Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

Sanitation investments in Ghana: An ethnographic investigation of the role of tenure security, land ownership and livelihoods

Sanitation investments in Ghana: An ethnographic investigation of the role of tenure security, land ownership and livelihoods. BMC Public Health, July 2016.  Authors: Y. Awunyo-Akaba, J. Awunyo-Akaba, et. al.

Background – Ghana’s low investment in household sanitation is evident from the low rates of improved sanitation. This study analysed how land ownership, tenancy security and livelihood patterns are related to sanitation investments in three adjacent rural and peri-urban communities in a district close to Accra, Ghana’s capital.

Methods – Qualitative data was gathered for this comparative ethnographic study over seven months, (June, 2011-January, 2012) using an average of 43 (bi-weekly) participant observation per community and 56 in-depth interviews. Detailed observational data from study communities were triangulated with multiple interview material and contextual knowledge on social structures, history of settlement, land use, livelihoods, and access to and perceptions about sanitation.

Results – This study shows that the history of settlement and land ownership issues are highly correlated with people’s willingness and ability to invest in household sanitation across all communities. The status of being a stranger i.e. migrant in the area left some populations without rights over the land they occupied and with low incentives to invest in sanitation, while indigenous communities were challenged by the increasing appropriation of their land for commercial enterprises and for governmental development projects.

Interview responses suggest that increasing migrant population and the high demand for housing in the face of limited available space has resulted in general unwillingness and inability to establish private sanitation facilities in the communities. The increasing population has also created high demand for cheap accommodation, pushing tenants to accept informal tenancy agreements that provided for poor sanitation facilities.

In addition, poor knowledge of tenancy rights leaves tenants in no position to demand sanitation improvements and therefore landlords feel no obligation or motivation to provide and maintain domestic sanitation facilities.

Conclusions – The study states that poor land rights, the history of settlements, in-migration and insecure tenancy are key components that are associated with local livelihoods and investments in private sanitation in rapidly changing rural and peri-urban communities of Ghana. Sanitation policy makers and programme managers must acknowledge that these profound local, ethnic and economic forces are shaping people’s abilities and motivations for sanitation investments.

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.

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.

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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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The Dawn of a Sanitation Revolution in India – World Bank

The sanitation campaign in India is helping Rajasthan become a top performing state in ending open defecation. The Chief Minister of Rajasthan declared sanitation as one of the state’s top development priorities, with a target of eliminating open defecation by 2018.

To bring this vision to fruition, an innovative Community Led Total Sanitation Campaign (CLTS) was launched in many districts with the leadership of district collectors.

The approach focuses on crucial issues: Behavior Change and Demand Creation. From Health Centers, to Schools, to door-to-door visits, the message of sanitation and hygiene was effectively communicated.

Health is blooming, one home at a time. One village at a time. And Rajasthan is on course to becoming open defecation free.

USAID Joins 100,000 Women in India to Bring Dignity, Safety, and Health to a City of Two Million

USAID Joins 100,000 Women in India to Bring Dignity, Safety, and Health to a City of Two Million | Source: Christian Holmes/USAID, Global Waters, June 27, 2016 |

At USAID we recognize the threat poor sanitation combined with rapid urbanization presents to human health, dignity, and prosperity. This is why we have made urban sanitation a global priority for the Agency. During a recent visit to India, I was able to see some of the work being done to bring sanitation services to urban areas, and had the good fortune to meet some inspiring women who are advancing these efforts in their communities.

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USAID Global Water Coordinator Christian Holmes visits with young students at a Vizag municipal school. Children also have a role to play as change agents in ending open defecation in their communities. Their school is now the number one-ranked Swachh Bharat school in the entire city, and its students’ academic performance has improved considerably. Photo Credit: USAID/India

Currently, more than 300 million people live in India’s urban areas, a number that is quickly increasing. The growing population of city dwellers is straining the country’s ability to provide safe drinking water and sanitation services.

To address this, the Government of India has committed to providing sanitation and household toilet facilities for all 4,041 cities in India through Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Campaign.

India’s commitment to this effort is vital. Close to 600 million people in the country practice open defecation, which contaminates water and can spread diseases. Lack of access to sanitation can keep people from productive activities such as work and school, either due to illness or time spent searching for private, safe locations to defecate. In India, it is estimated this lack of access results in an annual economic loss of approximately $54 billion or 6.4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

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Shifting the perspective: how urban CLTS can contribute to achieving universal access to sanitation

Shifting the perspective: how urban CLTS can contribute to achieving universal access to sanitation. Source: CLTS Blog, July 6 2016 |

Author: Sue Cavill

Urban sanitation differs from rural sanitation in many ways however one of the fundamental differences is that in urban areas one group, (usually the wealthy), benefits from the public provision of sanitation at the expense of others  (usually the poor). Poor households in urban areas must often find their own solutions to failures in sanitation services. During a workshop on urban CLTS (U-CLTS) held in Ethiopia and hosted by Plan International, we explored the potential of CLTS to support safely managed, city-wide sanitation. clts

We heard how communities in Ethiopia, Mauritania, India, Madagascar, Kenya and Nepal have participated in the design and management of sanitation services and exerted influence over public and private service providers through a U-CLTS approach. The examples highlighted how the collective nature of sanitation means that community structures, rather than individual choices, are critical to sanitation service delivery. The case studies illustrated how the ‘community-led’ aspect of U-CLTS has resulted in: (1) provision of sanitation facilities to substitute for public/private sanitation providers and to compensate for weak government institutions, (2) collaboration between communities and government to coproduce a range of services across the sanitation chain as well as (3) increasing poor people’s ability to make demands on government for universal access.

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