Category Archives: Regions

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya – Global Waters

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya. Global Waters, March 2017.

Picture a rural household in Kisumu, Kenya. Kale, cowpeas, tomatoes, and butternut grow in a kitchen garden fed by a drip irrigation system. Children help harvest these vegetables for the stew that complements their family’s diet, formally reliant on maize and sorghum. A handwashing station adjacent to the cooking hut and the improved latrine remind family members to wash with soap at critical times.

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A farmer works in a greenhouse at a KIWASH-supported agriculture and nutrition demonstration farm in the largest health facility in Kisumu county. Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego, USAID KIWASH

Thanks to a new community solar-powered borehole, the family is no longer solely dependent on what the rain provides for drinking water. The family garden produces more food than is needed, and the remainder is sold to provide additional income.

Unlike millions of Kenyans, this family is overcoming the cycle of food insecurity, diarrheal disease, malnutrition, and poverty with the support of USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project.

Working to improve the lives and health of one million Kenyans in nine counties, the five-year project (2015–2020) focuses on the development and management of sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and increased access to irrigation and nutrition services.

Read the complete article.

Death-trap toilets: the hidden dangers of Mumbai’s poorest slums

Death-trap toilets: the hidden dangers of Mumbai’s poorest slums. The Guardian, February 27, 2017.

Poorly-constructed toilet blocks have led to the deaths of seven people in three months, but politicians are yet to act on their promises for change 

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In Mumbai slums, 78% of community toilets lack water supply, 58% have no electricity and many don’t have proper doors. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

On the morning of 4 February, Harish Tikedar, Ganesh Soni, and Mohammed Isafil Ansari waited in a queue to use the community toilet in the Indira Nagar slum in eastern Mumbai. All of a sudden the floor collapsed, plunging Tikedar, Soni and Ansari into the septic tank 15-feet below.

Two others who also fell – Sirajjudin Turat and Ramakant Kanojia – managed to hold on to the sides until they were rescued.

“I was submerged up to my shoulders in the slush,” says Turat. “I could feel it pulling me down but somehow held on to a slab. Then some people pulled me up and I passed out.”

The five men who were pulled out were unrecognisable, covered in faeces. They were all taken to a nearby hospital but Tikedar, Soni and Ansari did not survive.

In Mumbai’s slums, the simple act of relieving oneself is fraught with danger, especially in the slums of M-East ward where population density is high, and the few public amenities are crumbling.

M-East is the poorest and most deficient in civic services of Mumbai’s 24 administrative wards. It has expanded over the last 15 years but has remained on the periphery of the city’s consciousness and governance systems. The differences between the civic amenities available in the smattering of middle-class apartment blocks and the slums, which dominate M-East, are stark.

Read the complete article.

Local governance and sanitation: Eight lessons from Uganda

The magnitude of the sanitation crisis means that sanitation and hygiene solutions must be delivered sustainably, and on a large scale. This requires the close involvement of government at all levels. A new case study outlines eight lessons from the Global Sanitation Fund-supported Uganda Sanitation Fund in coordinating, planning, and implementing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at scale through a decentralized government system.

Download the case study or read the feature article on wsscc.org.

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Local government health workers and latrine owners proudly display an improved latrine in Lira district, Uganda.©WSSCC/USF

 

 

Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice – Global Waters

Open Defecation vs. Community Toilets: A Complicated Choice. Global Waters, February 6, 2017.

She told us all to just forget it. I didn’t catch her name, I just watched her adjust the microphone and stand on tiptoes at the podium. Her grey hair peeked out from behind and she sounded frustrated.

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A poster showing good hand washing practices outside a community toilet in Delhi. Photo Credit: USAID/India

Forget the security. It won’t make a difference. Forget the caretakers and the cleaning supplies. We don’t need those. We just want sewer lines in our communities. That’s enough now. We want to use a toilet in our home.

The other women in the audience clearly agreed given the loud burst of applause when she mentioned sewer lines. Instead, she has a community toilet; that or the choice of squatting somewhere out in the open. Choosing between defecating in the open or using a community toilet is layered with far more complexities than I’d understood before.

My colleagues and I from USAID/India were spending the day at a workshop organized by our partner, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE). They’re in the early stages of a behavior change communication study that will help us understand why, even with access to community toilets, open defecation is still happening. There were about 100 people living in five slums across Delhi who had given up their day to tell us.

Read the complete article.

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds. Washington Post, February 13, 2017.

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Monrovia, Liberia, was hit hard during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. (Zoom Dosso/AFP via Getty Images)

They are called superspreaders, the minority of people who are responsible for infecting many others during epidemics of infectious diseases. Perhaps the most famous superspreader was Typhoid Mary, presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, between 1900 and 1907.

Now scientists studying how Ebola spread during the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa say superspreaders played a bigger role than was previously known, according to findings published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 If superspreading had been completely controlled, almost two-thirds of the infections might have been prevented, scientists said.

Do it differently: Toilets are not enough to achieve sanitation, India must reinvent the waste business

Do it differently: Toilets are not enough to achieve sanitation, India must reinvent the waste business. by Sunita Narain, Times of India, February 11, 2017.

The most important programme of this government is Clean India – not just of corruption, but of the muck and filth that is taking over our rivers, our air and our cities.

But equally (and more) important is the agreement that this ‘cleaning’ up is not possible unless we can provide every Indian with toilets that work and toilets that are connected to systems that will safely dispose human excreta, to prevent further pollution of our environment and create another source of bad health.

This agenda is therefore, not just about building toilets but about building sanitation systems that are affordable by all. Only when growth is affordable and inclusive can it be sustainable.

But this is where the opportunity also lies in doing things differently. Till now, the paradigm for urban sanitation has been costly. It has been based on the idea that building toilets is enough to clean the country.

But the excreta sums of different cities, or what we call the city’s “shit-flow” diagram, shows that the situation is grim. Today’s cities do not treat or safely dispose the bulk of human excreta generated.

Read the complete article.

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 87; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087

Pit latrines can provide improved household sanitation, but without effective and inexpensive emptying options, they are often abandoned once full and may pose a public health threat.

Emptying techniques can be difficult, as the sludge contents of each pit latrine are different. The design of effective emptying techniques (e.g., pumps) is limited by a lack of data characterizing typical in situ latrine sludge resistance.

This investigation aimed to better understand the community education and technical engineering needs necessary to improve pit latrine management. In low income areas within Mzuzu city, Malawi, 300 pit latrines from three distinct areas were assessed using a dynamic cone penetrometer to quantify fecal sludge strength, and household members were surveyed to determine their knowledge of desludging procedures and practices likely to impact fecal sludge characteristics.

The results demonstrate that there is a significant difference in sludge strength between lined and unlined pits within a defined area, though sludge hardened with depth, regardless of the pit type or region. There was only limited association between cone penetration depth and household survey data.

To promote the adoption of pit emptying, it is recommended that households be provided with information that supports pit emptying, such as latrine construction designs, local pit emptying options, and cost.

This study indicates that the use of a penetrometer test in the field prior to pit latrine emptying may facilitate the selection of appropriate pit emptying technology.