Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

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.

Making WASH facilities accessible for the disabled and elderly

Horizontal handrail the full width of the door on the inside. Internal bolt.

Horizontal handrail the full width of the door on the inside. Internal bolt. Credit: WaterAid/Stephen Sagawa

WaterAid has published a compendium of low-cost technologies to improve the accessibility of household WASH facilities for the disabled and elderly in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. There are sections on reaching facilities, latrines, bathing, waterpoints and handwashing. It can be used by staff such as health workers and community volunteers.

Cover - Compedium of accessible WASH technologies

The compendium and all images in it are free to download at: www.wateraid.org/accessibleWASHtechnologies

Related web sites:

Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is launching a new Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development. This challenge focuses on how to effectively reach and empower the most vulnerable women and girls to improve health and development – including economic – outcomes as well as gender equality.

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Gender inequalities and the marginalization of the needs, roles and potential of women and girls are key factors limiting advances in development outcomes for all – women, men, boys, girls and their communities and societies around the world. Moreover, strong associations have been identified between addressing inequalities and enhancing women and girls’ empowerment and agency, and improved development outcomes across sectors, ranging from maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition to agriculture, water, sanitation, hygiene and financial services for the poor.

The ultimate goal of this challenge is to accelerate discovery of how to most effectively and intentionally identify and address gender inequalities and how this relates to sectoral outcomes; scale-up approaches known to work, in context-relevant ways; and do more to develop better measures of the impact of approaches to enhance women’s and girls’ empowerment and agency. Intentional efforts and strategies are required so that development can contribute more to gender equality and gender equality can contribute more to development.

Grants will go to investigators in low- and middle-income countries, but we encourage partnerships with investigators in other countries, especially where the opportunity exists to build on existing collaborations.

Open Defecation in India by Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey

Open Defecation in India. EPW Economic & Political Weekly, December 6, 2014 vol xlix no 49

Authors: Assa Doron, Robin Jeffrey

This study identifies 11 issues that have inhibited the spread of a comprehensive sanitation programme. It emphasises the complexity of issues and helps avoid the facile targeting of the poor as deficient citizens, whose latrine practices are viewed as a “primitive” source of social disorder and disease. Recognition that many factors are involved and interrelated might also serve as a warning against patchwork policies that disregard local context in their haste to proclaim another district an “open defecation free zone”.

Treat your sanitation workers well

There are two contrasting stories this week on the treatment of sanitation workers: in China a local restaurant treats 180 of them to a free lunch, while in Gaza they go on strike after having received no pay for over six months.

More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant.

More than 180 sanitation workers in Chengdu, Sichuan province enjoyed a free lunch courtesy of a local hotpot restaurant. Photo: weibo.com

Sanitation workers in China get low pay, have poor working conditions and work long hours. Mr. Li, a restaurant owner in Chengdu, decided it was time to show some appreciation for their hard work, especially now as temperatures were dropping. He offered over 180 local sanitation workers a free lunch; they were “encouraged to order whatever they wanted, including alcohol”, writes Dina Li in the Shanghaiist.

The free lunch was also a compensation for the mess created when Mr Li opened his new restaurant and employees distributed more than 100,000 leaflets, most of which ended up on the streets for sanitation workers to clean up.

Waste piles up in Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza Strip, as a result of strike by sanitation workers.

Waste piles up in Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza Strip, as a result of strike by sanitation workers. Photo: Mohammad Asad, MEMO

How differently sanitation workers are treated in the Gaza Strip. Since the formation of the Palestinian unity government in June 2014, they have not received any pay. This has spurred a strike with severe consequences for the health care system. The accumulation of large piles of waste and garbage has forced the Al-Shifa Hospital to stop all work in their operation and emergency rooms.

Deputy Minister of Health, Yusuf Abu Al-Reesh warned of dangerous health conditions inside the hospitals and medical centres in Gaza since staff from the private sanitation companies went on strike.

Source:

  • Dina Li, Chengdu hotpot restaurant treats over 180 sanitation workers to free lunch, Shanghaiist, 5 Dec 2014
  • Gaza sanitation workers’ strike stalls hospital operations, Middle East Monitor, 4 Dec 2014

UNICEF/WSP – Child feces disposal in Bangladesh

Child feces disposal in Bangladesh, 2014. UNICEF; Water and Sanitation Program.

Part 1: Overview of current practices (full text, pdf)
Excerpt – In Bangladesh, in 2006, only 22% of households reported that the feces of their children under three were deposited into a toilet/latrine. Therefore, the stools of over 7.5 million children under three were not disposed safely. Th is includes over 3.5 million children whose feces were left in the open.2 Even among those 22% of households with safe child feces disposal, only half (11% overall) have an improved sanitation facility into which they could easily dispose the feces.  In rural areas of Bangladesh, crawling infants come into contact with animal feces, the baby’s own feces, and those of its brothers and sisters. According to one study, half of the mothers in two villages near Dhaka had also seen their infants eating or touching feces during the previous two weeks.

Part 2 – Interventions and Possible Program Interventions: Ideas from the Field (full text, pdf)
Excerpt –  This brief includes all relevant information that the authors have been able to locate thus far on current interventions to improve children’s sanitation in Bangladesh, as well as collating possible integration ideas from the field. It concludes with an appeal to readers to send in any additional information they may be aware of.

 

Francis de los Reyes: Sanitation is a basic human right

This talk might contain much more than you’d ever want to know about the way the world poops. But as sanitation activist (and TED Fellow) Francis de los Reyes asks — doesn’t everyone deserve a safe place to go?