change by highlighting the synergies between MHM and
    CLTS programmes.
  • Share examples of how MHM interventions have been incorporated
    into CLTS and School-Led Total Sanitation (SLTS) programmes,
    drawing on the innovations and experiences of several organisations.
  • Summarise what can be done to improve MHM through CLTS
    programmes.

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Financing

Issue 199| July 17, 2015 | Focus on WASH & Financing

Thanks to Jonathan Annis of TetraTech for suggesting this week’s topic. Resources and studies in this issue include 2015 discussion forums and webinars hosted by the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), a series of WASH financing briefs, and new USAID Urban Pathway manuals.

DISCUSSION FORUMS/WEBINARS

Urban Sanitation Finance – From Macro to Micro Level, SuSanA Thematic Discussion, June–July 2015. Link
This discussion forum was structured along three themes: Public Finance, Microfinance, andCity Level Sustainable Cost Recovery and was supported by six experts on sanitation finance who provided leadership and addressed questions raised by forum users. Summaries of the discussions are available here.

Webinar about Results-Based Financing (RBF) for Sanitation – April 29, 2015. SuSanA. Link
This webinar was organized under the knowledge management initiative of the Building Demand for Sanitation program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Peter Feldman moderated the webinar with support from Pippa Scott and Pete Cranston of Euforic Services. The Stockholm Environment Institute and the SuSanA Secretariat served as hosts.

REPORTS/ARTICLES

Finance Brief 1: Domestic Public Finance for WASH: What, Why, How? 2015. G Norman. Link
This report defines domestic public finance as funds derived from domestic taxes, raised at the national or local level. Domestic public finance is only part of the solution to service delivery in poor communities; user finance and donor finance are also part of the mix. Likewise, domestic public finance forms part of a wider governance puzzle: improving WASH services requires not just more government investment, but also diverse other elements including (for example) clear institutional mandates.

Finance Brief 2: Universal Water and Sanitation: How Did the Rich Countries Do It?2015. Public Finance for WASH. Link
This finance brief briefly summarizes the history of water and sanitation services provision in the U.S., the U.K., and South Korea, and considers whether this historical experience is relevant to low- and middle-income countries today.

Finance Brief 3: Municipal Finance for Sanitation in Three African Cities, 2015. B Edwards. Link (Download free but registration required)
This discussion paper reports data on municipal public finance for sanitation in three African cities, based on in-country examination of available budget records: Ga West Municipality, part of the Greater Accra conglomeration in Ghana; Maputo, capital of Mozambique; and Nakuru County in Kenya, including the city of Nakuru.

Continue reading

Can We Finance Sustainable Development?

Huffington Post blog by Chris Williams, WSSCC Executive Director

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been the most comprehensive international poverty alleviation movement in history. Since 1990, extreme poverty has been cut by half; 17,000 fewer children die each day; and 2.3 billion people gained access to clean drinking water. A multi-stakeholder coalition of governments, international organizations, and civil society groups have tackled crucial issues ranging from education to improved sanitation to gender equality.

And yet, the challenge of empowering hundreds of millions more to gain access to proper healthcare, sanitary facilities, and education is enormous. As more countries have attained middle-income status, inequality has soared. The wealthiest individuals have become wealthier while growth-with-equity remains a distant prospect.

In Dodoma, Tanzania, a community group comes together every Saturday to organize their finances. Villagers earn interest on their savings and give out loans. Everyone plays a role - here three keyholders open the chest containing the loan registrations. Photograph: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

In Dodoma, Tanzania, a community group comes together every Saturday to organize their finances. Villagers earn interest on their savings and give out loans. Everyone plays a role – here three keyholders open the chest containing the loan registrations. Photograph: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

This week, the global development community will congregate in Addis Ababa to decide how to finance the next fifteen years of inclusive growth and the elimination of poverty. The positive news is that Member States have painstakingly created a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a comprehensive post-2015 plan that will strike at the heart of global poverty, and set the poorest nations and communities on the path towards equitable and long-lasting growth.

While the goals seek to augment, broaden, and expand upon the wide-ranging successes of the MDGs, the sobering fact is that the conventional model for financing development is in need of a massive overhaul. Traditional channels of overseas development assistance (ODA) from developed nations to the developing world are not only insufficient for financing the ambitious post-2015 agenda, but it’s clear that development as we know it is no longer relevant, nor desirable.

No longer relevant, because the world has changed and the expertise that will drive post-2015 growth is being cultivated in-country by capitalizing on local solutions. And no longer desirable, because much of the development assistance has been self-serving and ineffectively utilized in the first place. The system is broken and it is time to redo development, building from the ground up.

This week’s conference on how to finance development is therefore a seminal turning point for how we will solve some of the most intractable development challenges of the day. A turning point because there is recognition from donor countries that they need to be more effective in selecting funding priorities and disbursing ODA. And a turning point in that the developing countries are realizing that the solution lies at their fingertips.

Developing countries harbour a technical knowledge base within their borders – the expertise, innovations, and solutions necessary for inclusive growth are home-grown and just waiting to be tapped. Increasingly, innovative citizens are creatively devising south-south, country-to-country delivery models for development. Channelled effectively, this has the potential to finance the vast majority of sustainable growth in the developing world.

This is a radical departure from the traditional paradigm of massive donor-funded agencies issuing a loan, which often takes three years to develop, 100 staff to implement, and then is neither tracked nor delivered. Donor funds can now form a much smaller portion of the resources required to solve the development challenges in the global South. The question for governments that continue to provide official ODA is therefore how best to apply funds that can leverage these different sources of domestic capital?

One of the answers lies in innovative financing methods for development. Global multi-stakeholder partnerships have proven successful in the field of health, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), and the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI). All of these funds use ODA efficiently by leveraging community savings, public investment and private capital, therefore putting into action the principles behind the SDGs.

The GSF, a fund administered by my organization, the UNOPS-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), invests in behavior change activities that enable large numbers of people in developing countries to improve their sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. The only global fund solely dedicated to sanitation and hygiene, the GSF is light of foot and heavy on scale. Households and local governments work with local entrepreneurs and a network of hundreds of partners. Together, they create the conditions for tens of millions of people to live in open defecation free environments and access adequate toilets and handwashing facilities.

Importantly, individual household investments in sanitation mobilized by GSF programming currently amount to four times the value of its funding. A grant of $5 million can therefore yield $20 million in community savings per country. The most powerful by-product of this investment then materializes in the form of public capital, once governments realize the commitment that their people have made. Private sector engagement is yet another positive outcome, as demand for products and services is generated through the behavior change of society. This is the exact model that the development world is seeking -community-based solutions that are government supported and commercially operated.

Read the full article on Huffington Post

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives

Funky Sink Gets Kids In Cambodia To Wash Up, Could Save Thousands Of Young Lives | Source: Huffington Post, July 8 2015 |

Cambodia has the lowest access to sanitation in all of Southeast Asia, and as a result more than 10,000 children die every year due to diarrheal diseases, according to WaterAid. watershed

To help curb those figures, nonprofit WaterSHED recently released the LaBobo, a portable and inexpensive sink whose colorful design encourages kids to improve their hygiene habits.

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