Global Sanitation Fund Field Trip in Senegal – Interesting points and reflections by Jamie Myers

By Jamie Myers, Research Officer at the CLTS Knowledge Hub

Photo: Alma Felic/WSSCC

Photo: Alma Felic/WSSCC

Last week in the run up to AfricaSan I joined a Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) field trip and learning event in the Matam region, Senegal. Along with GSF programme managers and Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) National Coordinators, we visited different villages where local NGOs have been triggering communities. Matam, in the north east of Senegal separated from Mauritania by the Senegal River, has a population of over 550,000 of which 98% are Muslim. In the region, 47.2% practice open defecation.

Following the field trip I also joined a sharing and learning event in Dakar where executing agencies presented the work they had been undertaking in their own countries.

Throughout the week there were a number of interesting points. The ones I found most interesting were use of religious leaders, support mechanisms for the most vulnerable and ways to change and sustain the hygienic management of child faeces. All three are discussed in more detail below.

Religion  

As mentioned above, in Matam 98% of the population are Muslim. The sub-grantees in Senegal have made sure to not just gain the support from local Imams but make sure they play a central role in the intervention. Imams in some of the villages we visited are involved in post-triggering and post-open-defecation free (ODF) activities through their participation in village sanitation and hygiene communities. The use of religious leaders to promote sanitation and hygiene messages appears to have been very effective for collective behaviour change and hopefully the sustainability of ODF villages.

From country presentations in Dakar I learnt that a similar approach is being used in Togo and Nigeria where messages from the Koran and the Bible are used to promote hygienic messages.

In addition, it was also interesting to hear that in one village in Senegal a demonstration latrine had been set up at the mosque – a place frequented mostly by men who are often harder to convince about the benefits of stopping open defecation.

Improved latrine funding mechanism for the most vulnerable

In some communities solidarity funds have been set up. There is a registration fee along with a fee collected each month when members meet. The fund can be used for the construction of new toilets and maintenance of existing toilets for those who need it. In two villages we visited, the funds had been used to build four toilets for the most vulnerable households in the community. Over the whole project area 60 improved latrines have been built through these funds over the past two years.

I learnt that this idea had been taken from another non-sanitation related development programme that was already underway in the region. It shows that it is worth investing time into thinking more about successful programmes in different sectors and thinking about how community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and those working on sanitation and hygiene could borrow and adapt effective initiatives from others.

It is worth noting that the communities visited had the perfect environment for this kind of activity. They were very tightknit homogenous communities.

Read the full article on the WSSCC AfricaSan 4 blog. 

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

SuSanA celebrates 5000 members and 100 projects discussed online with open mic webinar on 18 June

forum-logo-new2015

June 2015 is the month in which the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) will meet two impressive milestones: 5000 SuSanA members, and 100 sanitation projects funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) having been introduced on the SuSanA discussion forum. The projects’ discussion threads can be accessed via the new sanitation project database after filtering by funding source.

To celebrate these two milestones, and to hear about ideas for the future of the SuSanA network and its knowledge management tools, all members are invited to one hour of an “open microphone” webinar on 18 June 2015.

Continue reading

Dealing with the odor problem in loos/latrines

Soon, there will be a perfume strong enough to counter stinky loos in India and Africa |Source: Quartz India |loo

Excerpts – Perfume chemists have devised a tool aimed at stopping foul smells from undermining the struggle to improve sanitation in developing countries.

A team from Swiss firm Firmenich—better known for applying aroma expertise to perfumes and food—has developed a system to quantify six major faecal aroma chemicals at the same time in toilet air. The technique is described in a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology last month.

“This is to help make a perfume to cover the malodour,” Christian Starkenmann, a chemist at Firmenich and one of the study’s authors, said. Such perfumes would improve conditions in public toilets that charge for use, supporting a business model for building and maintaining sanitation where it is lacking, he added.

The Firmenich scientists analysed sludge from latrines in India, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. They were unable to collect a fully representative toilet smell using the first method they tried: Holding a polymer-coated needle above the sludge to absorb odorant chemicals. Specifically, this technique could not capture sulphur-containing gases.

Read the complete article.

Jasmine Burton – Innovation to sanitation through empathic design

When an industrial designer takes an empathic approach to a problem, the result can improve millions of lives. One such breakthrough is restoring dignity and hope to many who live in countries with little or no sanitation measures.

Jasmine Burton is improving public health and solving a neglected global challenge through empathic design.

Driven by a passion for serving others, Jasmine Burton not only sought a path to an education, but also a path to becoming a humanitarian for developing nations. Through the social impact organization, Wish for Wash, Jasmine is bringing innovation to sanitation through empathic design.

In 2014, she and Team Sanivation won the GT InVenture Prize for their Innovative and affordable mobile toilet product design, SafiChoo.

Global Sanitation Fund reports large-scale advances in sanitation and hygiene in 13 countries

Lucie Obiokang with the toilet she built after being triggered.

Lucie Obiokang with the toilet she built after being triggered.

A new report shows that the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) has supported governments and hundreds of their national partners in 13 countries, stretching from Cambodia to Senegal, to enable 7 million people in more than 20,500 communities to end open defecation.   

These results are published in the GSF’s latest Progress Report (link to report; link to photos), which highlights cumulative results from the start of the fund until the end of 2014. Nationally-led programmes supported by the GSF have enabled:

  • 4.2 million people with improved toilets
  • 7 million people and more than 20,500 communities to be open-defecation free
  • 8 million people with handwashing facilities

Currently, 2.5 billion people, or 40% of the global population, lack access to decent sanitation. Of those, more than a billion defecate in the open. Diarrheal disease, largely caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of malnutrition, stunting and child mortality, claiming nearly 600,000 under-5 lives every year. Inadequate facilities also affect education and economic productivity and impact the dignity and personal safety of women and girls.

Established by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the GSF funds behaviour change activities to help large numbers of poor people in the hardest-to-reach areas attain safe sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. These activities are community-led, support national efforts, and bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in order to address, at a large scale, the severe deficiencies in access to sanitation and hygiene.

The GSF is a pooled financing mechanism with the potential to further accelerate access to sanitation for hundreds of millions of people over the next 15 years. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the GSF reported an almost 90 percent increase in the number of people living open-defecation free in target regions of 13 countries[1] across Africa and Asia. During this same period, the GSF has also supported a 55 percent increase in the number of people with access to improved toilets in those same areas. The United Nations system has identified global funds as an important tool to enable member countries to achieve their national development targets, including those for sanitation and hygiene.[2]

“These results prove that we are moving closer to our vision of a world where everybody has sustained sanitation and hygiene, supported by safe water,” said Chris Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC.  “This is a crucial step towards achieving better health, reducing poverty and ensuring environmental sustainability for the most marginalized people in the world.”

These GSF results have been achieved due to the work of more than 200 partners, including executing agencies and sub-grantees composed of representatives from governments, international organizations, academic institutions, the United Nations and civil society. One of the strongest success factors in the GSF approach is that it allows flexibility for countries to develop their programmes within the context of their own institutional framework and according to their own specific sanitation and hygiene needs, sector capacity and stakeholders. This implementation methodology is used to reach large numbers of households in a relatively short period of time and is vital for scaling up safe sanitation and hygiene practices.

“GSF is one of the few funds for government-led, donor-funded sanitation and hygiene programmes,” said Williams. “It can uniquely serve as a catalyst to the wider sector as a model that is replicable for others interested in large-scale behaviour change.”

Reaching scale has required that sub-grantees can identify influential, strategic communities, and make effective use of natural leaders, religious and local leaders, or hundreds of others who serve as individual sanitation and hygiene champions. GSF supported programmes apply a local delivery mechanism that engages households in thousands of villages, which enables people to make informed decisions about their sanitation and hygiene behaviour that can improve their health, education and productivity.

The report also highlights the GSF’s impact on national programmes. In Uganda, there are now more than 1.4 million people living in open-defecation free (ODF) environments, thanks to GSF-funded activities, and close to three million people have been reached by hygiene messages as a result of decentralized local government intervention. In Madagascar, over 1.3 million people are now living in ODF environments – in all 22 of the countries regions – and India’s GSF-supported programme has over 782,000 people with handwashing facilities.

“Access to improved sanitation has to be a sustainable reality for every person in the community, regardless of age, gender or disability, in order for the health and other benefits to be enjoyed by all,” said David Shimkus, Programme Director of the GSF. “This report shows that GSF-supported programmes are making major strides in achieving improved sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable, and all stakeholders will continue to work together to ensure such progress continues.”

The Governments of Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have contributed to the GSF since its establishment in 2008. Close to $105 million has been committed for 13 country programmes, which aim to reach 36 million people.

[1] Benin, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

[2] See draft outcome document for the forthcoming Addis Ababa Accord of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Financing for Sustainable Development report and its Role of Global Funds in a Post-2015 Development Framework.

African Ministers renew commitment to sanitation and hygiene

The AfricaSan4 conference (25-27 May) ended with a declaration defining the vision and aspirations of the African Ministers in charge of hygiene and sanitation.

AfricaSan4-2

African ministers in charge of sanitation and hygiene under their umbrella body African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) have expressed their commitment to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030. They reinforce their committment by promising to increase annually the sanitation and hygiene budget lines “to reach a minimum of 0.5% GDP by 2020″. This is contained in a declaration issued by the ministers at the closure of AfricaSan4 in Ngor, Dakar, Senegal.

The declaration acknowledges that while 133 million people living in Africa have gained access to sanitation since 1990, over 500 million still lack access and many more still defecate in the open.

The Ministers’ commitments address a wide range of issues that must be tackled to improve sanitation and hygiene including: political leadership; financing; monitoring and evaluation; equity and inclusion; research and learning among others. The Ministers also call upon all stakeholders to play different roles to achieve the vision. The commitments contained in the Ngor Declaration 2015, replace the eThekwini commitments of 2008.

Lydia IRC UgandaBy Lydia Mirembe, Communication and knowlegde management advisor | IRC Uganda

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 29 May 2015