Category Archives: Uncategorized

Australia helps carry the can on World Toilet Day

Article by Steven Ciobo, Australias Minister for International Development and the Pacific

In Australia, we love toilet humour. The 2006 comedy Kenny, which followed a portable toilet man about his daily business, was a local box office hit, and our televisions are awash with advertisements of puppies unravelling toilet tissue rolls around the house.


United Nations staff installed a 15-door-high inflatable toilet to mark the World Toilet Day in front of the UN headquarters in New York on November 19, 2014. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

We can see the funny side of toilets, because we’re able to use a toilet and wash our hands as often as we need. The Australian Department of Social Services publishes an online National Public Toilet Map so we can find, in a matter of seconds, the nearest of some 16,000 public toilets.

Unfortunately, for too many in the world, this is far from the case. According to United Nations estimates around 2.4 billion people, or a third of the world’s population, don’t have access to a basic toilet, leaving them exposed to the many diseases transferred through human waste, such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery. Approximately 946 million people defecate in the open, in fields, streams, forests and open city spaces, which puts entire communities at risk of diarrhoeal diseases.

On 19 November, the world will mark World Toilet Day. This year, the focus is on the link between toilets and nutrition. Regular bouts of diarrhoea caused by open defecation, poor hygiene and unclean water, contribute to poor nutrition, growth stunting and developmental impairment, preventing children from reaching their full potential. In 2014, the World Health Organisation reported 159 million children under five years of age suffer from growth stunting. Nearly 1,000 children die every day from diarrhoeal diseases and poor nutrition, making diarrhoea the world’s second leading disease killer of children . These children are missing valuable time at school and their families are forced to spend their limited incomes on medical care, which exacerbates the cycle of poverty.

Read the full article on the WSSCC Guardian partner zone.

Making the link: Community initiatives for sanitation and health – webinar on 26 Nov. at 10:00 – Postponed

Note: Thank you for your interest in the SuSanA webinar on making the link between sanitation and health. Unfortunately one of our presenters has received news of a family emergency and we will be postponing the webinar to allow for their participation at a later date. If you already registered on EventBrite, you can remain registered for the event and you will receive an update to confirm a new date, which will likely be mid-January.

Poor sanitation has serious implications for health including a large burden of diarrheal diseases, which remains the second leading killer of children under 5 globally, and a large burden of intestinal worms. Improving access to sanitation and hygiene and changing behaviours can bring not only health benefits but also many other positive changes in a community, including social, economic and environmental gains.

Deepening our understanding of the linkages between sanitation interventions and health outcomes provides key insight and evidence for decision-makers making investments in sanitation services.

We invite you to join an interactive webinar where experts will discuss how these critical connections at a community level can be improved.
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WSSCC increases support to Swachh Bharat Mission

The Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has announced that it will amplify its support to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the Government of India’s (GOI) programme to achieve a Clean India by 2019, by establishing an in country India Support Unit and bolstering its work linked to the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF).

The government has welcomed these moves, which enhance WSSCC’s normative and implementation work to improve access and use, equality, knowledge and collaboration in sanitation and hygiene. WSSCC has appointed Mr. Vinod Mishra, previously the organization’s volunteer National Coordinator, to the position of National Officer in a new India Support Unit (ISU). Mr. Mishra will lead a WSSCC team of three professionals, including Ms. Kamini Prakash, an Equality and Non Discrimination Officer, and Ms. Sanchita Ghosh, a Knowledge and Learning Officer, based in Delhi. The unit will coordinate WSSCC support to SBM on policy and monitoring guidelines, capacity building and rapid action learning.

Credit: Anil Teegala

Credit: Anil Teegala

In addition, WSSCC’s work through the Global Sanitation Fund-supported programme managed by NRMC India Private Ltd. will include four additional elements: extension of field operations in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam; support to the Namami Ganga Mission (NGM) within SBM; support to Bihar State on a “District Approach” to collective behaviour change; and facilitation of peer exchanges with neighbouring States in Northern India. Collectively, these additions respond to the Government’s aims to expand and share through successful sanitation programming.

These additional elements build on an already successful GSF programme which, since 2010, has been instrumental working in those three States with high open defecation rates, to establish the modalities for implementing collective behaviour change at scale, an essential pathway to the practical realization of SBM. To date, WSSCC has facilitated open defecation free status for Gram Panchayats in Jharkhand and Bihar. As of July 2015, the GSF programme has empowered 551,000 people to live in open defecation free villages, and 1.4 million people to gain access to improved sanitation in India. “The Swachh Bharat Mission is a call to action for finally ending the practice of open defecation and ensuring equal access to sanitation and hygiene,” says Dr. Chris W. Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC. “We aim to answer that call and work together to solve the serious and deep rooted sanitation challenges for the well-being, prosperity and very survival of India’s 1.2 billion citizens.”

Since 1990, WSSCC has worked closely through its individual members, National Coordinators and partners to support improved access to sanitation and hygiene. In the past five years alone, the Council held the first Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene in Mumbai, facilitated innovative sanitation programming through the GSF, and worked with the Government of India and States to transform sanitation policy and practice to include safe menstrual hygiene management with dignity, responding to the demands of hundreds of millions of women whose monthly periods were hitherto linked to pollution and impurity and therefore shame and indignity.

More recently, along with other partners, WSSCC contributed to the design of the SBM to include equity, innovation, rapid action and learning, and sustainability aspects before it was launched in October 2014. In 2015, GOI called upon WSSCC to organize the first ever national workshop to define the verification of open defecation free (ODF) status in India, followed by the first national sharing of innovations, best practices and failures in sanitation and hygiene. On equity, the Indian example and experience has been leveraged systematically to forge partnerships, innovations and guidelines wider in South Asia and in Africa. Inclusive WASH has also been clearly articulated in regional declarations and hygiene and sanitation proposals for the Sustainable Development Goals. “In a country where pervasive caste and gender inequalities threaten life itself, over 300 million women and girls in India try to squat in a sari, while holding a cup of water to cleanse themselves and keeping an eye out for molesters. Imagine how much more complex and impossible this becomes every month during a woman’s menstrual period!” says Ms. Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, WSSCC. “It is time for the entire development community to unite behind this cause.”

Mr. Mishra added: “The deleterious impacts of poor sanitation and hygiene on health, productivity and well-being extend well beyond India, which is responsible for 60% of the world’s total open defecation, and is nothing short of a global emergency. WSSCC’s amplified engagement will therefore lead to successes and solutions which will not only tackle the emergency here, but help elsewhere.”

Find out more about WSSCCs work in India and in other countries:

Interview with Mr. Léo Heller UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, by Guy Norman

leohellerMr. Léo Heller, special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, talked to PF4WASH about issues such as government budget allocations to WASH, steps towards achieving SDG N. 6 and increasing tax revenue generation.

Mr. Heller, thank you for sharing your time and views with us!

Read the interview here

NEW BLOG! Community-run aqueducts in Colombia promote public policy for scaling up public finance for WASH, By Valeria Llano-Arias

adaca4Community-run aqueducts in Colombia promote public policy for scaling up public finance for WASH

  This blog describes a particular case of an association of community aqueducts in Colombia and the advocacy process to demand increased public investment and support to their work as water service providers.

You can read the blog  here

Unilever unveils new film and rural programme about handwashing with soap for newborn survival

Unilever’s health soap, Lifebuoy introduced ‘Chamki’, a compelling new film to raise awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap for new mums as part of Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 handwashing programme.

This year, the campaign focuses on a child’s neonatal period (the first 28 days of life). It also coincides with the launch of a partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to scale up Lifebuoy’s handwashing programmes in rural Bihar, India.

The newest Help a Child Reach 5 film was developed by Mullen Lowe Group and shot by the famous feature film director, Anand Gandhi. The film showcases the emotional journey of a real pregnant mother and her aspirations for her child.

It highlights the importance of doing something very simple, yet important during pregnancy and early in the child’s life: washing hands with soap.

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University of Maryland celebrates Global Handwashing Day 2015

For the fourth year, students from the Global Public Health Scholars program at the University of Maryland, College Park visited the Center for Young Children (CYC), a laboratory school on the UMD campus. pic2

Children at the CYC arrive in the morning and make their way to the child-sized sinks to wash their hands. They bring the skill home, reminding their families to wash hands after they use the bathroom and before dinner.

Global Public Health Scholars visited the Kindergarten class in the Blue Room, sang handwashing songs, led a handwashing educational activity using the “Glo-Germ,” and worked with the children to make a beautiful Global Handwashing Day banner. pic1

The activity raised awareness about the importance of handwashing for disease prevention and alerted children, college students, and parents about many events happening to celebrate Global Handwashing Day around the world.