Can We Know Better?: Reflections for Development. Robert Chambers, Practical Action, June 2017.
This book is intended for all who are committed to human wellbeing and who want to make our world fairer, safer and more fulfilling for everyone, especially those who are ‘last’. It argues that to do better we need to know better. It provides evidence that what we believe we know in international development is often distorted or unbalanced by errors, myths, biases and blind spots.
Undue weight has been attached to standardised methodologies such as randomized control trials, systematic reviews, and competitive bidding: these are shown to have huge transaction costs which are rarely if ever recognized in their enormity. To confront the challenges of complex and emergent realities requires a revolutionary new professionalism. Promising developments include rapid innovations in participatory ICTs, participatory statistics, and the Reality Check Approach with its up-to-date and rigorously grounded insights.
An excerpt – Beginning on page 37, Chambers discusses Out of the closet: blind spots of WASH. Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a source of examples of past and present (though diminishing) blind spots and biases.
Infant poo. Andres Hueso has called infant poo the blind spot of blind spots (pers. comm.). Explanations can be sought in terms of biases: cleaning children’s faeces is overwhelmingly women’s work and women often lack time and resources to deal with it hygienically; it is less smelly and disgusting than adults’; it is widely regarded as harmless, although it carries a heavier pathogen load than that of adults. So in rural areas where there is open defecation, it is common practice to leave infant poo in the
open near dwellings or to throw it on rubbish heaps together with rags or other material used for wiping bottoms. For many it would be too expensive or time consuming to do anything else.
View/download the entire book or individual chapters.
Valerie Labi, iDE WASH Director in Ghana, speaks at the launch of Sama Sama, a sanitation social enterprise in northern Ghana.
By Yi Wei, iDE Global WASH Director
Every organization knows the pain and disruption caused by bad hiring decisions, or waiting for an employee to develop the necessary skills to excel in a position he or she is not a fit for. I work for iDE, a nonprofit organization that has been implementing market-based development programs for over 30 years. When it comes to successfully managing a sanitation marketing program, hiring business-savvy program leadership is critical.
If we truly want to drive progress towards the U.N.’s goal to “ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all,” I believe these four things should be considered by any organization working in WASH:
- Invest in recruiting talent with business acumen.
- Identify and develop business leadership skills.
- Incentivize potential leaders competitively, taking into account the opportunity cost candidates face forgoing potentially lucrative private sector positions, and not just the prevailing wages of the nonprofit labor market.
- Incubate and foster an organizational focus on training and knowledge sharing.
Dive deeper into the four strategies for building a business-savvy team.
Shared toilets in Kenya. Photo: Sanergy
• WaterAid joins WSUP, World Bank and leading academics in urging donors, policymakers and planners not to neglect shared sanitation
• Where private household toilets aren’t yet an option, safe, well-managed shared toilets are a crucial step to further improvement
Funding for safe, shared toilets in fast-growing developing-world cities is at risk of neglect from donors, policymakers and planners, a new journal article authored by sanitation specialists, senior economists and leading academics has warned.
Authors from the World Bank, WaterAid and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor have joined leading academics from the University of Leeds and the University of Colorado – Boulder in calling for shared toilets as an essential stepping-stone towards universal sanitation.
Think tank for sanitation management inaugurated. Graphic, June 28, 2017.
An environmental sanitation think tank to serve as a focal point for providing long-term solutions to sustainable and environmental sanitation management in Ghana has been inaugurated in Accra.
Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, swearing in the board of the Tersus Ghana Environmental Sanitation Think Tank at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science conference room in Accra. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE
The think tank, called Tersus Ghana, will provide input and guidance for rigorous empirical research that will produce environmental sanitation-related information relevant to the sector and the nation as a whole.
Tersus, a Latin word for ‘clean-up’, will operate as a not-for-profit, non-partisan group with a membership made up of government, academia, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGO) and industry-based experts.
Read the complete article.
Changing the village, changing the country. World Bank Water Blog, June 27, 2017.
How do you persuade people to use a toilet? This is an urgent question across rural India: somewhere near half a billion people are still defecating in the open, and the Swachh Bharat Mission is urging them to stop by 2019.
India has about 650,000 villages. Many have tried different techniques – some successfully, some not. What if there were a “Google of sanitation”, where you could search for success stories of others who have faced the same situation, and a “LinkedIn of Sanitation” where you could reach out to peers with questions?
India’s government and the World Bank are together creating a platform for this, using systematic knowledge-sharing and learning as an approach to support the Swachh Bharat Mission and change behaviors. The approach is based on the belief that many excellent local sanitation solutions exist and can be replicated across the country.
Read the complete article.
Pictures: Left: Ms Lunga Devi from Pawa, Pali is interviewed by Government officials in Rajasthan on how she became a natural leader on ODF in her village and helped it transform, as part of the ‘World Bank – Capturing Local Sanitation Solutions’ training. Right: Villagers from Muzzafarpur district in the State of Bihar talking about local sanitation solutions.