I’ve just had the luxury of sitting down and reading a pile of reports that have been accumulating over the last few months. A group of these relates to the clear links between sanitation and under-nutrition, especially, how the prevalence of open defecation (OD) in India is clearly correlated with stunting in children in that country. The relevant documents, being a report by Dean Spears (How much international variation in child height can sanitation explain) and an article by Robert Chambers and Gregor von Medeazza (Sanitation and stunting in India: undernutrition’s blind spot) are a must-read for all WASH practitioners and child health specialists, and provide ammunition by the bucket load for advocates of better sanitation and hygiene.
One comment in the Chambers/von Medeazza paper, however, stirred up a problem that has been gnawing away at me for a while: “OD is particularly harmful where population density is high”. There is nothing surprising there, we would all agree. So, here is the troubling thought: you might think that the converse applies: perhaps OD is not especially harmful where population density is not particularly high? The situation where someone defecates in a remote field, in a very dry location, and buries the faeces under a desiccating sun is one that has probably occurred to all of us as being not hugely problematic, especially if that person has and uses an effective method of washing his/her hands quickly afterwards.
The Local Development Programme of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) announces the next session of the e-learning course Governance in Urban Sanitation, to be conducted from 23 September to 29 November 2013.
The course aims to enhance the capacity of local decision-makers and sanitation professionals to make the most enlightened decisions and investments in the area of urban sanitation. Furthermore, it provides analytical tools to understand the financial and institutional framework of the sanitation sector, taking into account the needs of urban poor communities.
The course is composed of four modules:
Module 1: Introduction to Sanitation
Module 2: Economics, Pricing and Financing of the Sanitation Sector
Module 3: Institutional Aspects of the Sanitation Sector
Module 4: Sanitation and Poverty
This online course has been awarded with the International ECBCheck Quality Label for e-learning.
The course fee is USD 600 and UNITAR stresses that it does not provide any financial assistance.
Full information about the course is available at:
Sanitation in Guatemala. Photo: LatinoSan 2013
Delegates attending LatinoSan 2013 have agreed to set up a Latin-American and Caribbean Observatory on Sanitation. The observatory will monitor progress on sanitation in those countries that have signed up to the LatinoSan initiative. Sub-regional and national sanitation scorecards are already available online.
There will also be a Regional Meeting of Ministries of Sanitation every 2 years.
These are two of the commitments written up in the Panama Declaration at the conclusion of the 3rd Latin American and Caribbean Sanitation Conference, LatinoSan 2013. The conference took place in Panama City from 29 to 31 May 2013.
Posted in Latin America & Caribbean, Policy, Progress on Sanitation, Sanitary Facilities, Wastewater Management, Web sites
Tagged Latinosan, monitoring, national monitoring, Panama Declaration, sanitation monitoring, sanitation scorecards, schools, statistics
Septage disposal. Sri Lanka/Nuwara Eliya sanitation project, 2008, Photo: Flickr/USAID.
An international research institute is helping the government of Sri Lanka to improve septage management in the country.
On 8 May 2013, the Colombo-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides a collaborative framework for sustainable septage management in Sri Lanka.
IWMI will contribute research data for the drafting of a septage management component of the national sanitation policy. The Ministry will lead implementation of the policy through an advisory committee headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.
Only about 3% of Sri Lankans have a sewerage connection while the rest rely on latrines and septic tanks for sanitation. Safe disposal of septage (fecal sludge) is a problem because of a lack of treatment facilities in large parts of the country.
IWMI is studying a new approach in cities around the world, which treats the sludge so that it can be safely reused as agricultural fertiliser. With the rising costs of imported fertiliser, such an approach would not only benefit farmers but also allow better sanitation and environmental protection for all.
- The business of the honey-suckers in Bengaluru (India), E-Source, 27 Sep 2012
- WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Fecal Sludge Management, Sanitation Updates, 30 Nov 2012
Related web sites:
Source: IWMI, 8 May 2013
The Republic of Panama is organizing the Third Latin American Sanitation Conference on 29-31 May 2013. The theme is: “Universal Sanitation: New Challenges, New Opportunities”.
Latinosan is held every three years.
Latinosan 2013 consists of two events: a technical conference and a meeting of senior officials that will result in the Declaration of Panama.
- the status of sanitation at regional and country levels
- institutions and public policy
- human rights and sustainable development
- post-2015 goals: regional and global
For more information visit the conference website: latinosanpanama2013.com (Spanish only)