Category Archives: South Asia

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF

 

Swachh Bharat  website photo

The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015

 

A toilet for 66 million people in rural Bangladesh

BRAC staff member on a household visit

BRAC staff member on a household visit

ik_pictureIn Bangladesh, the largest NGO in the world BRAC is working its way up to help the country to get proper sanitation. It has reached more than half of the population since the start 9 years ago. It is one of the world’s largest sanitation implementation programmes. IRC works with BRAC to make it happen. In this interview, IRC sanitation expert Ingeborg Krukkert tells her story about her work in Bangladesh. ”

Bangladesh is well on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030,” says Ingeborg Krukkert in IRC’s headquarters in The Hague. “This is undeniably due to BRAC because it’s serving half of the country. Bangladesh is a good example for others on how to achieve so much in such a short time. It is proof that change is possible.”

IRC’s Sanitation and hygiene specialist for Asia, Ingeborg Krukkert, travels to Bangladesh every two months to work with BRAC. Working on hygiene promotion and behavior change, she complements BRAC’s groundbreaking programme with IRC’s monitoring system to measure and enhance the true impact in sanitation and hygiene. Continue reading

#MenstruationMatters in Bangladeshi schools

28 May is Menstrual Hygiene Day. In Bangladesh, BRAC field staff are working hard to “end the hesitation around menstruation” especially in schools.

BRAC staff member (left) from Jessore district with sanitary napkins for schools.

BRAC staff member (left) from Jessore district with sanitary napkins for schools. Photo: Petra Brussee/IRC

Field staff of BRAC WASH in Bangladesh talk just as easily about menstrual hygiene as they do about water seals for toilets or hand pumps. At community level menstrual hygiene messages are included in the programme for adolescent girls and young women. Since 2006 about 45 million community cluster meetings have been organised.

In rural areas rags are used by women who cannot afford sanitary napkins. Field staff discuss menstrual hygiene with adolescent girls and young women, for example on how to wash rags with soap and dry them in the sun. They are also encouraged to speak up about menstrual hygiene says Abu Taleb Biswas of BRAC WASH in Hygiene Promotion – the backbone of BRAC WASH: “Women and adolescent girls learn to speak up about menstrual hygiene issues, something that was nearly unthinkable even a few years ago.”

Continue reading

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.

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.

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!