Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

Understanding Open Defecation in Rural India: Untouchability, Pollution, and Latrine Pits

Understanding Open Defecation in Rural India: Untouchability, Pollution, and Latrine Pits. Economic & Political Weekly, January 7, 2017.

Authors: Diane Coffey, Aashish Gupta, Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Nikhil Srivastav, Sangita Vyas

India has far higher open defecation rates than other developing regions where people are poorer, literacy rates are lower, and water is relatively more scarce. In practice, government programmes in rural India have paid little attention in understanding why so many rural Indians defecate in the open rather than use affordable pit latrines.

Drawing on new data, a study points out that widespread open defecation in rural India is on account of beliefs, values, and norms about purity, pollution, caste, and untouchability that cause people to reject affordable latrines.

Future rural sanitation programmes must address villagers’ ideas about pollution, pit-emptying, and untouchability, and should do so in ways that accelerate progress towards social equality for Dalits rather than delay it.

Aditi Gupta Is Breaking Menstrual Taboos Through Her Comic Book Guide, Menstrupedia

Aditi Gupta Is Breaking Menstrual Taboos Through Her Comic Book Guide, Menstrupedia. India Times, January 18, 2017.

“Chumming” is one of the most natural biological processes that half of the world’s population experiences every month, yet most of us in India can’t gather enough courage to put away the euphemism and say the word, period. menstrupedia_1484728044

For many women in India and South Asia, being on their periods is a nightmare. Some are shunned from the kitchen, others are shunned from their home altogether. Other than the social stigma attached to menstruation, there is also a lack of awareness and sanitation, which then paves way for period myths and misconceptions.

According to Dasra, an organisation documenting the rights and welfare of women, 88% of India’s 355 million menstruating women do not have access to sanitary pads. Also, an estimated 23% of girls in the country drop out of school when they begin menstruating.

Read the complete article.

Keeping Track: CLTS Monitoring, Certification and Verification

Keeping Track: CLTS Monitoring, Certification and Verification: CLTS Knowledge Hub Learning Paper, January 2017keeping_track_cover

Author: Katherine Pasteur

Monitoring, verification and certification are critical elements of the CLTS process and contribute to ensuring sustainability of ODF as well as learning about changes that are needed to improve implementation. Monitoring includes both process and progress monitoring.

Verification tends to be led by NGOs or government with clear criteria and methodologies being developed, often incorporating multiple assessment visits over an extended period of time. Certification and celebration of ODF communities acknowledge their achievement and helps to raise awareness in the surrounding areas.

The adoption of CLTS as a national approach in many countries has resulted in national protocols and guidance documents as well as various methodologies for community engagement and data collection to aid the processes of monitoring, verification and certification. Increasingly, the importance of post ODF monitoring is being recognised. We need to know more about how to incorporate this into implementation to ensure longer term sustainability of behaviour change and of toilets.

Similarly, effective collection, management and utilisation of data are a challenge. Other emerging issues relate to reliability and accuracy of monitoring and verification; encouraging appropriate attitudes to encourage learning rather than fault finding; and how to incentivise staff involved in monitoring and verification. We also need to know more about monitoring for long term sustainability of behaviour change and inclusion. Many of these issues are being investigated through local, national and international learning processes.

This Learning Paper summarises challenges, innovations and gaps in knowledge in the area of monitoring, verification and certification.

Progress on CLTSH – Findings from a national review of rural sanitation in Ethiopia – UNICEF

Progress on CLTSH – Findings from a national review of rural sanitation in Ethiopia: WASH Learning Note. December 2016.

KEY POINTS

  • Rural sanitation coverage in Ethiopia continues to improve. The survey found on average 68% latrine usage, similar to the 2015 JMP estimate
  • The majority (89%) of household toilets are unimproved
  • There are strong regional disparities in coverage. 5 regions have over 50%, whilst in 3 regions open defecation is still dominant
  • CLTSH is not always implemented as intended. There are regional variations and some aspects of the triggering and follow-up are omitted
  • The Post-ODF follow-up of the CLTSH approach is limited. Very few communites are recorded as having reached ’level 2’ of ODF
  • Handwashing Rates are low. Only 19% of respondents were found to wash hands at all critical times, and only 45% after using the toilet

 

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school. Quartz, December 21, 2016.

Social scientists and educators have experimented with many ways to incentivize girls from low-income backgrounds in developing countries to stay in school including providing lunch, bicycles, and toiletsschools

While there has been considerable improvement in getting girls to enroll in primary schools, it’s proven harder to keep school attendance up in higher grades. In Uganda, 91% girls are enrolled in primary schools, but that figure falls to 22% for secondary schools.

Now a new study led by Paul Montgomery, a professor of psychosocial intervention at Oxford University, shows that there’s a pretty simple way to boost secondary school attendance in girls in Africa: give them sanitary pads and lessons on puberty.

The new paper, published Dec. 21 in PLOS One, builds on a 2008 pilot study in Ghana, also carried out by Oxford researchers, which showed that the first instance of menstruation triggered a drop in school attendance for young girls. The researchers note that in several developing countries, there is a stigma attached to menstruation and that girls are seen as “dirty” while on their period—one of the main reasons they stay home from school at the time. It’s also often difficult for girls in rural areas to find sanitary pads; many rely on absorbent cloth, which can leak and stain school uniforms.

Read the complete article.

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation: Study. Indian Express, December 15, 2016.

According to the study, women who use open defecation sites are twice as likely to get raped compared to women using a home toilet. 

open-defecation-l

The researchers looked at the latest Indian National Family Health Survey data and analysed a nationally representative sample of 75,000 women to answer questions about access to a home toilet and their exposure to different types of violence.

Women in India who use open defecation are prone to sexual violence and infrastructure improvements can provide them with some level of protection, a US university researcher has said. “Open defecation places women at uniquely higher risk of one type of sexual violence: non-partner,” says Approva Jadhav from the University of Michigan in a research paper published in the latest issue of Bio-Med Central Journal.

“Women who use open defecation sites like open fields or the side of a railway track are twice as likely to get raped when compared with women using a home toilet,” the study says. The research results, which suggest that women who use open defecation have twice the odds of non-partner sexual violence (NPSV) than women who use household toilets, indicate that infrastructure improvements can provide women with some level of protection against NPSV, it says.

“Our findings provide further rationale for NGOs and the Indian government to expand sanitation programmes, and raise new questions about the potentially protective role of sanitation facilities in other contexts beyond India,” the paper says.

Read the complete article.

Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries: research priorities

Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries: research priorities. Global Health Action, December 2016.

Authors:  Penelope A. Phillips-Howard, Bethany Caruso, Belen Torondel, Garazi Zulaika, Murat Sahin and Marni Sommer

Background: A lack of adequate guidance on menstrual management; water, disposal, and private changing facilities; and sanitary hygiene materials in low- and middle-income countries leaves schoolgirls with limited options for healthy personal hygiene during monthly menses.

While a plethora of observational studies have described how menstrual hygiene management (MHM) barriers in school impact girls’ dignity, well-being, and engagement in school activities, studies have yet to confirm if inadequate information and facilities for MHM significantly affects quantifiable school and health outcomes influencing girls’ life chances. Evidence on these hard outcomes will take time to accrue; however, a current lack of standardized methods, tools, and research funding is hampering progress and must be addressed.

Objectives: Compile research priorities for MHM and types of research methods that can be used.

Results: In this article, we highlight the current knowledge gaps in school-aged girls’ MHM research, and identify opportunities for addressing the dearth of hard evidence limiting the ability of governments, donors, and other agencies to appropriately target resources. We outline a series of research priorities and methodologies that were drawn from an expert panel to address global priorities for MHM in schools for the next 10 years.

Conclusions: A strong evidence base for different settings, standardized definitions regarding MHM outcomes, improved study designs and methodologies, and the creation of an MHM research consortia to focus attention on this neglected global issue.