Category Archives: South Asia

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.

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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!

Pakistan president to open national sanitation conference PACOSAN II

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President Mamnoon Hussain will inaugurate the 2nd Pakistan Conference on Sanitation (PACOSAN II) that is being held from 17-18 February 2015 at the Sareena Hotel in Islamabad.

PACOSAN II is organised by the Ministry of Climate Change, with the support of WaterAid, UNICEF, Water and Sanitation Program – South Asia (WSP-SA), Plan Pakistan and other sector partners.

Even though Pakistan has achieved a significant reduction in open defecation, it is still practised by 41 million people.

The 1st national sanitation conference PACOSAN I took place in May 2009 – see a conference report on the WSP website.

Follow updates on Twitter at @PACOSAN_II and on Facebook.

SACOSAN returns to Bangladesh in 2016

7th inter-country working group (ICWG) meeting of SACOSAN, 27 Jan 2015.

7th inter-country working group (ICWG) meeting of SACOSAN, 27 Jan 2015. Photo: Focus Bangla/Financial Express

A Bangladesh government official has disclosed that the 6th South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN-VI) will be held in Dhaka from 11-13 January 2016. Bangladesh hosted the first edition of SACOSAN in 2003.

Manjur Hossain, a senior secretary of the Local Government Division (LGD) of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives was speaking at the 7th inter-country working group (ICWG) meeting of SACOSAN. The meeting was hosted by LGD from 27-28 January 2015 in Dhaka.

Also at the meeting was Md Akram Al Hossain, coordinator of the SACOSAN-VI secretariat and Joint Secretary, Upazila Branch at LGD.

Official websitehttp://www.sacosanvi.gov.bd/

Related website: SACOSAN-V

Source: 97 percent use hygienic sanitation, Dhaka Tribune, 28 Jan 2015 ; 97pc people brought under sanitation coverage, Financial Express, 28 Jan 2015

BRAC enters sanitation Hall of Fame

At the 14th World Toilet Summit 2015, BRAC received the “Hall of Fame Award” for significant contributions to the sanitation sector in Bangladesh.

WTO presents sanitation Hall of Fame Award to BRAC

On 20 January, BRAC received the “Hall of Fame Award” for significant contributions to the sanitation sector in Bangladesh. The award was handed to Dr. Akramul Islam at the 14th World Toilet Summit 2015 in Delhi by Dr. Subramanian Swamy MP, Former Minister of India, and Jack Sim Founder of the World Toilet Organization in the presence of Minister Devendra Chaudhry, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power India.

Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in providing basic sanitation services to its people. It is now estimated that throughout Bangladesh, 57% use sanitary latrines, while a mere 3% of the people still practise open defecation.

Over 8 years, the BRAC WASH programme reached more than 66 million people, about half of the rural population of Bangladesh. It has successfully worked to improve household sanitation by creating demand for hygienic latrines while supporting an extensive supply chain and local businesses. Current coverage with hygienic and adequately maintained toilets is 82% in the 152 districts where BRAC has worked. All these successes have been underpinned by a strong provision of service to the poor and ultra-poor and by a unique hygiene promotion programme focusing on universal use and sustainability of services in communities, households and schools.

IRC is a knowledge partner of BRAC WASH since 2005.

Read more at: http://www.ircwash.org/news/brac-enters-sanitation-hall-fame