Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

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.  

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 Waste Pickers

Issue 198| July 10, 2015 | Focus on Waste Pickers

This issue contains recent policy briefs, manuals, videos, and country studies on environmental health conditions and other issues faced by waste pickers. According to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), recognition is growing that waste pickers contribute to the local economy, to public health and safety, and to environmental sustainability. However, they often face low social status, deplorable living and working conditions, and little support from local governments. washplus-weekly

OVERVIEWS/POLICY

Managing the Emerging Waste Crisis in Developing Countries’ Large Cities, 2015. Institute of Development Studies. Link
This policy briefing identifies some of the key challenges and opportunities for transitioning waste management into resource management, which engages both the formal and informal sector and provides livelihoods for the urban poor. Mainstreaming the informal sector is both economically efficient and financially beneficial for local governments as it reduces the costs of waste management as well as the need for large-scale investments in infrastructure.

Forging a New Conceptualization of “The Public” in Waste Management, 2015. M Samson. Link
This paper critically analyzes innovative approaches to including informal waste pickers in service delivery in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Pune, India, and Bogota, Colombia and argues that by mobilizing collectively to demand formal incorporation into municipal waste management systems waste pickers are expanding both the public sector and the public sphere; transforming relations among the state, formal economy, informal economy, and residents; and contributing to the forging of a more inclusive, participatory, and democratic state.

Solid Waste Management and Social Inclusion of Waste Pickers: Opportunities and Challenges, 2014. M Marello. Link
Authors explore the opportunities and challenges inherent in the model of cooperation between municipal solid waste systems and waste picker cooperatives. Enthusiasm is growing about waste picker inclusion, often as part of “integrated solid waste management.” The World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank, for example, have both funded projects to support waste picker integration into formal sector recycling.

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Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014

WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education: Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014. United Nations Children’s Fund and Columbia University, New York, 2015.

Authors: Sommer, Marni, Emily Cherenack, Sarah Blake, Murat Sahin and Lizette Burgers.

This publication brings together the key elements of the 16 presentations in a case study format. Each case study outlines the context in which the programme or research is being undertaken, the methods or approaches used, the accomplishments realized and challenges faced. Each case study also provides a number of recommendations to help guide future work.

The virtual conference also provided an opportunity to engage in a visioning exercise during which the participants collectively brainstormed and ranked a list of priority action items to be accomplished by 2024.

The 2015 virtual conference will showcase findings from formative research on MHM in WinS that is underway in a variety of countries.

Toilet humour is serious business [video]

An inspirational (and funny) TEDx talk on the impact of school sanitation on girls in India.

Told by Australian busnessman, Mark Balla whose visit to the world’s largest slum Dharavi changed his life and turned him into a “toilet warrior”.

Mark is the Founder and Director of Community Engagement at We Can’t Wait.

USAID Sanitation Webinar

USAID Sanitation Webinar, April 28, 2015

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation worldwide. In this webinar, USAID’s Jesse Shapiro discusses and responds to participant questions about the impacts of sanitation; critical challenges to improving sanitation; the sanitation ladder and service chain; and programmatic interventions to improve sanitation.

Making Sanitation and Hygiene Safer- Reducing Vulnerabilities to Violence

Making Sanitation and Hygiene Safer- Reducing Vulnerabilities to Violence. Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights, Issue 5, May 2015.

Authors: Sarah House and Sue Cavill.

CLTS aims for total sanitation where no-one practices open defecation, which in itself has potential to reduce vulnerabilities to violence. Concerns over safety, privacy or dignity when using sanitary facilities can however lead to the facilities not being used or only being used during hours of darkness.

Whilst poor design or siting of latrines or hygiene related facilities are not the root cause of violence, these issues can contribute to increased vulnerabilities to violence, as well as fear of violence, which can affect the usage of the facilities and also the ability of communities to become and remain ODF.

This issue of Frontiers of CLTS focuses on the issue of safety and vulnerabilities to violence that women, girls and sometimes boys and men can face which are related to sanitation and hygiene.

It points out areas in which CLTS methodologies, if not used skilfully with awareness and care, can run the potential risk of creating additional vulnerabilities, for example as a by-product of community pressure to reach ODF.

It also looks at good practices within organisations to ensure that those working in the sector know how to programme to reduce vulnerabilities to violence and to ensure that sector actors also do not become the perpetrators of, or face violence.