Category Archives: Dignity and Social Development

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?

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on World Toilet Day 2014

Issue 169| Nov 14, 2014 | Focus on World Toilet Day 2014

This issue of the Weekly features websites and reports on World Water Day 2014 as well as other recent sanitation reports and articles that have not been featured in previous issues of the Weekly. November 19 is now formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as World Toilet Day. The objective of World Toilet Day is to make sanitation for all a global development priority and urge changes in both behavior and policy on issues ranging from improving water management to ending open defecation.

WORLD TOILET DAY 2014 RESOURCES

World Toilet Day 2014 Website. Link
This website contains a wealth of information and resources on World Toilet Day.

WaterAid: It’s No Joke: World Toilet Day 2014. Link
WaterAid is using comedy to get the nation talking toilets. Watch some of Britain’s best-loved comedians go head to head with their toilet-related jokes.

Ten Things You Can Do for UN World Toilet Day. World Toilet Organization. Link
Sustainable sanitation is a matter of dignity, equality, and safety and is crucial to improving the health and well-being of one-third of humanity. What can you do to help make “sanitation for all” a reality this World Toilet Day?

World Toilet Organization. Link
Founded on November 19, 2001, the World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global nonprofit committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. WTO empowers individuals through education, training, and building local marketplace opportunities to advocate for clean and safe sanitation facilities in their communities.

EVENTS

Picturing CLTS: Photo Competition. Link
The CLTS Knowledge Hub is sponsoring a photo competition and is seeking photos that depict the CLTS approach and/or show different types of CLTS activities, tell a story about what has happened as a result of CLTS, and illustrate related aspects of sanitation and hygiene, e.g., menstrual hygiene  management, hand washing, etc. The winning entries will be published in a special feature on the CLTS website. Both winning and non-winning photos will be used on the CLTS website and in other published materials with full credit to the photographer.

Request for Applications: Partnership with R4D on Scaling WASH Innovations, 2014. Results for Development. Link
Results for Development Institute (R4D) announces a request for applications to become a country or regional partner for a new center focused on scaling innovations in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. The center will identify the most promising and innovative WASH programs, policies, and practices and facilitate their scale-up by connecting these programs to others in the field, policy makers, researchers, and potential funders, as well as to the key tools and services they need.

SANITATION REPORTS/VIDEOS/BLOG POSTS

How to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2030. Devex, Oct 2014. J Ahmad. Blog post
The author discusses political will and the need for a focus on behavior change as keys to ending open defecation.

Revealed Preference for Open Defecation: Evidence from a New Survey in Rural North India, 2014. D Coffey. Working Paper | Research Brief
Researchers found a regional preference for open defecation: many survey respondents reported that open defecation is more pleasurable and desirable than latrine use. Among people who defecate in the open, a majority report that widespread open defecation would be at least as good for child health as latrine use by everyone in the village. These findings suggest that intensifying existing policies of latrine construction will not be enough to substantially reduce open defecation.

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SuSanA Discussion Forum – Shame in sanitation

A series of interesting posts on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and the shaming strategy/approach used in CLTS.

Excerpts:

  • Not a big fan of such tactics either, but I think one needs to acknowledge the other side too, i.e. open defecation is not simply an individual problem but rather one that effects entire communities, so exerting social pressure on the offenders is to some extend justified. The main problem seems to be that it is “all sticks and no carrots”, which given the low economic capabilities of many offenders isn’t very likely to work in the medium to long term.
  • Whistle-blowing by students to stop open defecators is like promoting gang-mobbing as a sort of rule of law. There are underlying reasons for why open defecation is practiced. One billion open defecators cannot be wrong. The psychology of shaming people for defecating in the open or even discussing defecation in public is a deep-rooted one relating to the commonly shared taboo surrounding human excreta. I would even accuse WASH experts and senior officials for indirectly contributing to this behavior when they use swear words to describe human excreta. This is the last chapter in human development and most people have not progressed beyond childhood when it comes to discussing excreta.

 

#WorldToiletDay seminar: sanitation for improved lives of women and children

Sida-WaterAid-WTD-Seminar

Sida and WaterAid are organising a seminar on 19 November 2014, World Toilet Day, in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Inspirational Morning Seminar on The Relevance of Sanitation and Hygiene in Addressing Children’s and Women’s Health & Rights will be held at Sida’s headquarters from 08.30-12.00.

The seminar aims to raise awareness about the taboos and difficulties surrounding sanitation specifically as it relates to health and for example girls’ and women’s menstrual hygiene management  (MHM).

The seminar moderators are Ana Gren and Johan Sundberg.

Speakers include:

  • Archana Patkar – Presentation of WSSCC – MHM Relevance, program approaches, Reflections, need for innovation, recommendations how to best address the problem
  • Robert Chambers – WASH, Women and Children: from blind spots to core concerns?
  • Jenny Fredby, WaterAid, Sanitation and hygiene for children’s and women’s health, approaches, reflections and recommendations for SDGs

The seminar will close with a discussion followed by a joint pledge to “Break the silence, Be proud – Don’t be shy, Tell your friends”.

Register before 14 November on the Sida web site.

10:55 – 11:50 Joint discussion for all participants; the discussion will be fuelled by discussion engines: Experts in DEMO & HR, Health, Governance, Research – SIWI, SEI, SanWatPUA, Sida

11.50 – 12.00 Closure – Take the pledge! – Break the silence, Be proud – Don’t be shy, Tell your friends (Sida & WaterAid)

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Human Rights

Issue 162 | Sept 19, 2014 | Focus on WASH & Human Rights

This issue highlights the just-published handbook on WASH and human rights by Catarina de Albuquerque, the UN special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation. Also included are studies from the UNC Water Institute; Human Rights Watch; fact sheets and position statements from the UN and UNICEF; country reports from the DRC, Haiti, and South Africa; and links to relevant websites.

Realising the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation: A Handbook, 2014. C de Albuquerque. (Link)
This handbook is the product of six years of work by the first UN special rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. It explains the meaning and legal obligations that arise from these rights, translating the often complex technical and legal language into accessible information. The target audiences for this handbook are governments at all levels, donors, and national regulatory bodies. It provides information that will also be useful to other local, regional, and international stakeholders, including civil society, service providers, and human rights organizations.

Fact Sheet on the Right to Water, n.d. United Nations. | Arabic | English | French |Spanish
The roots of the current water and sanitation crisis can be traced to poverty, inequality, and unequal power relationships, and it is exacerbated by social and environmental challenges: accelerating urbanization, climate change, and increasing pollution and depletion of water resources. To address this crisis, the international community has increasingly recognized that access to safe drinking water and sanitation must be considered within a human rights framework.

Translating the Human Right to Water and Sanitation into Public Policy Reform.Science and Engineering Ethics, Jan 2014. B Meier. (Link)
The development of a human right to water and sanitation under international law has created an imperative to implement human rights in water and sanitation policy. Through 43 interviews with informants in international institutions, national governments, and NGOs, this research examines interpretations of this new human right on global governance, national policy, and local practice.

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