Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

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.

Waterlines, Jan 2015 issue on Menstrual Hygiene Management

WATERLINES – JANUARY 2015 (Complete issue)

Selected articles: 

Guest editorial: tackling the stigma and gender marginalization related to menstruation via WASH in schools programmes (abstract/order info)
Menstrual hygiene management has been defined as: ‘Women and adolescent girls using a clean menstrual management material to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials’ (UNICEF and WHO, 2014). However, menstrual hygiene is not just about the management of the menstrual period but also the need to address societal beliefs and taboos surrounding the issue. waterlines

Until recently, the development sector including WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) had not explored and attempted to address the challenges related to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), an important issue affecting the health, dignity and privacy of millions of girls and women on a daily basis. It is great to have a whole issue of Waterlines dedicated to MHM, as it will help us, the maledominated, engineering-based sector, to increase our understanding of this aspect of the development work we do on a daily basis.

Putting the men into menstruation: the role of men and boys in community menstrual hygiene management (full text)
This paper examines how men and boys have an essential role in effective menstrual hygiene programmes and describes an initiative to engage men and boys in Uttar Pradesh, India. As a result of the initiative, men and boys have begun to talk about menstruation more freely and are better able to support the MHM needs of women and girls within the household, community, and school.

Adolescent schoolgirls’ experiences of menstrual cups and pads in rural western Kenya: a qualitative study (full text)
A randomized controlled feasibility study was conducted among 14–16-year-old girls, in 30 primary schools in rural western Kenya, to examine acceptability, use, and safety of menstrual cups or sanitary pads. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted to evaluate girls’ perceptions and experiences six months after product introduction.

Mainstreaming menstrual hygiene management in schools through the play-based approach: lessons learned from Ghana (full text)
The study objective was to identify and document the effectiveness of the play-based approach in promoting menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools and share lessons learned. The study used a mix of approaches including qualitative and quantitative techniques. The author carried out an exploratory evaluation on the promotion of MHM activities as part of WASH in Schools programmes in 120 public schools in Ghana. Comparison was drawn between 60 schools currently using the play-based approach in promoting MHM, and 60 schools which are not using the play-based approach.

Developing games as a qualitative method for researching menstrual hygiene management in rural Bolivia (abstract/order info)
In 2012, Emory University and UNICEF conducted a multi-country formative study to gain a global perspective of girls’ experiences. A compendium of tools was created to ensure investigation of common themes across all settings. This paper describes the process of adapting the focus group discussion (FGD) tool for Bolivia into a board game as a method to ease girls’ discomfort discussing menstruation and elicit richer data.

Guy Hutton – Why Choosing the Preferred Sanitation Solution Should Be More Like Grocery Shopping

Guy Hutton – Why Choosing the Preferred Sanitation Solution Should Be More Like Grocery Shopping hutton

When we go to the supermarket, our decision-making is considerably aided by having the price, ingredients and source of goods clearly labeled. This allows us to rapidly compare the characteristics, perceived benefits, and price of different products to make what is usually an informed and instantaneous purchase decision.

When it comes to making investment choices for public programs, we do not traditionally have the same luxury of information. The full benefits and costs of those interventions, including the long-term costs to maintain and operate a service, are rarely understood or taken into account in the decision. As a result, public decisions are usually made based on the most visible costs (capital investment required from the public budget), historical choices and the political process.

To reduce the detrimental effects of these influences, we need to move public sector decision making more towards the supermarket model, and increase the availability of key information so that decisions can be more rational, consistent, and transparent.

Since 2007, the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), part of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, has been attempting to put a price on sanitation by essentially understanding two sides of the same coin: what the costs of current inaction on sanitation are (i.e. how much poor sanitation costs households and the wider economy) and how much acting will cost (i.e. increasing access to sanitation services).

When it comes to acting, we need to understand the alternatives. What technology option best suits the preferences and local practices, available land, population density, disposable income, and willingness to pay of different population groups? What are the benefits of different technology options? And who is able to pay for the costs of behavior change, capital investment and sustained service delivery?

Read the complete post on the World Bank Water Blog, Jan 2015.

You can a join an ongoing discussion on this blog on the SuSanA Forum.

Yes, hygiene and school enrolment are directly proportional

In Bangladesh, the lack of separate latrines for girls and menstrual hygiene facilities in secondary schools are major factors in the disproportionate rate of absence and dropout of adolescent girls.

Sabrina Shaidullah Sabrina Shahidullah

A study undertaken in Bangladesh revealed an 11 per cent increase in girls’ enrolment mainly due to the provision of sanitary toilets.” –Technical paper series/IRC

In Bangladesh the standard number of toilets in schools has been set as a minimum of one toilet for every 60 students. However, this is far from being achieved. The infographic below shows that on average, schools in Bangladesh have half the number of toilets required. However, although 94 per cent of schools have latrines within the compound, a large number remain unusable because they are dirty or broken.

BRAC WASH School Sanitation graph

Source: UNICEF WASH for school children South Asia Report, 2012

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Gordon McGranahan-Realizing the Right to Sanitation in Deprived Urban Communities

Realizing the Right to Sanitation in Deprived Urban Communities: Meeting the Challenges of Collective Action, Coproduction, Affordability, and Housing Tenure.World Development, Vol. 68, Jan 2015 pp. 242–253, 2015.

Author: Gordon McGranahan, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK.

There are serious institutional challenges associated with low-cost sanitation in deprived urban communities. These include a collective action challenge, a coproduction challenge, a challenge of affordability versus acceptability, and a challenge related to housing tenure.

This paper examines these challenges, revealing both the importance of community-driven sanitation improvement and its difficulties. The nature of the challenges, and the means by which two successful community-driven initiatives have overcome them, suggest that while recognizing the human right to sanitation is important this should not be taken to imply that typical rights-based approaches are the appropriate means of realizing this right.