Category Archives: Africa

The Period Movement: Meet the Men Fighting to Stop Menstruation-Shaming

The Period Movement: Meet the Men Fighting to Stop Menstruation-Shaming. Newsweek, July 12, 2017.

Ganga Gautam stood at the back of a high school classroom in Kathmandu, Nepal, helplessly watching as a teenage girl started bleeding. Gautam, a professor of English education at Tribhuvan University, was observing one of his students teach a class two years ago.

Joshua Omanya, center, is an educator with The Cup program who teaches boys in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, about menstruation and gender equality.

Joshua Omanya, center, is an educator with The Cup program who teaches boys in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, about menstruation and gender equality.

Three girls were sitting on a bench next to him, and one of them was clearly in distress.“I noticed that she was menstruating. The blood was coming,” he says. “She wasn’t prepared. She didn’t have a pad, and there was a male teacher teaching.”

Gautam saw the young girl open her pen and drip ink over the blood in an effort to hide it. As soon as class ended, she placed a piece of paper over the red stain and ran out. He never saw her in school again. “That happened many times,” he says. “I saw so many girls bleeding in classrooms and panicking.

They leave the classroom and never come back. That just killed me.”Around the world, girls and women miss classes, drop out of school and fail to reach their full potential because of a natural biological process: menstruation.

Read the complete article.

When Water Doesn’t Flow: Why Lack of Water Matters in Healthcare Facilities

When Water Doesn’t Flow: Why Lack of Water Matters in Healthcare Facilities. PLoS Global Health Blog, June 29, 2017.

Why Lack of Water Matters in Healthcare Facilities

Water, as well as the availability of sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, are essential to providing safe, quality healthcare. Without water, surfaces remain unclean and medical equipment cannot be sterilized. Water shortages within healthcare facilities are particularly concerning when thinking about the water needed for surgery or in maternity units.

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When water does not flow from the piped water supply within the hospital, jerry cans (the yellow containers shown) are used to collect water from a nearby lake

According to the World Health Organization’s Essential Environmental Health Standards in Health Care, 100 liters of water are needed per medical intervention preformed in healthcare facilities.  As an example, if one hospital in Ghana reported that 138 babies were born in one month then 13,800 liters of water would be needed to ensure safe delivery of all babies. Based on my experiences as a researcher and a patient in a rural Ghana hospital, meeting this requirement would be virtually impossible.

During my hospitalization, water did not flow through the pipes within the hospital and the donated water treatment system was not operating due to water scarcity and intermittent power in the region.

The lack of water sparked a series of managerial decisions, which in turn affected patients’ access to toilets and handwashing facilities, which led to clinical staffing shortages. Without adequate water in the hospital, management locked the bathrooms within the wards and rationed water for staff handwashing.

My infirmed neighboring bedmates were told to use an open area behind the ward to relieve themselves. In a few cases, these sick patients were too weak to do so, and the floor next to their beds quickly became soiled contributing to environmental contamination. The hospital would then dispatch valuable nursing staff to a lake –located half a mile away to get water in order to clean floors.

Read the complete article.

Global Sanitation Fund reports improvements in sanitation and hygiene for millions of people

People-centred, nationally-led programmes empower millions to end open defecation, improve sanitation, and increase dignity and safety

Geneva, 29 June 2016 – A new report shows that WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) has supported governments and thousands of partners across 13 countries, stretching from Cambodia to Senegal, to enable over 15 million people to end open defecation.

 

As the funding arm of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), GSF-supported programmes are contributing to the Council’s vision of universal access to sustainable and equitable sanitation and hygiene across countries throughout south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Focused on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.2, GSF focuses on improving sanitation and hygiene in the poorest and most marginalized communities, thereby contributing to associated development goals for education, health, women’s empowerment, climate change and urban development.

The 2016 GSF Progress Report highlights activities and results achieved from the inception of the Fund to the end of the year. Cumulative results to 31 December 2016 include:

  • 15.2 million people have been empowered to live in ODF environments, just over the target of 15 million.
  • 12.8 million people have gained access to improved toilets, 16% more than the target of 11 million.
  • 20 million people have gained access to handwashing facilities, 81% more than the target of 11 million.

Read more or download the report in English or French

Ghana – Think tank for sanitation management inaugurated

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.

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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.

Kenya is promising free sanitary napkins to help keep girls in school

Kenya is promising free sanitary napkins to help keep girls in school. Quartz, June 2017.

Kenya’s president has promised to give all school girls free sanitary napkins. Less than two months before Kenyans go to the polls, president Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Basic Education Amendment Act which compels the government to provide “free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution.”

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School for everyone. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

One in 10 girls on the continent misses school during her period, according the United Nations education agency. In Kenya, one of the biggest obstacles for girls attending schools is a lack of sanitary napkins, often too expensive for families to afford. Kenya’s ministry of education estimates that girls who stay home while they are menstruating lose six weeks of schooling a year.

Read the complete article.

Freddy the Fly – an animated video about a community’s journey to ODF status

Meet Freddy, a fly who loves toilet fondue! Find out what happens to him when the village he lives in is triggered into cleaning up their act to become open defecation free (ODF). Please share this video widely and use Freddy to illustrate how behaviour change methods, including Community-Led Total Sanitation, work to help communities become healthier and more productive. And join the ODF movement at wsscc.org!

The true costs of participatory sanitation

Plan International USA and The Water Institute at UNC have conducted the first study to present comprehensive, accurate, disaggregated costs of a WaSH behaviour-change programme.  The study calculated programme costs, and local investments for four community-led total sanitation (CLTS) interventions in Ghana and Ethiopia.

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Jonny Crocker, Darren Saywell, Katherine F. Shields, Pete Kolsky, Jamie Bartram, The true costs of participatory sanitation : evidence from community-led total sanitation studies in Ghana and Ethiopia. Science of The Total Environment, vol. 601–602, 1 Dec 2017, pp: 1075-1083. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.05.279 [Open access]

Abstract

Evidence on sanitation and hygiene program costs is used for many purposes. The few studies that report costs use top-down costing methods that are inaccurate and inappropriate. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) is a participatory behaviour-change approach that presents difficulties for cost analysis. We used implementation tracking and bottom-up, activity-based costing to assess the process, program costs, and local investments for four CLTS interventions in Ghana and Ethiopia. Data collection included implementation checklists, surveys, and financial records review. Financial costs and value-of-time spent on CLTS by different actors were assessed. Results are disaggregated by intervention, cost category, actor, geographic area, and project month. The average household size was 4.0 people in Ghana, and 5.8 people in Ethiopia. The program cost of CLTS was $30.34–$81.56 per household targeted in Ghana, and $14.15–$19.21 in Ethiopia. Most program costs were from training for three of four interventions. Local investments ranged from $7.93–$22.36 per household targeted in Ghana, and $2.35–$3.41 in Ethiopia. This is the first study to present comprehensive, disaggregated costs of a sanitation and hygiene behaviour-change intervention. The findings can be used to inform policy and finance decisions, plan program scale-up, perform cost-effectiveness and benefit studies, and compare different interventions. The costing method is applicable to other public health behaviour-change programs.