Author Archives: dietvorst

Rushing into solutions without fully grasping the problem

Which factors in the enabling environment and which links between actors are key to achieving reliable sanitation services?

Tanzania did not reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) concerning improved sanitation facilities in 2012 (JMP Report 2014). Several years later – in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there is still a lot to be done in the sanitation sector.

Angela Huston (IRC Programme Officer) and Dr Sara Gabrielsson (Assistant Professor at Lund University) are working on an upcoming book chapter about deconstructing the complexities that perpetuate poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in East Africa. Departing from Sustainability Science, the chapter aims to identify which factors in the enabling environment are key to achieving reliable WASH services. This article highlights Huston’s and Gabrielsson’s insights into this topic.

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In Burkina Faso the political commitment for sanitation is unequivocal

The first lady of Burkina Faso has pledged her support for the “Fasotoilettes 2017” campaign.

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IRC and their partners have been saying it for years: to achieve universal sanitation by 2030 (SDG6-2), the commitment of all stakeholders is essential – from the top to the active participation of citizens at grass roots level. We all remember that the President of Burkina Faso made water and sanitation a priority in his electoral campaign and since his election the Government has continued to show its commitment to sanitation and supports the participatory approach promoted by many NGOs by calling on all the citizens of Burkina to get involved.

And on 23 January, it is the wife of the President, Mrs. Sika Kaboré, who added her voice to this movement, showing the importance she accords to the subject by joining the people’s campaign for toilets, “FASOTOILETTES 2017, presiding the opening ceremony.

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Fasotoilettes 2017 launch ceremony by Mrs Sika Kaboré

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Changing behaviours: there is no quick fix!

Experts come up with better ways to promote sanitation in India.

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School toilets, West Bengal, India, Photo: Stef Smits/India

India is home to the largest numbers of open defecators in the world. Over the last few decades the government has implemented national programmes, which attempted to address this complex challenge. The demand for sanitation, meaning a genuine demand for toilets and actual use, hasn’t been encouraging. In October 2014, the government launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), a national programme to eliminate open defecation by 2019. SBM has a rural (gramin) and an urban subcomponent.

Dialogue on behaviour change communication

On 23 September 2016, experts met in New Delhi to discuss how behaviour change communication (BCC) can best help to achieve India’s sanitation goals. They were invited by the India Sanitation Coalition, TARU and IRC to take part in “Insights: WASH Dialogues on Sanitation Promotion and Behavioural Science“.

When we set out to improve life for others without a fundamental understanding of their point of view and quality of experience, we do more harm than good (Lauren Reichelt, 2011)

Sector experts and experts involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in sanitation, argued that it is crucial not just to look at how behaviour change interventions work, but also to understand what doesn’t work. There is general agreement that “soft interventions” are important at the community level to ensure that toilets are not just built but also used. Despite all the investments in sanitation over the years, little has been achieved in sanitation. There seems to be a gap between the planning of behaviour change communication interventions and how they are actually implemented.

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Webinar: Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) in Water and Sanitation

The RWSN secretariat announces the latest webinar of their mini-series 2016, which will take place on1 6.11.2016. The title of the event is “A tool for Monitoring the Scaling up of Water and Sanitation Technologies (TAF – Technology Applicability Framework)” and it will focus on the use of the TAF, which has been presented and discussed previously at the SuSanA Forum (here). The session will take place in English (2-3 PM Central European Time, please check your local time here) and in Spanish (4-5 PM Central European Time, please check your local time here). Thee two presenters and the titles of their presentations are:

  • Joshua Briemberg, WaterAid, Nicaragua: TAF as a participative planning and monitoring tool
  • Younes Hassib, GIZ, Germany: Scaling up sanitation solutions in Afghanistan

After the two presentations, you will have the chance to ask questions and participate in the on-line Q&A session and discussion around this topic.

Please use this link in order to register for the sessions.

Recordings and presentations of previous sessions of this mini-series of webinars are available for download and viewing here.

For more information on the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF), please visit: washtechnologies.net/en

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15 October was Global Handwashing Day: take the quiz!

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Photo: IRC

Are you a Handwashing Champion?

Each year on 15 October, over 200 million people in over 100 countries celebrate Global Handwashing Day. Their aim is to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap. This simple intervention is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Promoting handwashing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhoea by at least 23% according to a 2014 systematic review of research. Handwashing with soap impacts more than just health: it is also beneficial for nutrition, education, economics, and equity.

Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times. This year’s theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!” For handwashing to be effective it must be practised consistently at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food. While habits must be developed over time, this theme emphasises the importance of handwashing as a ritual behaviour for long-term sustainability.

IRC is proud to be an affiliate member of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. Especially for Global Handwashing Day we created a fun quiz so that you can not only test your knowledge but also learn a bit about what we are doing to promote handwashing.

Don’t forget to visit the Global Handwashing Day website for resources and updates on  global handwashing promotion. For the latest research and developments, also check out the handwashing posts on Sanitation Updates.

Now take the quiz to see if you are a Handwashing Champion!

This blog was originally posted on the IRC website.

 

Indestructible and smart: public toilet innovation in India

An interview with sanitation entrepreneur Mayank Midha.

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Stainless steel GARV Ttoilets and Mayank Midha

As a child, Mayank Midha remembers how his mother and sister suffered during long distance journeys in India. They had to “hold themselves up” because there were hardly any decent public toilets on the way.

There is still a shortage of well-maintained public toilets in India, says Mayank. This affects women and girls most. Men can more easily urinate or defecate in the open.

Indestructible toilets

On 7 September 2016, Mayank Midha won the Sanitation Innovation Accelerator 2016, a search for an inclusive and sustainable solution for rural sanitation in India. The judges praised Mayank for developing an indestructible smart toilet, which is much cheaper than comparable models without comprising on quality.

Mayank has been in the manufacturing business for the past seven years. As an engineer with a post-graduate degree in rural management, he is interested in technical solutions for the poorest people at the “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP). After completing a project to manufacture telecom enclosure panels, he saw three spare panels lying in the factory. Their structure  made Mayank think, why not change some specifications and use them to construct Portable Smart Toilets?

After a year a prototype was ready in 2015 and in 2016 the stainless steel insulated GARV Toilet was born. Solar panels power LED lights and exhaust fans inside the toilet. Using stainless steel for the superstructure, toilet pans, and washbasins has multiple advantages: the units are vandal-proof, easy to clean and they don’t rust. This means a higher shelf-life with lower operating costs.

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Want to engage with wetland communities? Start with sanitation!

An interview with Dr. Ritesh Kumar of Wetlands International South Asia.

Loktak Lake fisherman, Manipur, India

Loktak Lake fisherman, Manipur, India. Photo: Sandro Lacarbona. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Every morning at four o’clock, thousands of men wake up to go fishing in Loktak Lake. When they return home in the early afternoon, their wives take the fish to the market.

Loktak Lake in Manipur is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. This unique ecosystem is both a source of water and livelihood for around 100,000 people living on and around the lake. Loktak Lake is famous for its phumdis or floating islands. The lake’s Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating park in the world.

Poor sanitation threatens livelihood

If the lake’s fishermen or their wives fall ill, or if there is less fish to catch, they earn less. In both cases, poor sanitation is often the culprit. Fishermen risk getting skin diseases from polluted lake water. The whole family gets sick if faecal waste leaches into their drinking water sources. Water hyacinths thrive on faecal nutrients, choking the lake and the fish.

Wetlands International worked in Loktak Lake for several years up to 2013. “We are ‘accidental learners’ when it comes to sanitation”, says Dr. Ritesh Kumar, Conservation Programme Manager – South Asia.

Providing twin pit toilets to fishing families seemed like a simple solution to improve their health and protect their livelihood.  “Later we realised that soil conditions caused faecal waste to leach into water sources”, Dr. Kumar tells me from his office in New Delhi’s Defence Colony. Moving the toilets away from the houses to rocky areas solves the leaching problem, but gives rise to others, Dr. Kumar admits. The toilets are less accessible for the ill, disabled and the elderly; women and girls feel less safe to use them after dark.

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