Leading global health organizations have unveiled a groundbreaking analysis outlining what donors, national governments, and the private sector need to invest to accelerate progress for menstrual health and hygiene (MHH). The report, Making the Case for Investing in Menstrual Health and Hygiene, is part of a growing effort to advance gender equality and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
This section presents recommended approaches and practical tools to help sanitation and hygiene practitioners do their job well. It reflects our commitment to adaptable, ‘combinable’ and context-specific learning and sanitation approaches. Each approach page has an introduction recommended resources.
The desire to bring together sanitation and hygiene professionals is reflected here. You can find blogs, news, events in the sector and more information about workshops, including stories from participants of past workshops. You can also submit a blog in this section.
This blog offers advice for practitioners wanting to apply gender transformative approaches to WASH programming.
As a sector we are still gathering evidence on what makes up effective gender transformative programming approaches. In this newsletter we suggest nine ideas for criteria.
Gender transformation: What are we talking about?
Gender transformative approaches to programming aim to transform the power structures that underlie unequal gender relations and norms. Empowering marginalised women and girls to come into the public domain, share their perspectives, take on leadership roles, set political agendas and form movements is central to this approach. Working with men and boys as allies and champions of change is also vital in order to challenge and transform dominant social, economic and political structures that perpetuate gender inequality. Transformative approaches also aim to understand how gender inequalities intersect with and compound other inequalities, striving for more complex and nuanced programming.
Female-Friendly Public and Community Toilets: a discussion about why we need them and how to design them
Public and community toilets are often dirty, poorly maintained and have not been designed to meet the requirements of women and girls. But Governments and city planners can and should improve this situation by a) including women in the planning process and b) following basic principles of universal design that ensure public and community toilets are accessible for all users, are secure and well located, include context specific menstrual health features, cater for caring responsibilities (of all genders) and are maintained for cleanliness and safety. The practical “Female-friendly public and community toilets” guide is designed to help city authorities, planners and NGOs identify areas that lack public and community toilets and check if existing toilets are female-friendly while also giving some practical guidance for non-negotiable design elements. The webinar will highlight why it is important to look at public and community toilets through a gender lens, giving time for discussion and hoping for feedback from participants.
Priya Nath: Equality, Inclusion and Rights Advisor, WaterAid, UK
Olutayo Bankole Bolawole: East Africa Regional Director, WaterAid, Uganda
Lizette Burgers: Senior Advisor WASH, UNICEF, USA
Sam Drabble: Head of Research and Learning, WSUP, UK
The webinar will be recorded for those that cannot attend.
What would promotion of gender equality and empowerment in relation to water look like? At a minimum, it would necessitate a recognition of gender differences, as opposed to gender blindness.
This requires collection of improved gender data. At the global level, an opportunity exists to enable sex-disaggregated data collection through the WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, which is revising core questions for monitoring household water, sanitation, and hygiene.
This effort should include questions to assess differences in responsibilities for water-related tasks—including but not limited to drinking water—based on gender as well as on age, socioeconomic status, and other characteristics, such as caste, as part of an intersectional approach.
USAID recognizes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are vital to the success of any development intervention. The Agency incorporates a gender-related component into all its activities, including those outlined in the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and the USAID Water and Development Plan in support of the Strategy.
Women and girls often bear primary responsibility for providing drinking water and sanitation to their families and are disproportionately affected when they have to travel to reach these services/facilities. Improved sanitation access is crucial to preserving the basic dignity of women and girls and reducing gender-based violence.
Under USAID’s Plan, water and sanitation programming will promote gender equality by increasing participation in leadership, consultation, education, and technical skills training. Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is another critical way that water and sanitation activities can address women’s and girls’ empowerment by alleviating a major constraint to their participation in education and public life.
This issue contains gender-related studies and reports from 2017 and 2018 on MHM, gender issues related to water collection and water security, male participation in sanitation, and other topics. A special thanks goes to the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) for contributing content to this issue.
In Tanzania, SNV has developed, under the Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene For All programme, two innovative approaches to sustain handwashing with soap and open defecation free status in rural communities. These are triggering with soap at vaccination centres and Jirani (neighbours) sanitation groups.
The first intervention consists of triggering at vaccination centres as they were found to be ideal places to raise awareness of the importance of washing hands with soap among pregnant women, mothers and other caregivers.
The second intervention is based on having neighbours who monitor the sanitation and hygiene progress of the households closest to their homes and sensitise other neighbours on the importance of building, taking care of, and improving sanitation and handwashing facilities.
The following case studies provide practical information for implementing the interventions, and brief discussions on the remaining challenges and lessons learned by the SNV team and their partners on the ground:
1 in 3 people across the world don’t have a decent toilet of their own. But it’s not just a question of lacking a household toilet – low availability of public and community toilets is also an issue. Where they do exist, these facilities often don’t meet the needs of women and girls, undermining women’s human rights.
The ‘Female-friendly guide‘, out in October 2018 and written by WaterAid, UNICEF and WSUP, is designed primarily for use by local authorities in towns and cities who are in charge of public and community toilets. It’s also useful for national governments, public and private service providers, NGOs, donors and civil society organisations who play a role in delivering these services.
The guide explains why toilets must be female-friendly, before detailing the essential and desirable features needed to make them so. It also suggests ways to increase gender sensitivity in town planning on sanitation.
Recommendations and practical steps have been drawn from existing literature, expert opinion and analysis of pioneering experiences from around the world.
The guide is available to download now, and will also be presented at the UNC Water and Health Conference on 1 November 2018.
Sylvia Cabus serves as Senior Gender Advisor for USAID’s Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
In this podcast, Sylvia speaks with Global Waters Radio about some of the many ways the Agency integrates gender into its water, sanitation, and hygiene programming, and talks about how gender mainstreaming contributes to improved livelihood opportunities for women, better educational access for girls, and greater sustainability for WASH development interventions.
The strong connections between WASH improvements and girls and women’s empowerment received prominent mention in the U.S. Government’s first-ever Global Water Strategy, released in 2017, which notes as part of its first Strategic Objective that “access to sanitation for women and girls is particularly crucial to preserving basic dignity, improving access to education and economic opportunities, and reducing gender-based violence.”
Toilets in households have only increased the drudgery of village women as they have to fetch water from faraway sources for toilet use, writes Amita Bhaduri, Programme Director of the Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development (SPWD), in an article posted on the Indian Water Portal.
Rajasthan is all geared up for the open defecation free (ODF) status well before the national deadline of October 2, 2019. According to the assistant engineer of the nagar parishad, Resha Singh, 4.75 lakh [475 thousand] toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014 in Alwar district which is about to be declared ODF.
Paari, a 45-year-old woman of Ghevron ki dhaani village in the district got a toilet at her household under this toilet construction drive. She does not have to go far away to find a place for her sanitary needs anymore. She is, however, unhappy and exhausted from the numerous trips to the water source she has to make to get water in the toilet. Her feet are aching from treading the path filled with rocks and thorns without any footwear for protection.