Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

Identifying the last 10% of households practising open defecation in rural Tanzania

Since 2017, SNV and the Government of Tanzania have been implementing the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All (SSH4A) programme in eight Tanzanian districts. To date, the number of households that use toilets has increased to 90%. In the period March–April 2019, SNV Tanzania undertook a household survey in the eight project districts to identify the 10% of households still practising open defecation or sharing toilets despite the concerted government and SNV sanitation interventions. The findings show the majority of the households still practising open defecation and sharing latrines in the rural districts of Tanzania are not those commonly cited by the literature and sanitation programming – the people in poverty, the elderly people, people with disabilities, and those with other specific vulnerabilities. The majority in ‘the last mile’ are: 1) the ‘defiant’ households that have the socio-economic resources to build themselves latrines but prefer to practise open defecation or share toilets; 2) the socially isolated households that do not have a financially able family member who can support them; and 3) the geographically isolated households that are far from information centres. The SNV study also revealed a relatively high percentage of households headed by single mothers and those living in difficult terrains as part of the last mile. Furthermore, the study identified opportunities to increase access to sanitation among the last mile groups. These are: 1) introduction of behaviour change re-enforcement interventions tailored to different target groups; 2) promotion of context-specific sanitation technologies; and 3) introduction of community-led ‘social exclusion’ strategies.

Read the full report. SNV, 2019. Identifying the last 10% of households practising open defecation in rural Tanzania. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: SNV Tanzania. 14 p.

Water Currents: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019. Water Currents, May 23, 2019.

Every May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) raises awareness and combats taboos associated with menstrual hygiene with the goal of enabling women and girls to achieve their full potential. mhday2019

The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019—It’s Time for Action—not only emphasizes the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to unlock economic and educational opportunities for women and girls.

Empowering women and girls and promoting gender equality are core operating principles of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID Water and Development Plan. To alleviate a major constraint to women’s and girls’ participation in education and public life, USAID seeks to integrate menstrual hygiene management (MHM) interventions where practical and improve MHM in key settings, including schools.

As a contribution to MH Day 2019, this issue contains links to recent studies on “period poverty,” MHM and its impact on schooling/education, MHM in humanitarian situations, and other MHM–related topics.

Events
Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 – This global advocacy platform for MH Day brings together the voices and actions of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector, and the media to promote MHM for all women and girls. This website contains campaign materials for this year’s theme—It’s Time for Action—and a list of events and resources.

WASH Innovation Challenge on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and Incontinence – Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund is launching a challenge May 23, 2019, and will be seeking innovative projects exploring how to design safe and dignified MHM spaces in emergency camp settings and how to better engage with and understand the needs of people with incontinence in emergencies. Additional information will soon be posted on the Elrha’s website.

MHM Overviews
What Is the Point of a Period? Scientific American, May 2019. Age-old taboos against menstruation have led to a lack of research on how women’s menstrual cycles work, with serious consequences for their health.

Period Poverty Impact on the Economic Empowerment of WomenKnowledge, Learning and Evidence for Knowledge, January 2019. Period poverty refers to a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. The problem exists in high as well as low- and middle-income countries.

Read the complete issue.

Cloth, cow dung, cups: how the world’s women manage their periods

Cloth, cow dung, cups: how the world’s women manage their periods. The Guardian, April 2019.

For women living without access to basic sanitation, menstruation can be especially challenging. Their resourcefulness knows no bounds mhm.jpg

From animal skins and old rags to cow patties and silicon cups, women around the world use all sorts of materials to manage their periods each month.

Basic necessities for dealing properly with menstruation, such as access to clean water or a decent toilet, are simply unavailable to millions of women and girls.

Without these services, menstruation can negatively affect women’s health as well as their involvement in social and economic activities, says Louisa Gosling of WaterAid, which has published a photo gallery detailing the various ways women around the world manage their periods.

Read the complete article.

Webinar – Female-friendly public and community toilets

WaterAid, UNICEF and WSUP would like to invite you to the upcoming webinar on Female Friendly Public and Community toilets.
Date: Wednesday 3rd April
Time: 10am GMT

Join using this link: https://meet.lync.com/wateraid/andreshueso/CK25SZ4Y. If you have trouble joining, try the Skype Web App https://meet.lync.com/wateraid/andreshueso/CK25SZ4Y?sl=1.

Female-Friendly Public and Community Toilets: a discussion about why we need them and how to design them

Public and community toilets are often dirty, poorly maintained and have not been designed to meet the requirements of women and girls. But Governments and city planners can and should improve this situation by a) including women in the planning process and b) following basic principles of universal design that ensure public and community toilets are accessible for all users, are secure and well located, include context specific menstrual health features, cater for caring responsibilities (of all genders) and are maintained for cleanliness and safety. The practical “Female-friendly public and community toilets” guide is designed to help city authorities, planners and NGOs identify areas that lack public and community toilets and check if existing toilets are female-friendly while also giving some practical guidance for non-negotiable design elements. The webinar will highlight why it is important to look at public and community toilets through a gender lens, giving time for discussion and hoping for feedback from participants.

Presenters:
Priya Nath: Equality, Inclusion and Rights Advisor, WaterAid, UK
Olutayo Bankole Bolawole: East Africa Regional Director, WaterAid, Uganda
Lizette Burgers: Senior Advisor WASH, UNICEF, USA
Sam Drabble: Head of Research and Learning, WSUP, UK

The webinar will be recorded for those that cannot attend.

On World Water Day, gender equality and empowerment require attention

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On World Water Day, gender equality and empowerment require attention. Lancet Planetary Health, March 18, 2019. By Sheela S Sinharoy; Bethany A Caruso.

What would promotion of gender equality and empowerment in relation to water look like? At a minimum, it would necessitate a recognition of gender differences, as opposed to gender blindness.

This requires collection of improved gender data. At the global level, an opportunity exists to enable sex-disaggregated data collection through the WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, which is revising core questions for monitoring household water, sanitation, and hygiene.

This effort should include questions to assess differences in responsibilities for water-related tasks—including but not limited to drinking water—based on gender as well as on age, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics, such as caste, as part of an intersectional approach.

 

 

Celebrating Gender Transformative Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Vietnam

Celebrating Gender Transformative Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Vietnam. by Elaine Mercer, IDS Blog, March 8, 2019.

Within the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector, gender issues are frequently reduced to the roles and experiences of women and within that often with a narrow focus on menstrual hygiene management. Although these issues are very important, many other central gender equality issues are missed or side-lined.

To celebrate International Women’s Day which focuses on gender balance this year, we are featuring innovative work in Vietnam by Women for Water in partnership with Thrive Networks/East Meets West.

In Vietnam, many women face challenges in accessing WASH services and facilities; eg lack of funds and information, exclusion from decision-making, poorly designed facilities along with restrictive gender norms.

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Photo Credit: Thrive Networks/East Meets West – Nguyen Van Phuc (father, left); his son Tien Manh; and wife Kim Chi stand next to their newly constructed hygienic latrine behind their house in Long Hung commune, Chau Thanh district, Tien Giang province.

Overcoming barriers to women’s access to hygiene and water

In the video interview below, Hanh Nguyen Hong (Thrive Networks/East Meets West) talks about how the Women-Led Output Based Aid (WOBA) programme in Vietnam is overcoming these barriers by facilitating gender transformative WASH.

WOBA is implemented in partnership with the Vietnam Women’s Union. The Union is a fantastic and well-connected mobilising force as it has 17 million members across the country at all levels, including village level.

Read the complete article.

Water Currents: WASH and Gender

Water Currents: WASH and Gender – March 5, 2019

USAID recognizes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are vital to the success of any development intervention. The Agency incorporates a gender-related component into all its activities, including those outlined in the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and the USAID Water and Development Plan in support of the Strategy.

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Women and girls often bear primary responsibility for providing drinking water and sanitation to their families and are disproportionately affected when they have to travel to reach these services/facilities. Improved sanitation access is crucial to preserving the basic dignity of women and girls and reducing gender-based violence.

Under USAID’s Plan, water and sanitation programming will promote gender equality by increasing participation in leadership, consultation, education, and technical skills training. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is another critical way that water and sanitation activities can address women’s and girls’ empowerment by alleviating a major constraint to their participation in education and public life.

This issue contains gender-related studies and reports from 2017 and 2018 on MHM, gender issues related to water collection and water security, male participation in sanitation, and other topics. A special thanks goes to the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) for contributing content to this issue.

Read the complete issue.

The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia

The social dynamics around shared sanitation in an informal settlement of Lusaka, Zambia. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, December 2018.

This study explored the social dynamics affecting collective management of shared sanitation in Bauleni compound of Lusaka, Zambia. journal.jpeg

Pit latrines were predominantly shared by landlords and tenants on residential plots. However, unwelcome non-plot members also used the latrines due to a lack of physical boundaries. Not all plot members equally fulfilled their cleaning responsibilities, thereby compromising the intended benefits for those conforming.

Landlords typically decided on latrine improvements independent of tenants. Latrines were not systematically monitored or maintained, but punishment for non-conformers was proportionate to the level of infraction. There was no system in place for conflict resolution, nor local organizations to regulate the management of sanitation.

Lastly, there were few enterprises associated with peri-urban sanitation. Social capital was moderately high, and tenants were willing to invest money into improving sanitation. The social dynamics illuminated here provide an important basis for the development of a behavioural intervention targeted towards improving urban sanitation.

World Bank – Shifting Social Norms to Reduce Open Defecation in Rural India

Shifting Social Norms to Reduce Open Defecation in Rural India. World Bank, December 2018.

This study of Uttar Pradesh systematically measures relevant social norms and cultural schema persistent in rural villages. The study finds two pathways through which social norms inhibit latrine use: (i) beliefs/expectations that others do not use latrines or find open defecation unacceptable; and (ii) beliefs about ritual notions of purity that dissociate latrines from cleanliness.

The study finds a statistically significant positive relationship between latrine use and social norms. To confront these, the study piloted an information campaign to test the effectiveness of rebranding latrine use and promoting positive social norms, by making information about growing latrine use among latrine owners more salient.

The results show statistically significant improvements in open defecation practices across all treatment households, with latrine use scores in treatment villages increasing by up to 11 percent, relative to baseline. Large improvements were also observed in pro-latrine beliefs.

This suggests that low-cost information campaigns can effectively improve pro-latrine beliefs and practices, as well as shift perceptions of what others find acceptable vis-à-vis open defecation

Community-based approaches to tackle open defecation in rural India: Theory, evidence and policies

Community-based approaches to tackle open defecation in rural India: Theory, evidence and policies. Observer Research Foundation, December 2018.

Open defecation (OD), an age-old practice in India, impacts the health of individuals as well as their communities. To tackle the problem, the Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in 2014, aimed at making the country open-defecation free (ODF) by October 2019 by giving more attention to community-based approaches.

However, while such approaches have helped solve the sanitation riddle in many countries, curbing OD in India is much more complicated: the root of the problem is a combination of lack of sanitation infrastructure and deep-seated habits. So far, India’s sanitation policies have used the top-down approach, focusing on financial assistance for latrine construction.

While this is necessary, considering the social determinants at play, the emphasis must be on changing collective behaviour through participatory methods, a component that has been largely absent from past policies on sanitation.

Demand-driven approaches must be adopted, keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses and ensuring equity-focused actions through community-monitored, locally appropriate and culturally sensitive interventions.