Category Archives: IYS Themes

Casteism is the biggest impediment to success of Swachh Bharat Mission, say scholars Dean Spears, Diane Coffey

Casteism is the biggest impediment to success of Swachh Bharat Mission, say scholars Dean Spears, Diane Coffey. First Post, August 13, 2017.

Why are children in India shorter than children from other countries even those poorer than India? It was the urge to solve some of India’s development puzzles like this one that drew American scholars Dean Spears and Diane Coffey to India in 2009.

The couple co-founded the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (RICE) in 2011 and settled in Sitapur, a rural district in central Uttar Pradesh, four years ago. With a population of 4.5 million people, it is the size of Sierra Leone and Liberia and has a similar infant mortality rate. spears

“Sierra Leone and Liberia have a health ministry, education ministry, a Unicef mission; Sitapur has none of that. So it made a lot of sense to go somewhere like that and add value,” Spears stated in an earlier interview.

Spears and Coffey have a masters in public administration and completed their PhDs at the Princeton University. Spears specialised in economics and public affairs and Coffey in demography. The two met and fell in love when Spears was a teaching assistant in a statistics class where Coffey was a student. They got married in 2011.

Their research in India has established links between open defecation and high infant mortality in rural India. It has also exposed the caste prejudices that encourage open defecation. A surprising fact showed up in their study: many people in rural areas, especially in north India, choose to defecate in the open even if they have a toilet at home. Many reasoned that it was a more ‘pleasant, comfortable and convenient’ option.Their new book, Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development, and the Costs of Caste throws up many such insights that sanitation experts and administrators would never openly admit to.

Read the complete article.

Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why

Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why. Nat Geo Magazine, August 2017.

The problem isn’t just a lack of toilets—it’s a lack of toilets that people want to use. The result: millions of deaths and disease-stunted lives.

At 65, Moolchand, bandy-legged and white-haired, has no problem rising for his predawn hunts. In fact he revels in them.

“I hide along the lane with my flashlight,” he says in a low, excited voice, gesturing down the main road of Gaji Khedi village, in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. “And I look for people walking with a lota.”

At a community toilet complex in Safeda Basti, one of Delhi’s many slums, women wait their turn for the single functioning latrine—while covering their noses against the smell of feces left by someone who couldn’t wait. Many people skip the hassle of city-run facilities altogether and do their business in rubble-strewn lots.

At a community toilet complex in Safeda Basti, one of Delhi’s many slums, women wait their turn for the single functioning latrine—while covering their noses against the smell of feces left by someone who couldn’t wait. Many people skip the hassle of city-run facilities altogether and do their business in rubble-strewn lots.

A lota is a water container, traditionally made of brass but these days more often of plastic. Spied outdoors in the early morning, it all but screams that its owner is headed for a field or roadside to move his or her bowels—the water is for rinsing.

“I give chase,” Moolchand continues. “I blow my whistle, and I dump out their lota. Sometimes I take it away and burn it.” Moolchand sees himself as defending a hard-won honor: The district has declared his village “open defecation free.”

“People get angry and shout at me when I stop them,” he says. “But the government has given villagers lots of help to construct a toilet, so there is no excuse.”

Read the complete article.

Handwashing research – Water Currents

Handwashing research – Water Currents, August 8, 2017.

Highlighting the most recent handwashing research, this issue of Currents includes literature reviews by the Global Handwashing Partnership, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, and an interesting report on handwashing and rational addiction. Articles discuss handwashing research in Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe as well as studies on handwashing and infectious diseases, among other topics. Handwashing as an important role in preventing infection

Reports 
The State of Handwashing in 2016: Annual ReviewGlobal Handwashing Partnership (GHP), March 2017. This GHP review summarizes key themes and findings from 59 peer-reviewed handwashing-related research papers published in 2016.

Promoting Handwashing and Sanitation Behaviour Change in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Mixed-Method Systematic ReviewInternational Initiative for Impact Evaluation, June 2017. The purpose of this review was to learn which factors might change handwashing and sanitation behavior, finding that a combination of different promotional elements may be the most effective strategy.

Habit Formation and Rational Addiction: A Field Experiment in HandwashingYale University, Economic Growth Center, December 2016. The researchers in this study designed and implemented an experiment to test predictions of the rational addiction model in the context of handwashing. The findings are presented in a video from a 2016 conference.

Read the complete issue.

 

Why WASH organizations need to hire and grow business-savvy leaders

Ghana_Sama Sama Launch_IMG_3045 (1)

Valerie Labi, iDE WASH Director in Ghana, speaks at the launch of Sama Sama, a sanitation social enterprise in northern Ghana.

By Yi Wei, iDE Global WASH Director

Every organization knows the pain and disruption caused by bad hiring decisions, or waiting for an employee to develop the necessary skills to excel in a position he or she is not a fit for. I work for iDE, a nonprofit organization that has been implementing market-based development programs for over 30 years. When it comes to successfully managing a sanitation marketing program, hiring business-savvy program leadership is critical.

If we truly want to drive progress towards the U.N.’s goal to “ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all,” I believe these four things should be considered by any organization working in WASH:

  1. Invest in recruiting talent with business acumen.
  2. Identify and develop business leadership skills.
  3. Incentivize potential leaders competitively, taking into account the opportunity cost candidates face forgoing potentially lucrative private sector positions, and not just the prevailing wages of the nonprofit labor market.
  4. Incubate and foster an organizational focus on training and knowledge sharing.

Dive deeper into the four strategies for building a business-savvy team. 

In Mali, Communities Take Health and Well-Being into their Own Hands

In Mali, Communities Take Health and Well-Being into their Own Hands. Global Waters, July 18, 2017.

In the center of Simaye village in Mali’s Mopti Region, men, women, and children gather under a large tree to listen. Two USAID-trained facilitators discuss the health challenges facing the village.

Tackling open defecation in communities is a starting point for improved health. Ensuring the drinking water sources are clean is another. USAID works with local artisans in communities like Anga to repair or rehabilitate artesian drilling, such as this one, as an incentive to become ODF-certified. Photo Credit: CARE Mali

Tackling open defecation in communities is a starting point for improved health. Ensuring the drinking water sources are clean is another. USAID works with local artisans in communities like Anga to repair or rehabilitate artesian drilling, such as this one, as an incentive to become ODF-certified. Photo Credit: CARE Mali

Only three latrines serve many families, so more than half of the people are practicing open defecation; the water point no longer functions, so most families are pulling dirty water from the river; many of the infants and young children are not benefitting from exclusive breastfeeding or a diversified diet, so they are malnourished.

Holding a glass of clear water and pointing to feces on the ground, the facilitators paint a clear picture of the health risks associated with leaving feces in the open — contaminated drinking sources, diarrheal disease, and poor outcomes for children and their families.

Their objective: to trigger a sense of disgust, a determination in the community to control their own health and well-being, and to set in motion plans and solutions to create open defecation free (ODF) communities through a process known as community-led total sanitation (CLTS).

Read the complete article.

The life and death struggle against cholera in Yemen – WHO

The life and death struggle against cholera in Yemen. WHO, July 2017.

Cholera continues to spread in Yemen, causing more than 390 000 suspected cases of the disease and more than 1800 deaths since 27 April.

WHO and its partners are responding to the cholera outbreak in Yemen, working closely with UNICEF, local health authorities and others to treat the sick and stop the spread of the disease. cholera

Each of these cholera cases is a person with a family, a story, hopes and dreams. In the centres, where patients are treated, local health workers work long hours, often without pay, to fight off death and help their patients make a full recovery.

Read the complete article.

Shared toilets as the path to health and dignity

Shared toilets as the path to health and dignity. World Bank Water Blog, July 19, 2017.

Mollar Bosti is a crowded slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, home to 10,000 people: garment workers, rickshaw drivers, and small traders, all living side-by-side in tiny rooms sandwiched along narrow passageways.

With the land subject to monsoon flooding, and no municipal services to speak of, the people of Mollar Basti have been struggling with a very real problem: what to do with an enormous and growing amount of human faeces.

Traditionally, their ‘hanging latrines’ consisted of bamboo and corrugated metal structures suspended on poles above the ground, allowing waste to fall straight down into a soup of mud and trash below. Residents tell stories of rooms flooded with smelly muck during monsoons; outbreaks of diarrhoea and fever would quickly follow.

But conditions have improved for much of the slum. With help of a local NGO, the residents negotiated permission for improvement from a private landowner, and mapped out areas of need. Today, they proudly show visitors their pristine, well-lit community latrines and water points. They report fewer problems with flooding and disease.

Read the complete article.