Tag Archives: open defecation

Three out of five Ghanaians practice open defecation, UNICEF says

Three out of five Ghanaians practice open defecation, UNICEF says | Source: Pulse.com, April 30, 2016 |

Three out of five Ghanaians practice open defecation, UNICEF says, adding that Ghana could take 500 years to eliminate the practice due to the slow pace at which strategies, laws and interventions are being implemented. ghana-odf

Open defecation is the practice of attending natures call in the bush, at the beach, in drains and dump sites. The Chief Officer at the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Unit of UNICEF Ghana, David Duncan, notes that in the last 25 years, Ghana made one percent progress at eliminating the practice.

Duncan made these known at a workshop in Cape Coast for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps on open defecation. According to him, though the current pace is nothing to write home about, he was hopeful Ghana could achieve an Open Defecation Free society within the four-year national target if actions are expedited on all fronts.

Read the complete article.

In a Good Place What’s the solution to India’s sanitation crisis? It’s not just more toilets

In a Good Place What’s the solution to India’s sanitation crisis? It’s not just more toilets. Story by Ann Schraufnagel, Photography by Emily H. Johnson| Source: Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine, Spring 2016 |

“Don’t you know what a toilet is?”


Bihar’s field workers often toil miles from the nearest toilet.

The rusty auto-rickshaw flew over a pothole on the broken concrete road. Though I was hunched over in the backseat of the tiny, three-wheeled vehicle, my head slammed the ceiling. Eyes tearing, the sights around me blurred: Women in bold-colored saris working in the surrounding fields looked like smudges of blue and purple in an endless sea of bright, brilliant green. Dazed, I wondered whether I’d heard the translation correctly.

“I mean, don’t you know what a toilet is used for?” Laleshwor Kumar shouted at me over the roaring engine of the rickshaw. He looked taken aback.

With a fellowship from the Bloomberg School and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, I’d come to Bihar, India, in June 2015 to report on open defecation. Bihar is a hotbed for this practice: In rural Supaul, the district where I stayed, only 30 percent of homes have toilets. Despite years of effort to curb it, the practice of relieving oneself outside has persisted in India. Recent studies showed that many Indians have a stated preference for open defecation.

Yet here I was with Laleshwor, a janitor at a local bank, on a quest to build a toilet. On this unbearably hot, sticky summer day, we rode into town from his rural home and I had asked why. What set him apart, I wondered, and made him want a toilet in his home when, according to the research I’d conducted from an air-conditioned American cubicle, so many Indians
did not?

For the next four weeks, I set out to answer the vexing public health question central to India’s current sanitation crisis: Why would an individual choose to not use a toilet even when one is available?

Read the complete article.


Open Defecation Ends in Bangladesh – Almost

Open Defecation Ends in Bangladesh – Almost | Source: The Wire, March 7 2016 |

Bangladesh has virtually eliminated open air defecation, bringing it down to only 1% of its population who do not have access to indoor toilet facilities.

For most of her 50 years, Rokeya Begum has lived without a toilet in her house – waiting for the curtain of darkness to go out to the fields or the jungles near her village to defecate, come winter, summer, rain or illness. Not any more though. With Bangladesh declaring itself virtually open defecation free, Rokeya Begum, too, has a sanitary latrine in the tiny home she shares with five other family members.


A family in Sirajganj district in Bangladesh installing sanitary latrine. Credit: Development Organization for the Rural Poor/The Third Pole

In a remarkable achievement, official data reveals that open defecation has reduced to only 1%, a “milestone change” from the 42% in 2003, making it a role model for other countries in the region. Approximately 595 million people in India, about half the population, do not use toilets. In Pakistan the number is 41 million, or about 21%, while for Nepal the number is 15.5 million, or 54% of the population. Only Sri Lanka, of all other South Asian states, has managed, like Bangladesh, to virtually wipe out open air defecation.

“We have no sanitation problem. Although we are poor, we are living in society now with dignity,” Rokeya Begum, who lives in Kishoreganj’s Gobaria village, says with a broad smile. Like poor households in the country, her family would also use the roadside, open fields and jungles to defecate. Then things changed when the local administration helped her install a sanitary latrine in her home a few years ago.

As Bangladesh makes huge strides towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), virtually the entire country has been brought under the sanitation umbrella. It was a life changer for Rokaya and millions of Bangladeshis, particularly women, who put their health at risk as they waited endless hours for nightfall to defecate, as well as bore the ignominy of the practice.

Moreover, open defecation contaminates fruits and vegetables, pollutes surface and groundwater and spreads diseases. Diarrhoeal diseases remain common in Bangladesh, causing around 100,000 deaths a year, due to contamination of food and drinking water, according to icddr,b.

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The surprising truth of open defecation in India – Sangita Vyas

Published on Jul 31, 2015

In this TEDx Talk Sangita Vyas shares the unheared and little understood reality of open defecation in India.

Its a well known fact that most of the open defecation in the world happens in India, social scientists and the government were struggling to understand why? Is it because we don’t have enough toilets? Is it because we don’t have enough money? The enormity of the problem was getting worse, 300,000 children lose their lives to preventable diseases related to sanitation and open defecation and most rural children face physical and mental stunting.

The answer as Sangita found in her country wide survey – is couter intuitive and very surprising. Listen to her talk to know the surprising truth of open defecation in India.

Sangita is broadly interested in the politics and economics of inequality and making services work in India.

She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received a BS from the University of Pennsylvania. After college, Sangita spent several years working in New York in economic consulting but soon became discontent and moved to India where she oversaw a randomized evaluation of a micro-insurance program for farmers in Gujarat with the Centre for Microfinance.

Sangita holds an MPA in Economics and Public Policy with a Concentration in Urban Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.


Voice of America – Millions Shun India’s Innovations in Solving Sanitation Problems

Millions Shun India’s Innovations in Solving Sanitation Problems | Source: Voice of America, Feb 18, 2016 |

In Geeta Colony, a crowded slum in the Indian capital, 45-year-old Meena Devi said she would rather walk into open areas in the vicinity of her tiny home for defecation than wait in snaking lines at the “filthy” community toilets. “The toilets are in terrible condition, there is no sewer system. Then they shut the doors at night,” she said.


FILE – Indian men attend to their morning chores next to a sewage canal before they leave for work early morning in New Delhi, India, Dec. 12, 2014.

Across Indian villages and towns, the government has accelerated a drive to build millions of toilets as it makes ending open defecation by an estimated 600 million people a rallying cry. Some 9 million toilets have been built since the campaign was launched a little over a year ago.

Shifting Social Norms

But sanitation experts say the campaign is faltering as many of the latrines lie unused. It is not just community toilets in festering urban slums that have discouraged people like Meena Devi from changing old habits. Tens of thousands of independent latrines built for village households are also shunned – mostly due to age-old cultural resistance to using them.

Read the complete article.


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


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.


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