Tag Archives: India

Why Using Patriarchal Messaging to Promote Toilets is a Bad Idea

Why Using Patriarchal Messaging to Promote Toilets is a Bad Idea | Source: The Wire, June 2015 |

The struggles for women’s empowerment and improving sanitation are both harmed by using patriarchal messages to encourage construction of toilets.

An excerpt: Impact of patriarchal messages

In our empirical research on sanitation and health in rural India, we have become used to seeing patriarchal messages to promote the construction of toilets. Slogans like “Bahu betiyan bahar na jayein, Ghar mein hi shauchalay banvayein” [“Daughters and Daughters-in-law shouldn’t go outside, build a toilet inside your house”] are now painted across walls and toilets in rural India. Through these slogans, men are encouraged to build a toilet not because it will prevent the spread of disease and germs, but because their patriarchal values should not allow women to go outside the house.

Further, the idea of ghoonghat, or keeping women covered, is used in behaviour change messages in rural Rajasthan. In large banners and in yearly calendars, in government offices and on village walls, the Rajasthan government uses a picture of a woman carrying a lota filled with water. In the poster, the woman is being asked by her daughter, “Maa, ghar mein ghoonghat tera saathi, fir kyun shuach khule mein jaati” [“Mother, when you cover your head inside the house, how come you go in the open to defecate”].  messaging

The poster and the slogan use patriarchal logic to point out the inconsistency between practicing ghoonghat and defecating in the open. In the process, this message associates the use of toilets with women, endorses the practice of ghoonghat, and encourages the idea that the right place for a women are the char-diwari of the ghar (four walls of the house).

Read the complete article in: The Wire, June 2015

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF

 

Swachh Bharat  website photo

The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015

 

India sanitation initiative wins prestigious UN prize

Training women in Nadia District, Sabar Shouchagar programme

Training women in Nadia District,. Photo credit: Sabar Shouchagar programme

The UN has awarded one of their prestigious 2015 Public Service Awards to Nadia district in West Bengal for their sanitation initiative Sabar Shouchagar (Toilets for All).

Bordering on Bangladesh,  the rural district has a population of 5.4 million of whom nearly 2 million or 40% practised open defecation in 2013.  This was in sharp contrast with neighbouring Bangladesh, where only 4% of the people practise open defecation. This realisation sparked the district to start pooling available government resources and develop the Sabar Shouchar concept.

Besides pooling government funds, the concept involved mass awareness campaigns, parternships with NGOs, focus on women and children as change agents, rural sanitation marts, transforming district administration and a 10% mandatory user contribution to cost of toilet construction.

All this resulted in Nadia becoming the first Indian district to be declared open defecation free on 30 April 2015.

2015 UNPSA Banner10

Nadia district will receive its award from the United Nations Secretary-General on 23 June 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.

For more information go to: sabarshouchagar.in

Source: Indian Express, 8 May 2015

Toilet humour is serious business [video]

An inspirational (and funny) TEDx talk on the impact of school sanitation on girls in India.

Told by Australian busnessman, Mark Balla whose visit to the world’s largest slum Dharavi changed his life and turned him into a “toilet warrior”.

Mark is the Founder and Director of Community Engagement at We Can’t Wait.

Culture and the health transition: Understanding sanitation behaviour in rural north India

Culture and the health transition: Understanding sanitation behaviour in rural north India, April 2015. International Growth Centre (ICG) Working Paper.

Authors: Diane Coffey, Aashish Gupta, Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Nikhil Srivastav, and Sangita Vyas.

Key Facts

  • Poor sanitation spreads bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections including diarrhoea, polio, cholera, and hookworm. Despite this, 70% of rural Indian households defecate in the open, without a toilet
    or latrine. Over 60% of the people worldwide who defecate in the open live in India. Bangladesh, which shares a border with India, has a rural open defecation rate of only 5%.
  • Based on a survey of around 3,200 households, and 100 in-depth interviews, this research finds that having a household latrine is widely seen to damage the purity of the home. Open defecation, on
    the other hand, is widely seen to promote purity and strength, and is also associated with health and longevity.
  • A further reason for particularly poor hygiene in Indian public spaces is due to the ongoing renegotiation of caste-based social rules. Most Hindus remain inflexibly opposed to emptying their own latrine pits. As part of a push for greater equality, people from the lowest “untouchable” castes resist emptying latrine pits because this work is widely seen as degrading and reinforcing of their low social status.

India launches national monitoring of toilet use

How does India’s new large-scale sanitation monitoring effort compare with similar initiatives in Bangladesh and Indonesia?

India toilet monitoring app

Image: Government of India (GoI)

According to some media the Indian government has unleashed “toilet police” or “toilet gestapo” into the country [1]. In fact, the central government has instructed local officials to take photographs of new toilets to prove that they have not only been constructed but are also being used. If states don’t upload photos by February 2015, the water and sanitation ministry has threatened to withhold funding from a new national sanitation programme [2].

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Oliver Cumming – Does Improving Sanitation Benefit Health? (podcast)

PODCAST: Does Improving Sanitation Benefit Health?

Description In this podcast, Oliver Cumming, Policy & Research Manager at SHARE, discusses whether improving sanitation benefits health and explains how a sanitation campaign in rural India has led to a rethink about future interventions. This podcast was first published on 23/10/14 by LSHTM.