Category Archives: Progress on Sanitation

Smells of Success

Published on Nov 16, 2016

About 800,000 children under age 5 die each year from diarrhea, pneumonia, and other common infections caused by unsafe water and sanitation. So how could a perfume company help?

Bill Gates shares what he learned during a tour of Firmenich, a family-owned fragrance and flavor company based in Geneva.

Learn more at http://b-gat.es/2fIZaUK

Meet David Auerbach of Sanergy: Tackling sustainable sanitation in urban slums

Published on Oct 26, 2016

MIT Sloan alumnus David Auerbach’s Sanergy turns waste into fertilizer in Kenya.

Sanergy website: http://saner.gy
Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan profile: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/sustainabilit…
Sanergy in Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/s…

Auerbach founded Sanergy with two classmates while a student at MIT Sloan. The company tackles multiple sustainability challenges at the same time, training franchisees in Nairobi’s urban slums to collect sanitation waste, which is then processed into fertilizer and later sold to local farmers. Sanergy is poised to expand to other countries in the developing world, addressing the urban sanitation problem that threatens the health of more than a billion people.

 

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India?

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India? 2016. 

Authors:

  • Payal Hathi, research institute for compassionate economics (r.i.c.e.)
  • Dean Spears,Economics and Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi; Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; r.i.c.e.
  • Diane Coffey, Economics and Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi; Woodrow Wilson School of Public andInternational Affairs at Princeton University; r.i.c.e.

The world’s remaining open defecation is increasingly concentrated in rural India. The Indian government’s efforts to reduce open defecation by providing subsidies for latrine construction have been largely unsuccessful in addressing the problem.

It is now clear that behavior change must be the priority if progress on ending open defecation is to be made. While community-led strategies have proven effective in various developing country contexts, there are serious reasons to question whether similar methods can work in rural India.

Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses, we find
that strict social hierarchies that continue to govern daily interactions in rural life today obstruct the spirit of cooperation upon which such methods rely.

Additionally, caste-based notions of purity and pollution make the simple latrines used all over the developing world unattractive to rural Indians. In acontext where people identify most closely with their caste and religious groups rather than their geographical villages, our findings suggest that a more nuanced understanding of the idea of “community” is required. More experimentation, both with community-led and other strategies, is
needed in order to effectively move from open defecation to latrine use in rural India.

The Art And Science Of Winning The Poo War

The Art And Science Of Winning The Poo War, by by Shaon Lahiri , Jyotsna Puri, Businessworld.In.

The Swachh Bharat Mission needs to refocus. Toilets may indeed be more important than temples, but only if they are used

A silent war has gripped India as the forces of open defecation threaten to defeat our overall health. In 2014 Prime Minister Modi, armed with a broom and a now familiar public relations machine, swept the streets of Delhi and Assi Ghat, and exhorted us to dream about winning this war and think of a Swachh Bharat by 2019.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), like its predecessors (Total Sanitation Campaign, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan, Central Rural Sanitation Programme, the first national sanitation plan in 1954), is doomed to fail. india-sanitation

It will fail to achieve its target of an open defecation free India. Even if constructing toilets for all Indians is (miraculously) achieved, building and using toilets are not the same thing.

A survey by the research institute for compassionate economics (r.i.c.e.) conducted in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh found that only 48% of rural households that had a functioning latrine still had at least one household member defecating in the open.

In fact, the percentage of verified open defecation-free (ODF) villages in India stands at a paltry 5%, including those verified before SBM.

Standing in the way of toilet use are a number of factors, such as poorly constructed toilets, lack of access to toilets, the convenience of open defecation, and sociocultural perceptions about impurity and fear of a pit latrine filling up with no recourse for emptying it.

Read the complete article.

Urban Sanitation: A Messy Problem for Habitat III

Urban Sanitation: A Messy Problem for Habitat III | Source: Reuters, Oct 15, 2016 | by Alberto Wilde, Ghana Country Director | Global Communities

As we approach Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, one of the most essential topics that must be addressed in the New Urban Agenda is urban sanitation.

One in three people in the world lack access to a toilet. The traditional view is that lack of access to toilets is a problem in rural areas. But with rapid urbanization across the developing world, the number of people without access to proper sanitation who live in cities is growing rapidly. This serious urban problem presents a host of new challenges for cities looking to improve sanitation. Since 2011, with Global Communities, I have overseen a series of water and sanitation projects in both rural and urban Ghana. During that time, we’ve identified some of the biggest challenges of urban sanitation:

Lack of planning — In the wealthier neighborhoods of cities that were developed with proper urban planning, providing a toilet can be as simple and low cost as hooking it up to the existing sewer system. But rapid urban expansion in developing countries tends to be in slums which grow haphazardly, with little in the way of planning for the expansion of services, and often little taxation to pay for these services.

Lack of space — In the rural setting the biggest challenge for construction of latrines is finding affordable materials for construction. In an urban environment this is less of a problem as materials can be sourced fairly easily. Instead, the problem is a lack of space. Space, especially in crowded slums, comes at a premium.

Land titling — Most residents in urban settings do not own their land. Whether they are squatting or renting legally, they are not legally permitted to make improvements like adding a toilet, even if they wish to do so. Instead, it is up to the landlord to take the initiative and bear the cost, something that is rarely a priority, especially when they can increase their earnings by adding another room to rent as opposed to a bathroom.

Governance and enforcement — the Government of Ghana has a laudable policy that new homes must have a latrine. However, even when such laws are passed, enforcement can be difficult. Unscrupulous landlords may put a latrine into the architect’s plans but when construction takes place, the space changes function. It is essential that plans are checked both at the beginning and during construction to ensure laws are being followed.

Continue reading

What numbers tell us about Open Defecation in India

What numbers tell us about Open Defecation in India | Source: The Hindu, Oct 2 2016 |

As per the most recent Swachhta Status Report in 2015, more than half of the rural population (52.1 per cent) of the country still defecates in open. 

sanitation-india

Behaviour change is a key priority of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan as sanitation is a behavioural issue. Photo: Special Arrangement

As per the most recent Swachhta Status Report in 2015, more than half of the rural population (52.1 per cent) of the country still defecates in open.

Eliminating Open Defecation in India by 2nd October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – is one of the key aims of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan movement launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi two years ago on Gandhi Jayanti.

As per the most recent Swachhta Status Report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), in 2015, more than half of the rural population (52.1 per cent) of the country still defecates in open —a major public health and sanitation problem.

How does India compare with other countries?

India fares poorly. According to data compiled by r.i.c.e, Sub-Saharan Africa, which had 65 per cent of the GDP per capita of India, had only about half of the rural open defecation compared to India.

In Bangladesh, only 5 per cent of rural people defecate in the open, significantly lower than that in India.

Read the complete article.

WaterAid – A tale of clean cities: Strong local leadership key to solving urban sanitation challenge

A tale of clean cities: Strong local leadership key to solving urban sanitation challenge | Source: Reuters News, Sept 1 2016 |

Providing sanitation services to the urban poor is not an easy task, but new research shows that it can be done 

Public+toilet+Kumasi

Public toilet in Kumasi, Ghana. Credit: WaterAid

A staggering 54% of the global population now live in urban areas, and city infrastructure is struggling to keep up in many countries, leaving millions without access to clean water and toilets and dramatically increasing the risk of disease

Uncontrolled urbanisation is putting a major strain on city planners to extend drinking water and sanitation services to all. Providing sanitation services to the urban poor is not an easy task, but new research from WaterAid shows that it can be done. The report A tale of clean cities: insights for planning urban sanitation from Ghana, India and The Philippines, released this week, explores three success stories to understand ‘what works’ when tackling the urban sanitation challenge.

There is no one size fits all measure when it comes to ensuring sustainable sanitation services, but one common feature in the three cities studied – Visakhapatnam (India), Kumasi (Ghana) and San Fernando (the Philippines) – is the vital role of strong local leadership, be it from the mayor or the head of the waste management department. When these people make sanitation their priority, cities can make significant strides in ensuring access to services for all urban dwellers. The research also found that financing opportunities were also critical in order to translate these efforts into action.

Read the complete article.