Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

Understanding women’s decision making power and its link to improved household sanitation: the case of Kenya

Understanding women’s decision making power and its link to improved household sanitation: the case of Kenya. Jnl Wat San Hyg for Dev, Feb. 2016.

Authors: Mitsuaki Hirai, Jay P. Graham, John Sandberg

Women experience many motivational drivers for improving sanitation, but it is unclear how women’s role in household decision making affects whether a household opts for better sanitation. We analyzed the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008/2009 with a representative sample of 4,556 married and cohabiting women to examine the association between women’s decision making power in relation to that of partners and the type of sanitation facilities used by household members.

The independent effects of respondents’ education, employment status, and socioeconomic status on the type of sanitation facilities were also explored. The direct measurement of women’s ability to influence sanitation practice was not available. To address this problem, this study used proxy measures of women’s decision making power in the household.

The results of this study revealed that women’s decision making power for major household purchases was positively associated with households having better sanitation (p < 0.05). The findings suggest that increased gender equity could potentially have spillover effects that result in more households opting to improve their sanitation conditions.

 

A Time for Global Action: Addressing Girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management Needs in Schools

A Time for Global Action: Addressing Girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management Needs in Schools. PLoS Medicine, Feb 2016.

Authors: Marni Sommer , Bethany A. Caruso , Murat Sahin , Teresa Calderon , Sue Cavill , Therese Mahon .

Summary Points

  • There is an absence of guidance, facilities, and materials for schoolgirls to manage their menstruation in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Formative evidence has raised awareness that poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) contributes to inequity, increasing exposure to transactional sex to obtain sanitary items, with some evidence of an effect on school indicators and with repercussions for sexual, reproductive, and general health throughout the life course.
  • Despite increasing evidence and interest in taking action to improve school conditions for girls, there has not been a systematic mapping of MHM priorities or coordination of relevant sectors and disciplines to catalyze change, with a need to develop country-level expertise.
  • Columbia University and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) convened members of academia, nongovernmental organizations, the UN, donor agencies, the private sector, and social entrepreneurial groups in October 2014 (“MHM in Ten) to identify key public health issues requiring prioritization, coordination, and investment by 2024.
  • Five key priorities were identified to guide global, national, and local action.

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management | Sources: World Bank’s Voices, March 2 2016 |

Waste – its generation, collection, and disposal – is a major global challenge of the 21st century. Recycling waste drives environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulates the economy by supplying raw materials and packaging materials.

wastepickers

Photo: Global Environment Facility/Flickr

Waste pickers are the principal actors in reclaiming waste for the recycling industry. Across the world, large numbers of people from low-income and disadvantaged communities make a living collecting and sorting waste, and then selling reclaimed waste through intermediaries to the recycling industry.

Where others see trash or garbage, the waste pickers see paper, cardboard, glass, and metal. They are skilled at sorting and bundling different types of waste by color, weight, and end use to sell to the recycling industry. Yet waste pickers are rarely recognized for the important role they play in creating value from the waste generated by others and in contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Read the complete article.

Mobile Phone App Pools Money Spent by Poor for Clean Water

Mobile Phone App Pools Money Spent by Poor for Clean Water |Source: Voice of America, March 9 2016 |

There’s nothing small about Akanksha Hazari’s ambitions. voa

Rising from living aboard a merchant ship to make ends meet with her family, to earning degrees at Princeton and Cambridge universities, Hazari says she wants to accomplish big things. At the top of that list: helping the many millions living in India’s poorest slums get access to clean water and sanitation, education and improved health care.

But Hazari doesn’t just dream big. In 2012, the 30-something Hazari developed a mobile phone application that’s helped tens of thousands of poor residents in Mumbai’s shantytowns to improve their lives and educate their children in just a few years.

It’s called m.Paani – “m” for mobile and “paani” an Indian word for water – and it’s earned Hazari numerous awards, including the prestigious Hult Prize awarded by former president Bill Clinton and, this week, the Global Leadership Award from the women’s empowerment organization Vital Voices.

Read the complete article.

Open Defecation Ends in Bangladesh – Almost

Open Defecation Ends in Bangladesh – Almost | Source: The Wire, March 7 2016 |

Bangladesh has virtually eliminated open air defecation, bringing it down to only 1% of its population who do not have access to indoor toilet facilities.

For most of her 50 years, Rokeya Begum has lived without a toilet in her house – waiting for the curtain of darkness to go out to the fields or the jungles near her village to defecate, come winter, summer, rain or illness. Not any more though. With Bangladesh declaring itself virtually open defecation free, Rokeya Begum, too, has a sanitary latrine in the tiny home she shares with five other family members.

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A family in Sirajganj district in Bangladesh installing sanitary latrine. Credit: Development Organization for the Rural Poor/The Third Pole

In a remarkable achievement, official data reveals that open defecation has reduced to only 1%, a “milestone change” from the 42% in 2003, making it a role model for other countries in the region. Approximately 595 million people in India, about half the population, do not use toilets. In Pakistan the number is 41 million, or about 21%, while for Nepal the number is 15.5 million, or 54% of the population. Only Sri Lanka, of all other South Asian states, has managed, like Bangladesh, to virtually wipe out open air defecation.

“We have no sanitation problem. Although we are poor, we are living in society now with dignity,” Rokeya Begum, who lives in Kishoreganj’s Gobaria village, says with a broad smile. Like poor households in the country, her family would also use the roadside, open fields and jungles to defecate. Then things changed when the local administration helped her install a sanitary latrine in her home a few years ago.

As Bangladesh makes huge strides towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), virtually the entire country has been brought under the sanitation umbrella. It was a life changer for Rokaya and millions of Bangladeshis, particularly women, who put their health at risk as they waited endless hours for nightfall to defecate, as well as bore the ignominy of the practice.

Moreover, open defecation contaminates fruits and vegetables, pollutes surface and groundwater and spreads diseases. Diarrhoeal diseases remain common in Bangladesh, causing around 100,000 deaths a year, due to contamination of food and drinking water, according to icddr,b.

Read the complete article.

How the World Bank is ‘nudging’ attitudes to health and hygiene

How the World Bank is ‘nudging’ attitudes to health and hygiene | Source: The Guardian, March 4 2016 |

Nudge theory has been used to identify why people smoke or fail to pay taxes on time, can it now be used to fight malnutrition and open defecation?

Every two months, 800 women gather in a church courtyard in the village of Tritriva, Madagascar, to receive cash from the Malagasy government. Mothers of six- to 10-year-olds get the payment only if their children have regularly attended school. For those with children under five, it’s unconditional – but they are given information about family health and nutrition.

nudging

Many of the problems governments and NGOs in developing countries are trying to fix are at least partly behavioural, says Varun Gauri. Photograph: Rob Cooper/AP

With more than half of Madagascar’s children chronically malnourished, it is vital these women take note. But the problem is not just financial. Breaking long-term habits, such as spending the bulk of your income on rice, is extremely difficult – especially, according to recent research, for those living in extreme poverty.

This is where nudge theory comes in. It is about using insights from behavioural science to identify reasons why people make bad choices, such as smoking or failing to pay taxes on time, and then testing small changes in the way choices are presented to “nudge” them into making better decisions. In the school example above, it was about optimising how these families spent the money they received from the government.

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Manual on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for Water and Sanitation Practitioners

Manual on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for Water and Sanitation Practitioners, 2016. International Water Association (IWA).

The manual will be officially launched in October 2016 at the IWA World Water Congress in Brisbane and be available following that meeting.

The Manual on the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for Water and Sanitation Practitioners aims:

• to introduce the principles and concepts contained in the United Nations resolutions recognizing the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation (HRWS)

• to clarify the language and terminology used in the promotion of human rights, and

• to provide guidance on the roles and responsibilities for everyone who contributes to the progressive realization of the HRWS, and on how the human rights principles and actions can be incorporated into their essential functions.

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