Tag Archives: gender

Tackling the Taboo of Menstruation

In connection with last week’s WSSCC-UN Women side event on the Commission on the Status of Women, WSSCC Executive Director published a new blog on the Huffington Post. It begins:

“In 1995, global rights activists sent a powerful message about the urgent need for gender equality in political, civic, economic, cultural and social life. Two decades later, women and girls have made powerful strides in closing the gender gap.”

Read the full article at:



Yes, hygiene and school enrolment are directly proportional

In Bangladesh, the lack of separate latrines for girls and menstrual hygiene facilities in secondary schools are major factors in the disproportionate rate of absence and dropout of adolescent girls.

Sabrina Shaidullah Sabrina Shahidullah

A study undertaken in Bangladesh revealed an 11 per cent increase in girls’ enrolment mainly due to the provision of sanitary toilets.” –Technical paper series/IRC

In Bangladesh the standard number of toilets in schools has been set as a minimum of one toilet for every 60 students. However, this is far from being achieved. The infographic below shows that on average, schools in Bangladesh have half the number of toilets required. However, although 94 per cent of schools have latrines within the compound, a large number remain unusable because they are dirty or broken.

BRAC WASH School Sanitation graph

Source: UNICEF WASH for school children South Asia Report, 2012

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#WorldToiletDay seminar: sanitation for improved lives of women and children


Sida and WaterAid are organising a seminar on 19 November 2014, World Toilet Day, in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Inspirational Morning Seminar on The Relevance of Sanitation and Hygiene in Addressing Children’s and Women’s Health & Rights will be held at Sida’s headquarters from 08.30-12.00.

The seminar aims to raise awareness about the taboos and difficulties surrounding sanitation specifically as it relates to health and for example girls’ and women’s menstrual hygiene management  (MHM).

The seminar moderators are Ana Gren and Johan Sundberg.

Speakers include:

  • Archana Patkar – Presentation of WSSCC – MHM Relevance, program approaches, Reflections, need for innovation, recommendations how to best address the problem
  • Robert Chambers – WASH, Women and Children: from blind spots to core concerns?
  • Jenny Fredby, WaterAid, Sanitation and hygiene for children’s and women’s health, approaches, reflections and recommendations for SDGs

The seminar will close with a discussion followed by a joint pledge to “Break the silence, Be proud – Don’t be shy, Tell your friends”.

Register before 14 November on the Sida web site.

10:55 – 11:50 Joint discussion for all participants; the discussion will be fuelled by discussion engines: Experts in DEMO & HR, Health, Governance, Research – SIWI, SEI, SanWatPUA, Sida

11.50 – 12.00 Closure – Take the pledge! – Break the silence, Be proud – Don’t be shy, Tell your friends (Sida & WaterAid)

Preventing violence linked to WASH: practitioners’ toolkit

WeCan Campaign poster used in an IDP camp in Batticoloa, Sri Lanka to help respond to and prevent violence against women

WeCan Campaign poster used in an IDP camp in Batticoloa, Sri Lanka to help respond to and prevent violence against women

Poorly designed and located water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions can increase people’s vulnerability to violence. This can range from sexual harassment when practicing open defecation or collecting water, to staff demanding sexual favours in exchange for access to WASH facilities.<

With this in mind, WaterAid/SHARE have published a toolkit  [1] to help practitioners make water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) safer for the most vulnerable.

The toolkit consists of briefing notes, a checklist of actions based on the ten key principles for reducing vulnerability to WASH-related violence, and a range of tools including case studies of good practice.  It is relevant for both humanitarian and development contexts. The materials also include videos, scenarios for training and tools for use with communities, key extracts from international human rights instruments and a folder of additional supporting information

Any actor working in humanitarian, development or transitional contexts can request free access to the materials by sending an email to gbv@wateraid.org.

[1] House, S., Ferron, S., Sommer, M. and Cavill, S. 2014. Violence, gender and WASH : a practitioner’s toolkit : making water, sanitation and hygiene safer through improved programming and services. London, UK, WaterAid/SHARE.

For more information:

  • House, S. et al., 2014. Violence, gender and WASH : a practitioner’s toolkit : making water, sanitation and hygiene safer through improved programming and services. Humanitarian exchange magazine, no. 60, February 2014. Available at: <http://washurl.net/5as6s3>
  • Violence and vulnerability: making WASH safe. Hygiene promotion in emergencies newsletter, no. 5, March 2014, Available at: <http://washurl.net/8k5b0a>
  • SHARE: Equity

In 2012 WaterAid America released “1 in 3“, a video highlighting the impact of the lack of sanitation on women.

Why women’s involvement in water and sanitation development is important

Women in WASH

Last week on March 8 was International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s theme was “Inspiring Change”.  Four women inspiring change in the WASH sector came together during the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, in September last year. They were Water For People’s Kate Fogelberg; IRC’s Vida Duti and Jane Nabunnya Mulumba, and Alice Bouman, President of the Women for Water Partnership. They talked about the role of women in the WASH sector.

Women leadership in WASH is needed and should be actively promoted. This was one of the main outcomes of the panel discussion on Women and WASH led by the four women mentioned above. The discussion highlighted the role of women leaders in WASH, the question of why more focus on the role of women is so important, and what lack of access to improved water and sanitation services means for women in rural areas in different country contexts.

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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.

India, Madhya Pradesh: sanitation campaign humiliates women, say critics

Controversial illustration from Madya Pradesh sanitation campaign booklet

Controversial illustration from Madya Pradesh sanitation campaign booklet

A government campaign to stop open defecation in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has been criticised for using humiliation to change behaviour. Journalist M. Poornima writes that the ambitious scheme called ‘Maryada Abhiyan’ (Hindi for dignity), “gives little of it to women”.

From catcalls to publishing names to photographing the people caught — the government booklet [1] suggests a number of measures meant to humiliate people. That it would hit women the hardest is not a thought that appears to have occurred to the authorities.

The criticism is backed up by WaterAid programme officer Binu Arickal, who called whistling at or photographing women practising open defecation “foolish”. This reflects a discussion started at the beginning of this year on community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and human rights in the SuSanA Forum, which was sparked by a journal article [2] by Jamie Bartram and others.

UNICEF contributed to the Maryada campaign booklet. The campaign’s brand ambassador is Anita Narre, the bride from a Madhya Pradesh who  sparked a “sanitation revolution” in her village by forcing her husband to build a toilet in their home.

[1] Madhya Pradesh. State Water and Sanitation Mission (2012?). Maryada Abhiyan: guideline. Available at: <http://washurl.net/42kkyn>

[2] Bartram, J. … [et al.] (2012). Commentary on community-led total sanitation and human rights: Should the right to community-wide health be won at the cost of individual rights?. Journal of water and health, 10(4), pp. 499–503. doi: 10.2166/wh.2012.205. Available at: <http://washurl.net/56qm77>

Related web sites:

Source: M. Poornima, No ‘maryada’ for women in MP govt’s sanitation drive, Hindustan Times, 24 Dec 2013