Category Archives: Regions

India sanitation initiative wins prestigious UN prize

Training women in Nadia District, Sabar Shouchagar programme

Training women in Nadia District,. Photo credit: Sabar Shouchagar programme

The UN has awarded one of their prestigious 2015 Public Service Awards to Nadia district in West Bengal for their sanitation initiative Sabar Shouchagar (Toilets for All).

Bordering on Bangladesh,  the rural district has a population of 5.4 million of whom nearly 2 million or 40% practised open defecation in 2013.  This was in sharp contrast with neighbouring Bangladesh, where only 4% of the people practise open defecation. This realisation sparked the district to start pooling available government resources and develop the Sabar Shouchar concept.

Besides pooling government funds, the concept involved mass awareness campaigns, parternships with NGOs, focus on women and children as change agents, rural sanitation marts, transforming district administration and a 10% mandatory user contribution to cost of toilet construction.

All this resulted in Nadia becoming the first Indian district to be declared open defecation free on 30 April 2015.

2015 UNPSA Banner10

Nadia district will receive its award from the United Nations Secretary-General on 23 June 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.

For more information go to: sabarshouchagar.in

Source: Indian Express, 8 May 2015

Toilet humour is serious business [video]

An inspirational (and funny) TEDx talk on the impact of school sanitation on girls in India.

Told by Australian busnessman, Mark Balla whose visit to the world’s largest slum Dharavi changed his life and turned him into a “toilet warrior”.

Mark is the Founder and Director of Community Engagement at We Can’t Wait.

Urban Sanitation in Bo City, Sierra Leone: A Study on Knowledge, Attitude and Practices

A Summary on Urban Sanitation in Bo City, Sierra Leone: A Study on Knowledge, Attitude and Practices, 2015. 

Authors: Bockarie Abdel Aziz Bawoh, Welthungerhilfe M&E Officer; Swaliho Koroma, Bo City Council Waste Officer

Coordinated by Raphael Thurn, Welthungerhilfe Project Advisor

Published in April 2015 by Bo City Council and Welthungerhilfe Bo, Sierra Leone

Contact wash@welthungerhilfe.de to request the full report.

Conclusions and Recommendations
This study has shown that the general level of knowledge of people about proper solid and liquid waste management is in many areas not profound enough to ensure systematically behavioural changes in the future. Furthermore the indiscriminate disposal of solid and liquid waste by local households is common and widespread. It needs to be understood that the existing sanitation facilities
of households are often not meeting minimum standards3. The capacities and infrastructure of the public and private sector to efficiently address these challenges are insufficient to ensure the provision of quality services to the residents of Bo City. There is also very little knowledge and information about concepts like reuse, recycling, waste minimization and separation.

Strategies to improve household solid and liquid waste management in Bo City and its environs are recommended to consider these identified deficiencies. One focus should lie on increasing the knowledge on health and environmental implications of inadequate solid and liquid waste management. It will be prudent to encourage community involvement in waste management whereby the communities have a sense of responsibility towards their own health and environment. Another aspect is to improve government involvement through provision of sufficient funds, equipment (especially for sludge emptying), capacity building and manpower, and to create an enabling environment for private investments in solid and liquid waste management including the waste collection, transportation, trading, reuse and recycling sector. Information needs to be disseminated on methods and practices of reuse and recycling and local markets for waste traders and recyclers need to be further developed. Steps taken in these directions could help to achieve improved sanitary conditions in Bo City and its environs and also reduce the spread of preventable diseases.

Culture and the health transition: Understanding sanitation behaviour in rural north India

Culture and the health transition: Understanding sanitation behaviour in rural north India, April 2015. International Growth Centre (ICG) Working Paper.

Authors: Diane Coffey, Aashish Gupta, Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Nikhil Srivastav, and Sangita Vyas.

Key Facts

  • Poor sanitation spreads bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections including diarrhoea, polio, cholera, and hookworm. Despite this, 70% of rural Indian households defecate in the open, without a toilet
    or latrine. Over 60% of the people worldwide who defecate in the open live in India. Bangladesh, which shares a border with India, has a rural open defecation rate of only 5%.
  • Based on a survey of around 3,200 households, and 100 in-depth interviews, this research finds that having a household latrine is widely seen to damage the purity of the home. Open defecation, on
    the other hand, is widely seen to promote purity and strength, and is also associated with health and longevity.
  • A further reason for particularly poor hygiene in Indian public spaces is due to the ongoing renegotiation of caste-based social rules. Most Hindus remain inflexibly opposed to emptying their own latrine pits. As part of a push for greater equality, people from the lowest “untouchable” castes resist emptying latrine pits because this work is widely seen as degrading and reinforcing of their low social status.

Water and sanitation in health centres in Mali – podcast

Water and sanitation in health centres in Mali – podcast | Source: The Guardian, April 28, 2015 |

Lucy Lamble presents this edition of the Global development podcast, looking at how the lack of water and sanitation is affecting health centres in Mali. Just 20% of the country’s health facilities provide clean water.

Photo from WaterAid

Photo from WaterAid

She visits Diatoula, 15km south-east of Bamako, a community of 1,000 people which has one health centre, and hears from Nurse Vinima Baya about how they cope with the lack of water within the facility, with patients and their families gathering buckets of water from the village well.

At Kalabancoro town on the outskirts of Bamako, Lucy visits a clinic opened in 2013, which has done much to improve healthcare for local residents – but where staff still have to buy safe drinking water or ask patients to bring it in.

We hear from experts including Mamadou Diarafa Diallo, WaterAid’s country representative in Mali, and Maggie Montgomery, from WHO’s Water, Sanitation and Health unit, on the problems the country faces in improving access to safe water.

Infant and Young Child Faeces Management: Potential enabling products for their hygienic collection, transport, and disposal in Cambodia

Infant and Young Child Faeces Management: Potential enabling products for their hygienic collection, transport, and disposal in Cambodia, 2015. WaterSHED; London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Authors: Molly Miller-Petrie, Lindsay Voigt, Lyn McLennan, Sandy Cairncross, Marion Jenkins

Background – Despite evidence that children’s faeces play a major role in diarrheal disease transmission through the contamination of the household environment, relatively little priority has been given to research and interventions in this area. In Cambodia, only 20% of children’s faeces were disposed of in an improved sanitation facility according to the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey. This study explores current practices and the role that enabling products may play in increasing hygienic management practices.

Methods – A household survey was conducted in 130 houses in 21 villages and two provinces in Cambodia. Four focus group discussions were conducted, two in each province. Households were restricted to those with an improved sanitation facility and at least one child under five. Results were analysed using STATA13 and explanatory variables were tested individually and using logistic regression to control for child age. Focus group results were analysed qualitatively.

Results – Main place of defecation, method of moving faeces, and main place of disposal differed depending on child age, with children under two least likely to have their faeces disposed of hygienically. Overall, 62.7% of households reported using a hygienic main disposal site while 35.7% reported doing so consistently. Factors associated with hygienic disposal included the number of years a household had owned a latrine, the age of the caregiver, the consistency of adult latrine use, and the presence of tools for child faeces management in the latrine.

Discussion – The results demonstrate a need for interventions targeting the hygienic management of faeces of children under five in Cambodia, and particularly for children under two. The technologies most likely to facilitate hygienic disposal for these age ranges include reusable diapers, potties, and potentially latrine seats. Design features should ensure child safety, time-savings, cost-savings, ease of disposal, and ease of cleaning. Product marketing will also need to address hygiene behaviours related to child cleaning and caretaker hand washing to ensure reduction of disease transmission.

Public Finance for WASH initiative launched

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Today sees the launch of Public Finance for WASH, a research and advocacy initiative aiming to increase awareness of domestic public finance and its critical importance for water and sanitation provision in low-income countries. Check out our website www.publicfinanceforwash.com.

This is a collaborative initiative between IRC, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), and Trémolet Consulting. A key aim is to offer easy-to-read but rigorous information about domestic public finance solutions: our first three Finance Briefs are now available for download from our website, and over the coming year we will be building a comprehensive resource library.

And just to make sure we’re on the same page: what exactly is domestic public finance? Essentially, it’s money derived from domestic taxes, raised nationally (e.g. by the Kenyan government) or locally (e.g. by Nairobi’s municipal government). This money is going to be critical for achieving the water and sanitation SDGs: so how can we all work together to ensure that what we’re doing is supporting (not inhibiting) the development of effective public finance systems? And how can public finance be spent in ways that catalyse the development of dynamic markets for water and sanitation services?

To find out more, please check out the website. If you’d like to become involved in any way, get in touch!