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Sanitation and Water for All meeting yields promises designed to improve access, bolster growth and reduce inequality

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WASHINGTON, D.C., 11 April 2014 – Top international development experts and government finance ministers from nearly 50 developing countries endorsed today a set of commitments designed to speed up access for the 2.5 billlion people lacking improved sanitation and the 748 million people without improved drinking water.

Some 1,400 children die each day from preventable diarrhoeal diseases linked to a lack of safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene, and countries lose out on billions of dollars of economic growth. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of women and girls, disabled persons, pastoralists and other poor and marginalized communities are disproportionally affected without services.

The issues grabbed the attention of officials meeting in Washington on Friday, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and SWA Chair John Kufuor. At the third biennial Sanitation and Water For All (SWA) High-Level Meeting, they noted the vast health, economic, social and environmental consequences of poor water, sanitation and hygiene, and called their meeting an important step forward.

“At the beginning of this meeting, I challenged the ministers in this room to make concrete and practical commitments,” said Kufuor, the former president of Ghana. “I am now more confident than ever, that our name – Sanitation and Water for All – will become our achievement.”

The SWA partnership is a global coalition of 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organizations and other partners. It aims to catalyse political leadership and action, improve accountability and use scarce resources more effectively.

The meeting yielded 265 new commitments from 44 countries[1]. Broadly speaking, the commitments aim to improve the use of financial resources and reduce inequality in access, build capacity of institutions charged with delivering water and sanitation services, and coordinate resources more effectively, both from governments and overseas development assistance. 

The High Level Meeting came one day after a preparatory session at the the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). That meeting brought government water, sanitation and health ministers together with representatives of donor countries, multi-lateral bodies and civil society organisations to review progress against their 2012 commitments and formulate the new promises.

For more information, visit www.sanitationandwaterforall.org.

 

[1]Afghanistan,Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lao PDR, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Videos of exhibits at Reinvent the Toilet Fair India (21-22 March 2014) provided by SEI & SuSanA now available

Videos of exhibits at Reinvent the Toilet Fair India (21-22 March 2014) provided by SEI & SuSanA now available

Stockholm Environment Institute has announced that videos with grantees about their exhibits that were taken at the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Delhi, India are now available online. sei

You find them all in this one convenient location, which is a Playlist in the SuSanA Youtube channel. 

The videos include short 5-minute interviews with randomly selected grantees as well as “demo tours” of their innovative toilets/processing exhibits which were on display at the fair.

The first video in this Playlist is a thank you note from Melinda Gates who is thanking all the participants at the fair and is stressing that this kind of work is being valued in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the highest level of leadership.

The second video in the Playlist gives just a visual overview of the exhibits (without sound).

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UN partners WSSCC and OHCHR gather diverse stakeholders to foreground sanitation, rights and dignity for women

Participants at the IWD event in Geneva on 7 March 2014. Photo by Pierre Virot/WSSCC

Grass-roots activists shared inspirational experiences on reducing female circumcision in Senegal, raising awareness of lesbian and transgender issues in Nepal and working for the dignity of sex workers in India at a special meeting at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva on Friday, 7 March 2014.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Saturday 8 March, joint hosts the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a one-day event on Inspiring Change to Promote Women’s Rights and Dignity.

“This meeting focused on the fundamental rights of women, to examine current policy and practice as well as challenges to women’s empowerment across their life cycle, looking at vulnerable groups through the lens of water, sanitation and hygiene,” said WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams as he welcomed some 70 participants from health, sanitation and rights groups across the world.

In keeping with the 2014 International Women’s Day theme of ‘Inspiring Change’, representatives from India, Nepal and Senegal shared often very personal experiences of fighting for change and improving women’s rights in their home country. The experiences shared showed how human rights and access to water, sanitation and hygiene are inextricably linked.

“Women [in Nepal] are treated as second class citizens and among these women, lesbian and transgender women are considered even lower,” said Shyra Karki, a lesbian activist working for the lesbian and transgender community in Nepal.

As a result of this low-status, such women are extra vulnerable to health complications or are excluded from accessing basic sanitary facilities.

“Transgender women who dress as men,” said Karki, “they are embarrassed to go and buy sanitary napkins, they are embarrassed to go to the hospital if they are ill or to go to have gynecological check up.”

OHCHR and WSSCC hope that this jointly sponsored event will inspire the UN community, governments and business to take action to fulfill all women’s rights, including access to sanitation, water and hygiene.

“Water, sanitation and hygiene are internationally agreed human rights with attending obligations,” said Craig Mokhiber, Chief, Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch, OHCHR. “And as we have heard today, the obligations of meeting these rights are different with regard to women than regard to men.”

According to Mr Mokhiber, the right to water, sanitation and hygiene is “an enormous human rights challenge of the twenty first century that has yet to be met.”

WSSCC will prepare a summary report from the event for publication in the coming weeks. To receive a copy of the report, send an email to emily.deschaine@wsscc.org.

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UN Women and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council in partnership to improve access to hygiene and sanitation for women and girls Louga, 9 March 2014 – On the margins of International Women’s Day commemorations across Senegal and West and Central Africa, … Continue reading

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A gender-inclusive approach in practice: communal sanitation

WSUP believes that the issue of gender inclusion is fundamental to effective WASH service provision. To mark International Women’s Day and to recognise the importance of this issue, we have produced a new Practice Note which provides a contextual background on gender issues in WASH, before illustrating what a gender-inclusive approach looks like in practice. This Practice Note is based on direct experience of communal sanitation in Maputo (Mozambique) and Naivasha (Kenya), and demonstrates how the concerns of women and girls can be addressed at every step of programme planning and implementation.

Gender Inclusive Sanitation

This is a free resource and is available for download by clicking on the image above or visiting our online resource library.

WSSCC Executive Director Chris Williams highlights key water, sanitation and hygiene challenges and opportunities during UN Post-2015 thematic debate

Chris Williams speaks at the UN General Assembly on 18 February 2014

WSSCC Executive Director Christopher Williams was a key speaker on day one of the Thematic Debate on ‘Water, Sanitation, and Sustainable Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ convened in New York at UN Headquarters on 18-19 February 2014.  Dr. Williams highlighted 7 important areas that the international and national development communities must address in order to speed up progress on current and future water and sanitation goals and targets. 

He joined UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, Mr. Girish Menon from WaterAid, and other leading sector professionals at the event. The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), John Ashe, in his opening remarks said the thematic debate aims to facilitate discussion on the means of implementation and financing, increasing awareness, and overcoming challenges for water, sanitation and other key issues. A background paper and additional information about thedebate is found here

Dr. Williams and other speaker remarks can be viewed in the United Nations Web TV coverage of the event, found here. In presenting the challenges and opportunities, he said:

  • Segmentation. The water (including water resources, water supply), sanitation and hygiene sector is “atomized,” he said. There are many issues and sector interests, from Integrated Water Resources Management to sanitation to transboundary water management. “We need to come together – the Post-2015 process should engender this conversation (of coming together).”
  • Voice. The people impacted by poor water and sanitation – billions worldwide – need to be heard in the Post-2015 discussions, he said. 
  • Public financing. The vast amount of assistance in water, sanitation and hygiene work comes from the international community, which he said is not sustainable. “How can we diversify sources of funding?” he asked through spearheading local initiatives and leveraging communities and households and their own resources. 
  • Coordination. Because of segmentation, he said, coordination is a challenge among and between NGOs, governments (including their different ministries, which often have overlapping responsibilities), external support agencies such as WSSCC and others, etc.
  • Equity. The aim is universal access to water supply and sanitation services, but does that mean equal access? Underserved populations, women, disabled people, and other peopled traditionally considered marginalized in some way must be included in water and sanitation programming from the beginning, rather than after-the-fact as an “add on.”
  • Scale. The scope of the global sanitation problem, in particular, is massive. “How do we achieve results that are not a community here, a community there, a city here, or a town there?” he asked. What works, he said, is to look at approaches that are territorial in scale, where entire districts are covered, and which can inspire other districts and national governments with their operational plans. 
  • Monitoring. A major challenge, he said, is to get good evidence through improved monitoring systems of what is working and what is not working. Ministers are hard pressed to get this information, and have tough jobs as many interests come to them seeking support. “Where is the evidence that justifies their further investment in water and sanitation?” he asked.

Below are comments from other speakers at the event.

Statements by John Ashe (http://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/1731889/pga-statement.pdf)

“We are already in agreement that energy, water and sanitation are essential to the achievement of many development goals. They are inextricably linked to climate change, agriculture, food security, health, gender and education, among others. Ongoing discussions have indicated that there is interest in a sustainable water goal, with a possible target for sanitation.”

“Today, you will be called upon to look at some diverse and challenging questions such as: what are the gaps and obstacles to accessing safe water and sanitation; how can we manage our water resources sustainably; what is the role of various actors, including the private sector and how can we leverage each for the best possible outcome; and given the world’s diverse needs and the many facets of water management – what would a water goal look like, and what kind of target(s) could it have?”

“We are here for this debate because we believe in a post 2015 world that is just, equitable, peaceful and sustainable, where every citizen of every country is able to drink clean water and access sanitation that promotes health and hygiene, both of which our General Assembly has recognized as basic human rights.”

Statements by Ban Ki-Moon (http://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/1731881/1-sg.pdf)

“I know you are all busy working to define a post-2015 development agenda. Erradicating extreme poverty is our most urgent priority, sustainable development our guide. Universal access to safe water, sanitation and energy will be critical.”

“Access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene must feature prominently in the post-2015 development agenda […] This is a matter of justice and opportunity”

Statements by Girish Menon, WaterAid (http://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/1731890/director-interantional-progdep-chief.pdf)

“We need to recognize that we cannot eradicate poverty unless we tackle the water, sanitation and hygiene crisis. No village, no city, and no country has ever lifted themselves out of poverty without first improving water, sanitation and hygiene. The economic gains of investing in water and sanitation are huge. The World Health Organisation states that as much as $5-$8 is returned for every $1 spent on sanitation.“

“Women and girls bear the brunt of the burden when water, sanitation and hygiene facilities cannot be accessed by them…”

“The sector agrees what can and should be done. Now it’s up to governments to put safe water, sanitation and hygiene at the forefront of the future framework, recognizing that access to water and sanitation is a basic human right, and absolutely central to human development and ensuring dignity. ”

Statement by Thailand, on behalf of Thailand, Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, and Tajikistan (http://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/1731879/1-thailand.pdf)

“Therefore, in order to build the future we want, the Friends of Water consider that water shall receive the serious attention it deserves and shall be addressed comprehensively in the post 2015 framework and future sustainable development goals, namely through a dedicated water SDG, as called on by many countries.”

“Thailand is of the view that four important elements in relation to water must be incorporated into the new post 2015 framework, namely ensuring stability, building resilience, reducing inequality and enhancing effective international cooperation.”

Statement by Guinea, on behalf of the African Group (http://papersmart.unmeetings.org/media2/1731891/2-guinea.pdf)

“Therefore, the African Group is over the view that, in addition to being a global goal in the post-2015 development agenda, water could be incorporated as a target of other goals related to poverty eradication, health, food security and nutrition, agriculture, biodiversity, desertification and drought.”

Journalists gather in Cotonou to place spotlight on African commitments to water and sanitation

une_vue_des_intervenants_de_la_ceremonie_douverture_photo_de_ms_gbaguidi_wsscc_2014Less than a year from the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), journalists in Africa are casting a critical eye on the progress in water, sanitation and hygiene improvements being achieved by African governments, and the on-going challenges in this priority sector. This week, some 40 journalists and other stakeholders are gathering in a regional media workshop organized by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) in Cotonou, Benin.

At the global level, rates of open defecation have been substantially reduced, but considerable disparities are still apparent between the different regions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) / United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme report of 2013, “Eastern Asia, South-eastern Asia and the Latin America and Caribbean regions have seen a steady decline since the JMP’s earliest measurements describing conditions in 1990. In Southern Asia, the population practising open defecation peaked around 1995, after which it declined. Only in sub-Saharan Africa is the number of people defecating in the open still increasing.”

In terms of water supply, inequalities also persist. “Of the 2.1 billion people who gained access since 1990, almost two thirds, 1.3 billion lived in urban areas. By the end of 2011, 83% of the population without access to an improved drinking water source lived in rural areas.” Women are usually responsible for supplying their households with safe drinking water, but in some cases the water is not safe. Recent studies have lifted the lid on the difficulties for them, particularly rural women. These include, but are not limited to: time wasted fetching water or finding a private place to defecate which has economic and social implications, discrimination, and also health risks associated with poor management of menstrual hygiene.

Speaking to participants at the opening ceremony of the regional meeting, Amanda Marlin, WSSCC Programme Manager for Advocacy and Communications, said that the delay in achieving WASH goals posed huge challenges in both rural and urban areas.

“We know that the lack of sanitation and drinking-water supply presents economic and health-related problems for individuals and communities,” Ms. Marlin said. “The disparity between the rural and urban areas in terms of distribution and service provision is a challenge. The MDGs helped us achieve great outcomes but there is still room for improvement. Unfortunately, we are off track for the sanitation target. Reducing and eliminating inequalities is key.”

In a context of global mobilization for the post-2015 development agenda, WSSCC is putting this unfinished business at the heart of the discussions. In partnership with the Ministry of Health of Benin, and the Partenariat pour le Développement Municipal (Partnership for Municipal Development), this regional workshop takes place from 18 to 20 February 2014 at the Azalai Hôtel de la Plage in Cotonou. It will bring together 40 participants including 30 journalists from the West Africa WASH Journalists Network present in 13 West African countries.

RFP for Global Sanitation Fund Executing Agency in Kenya

GSF Logo brut (EN)The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and its Global Sanitation Fund have issued a Request for Proposals for an Executing Agency to manage and coordinate its planned grant in Kenya.  The overall goal of the GSF programme in Kenya is to reach almost 2 million people who will be sensitized on improved sanitation and hygiene practices. The successful organization will be the recipient and trustee of GSF funds in Kenya.

A proposal for the management of more than US$5 million in funds has been developed by the GSF Programme Coordinating Mechanism (PCM) in Kenya. The PCM is an officially mandated coordinating body acting as a sub-committee of the National Task Group for Sanitation and includes representatives from relevant ministries, international and national NGOs, development partners, civil society and the private sector.

The deadline for proposals is 31 March 2014.

For more information see this direct link on the UNOPS webpage: http://www.unops.org/ApplyBO/ViewDoc.aspx?OpportunityID=E98072BE-E72F-4CCB-90C6-CA58189A0E49  or for a full listing of all current opportunities click here: http://www.unops.org/english/whatweneed/Pages/currentbusinessopportunities.aspx

The Global Sanitation Fund, or GSF, was created by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council to support efforts to help larger numbers of people to attain sustainable access to basic sanitation and to adopt good hygiene practices.

25 February 2014 – SuSanA/SEI webinar on Productive Sanitation with BMGF grantees

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) with assistance of a team led by Stockholm Environment Institute is inviting you to the 6th webinar with Gates Foundation sanitation granteesforum_logo

  • Topic of the webinar is “Productive sanitation
  • Date/Time: Tuesday 25 February 2014, 16:30 – 17:15 (CET – Central European Time; use this time converter to find your local time)
  • Agenda: 16:00 Set-up of connections (you can start entering the virtual meeting room) – 16:30 recording starts – three presentations; each presentation is about 5 minutes long and is followed by around 10 minutes of questions – 17:15 end of webinar.
  • The virtual meeting room can accommodate up to 100 participants. Attendance at this webinar is open to all.
  • After the event, the recorded webinar will be put online on the SuSanA Youtube channel.
  • Recordings of the past five webinars are available in this Playlist.

Three grantees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will present their research results:

(1) Large scale production and commercialization of “Fortifer” – a fertilizer manufactured from faecal sludge – in Ghana – By Olufunke Cofie and Josiane Nikiema (IWMI-Ghana), IWMI (International Water Management Institute) West Africa Office, Accra, Ghana

(2) When flies are the good guys: can black soldier flies (BSF) efficiently reduce faecal sludge from pit latrines? Research into variations in BSF growth related to the amount of waste reduced  – By Ian Banks, LSHTM (PhD student, Department of Disease Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), London, UK

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Jan 21, 2014 – SuSanA/SEI webinar – Innovation in resource recovery and reuse

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) with the assistance of a team from Stockholm Environment Institute is happy to announce that the 5th Webinar with Gates Foundation sanitation grantees and SuSanA members will take place on 21 January.  susana-forum

  • Topic of the webinar is “Innovation in resource recovery and reuse
  • Date/Time: Tuesday 21 January 2014, 16:30 – 17:15. (CET – Central European Time; use this time converter if you are unsure of the time difference to your location: (www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html)
  • Agenda: 16:15 Set-up of connections (you can start entering the webroom) – 16:30 Recording starts - Introduction by moderator, short introduction of participantsThree presentations and questions (45 min. in total); each presentation is about 5 minutes long and is followed by around 10 minutes of questions – 17:15 End of webinar.

The projects that will be presented during the Jan 21 Webinar are:

(1)  - VUNA – Valorisation of Urine Nutrients in Africa. By Kai Udert, EAWAG, Switzerland – the project is taking place mainly in South Africa.  Previous discussion about it on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/98-nut…-nutrients-in-africa

(2)  Structuring of the fecal sludge market for the benefit of poor households in Dakar, Senegal. By Mbaye Mbeguere, Senegal National Sanitation Utility, ONAS, Senegal  Previous discussion about it on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena…n-dakar-senegal-onas

(3)  Modeling the next generation of sanitation systems. By Luiza Campos, University College London, UK . Previous discussion about it on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/97-ena…ty-college-london-uk

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