Author Archives: WSSCC

Nominate now: AfricaSan Awards 2015

AfricaSan-Award-Nominations---post-on-Sanitation-UpdatesAs part of the AfricaSan 4 conference convened by the Government of Senegal from May 25th – 27th, 2015 in Dakar, the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) is pleased to invite entries for the AfricaSan Awards 2015.

The awards are dedicated to recognizing outstanding efforts and achievements in sanitation and hygiene in Africa which result in large-scale, sustainable behavior changes and tangible impacts.  The aim is to raise the profile of sanitation and hygiene by drawing attention to successful approaches, promoting excellence in leadership, innovation and sanitation and hygiene improvements in Africa.

The awards are open to all individuals and institutions working in the sanitation and hygiene sector from countries of each award region.

The Technical Committee has streamlined the AfricaSan Awards to cover the critical sectors of the sanitation sector. The 2015 Awards will be in the following categories:

  • RESEARCH & TECHNICAL INNOVATION: to honour individuals and institutions who through research and development have contributed to the improvement of technical solutions for sanitation services and products to make them affordable, reliable, and sustainable.
  • YOUTH AWARD: to honour exceptional youth (under the age of 25) or agencies that promote water and sanitation that affect youth, whose work has/have made a significant impact upon children or youth.
  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP AWARD: to honour outstanding local government or utility leadership whose policies or actions have promoted innovation, enhanced capacity, mobilized resources or generally created an enabling environment for improvement in sanitation delivery.
  • HYGIENE AWARD: to be awarded to individuals or agency/business with outstanding initiatives or progress to promote good hygiene in relation to water and sanitation.
  • IMPACT AT SCALE AWARD: presented in recognition of outstanding initiatives with impact at a significant scale (i.e. city-scale; district-scale, country-scale)
  • INTEGRITY AWARD: presented to individuals or agencies that have made extraordinary progress in fighting corruption and improving governance or transparency in sanitation or hygiene service delivery.

To download the nomination forms, visit the AfricaSan website.

Global Sanitation Experts Hail Madagascar Roadmap to become Open-Defecation Free Nation by 2019

madagascar_countrypage_gsf_smallAntananarivo – March 25, 2015 — Today, a high-level delegation of global sanitation and hygiene experts arrived in Madagascar for the biannual Steering Committee meeting of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), a United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of vulnerable and marginalized people around the world.

During the visit, the Steering Committee will see WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme in Madagascar, locally known as the Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement (FAA), in action. Developed and guided strategically by a diverse group of national stakeholders, the FAA is facilitated by Medical Care Development International (MCDI) and implemented by 30 sub-grantee organisations. It has evolved into a driving force in the national movement to end open defecation, which adversely affects the health, livelihood and educational opportunities for 10 million people in Madagascar and some 1 billion worldwide.

The five-day Steering Committee visit is dedicated to reinforcing the country’s top-level political commitment to a new “National Road Map” for the water, sanitation and hygiene sector that aims to end open defecation (ODF) in Madagascar by 2019. Madagascar’s most senior politicians, including President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, Prime Minister Jean Ravelonarivo, the President of the National Assembly, and Dr. Johanita Ndahimananjara, Minister of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, have committed their support to achieving ODF status.

“Since 2010, Madagascar has made tremendous progress in ensuring access to basic sanitation for the rural population of the country, by introduction and scaling up of Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS),” said Dr. Chris W. Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC. “Nearly 1.4 million people now live free of open defecation in over 10,900 communities throughout the country, one of the best examples of how individual and local initiative can lead to collective, transformative change for an entire country.”

The visit also coincides with heightened global awareness of sanitation in 2015. The United Nations Secretary General and Deputy-Secretary General have launched a Call to Action on Sanitation, encouraging global institutions, governments, households, the private sector, NGOs, and Parliamentarians, to eradicate the practice of open defecation.

“FAA has become an important catalyst for the initiation and creation of a national, regional and local movement in favour of eliminating open defecation,” said Dr. Rija Lalanirina Fanomeza, GSF Programme Manager, MCDI. “A wide spectrum of sanitation and hygiene stakeholders in Madagascar are actively collaborating to have maximum impact on the ground.”

Ever since President Rajaonarimampianina’s government came into power in January 2014, sanitation has received special attention, and the need for achieving an open-defecation free Madagascar has been considered inevitable by the highest political leadership of the nation.

During the visit, the delegation will visit villages which are now free of open defecation, and those that are not, in order to gain a firsthand understanding of the how and why people change and sustain their sanitation and hygiene behaviours.

Tackling the Taboo of Menstruation

In connection with last week’s WSSCC-UN Women side event on the Commission on the Status of Women, WSSCC Executive Director published a new blog on the Huffington Post. It begins:

“In 1995, global rights activists sent a powerful message about the urgent need for gender equality in political, civic, economic, cultural and social life. Two decades later, women and girls have made powerful strides in closing the gender gap.”

Read the full article at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-w-williams/tackling-the-taboo-of-men_b_6866158.html

2015-03-13-1426276247-2474559-36percentrarelygotoschoolduringmenstruation-thumb

UN Women and WSSCC Call for Global Action on Ending Menstruation Taboos and Reversing Neglect

collage---all-studiesNew York, NY, March 13, 2015 — Today the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and UN Women revealed that women and girls in Central and West Africa lack access to clean water, private spaces for managing their menstruation, and clean, functioning toilet facilities. In a series of studies, developed within the Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation in West and Central Africa, researchers drew upon the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) prepared by the Open Working Group and the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 development agenda.

The studies provide critical information about sociocultural taboos on menstrual hygiene and linked knowledge and practices in the region in order to highlight an area of global neglect with deleterious consequences for for the education, mobility and economic opportunity for women and girls, societies, and economies.

“Few people talk about how menstruation can be managed with dignity and safety,” said Dr. Chris Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC. “As a result of this, women and girls often choose to limit their cultural, educational, social and economic activities while menstruating, missing school, work and play.”

At an event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Singapore and Senegal to the United Nations,  Government representatives, policymakers, researchers and development practitioners articulated the need to talk about this neglected area in women’s health and education- menstrual hygiene management. Informed by evidence from Central and West Africa, South Asia and wider, the discussion took stock of the gross neglect of this issue in awareness, policy, facilities and monitoring.

“There is a general culture of silence surrounding all aspects of menstruation,” said Dr. Josephine Odera, Regional Director and Representative of the UN Women Regional Office for West and Central Africa. “This silence is exacerbated by taboos and myths that perpetuate practices that women and girls believe and how they manage their menstruation from personal hygiene to the cleaning and disposal of used materials.”

Download all key infographics

Key findings from the reports included:

  • At present, there are no public policies in West or Central Africa mentioning menstrual hygiene management. Although women manage the water, sanitation and hygiene services in their households and community and are key users as mothers and caregivers, they are not consulted in the design and maintenance elements of sanitation and water facilities. Since 2013, India’s sanitation policy and guidelines include menstrual hygiene management as a key element of the national campaign to achieve a clean India.
  • A lack of information, inadequate sanitary infrastructure and the persistence of certain beliefs have a negative impact on girls’ education, on female health and on women’s potential for economic empowerment. Half of all schools surveyed in the Kedougou region of Senegal did not even have toilets and 96% of the women surveyed said they did not regularly go to work while they were menstruating.
  • The majority of respondents in all regions surveyed said that toilets are the most common places for the disposal of used menstrual pads or cloths due to the absence of a waste management system.
  • 90% of the women and girls interviewed in Kedougou have undergone female genital mutilations. Nearly a quarter of them reported infections during their menstrual period, suggesting a link between this practice and increased vulnerability to infections.

Key policy recommendations from the event include the following:

  • Member states must break this silence, articulating menstrual needs in policies, budgets, programmes and monitoring systems and calling upon the global community to empower women and girls by guaranteeing safe menstrual hygiene management.
  • Menstruation is an indicator of female health and vitality. Sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy and programmes must ensure knowledge, safe conditions and dignity so that the trauma at puberty is replaced by pride and confidence.
  • Citizens, the media, schools and colleges, health practitioners, mothers and fathers must talk about menstruation and enable safe, dignified management in order to replace shame with pride.
  • Safe spaces for changing, cleaning and washing and drying at home, school, the market and work must be ensured for women and girls everywhere. This means changing the design, construction and maintenance of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to serve a human lifecycle by age, gender and physical ability.
  • Half of humanity is female. Women and girls menstruate as this enables them to have babies and reproduce humanity itself.  The silence, taboos, and stigma linked to menstruation violates a host of human rights.

Download link:

Menstrual Hygiene Management – WSSCC/UN Women Studies on Behaviour and Practice in Senegal, Niger and Cameroon

Key infographics – WSSCC/UN Women Studies on Behaviour and Practice in Senegal, Niger and Cameroon

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council is at the heart of the global movement to improve sanitation and hygiene, so that all people can enjoy healthy and productive lives. Established in 1990, WSSCC is the only United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized people. In collaboration with our members in 150 countries, WSSCC advocates for the billions of people worldwide who lack access to good sanitation, shares solutions that empower communities, and operates the Global Sanitation Fund,   transform lives in developing countries through sustainable behaviour change.

Learn more at www.wsscc.org and follow us on Twitter @WatSanCollabCou and Facebook at facebook.com/WatSanCollabCouncil.

SCA and WSSCC partner to break silence around menstruation

Geneva, 17 November 2014 – SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest products company, and the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the only United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of vulnerable and marginalized people, have today entered into an innovative new partnership to break the silence around menstruation for women and girls around the world. SCA and WSSCC will jointly work to educate on menstrual issues and the importance of good hygiene.

The parties announced the partnership in Cape Town, South Africa, in connection with Team SCA’s first stop-over in the Volvo Ocean Race round the world competition. During the Cape Town stop-over, Team SCA attended a menstrual hygiene workshop with girls and women from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu, where experts from WSSCC, the Volunteer Centre (a Cape Town NGO), and SCA led a training session and discussion of the challenges the women face in managing their periods.

The partnership will include actions during, and between, the race stopovers until June 2015. These include Brazil (Itajai), China (Sanya), New Zealand (Auckland), Portugal (Lisbon), South Africa (Cape Town), Sweden (Gothenburg), The Netherlands (The Hague), United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) and the USA (Newport).

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WSSCC Appoints David Shimkus to Lead Global Sanitation Fund

Geneva, 1 October 2014 – The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) announced today that David Shimkus has joined the Global Sanitation Fund as its new Programme Director, bringing to the Fund over fifteen years of experience in international health and development.  He will oversee the Fund’s ongoing efforts to support community-led sanitation programmes in developing countries, including resource mobilization, financial management, capacity building and programme monitoring and evaluation.

“We are thrilled to have David Shimkus at the helm of WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund,” said WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams. “He is a proven manager, leader and facilitator with a deep understanding of empowerment and community development.  I am confident that under his leadership, the Fund and its partners will help end open defecation and bring sanitation equity to millions more people in the developing world.”

Mr. Shimkus joins WSSCC from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), where he served as Senior Manager of Global Health Partnerships. In that role, Mr. Shimkus provided financial and programmatic oversight for collaborations between UNOPS and major global health organizations.  Prior to joining UNOPS, Mr. Shimkus was the Director of Business Development for Pathfinder International, where he led global planning and resource mobilization for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment and maternal and child health.

“I believe that sanitation is the crossroads of development – the focal point where wise investments can have a catalytic impact on all aspects of a community’s growth, from health to education to economic opportunity,” said Shimkus. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues at WSSCC and our many partners to build on the Fund’s strong foundation and expand our reach in the years to come.”

About the Global Sanitation Fund
The Global Sanitation Fund is the financing arm of WSSCC, providing targeted investments to sanitation programmes in the world’s most vulnerable communities.  It is the first and only international fund devoted solely to sanitation.  With a focus on sustainable, community-led initiatives, GSF helps fill the funding gap in countries where sanitation policies are in place but have not been fully implemented due to financial limitations.  Since its launch in 2010, the Fund has helped 3.7 million people in 14,000 communities stop defecating in the open.  Today, the Fund supports programmes in 11 countries with commitments totaling USD 97 million.

Video: 7 journalists win prestigious media awards for excellence in reporting on critical water, sanitation and hygiene issues