Category Archives: Regions

Despite initial hiccups, Swachh Bharat mission scores on health report card

Despite initial hiccups, Swachh Bharat mission scores on health report card. ThePrint, October 4, 2017.

Narendra Modi participating in a construction of a twin toilet pit in Varanasi on 22 September.| Source: @NarendraModi

Narendra Modi participating in a construction of a twin toilet pit in Varanasi on 22 September.| Source: @NarendraModi

Study reveals health indicators for children, women have shown improvement in areas that have become open defecation-free under Swachh Bharat in the past year.

Even as questions are being raised over the Narendra Modi government’s track record of delivering on the Swachh Bharat mission, there is one report card where the PM’s pet project seems to be scoring well — the state of health report.

A study, undertaken by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) on behalf of the drinking water and sanitation ministry to assess the health impact of the Swachh mission in rural areas, reveals that health indicators for children and women have shown considerable improvement in areas that have become open defecation-free (ODF) in the past one year.

The report, accessed by ThePrint, shows that the cases of diarrhoea among children are 46 per cent more in non-ODF areas; there are 78 per cent higher cases of worms in stools of children in non-ODF areas; 58 per cent higher cases of stunting among children and 48 per cent more cases of women with lower body mass index (BMI) than those in non-ODF areas.

The study observes that “becoming ODF had a positive impact on child’s health and nutrition, evident from the fact that the health and nutritional indicators of the children and mothers belonging to the ODF areas were comparatively better than their non-ODF counterparts”.

Read the complete article.

Focus on Swachh Bharat – Water Currents

Focus on Swachh Bharat – Water Currents, October 2, 2017.

The Prime Minister of India launched the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission on October 2, 2014, to improve the level of sanitation and cleanliness by October 2, 2019, marking the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Swachh Bharat has two components: Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) for rural areas and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) for urban areas.

In the city of Visakhapatnam (Vizag), India, improved sanitation facilities in schools are helping female students. Photo Credit: USAID/India

In the city of Visakhapatnam (Vizag), India, improved sanitation facilities in schools are helping female students. Photo Credit: USAID/India

To date, this campaign has rallied all corners of Indian society toward its ambitious sanitation goals, including enlisting Bollywood stars and prominent athletes to create awareness.

USAID partners with the Government of India to help drive changes in water and sanitation that make cities cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous by harnessing expertise and innovation. For example, USAID/India and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation support the Government of India’s efforts to eliminate open defecation and sustainably provide sanitation services.

This collaboration has resulted in 1078 out of 4041 cities being certified as open defecation free (ODF), helping improve the living conditions of more than 150 million people. USAID also partners with local civil society, U.S. universities, and the private sector, including the Coca-Cola Company, Google, and the Gap Inc. to address India’s water and sanitation challenges.

Featured below are select presentations, blogs, videos, and articles that highlight the wide-ranging accomplishments, trends, and challenges of Swachh Bharat.

Challenges and Progress 
National Policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage ManagementMinistry of Urban Development, February 2017. This national policy focuses Government of India efforts beyond ODF status to management of the entire fecal sludge and septage cycle.

Swachh Bharat Mission Highlights for the Year 2016-17Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, 2017. This report gives an update on the number of ODF villages, new initiatives to promote community participation, and other information.

Read the complete issue.

What We’re Learning: Long-Term Outcomes of USAID’s Water and Sanitation Efforts

What We’re Learning: Long-Term Outcomes of USAID’s Water and Sanitation Efforts. by Globalwaters.org, September 2017.

Authors: Annette Fay, Water Communications and Knowledge Management Project monitoring and evaluation specialist and lead researcher for the evaluation series, and Elizabeth Jordan, USAID water and sanitation specialist.globalwaters2

To better understand the long-term impact and sustainability of its interventions, the USAID Water Office is conducting a series of independent ex-post evaluations of the Agency’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities to inform future USAID investments in the sector.

This evaluation series will help USAID understand whether and how its activity results have been sustained years after projects close. All activities included in the series must have been closed for a minimum of three years and could not be recipients of Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance or Food for Peace funding. Preference is given to USAID missions that are at a point in their design cycle to incorporate learnings into upcoming WASH programs.

This evaluation series builds upon USAID and Rotary International’s WASH Sustainability Index Tool, which is a framework to assess a WASH activity’s likelihood to be sustainable according to five factors: availability of finance for sanitation, local capacity for construction and maintenance of latrines, the influence of social norms, and governance.

In September 2016, the first evaluation in this series studied the Madagascar Rural Access to New Opportunities for Health and Prosperity (RANO-HP) activity.

What We Did

RANO-HP, implemented by a consortium led by Catholic Relief Services from 2009 to 2013, aimed to increase sustainable access to safe water supply, improve sanitation coverage, and expand hygiene practices.

This evaluation of RANO-HP focused on the sustainability of the activity’s sanitation and hygiene components, which included community-led total sanitation (CLTS), behavior change messaging, public WASH “monoblocks” (combined public water point, latrine, shower and laundry station) managed via public-private partnerships, commune-level water and sanitation business plans, village savings and loans associations (VSLAs), and microfinance products for sanitation investments. Through household survey and interviews with beneficiaries the evaluation team explored barriers and facilitators of sustainability.

Read the complete article.

In Haiti, a Building Fights Cholera

In Haiti, a Building Fights Cholera. New York Times, September 12, 2017.

Next month marks the seventh anniversary of the cholera outbreak that ravaged Haiti. The disease, which can cause death within hours if left untreated, came less than a year after Haiti was rocked by an enormous earthquake that left hundreds of thousands dead and millions injured, displaced and destitute.

Haiti is prone to earthquakes and tropical storms — the island was spared the worst of Hurricane Irma last week — but the cholera outbreak was an anomaly; the disease had never before struck Haiti. It was brought in, it is widely believed, by United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal.

A child with cholera symptoms being examined in the Cholera Treatment Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit Dieu Nalio Chery/Associated Press

A child with cholera symptoms being examined in the Cholera Treatment Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit Dieu Nalio Chery/Associated Press

One of the world’s most infectious waterborne diseases, cholera spreads quickly and has proved extremely difficult to contain in Haiti. Over 10,000 have died and nearly a million have been stricken to date.

But one organization has managed to nearly eradicate it in a large slum in Port-au-Prince that lacks clean water and sanitation.

One of the game changers that would surprise most people, including global health experts, was actually a building.

It wasn’t just any building, but a very intelligently and beautifully designed one: the Cholera Treatment Center, operated by Les Centres Gheskio, an acronym that stands for the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections.

Read the complete article.

WSSCC Releases New Global Sanitation Fund Equality and Non-Discrimination Study

How can WASH programmes leave no one behind, as called for in the Sustaionable Development Goals? WSSCC’s new study, Scoping and Diagnosis of the Global Sanitation Fund’s Approach to Equality and Non-Discrimination, helps answer this question.

The study reveals that many people who may be considered disadvantaged have benefited positively from WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programmes, particularly in open defecation free verified areas. In addition, a range of positive outcomes and impacts related to empowerment, safety, convenience, ease of use, self-esteem, health, dignity, an improved environment and income generation were reported by people who may be considered disadvantaged.

EQND-Article-Slider
Photo Credit: WSSCC

However, the study finds that GSF has not yet systematically integrated EQND throughout the programme cycle. Across all countries, there are people who have either fallen through the net or whose lives have become more difficult after being unduly pressured, or after taking out loans and selling assets to build toilets. More proactive attention is needed throughout the programme cycle to build on current successes and ensure that people are not left behind or harmed through the actions or omissions of supported programmes.

GSF is in the process of putting the study’s recommendations into practice through revised guidelines, minimum standards, practical tools and other mechanisms.

Download the full study, plus a summarized version with GSF reflections, and annexes

How Public Private Partnerships are Making a Crappy Market Safe Across Bangladesh

How Public Private Partnerships are Making a Crappy Market Safe Across Bangladesh. August 30, 2017. By Sarah Miers – Skoll Foundation, By Lucien Chan – Skoll Foundation.

In Bangladesh, nearly half of 55 million urban residents lack the sanitation infrastructure to properly process human waste. The result: massive amounts of raw waste is unsafely dumped, fouling the environment and posing major public health risks. There’s an urgent need to find safe and affordable ways for waste to be collected and treated. dhaka

Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) works alongside local providers, enabling them to develop their own services, build infrastructure, and attract the funding needed to reach low-income communities. Since its inception in 2005, WSUP has helped nearly 14 million people access clean water and sanitation services across six countries. Earlier this summer, we spent a week investigating WSUP’s SWEEP program, a public-private partnership (PPP) for fecal sludge management (FSM), which resulted in a $2 million investment from the Skoll Foundation to expand across 4 cities and serve 6.8 million people by 2021.

Dhaka is the only city in the country with any sewage infrastructure (just 20 percent coverage), and nearly all non-sewered households rely on manual sweepers–workers who remove the waste at high risk and with little equipment–to empty their on-site pit latrines or septic tanks. More hygienic, mechanical emptying options are limited. Due to failures across the sanitation value chain (containment, emptying, transport, and treatment), nearly all waste is not effectively treated or safely disposed, most often being dumped directly into storm water drains or the environment.

Read the complete article.

Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why

Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why. Nat Geo Magazine, August 2017.

The problem isn’t just a lack of toilets—it’s a lack of toilets that people want to use. The result: millions of deaths and disease-stunted lives.

At 65, Moolchand, bandy-legged and white-haired, has no problem rising for his predawn hunts. In fact he revels in them.

“I hide along the lane with my flashlight,” he says in a low, excited voice, gesturing down the main road of Gaji Khedi village, in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. “And I look for people walking with a lota.”

At a community toilet complex in Safeda Basti, one of Delhi’s many slums, women wait their turn for the single functioning latrine—while covering their noses against the smell of feces left by someone who couldn’t wait. Many people skip the hassle of city-run facilities altogether and do their business in rubble-strewn lots.

At a community toilet complex in Safeda Basti, one of Delhi’s many slums, women wait their turn for the single functioning latrine—while covering their noses against the smell of feces left by someone who couldn’t wait. Many people skip the hassle of city-run facilities altogether and do their business in rubble-strewn lots.

A lota is a water container, traditionally made of brass but these days more often of plastic. Spied outdoors in the early morning, it all but screams that its owner is headed for a field or roadside to move his or her bowels—the water is for rinsing.

“I give chase,” Moolchand continues. “I blow my whistle, and I dump out their lota. Sometimes I take it away and burn it.” Moolchand sees himself as defending a hard-won honor: The district has declared his village “open defecation free.”

“People get angry and shout at me when I stop them,” he says. “But the government has given villagers lots of help to construct a toilet, so there is no excuse.”

Read the complete article.