Category Archives: Sanitary Facilities

Indestructible and smart: public toilet innovation in India

An interview with sanitation entrepreneur Mayank Midha.

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Stainless steel GARV Ttoilets and Mayank Midha

As a child, Mayank Midha remembers how his mother and sister suffered during long distance journeys in India. They had to “hold themselves up” because there were hardly any decent public toilets on the way.

There is still a shortage of well-maintained public toilets in India, says Mayank. This affects women and girls most. Men can more easily urinate or defecate in the open.

Indestructible toilets

On 7 September 2016, Mayank Midha won the Sanitation Innovation Accelerator 2016, a search for an inclusive and sustainable solution for rural sanitation in India. The judges praised Mayank for developing an indestructible smart toilet, which is much cheaper than comparable models without comprising on quality.

Mayank has been in the manufacturing business for the past seven years. As an engineer with a post-graduate degree in rural management, he is interested in technical solutions for the poorest people at the “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP). After completing a project to manufacture telecom enclosure panels, he saw three spare panels lying in the factory. Their structure  made Mayank think, why not change some specifications and use them to construct Portable Smart Toilets?

After a year a prototype was ready in 2015 and in 2016 the stainless steel insulated GARV Toilet was born. Solar panels power LED lights and exhaust fans inside the toilet. Using stainless steel for the superstructure, toilet pans, and washbasins has multiple advantages: the units are vandal-proof, easy to clean and they don’t rust. This means a higher shelf-life with lower operating costs.

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Using a CLTS approach in peri-urban and urban areas

Published on Oct 6, 2016

Although Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) was designed for and is predominantly being used in rural settings, there are a growing number of cases that have adopted a CLTS approach in peri-urban and urban areas.

This webinar looked at its use in urban areas. Jamie Myers, research officer at the CLTS Knowledge Hub, presented the urban work the Hub have been engaging in. Drawing on global experience he proposed that urban CLTS does not mean strictly following processes and tools that have been used in rural areas but adhering to similar principles and designing an intervention based on the context of a specific town or city.

Want to engage with wetland communities? Start with sanitation!

An interview with Dr. Ritesh Kumar of Wetlands International South Asia.

Loktak Lake fisherman, Manipur, India

Loktak Lake fisherman, Manipur, India. Photo: Sandro Lacarbona. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Every morning at four o’clock, thousands of men wake up to go fishing in Loktak Lake. When they return home in the early afternoon, their wives take the fish to the market.

Loktak Lake in Manipur is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India. This unique ecosystem is both a source of water and livelihood for around 100,000 people living on and around the lake. Loktak Lake is famous for its phumdis or floating islands. The lake’s Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating park in the world.

Poor sanitation threatens livelihood

If the lake’s fishermen or their wives fall ill, or if there is less fish to catch, they earn less. In both cases, poor sanitation is often the culprit. Fishermen risk getting skin diseases from polluted lake water. The whole family gets sick if faecal waste leaches into their drinking water sources. Water hyacinths thrive on faecal nutrients, choking the lake and the fish.

Wetlands International worked in Loktak Lake for several years up to 2013. “We are ‘accidental learners’ when it comes to sanitation”, says Dr. Ritesh Kumar, Conservation Programme Manager – South Asia.

Providing twin pit toilets to fishing families seemed like a simple solution to improve their health and protect their livelihood.  “Later we realised that soil conditions caused faecal waste to leach into water sources”, Dr. Kumar tells me from his office in New Delhi’s Defence Colony. Moving the toilets away from the houses to rocky areas solves the leaching problem, but gives rise to others, Dr. Kumar admits. The toilets are less accessible for the ill, disabled and the elderly; women and girls feel less safe to use them after dark.

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Investing in early childhood development essential to helping more children and communities thrive, new Lancet Series finds

Investing in early childhood development essential to helping more children and communities thrive, new Lancet Series finds | Source: UNICEF, Oct 4 2016.

249 million children under five are at risk of not reaching developmental potential, implementing low-cost interventions could reverse this trend

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2016 – An estimated 43 per cent—249 million—of children under five in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at an elevated risk of poor development due to extreme poverty and stunting, according to findings from The Lancet’s new Series, Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale.

The Series reveals that early childhood development interventions that promote nurturing care—health, nutrition, responsive caregiving, security and safety, and early learning—may cost as little as 50 cents per child per year, when combined with existing services such as health. The World Health Organization, the World Bank, and UNICEF contributed to and offered guidance to the Series.

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A mother with her newborn baby recovers in a postnatal ward at the Shakawe clinic in the village of Shakawe in Botswana on November 29, 2010.

The findings in this Series underscore the importance of increased global commitment to early childhood development. Individuals are estimated to suffer a loss of about a quarter of average adult income per year, while countries may forfeit up to as much as two times their current GDP expenditures on health or education. Consequences of inaction impact not only present but future generations.

“We now know how high the cost of inaction is, and new evidence makes clear that the time to act is now. We hope the evidence in this Series will help countries reach more pregnant women and young children with preventive and promotive services that have the potential to drastically improve developmental outcomes for children as well as their adult health, wellbeing, and economic productivity,” said Series co-author, Professor Linda M. Richter, PhD, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
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How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction?

How can we reach an SDG target when we’re moving in the wrong direction? | Source: The Guardian, Oct 5 2016 |

Based on analysis we conducted, there are five targets needing complete turnaround: reducing inequality, limiting slum populations, reducing waste, combating climate change and protecting marine environments.

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Waste, and slum populations, are projected to double in some areas by 2030 – despite sustainable development goal targets to reduce them. Photograph: Kibae Park#111904/Flickr Vision

Reduce income inequality – target 10.1
Income inequality is set to worsen globally if current trends continue. Four out of five people live in countries where the bottom 40% has experienced slower growth than the average. Globally, since 2000, the bottom 40% has grown around half a percentage point slower than the average rate of growth annually.

Reduce slum populations – target 11.1
The number of people living in slums continues to rise, if the numbers follow their current course they are predicted to rise from 850 million today to over 1 billion people by 2030. The vast majority of this increase is due to take place in sub-Saharan Africa, where slum populations will almost double.

Reduce waste – target 12.5
Projections show that the total amount of solid waste generated globally will almost double from 3.5 million tonnes a day in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2025. Projected growth is mainly driven by emerging market economies in east and south Asia where waste generation is forecast to triple, and other developing countries where it is projected to double. This of course is on top of what is already quite a high level per capita in OECD countries.

Combat climate change – target 13.2
While this target does not refer to a quantifiable indicator, reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions is a useful proxy. Significant growth of greenhouse gases is projected to occur in emerging markets, on top of already high levels in OECD countries. These emissions need to be reduced in order for the world to be able to address climate change effectively.

Protect marine environments – target 14.2
Projections show that 90% of reefs will be under threat by 2030, up from a starting point of 75% in 2007. While harmful coastal practices like overfishing are of current concern, part of the increased threat is due to anticipated thermal stress and acidification linked to carbon emissions.

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Sustainable Sanitation Alliance – Thematic Online Discussion: “Managing WASH in Schools – Is the Education Sector Ready?”

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is excited to announce the 10th Thematic Online Discussion on the topic of “Managing WASH in Schools – Is the Education Sector Ready?”

Starting on Monday, September 19, we invite you to join our discussion on the challenges of WASH in Schools (WinS) globally which is part of SuSanA’s Thematic Discussion Series (TDS).

The direct links of WinS to SDG2 (health), SDG6 (water and sanitation) and SDG4 (education) pose the chance for increased inter-sectoral cooperation. Thereby, the education sector’s leadership and management are critical to broad-scale implementation and success of WinS. Yet, how is the education sector taking WASH on board and how can the sector manage it? How does the reality look like in schools around the world? What does it take for better-managed WinS? What shifts/changes are necessary to see the situation change?

Building on the SuSanA Working Group 7 (Community, Rural & Schools) meeting during the Stockholm Water Week 2016, we would like to address these and other questions in order to get a better understanding of the challenges and needs of the education sector to successfully manage WASH in schools.

In particular, we will structure our discussion along two topics – (1) Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level and (2) Implementation Level/Matters of Implementation.

For both topics, experts from both the WASH and the education sector will provide leadership, food for thought and a profound insight into the topic. Questions raised by Forum Users will also be addressed.

Discussing WASH in school and the education sector’s role and potential for leadership, we propose the following schedule:

Theme I – Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level (September 19-30)
Theme II – Implementation Level (September 21-30)

We look forward to interested participants and an enriching discussion on WinS.

Kind regards,

Antonio S.D. on behalf of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance

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 

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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.

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