Category Archives: Africa

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.

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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

Global Waters Radio: Establishing a Sustainable Market for Water Purification Tablets in Ghana

Global Waters Radio: Establishing a Sustainable Market for Water Purification Tablets in Ghana. Global Waters, July 18, 2017.

“We feed ourselves out of the sale of Aquatabs — so financially, Aquatabs has helped given us a very sustainable job, and we are proud of it.” 

Ernest Saka Ansong is managing director for Health Top Up Services, a private Ghanaian company that serves as Aquatabs’ official importer. Photo Credit: Health Top Up Services

Ernest Saka Ansong is managing director for Health Top Up Services, a private Ghanaian company that serves as Aquatabs’ official importer. Photo Credit: Health Top Up Services

Aquatabs are one of the world’s most popular water purification tablets, produced by Medentech, a company specializing in manufacture of disinfection products.

Through partners, more than 11 billion liters of water were treated with Aquatabs worldwide in 2016.

First introduced to the Ghanaian market roughly 10 years ago by the USAID Ghana Sustainable Change Project, the tablets remain in high demand today — more than 4 million tablets were sold in Ghana alone in 2015, with similar sales figures in 2016.

Why so popular after all these years? First and foremost, affordability — but also a proven ability to bolster community health, and reduce the prevalence of dangerous waterborne illnesses like cholera.

Read the complete article.

Global Waters: In Mali, Communities Take Health and Well-Being into their Own Hands

In Mali, Communities Take Health and Well-Being into their Own Hands. Global Waters, July 18, 2017.

In the center of Simaye village in Mali’s Mopti Region, men, women, and children gather under a large tree to listen. Two USAID-trained facilitators discuss the health challenges facing the village.

Tackling open defecation in communities is a starting point for improved health. Ensuring the drinking water sources are clean is another. USAID works with local artisans in communities like Anga to repair or rehabilitate artesian drilling, such as this one, as an incentive to become ODF-certified. Photo Credit: CARE Mali

Tackling open defecation in communities is a starting point for improved health. Ensuring the drinking water sources are clean is another. USAID works with local artisans in communities like Anga to repair or rehabilitate artesian drilling, such as this one, as an incentive to become ODF-certified. Photo Credit: CARE Mali

Only three latrines serve many families, so more than half of the people are practicing open defecation; the water point no longer functions, so most families are pulling dirty water from the river; many of the infants and young children are not benefitting from exclusive breastfeeding or a diversified diet, so they are malnourished.

Holding a glass of clear water and pointing to feces on the ground, the facilitators paint a clear picture of the health risks associated with leaving feces in the open — contaminated drinking sources, diarrheal disease, and poor outcomes for children and their families.

Their objective: to trigger a sense of disgust, a determination in the community to control their own health and well-being, and to set in motion plans and solutions to create open defecation free (ODF) communities through a process known as community-led total sanitation (CLTS).

Read the complete article.

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, 28 June 2017 – 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.