Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

What Kenya Can Teach The U.S. About Menstrual Pads

What Kenya Can Teach The U.S. About Menstrual Pads | Source: NPR, May 10, 2016 |

The United States is only just starting to get periods — or, at least, acknowledging that products for “that time of the month” aren’t optional for menstruating women.

In 40 states, plus the District of Columbia, pads and tampons are subject to sales tax. Earlier this year, when President Obama was asked why they haven’t been exempted like other necessities, he said, “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

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Faith Wanjoki of ZanaAfrica gives a lesson on how to use a sanitary pad in a classroom in Kisumu, Kenya. Her colleague, Catherine Onyango, sits by her side. ZanaAfrica Foundation

But there’s a movement to fight these taxes, and several states have eliminated them. Next up: New York, which has just passed a bill that’s awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

Meanwhile, one country is way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to understanding that pads and tampons shouldn’t be taxed.

It’s Kenya.

Kenya repealed its value added tax on pads and tampons back in 2004 to lower the price consumers pay. And since 2011, the Kenyan government has been budgeting about $3 million per year to distribute free sanitary pads in schools in low-income communities.

That’s not to say Kenya is an ideal place to get one’s period. Many Kenyan girls still don’t have access to sanitary products, so they use unhygienic materials like chicken feathers, cheap mattresses and newspapers to fashion makeshift pads, says Megan White Mukuria.

Mukuria is the founder of ZanaAfrica Foundation, which delivers health education — and sanitary pads — to help girls stay in school. A girl who is embarrassed to stain her uniform (or has an infection) is one who is likely to skip class and eventually drop out, Mukuria explains. UNESCO estimates that more than two million Kenyan girls need support in order to get menstrual hygiene products.

Read the complete article.

Bangladesh: First South Asian Nation To Become Open-Defecation Free – Analysis

Bangladesh: First South Asian Nation To Become Open-Defecation Free – Analysis | Source: Eurasia Review, May 9 2016 |

Bangladesh, once described as “bottomless basket”, has achieved remarkable success in many aspects of social sector, including sanitation. The strong political will of the government and an inclusive approach have brought fundamental change in the area of sanitation of the South Asian nation. In 2015, open-defecation in the country reduced to just 1%. Besides, improved sanitation coverage stood at 61%, an increase of 28% since 2003.

Bangladesh

Pastoral scene in Bangladesh.

A nationwide survey carried out in 2003 to assess the sanitation facilities in Bangladesh revealed an alarmingly poor condition. The survey found that only 33% of the households had access to hygienic latrines, while 42% people did not use any type of latrine, defecated in the open. The prevalence of abysmal poverty among rural people was identified as the most important reason for not having latrine. The review disclosed that almost 20% of the households had been very poor.

In order to improve the sanitation facilities throughout the country, the Bangladesh government undertook a series of measures activating its agencies from the national to the grassroots level after 2003. The primary responsibility of the sanitation sector is entrusted with the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives.

Read the complete article.

Startup Turns Plastic Collected By Waste Pickers Into 3D Printer Ink

Startup Turns Plastic Collected By Waste Pickers Into 3D Printer Ink | Source: Huffington Post, May 5 2016 |

Trash collectors would be able to earn 20 times more than they do now.

Millions of waste collectors in developing countries spend their days sifting through garbage. It’s a task that’s dangerous and unhealthy, yet pretty critical considering that most of it is dumped illegally and there’s minimal private waste collection.

India Daily Life

A homeless child rag picker waits to cross a road after collecting recyclable material from a garbage dump in Gauhati, India, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

But they only earn about $2 a day and often burn the plastic in a way that’s deleterious to the environment.

Reflow, a startup out of Amsterdam, has found a way to disrupt that model, and help these workers earn 20 times more than do now.

The company partners directly with waste pickers and converts the plastic they amass into high quality print filament, which is what 3D printers use instead of ink.

Waste pickers, or those who make money by gathering and selling recyclable items, often live below the poverty line, the company pointed out on its Kickstarter page.

“Everywhere you go, you can find huge groups of people collecting waste barely being able to feed their family, plastic being burned in open air and plastic waste clogging drains, causing floods and spread disease,” the page reads. “Seeing this broke our hearts, and we were determined to help break this cycle.”

Read the complete article.

Recent studies on sanitation acess & violence,and others

Below are links to the abstracts or full text of recently published articles:

Access to sanitation and violence against women: evidence from Demographic Health Survey (DHS) data in Kenya. Int J Environ Health Res. 2016 June.
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26593879

This study analyzed 2008 Kenya Demographic Health Survey’s data and found women who primarily practice open defecation (OD), particularly in disorganized communities, had higher odds of experiencing recent non-partner violence

Untangling the Impacts of Climate Change on Waterborne Diseases: a Systematic Review of Relationships between Diarrheal Diseases and Temperature, Rainfall, Flooding, and Drought. Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Apr 25.
Abstract: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b06186

Key areas of agreement include a positive association between ambient temperature and diarrheal diseases, with the exception of viral diarrhea and an increase in diarrheal disease following heavy rainfall and flooding events. Insufficient evidence was available to evaluate the effects of drought on diarrhea. There is evidence to support the biological plausibility of these associations, but publication bias is an ongoing concern.

The Impact of a School-Based Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Program on Absenteeism, Diarrhea, and Respiratory Infection: A Matched–Control Trial in Mali. Amer Jnl Trop Med Hyg, Current issue
Abstract – http://www.ajtmh.org/content/early/2016/04/21/ajtmh.15-0757.abstract

We found that a school-based WASH intervention can have a positive effect on reducing rates of illness, as well as absence due to diarrhea. However, we did not find evidence that these health impacts led to a reduction in overall absence. Higher absence rates are less likely attributable to the intervention than the result of an imbalance in unobserved confounders between study groups.

Continue reading

Girls Across The Globe Are Missing School Because Of Their Periods

Girls Across The Globe Are Missing School Because Of Their Periods | Source: Yahoo News, April 18 2016 |

One in 10 school-age girls in Africa misses school or drops out for reasons related to her period, according to one widely cited UNICEF statistic.

afripads

Photo courtesy of AFRIPADS

Growing up in Connecticut, Sophia Grinvalds would pick a queue with a female cashier when she went shopping for tampons, just to avoid making her purchase in front of a male employee.

But when she ended up working in Africa after graduation, she said she quickly realised that the “sense of fear or embarrassment” that comes along with menstruation and access to supplies in the U.S. can have astronomically bigger consequences for women and girls there.

Grinvalds had been living in a remote village in Uganda for five months when she was met with an unpleasant surprise: Her period arrived, but her feminine-product supply had run out.

“I did what any sensible person does,” she recalled. “I sent my boyfriend into a village to go and find me some pads.”

After coming up empty at the local depots — six-foot-by-six-foot wooden shacks that sell everything from eggs to soap — her now-husband, Paul, hitched a ride on a motorcycle to find a merchant that had Grinvalds’ needed supplies in stock. An errand that would have lasted 30 minutes or fewer back home in the U.S. ended up taking Paul more than three hours.

Read the complete article.

WASTE -A documentary by Parasher Baruah

After winning a fellowship with InfoChange India, Parasher Baruah has directed a documentary film about the rag pickers of Dharavi . The film was selected to be screened at the Munich Documentary Film Festival in May 2009.

Filmed over a period of eight months in Dharavi, WASTE explores the importance of the rag pickers’ role in managing the city’s waste and the challenges that these people face every day. The film follows three adolescent rag pickers, Sameer, Santosh, and Salman, as they go about their daily lives and interviews other rag pickers and residents of Dharavi in the process.

WASTE leaves a powerful impact on its audience and prompts viewers to rethink the way they use and dispose of trash. The film continues to be screened at various schools and events to bring attention to the living conditions of rag pickers and to help audiences gain perspective on how their patterns of consumption impact the environment

CLTS and the Right to Sanitation

 CLTS and the Right to SanitationFrontiers of CLTS issue 8, 2016. Authors: Issue8_Human_Rights_FINAL-17Musembi, C. and Musyoki, S.

The purpose of this issue of Frontiers of CLTS is to examine Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in light of human rights: Does CLTS contribute to realising the right to
sanitation and other inter-related rights? Are the principles and practices of CLTS ompatible with human rights?

What are the specific areas of compatibility? What areas raise concerns about actual or potential incompatibilities? With regard to areas of compatibility we discuss CLTS’
consistency with the principle of interdependence of rights, our interpretation of the nature of state duty in relation to CLTS, and CLTS’ recognition of the need to
balance individual and community rights and duties.

With regard to actual or potential incompatibilities with human rights, we discuss complex and controversial issues surrounding the use of shame and disgust, the range of sanctions employed by communities and governments, and subsidies, in light of the right to improved sanitation for all.

We demonstrate that while CLTS is compatible with a human rights based approach to sanitation, there is the potential risk of violation of human rights through bad practice in the name of CLTS. This risk is arguably multiplied with the scaling-up of CLTS, which highlights the need for a fuller understanding of human rights and more rigorous coaching of CLTS practitioners, as well as re-orientation of the attitudes of government public health officials and local leaders.