Can you spend too much on sanitation?

The decision to divert funding from water to sanitation turned sour when drought struck India.

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Ledger. Uttarakhand, India. Photo: IRC

A budget tracking study in India revealed that the shift of policy focus from water to sanitation has resulted in a cut in government spending on rural water supply. This was a cause of concern because at the time of the study (August-December 2015) six of the seven states reviewed were reeling under severe drought.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee report released on 6 May 2016 stated that the government would be unable to achieve its 2017 target of providing 50% rural households with piped water. The media accused the government of starving the National Rural Drinking Water Programme of funds, while at the same time increasing funding for Prime Minister Modi’s flagship sanitation programme “Swachh Bharat”. The government has even introduced an additional 0.5% “Swachh Bharat” service tax.

The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) is presenting their budget tracking study on 26 July 2016 in Delhi as part of the WASH Dialogues series of events. WASH Dialogues are an initiative of IRC and TARU Leading Edge. CBGA’s presentation will focus on the institutional and procedural bottlenecks that are constraining public expenditure in the water and sanitation sector.

For more information on the event “Tracking policy and budgetary commitments for drinking water and sanitation in the new fiscal architecture in India” go the IRC Events page.

For more on budget tracking see:

This news item was originally published on the IRC website.

Monitoring Africa’s sanitation commitments

IRC helps AMCOW develop a new process to monitor the N’gor declaration

At the 2016 Africa Water Week, civil society called on the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) to honour the region’s commitments on water, sanitation and hygiene, including those agreed in the 2015 N’gor declaration. The four partner organisations in Watershed – empowering citizens, Akvo, IRC, Simavi and Wetlands International, were among those that endorsed the collective statement submitted to AMCOW by the African Network for Water (ANEW).

Progress especially on sanitation has so far been poor; only 4% between from 2000 to 2015, according to Al-hassan Adam from End Water Poverty. A recent IRC/WSUP finance brief stated that only eight African countries provide data on sanitation expenditure. All of them are falling behind on their N’gor declaration commitment to spend 0.5% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on sanitation. Exerting pressure to speed up progress on sanitation is an obvious task for those civil society organisations (CSOs) that Watershed aims to support.

Next to lobbying AMCOW to honour its sanitation commitments, IRC is also advising the ministerial council on the development of a new process to monitor the N’gor declaration. The aim of the new monitoring process is to create reflective dialogue processes at country and subregional levels and strengthen mechanisms for accountability to citizens and political leaders informed by evidence.

So far a Regional Action Plan has been developed, and indicators and scoring criteria have been reviewed through a series of sub-regional consultations led by AMCOW in Nairobi, Dakar and Johannesburg in May and June 2016. See below an example of an indicator with scoring criteria.

For more information, read the background paper prepared by Alana Potter.

Ngor indicator typology

This news item was originally published on the IRC website.

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic review

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic reviewSocial work (Stellenbosch. Online) vol.52 n.1 Stellenbosch 2016. Authors: Rinie Schenck; Derick Blaauw; Kotie Viljoen.

The paper reports on a systematic review research process to determine the enabling factors for waste pickers to operate in the informal economy in South Africa. Twenty-eight South African journal articles, theses and position and policy papers were sourced and appraised.

The results indicate that recognition of the waste pickers in the waste system is the most enabling factor for them to operate. The concept of recognition is analysed, described and explained as assisting waste pickers to become more visible, having a voice and to be validated.

Improving the quality of public toilet services in Kumasi

Improving the quality of public toilet services in Kumasi, 2016. Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

Public toilets are the leading form of sanitation in urban Ghana: in Kumasi, 700,000 people use one each day. This Note presents the activities of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) to raise the standard of these services. PN027-126x188

To assist KMA in promoting greater private sector involvement, PPIAF commissioned the consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct a feasability study. The study recommended that toilets participating in the scheme be operated under a Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) model, presented in Figure 2. Key features of the model are: 1) a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project Company would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the toilets for a 20-year concession period, after which the assets would be transferred back to KMA; 2) the Company would directly collect user fees and use it to cover their costs; 3) the Company would pay a monthly franchise fee to KMA, calculated as a percentage of revenue; 4) revenues 10% higher than assumptions made in the financial model would be paid to KMA; and 5) donor funding and cover to insure KMA’s termination guarantee may be sought.

There is a clear need for improved standards of public toilets in Kumasi. Progress has already been made, with training and improved monitoring impacting positively on the level of service. While rehabilitation and construction under the BOOT scheme will take time to complete, the resulting improvements should reduce waiting times for consumers, improve overall service quality and enhance financial viability.

KMA recognises that PLBs are not the long-term solution — a five-year compound sanitation strategy is being implemented in parallel, to achieve universal access to in-house sanitation in the long term — but the steps now being taken by KMA will ensure that public toilets provide the best possible service in the interim.

The 10 Most Innovative Health Technologies Saving Millions In The Developing World

The 10 Most Innovative Health Technologies Saving Millions In The Developing World | Source: Medical Futurist, July 19, 2016 |

There are striking differences in the general social, economic or political background of the developed and developing country-groups, and developing countries are in dire need for creative and innovative medical solutions. Here are the 10 most innovative health technologies which could save millions of lives in these corners of the Earth. 102213836-padeducation1.530x298

Featured in this article are innovations on the manufacture of sanitary pads and water purification.

Read the complete article.

Penn project aims to stop open defecation by changing social norms

Penn project aims to stop open defecation by changing social norms | Source: Penn Current, July 21 2016 |

Cristina Bicchieri’s work is not for the faint of heart.

The Penn professor of philosophy, legal studies, and psychology looks at how social norms affect community behaviors. Recently, she has been studying open defecation and trying to shift what is acceptable in developing countries.

Bicchieri

Cristina Bicchieri, the S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics in the School of Arts & Sciences.

This fall, through a new three-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, her work will take her to India, a country where 48 percent of the population engages in this practice, according to UNICEF.

Open defecation is a well-established traditional practice in India, deeply ingrained from early childhood, UNICEF reports. This is partly because it is socially taboo to discuss sanitation, so few people do, and also because poverty means other life necessities get prioritized over toilets.

“It’s very unsanitary; it spreads diseases,” says Bicchieri, the S. J. Patterson Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics in the School of Arts & Sciences.

Despite attempts by the Indian government to curb the problem with incentives to build latrines, the practice continues, polluting water and food. To better understand why, Bicchieri will conduct research in villages and cities in the states of Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

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A tale of clean cities: Insights for planning urban sanitation from Kumasi, Ghana

A tale of clean cities: Insights for planning urban sanitation from Kumasi, Ghana, 2016. WaterAid.

Key learning points A-tale-of-clean-cities-143x203

  • Sanitation progress in Kumasi has been a long-term effort championed by a technically strong municipal Waste Management Department, supported by a wide range of development partners.
  • Despite some political consensus around the importance of sanitation, and partly due to inadequacy of monitoring systems, financial support has remained low, limiting progress.
  • Open defecation has been almost eliminated through the expansion of public toilets, prioritised at the expense of private toilets because of housing constraints.
  • Enabling policies catalysed private sector investment, improving management of public toilets and service levels across the sanitation service chain.
  • Disparities remain in terms of reach and quality of these services, which are poor in low-income areas.
  • Sanitation planning exercises helped forge a shared vision on how to advance towards sustainable service delivery.
  • The quality of these ‘learning by doing’ planning processes was more influential than were the resulting plans.