Tag Archives: SuSanA

The “Look it up Club” got me hooked: Sanitation Wikipedia needs you, too.

By Diane Kellogg, Chair Sanitation Wikipedia Project

My father always said:  “Your ticket off the chicken farm is your education.” My parents did their part.  They enrolled us in the “Look it up Club” by buying the World Book Encyclopedia, one book at a time—A through Z.   To any question we asked, our parents’ answer was the same:  “You’re a member of the Look it up Club aren’t you? Look it up.”

Education mattered so much that “I have homework” could get you out of gathering eggs after school.  As a result, all five of “the McKinney Kids” got good grades.   Still, I wanted off that chicken farm badly.  More degrees could get you even farther from the chicken farm, right?

I got so far from my practical roots that I actually ended up warning my students against looking it up.  At least not on Wikipedia.  The “pedia” of today couldn’t possibly be as good as the encyclopedia, right?  Anyone and everyone can add “stuff” to Wikipedia, so how could it be any good?

Was I ever wrong. 

You can’t get anything past the Wikipedia Warriors out there on the planet.  Yes, anyone can add things, but there will be an army of eyes on your work.  The article on cholera, for example.  A total of 244 people have the cholera article on their “watchlist.”  Many of those have probably asked Wikipedia to notify them by e-mail when “changes were made to an article you’re watching.”   If you make an assertion without referencing credible sources or insert your own opinion, you will hear from someone.  Wikipedia specializes in facts.  Objective facts.  Wikipedia’s standards keep going up.  It’s the best kind of crowd-sourcing:  the best version of the article is what sticks.

What bothers me is that some of the articles on sanitation are so unreadable:  Out of 100 points possible on the Flesch Readability Score, the page on “diarrhea” gets a 38.  And get this:  2700 people click on that article every day.  Multiply that by 365 days in a year, and you’ve got to wonder.  I wonder if those clickers are finding what they’re looking for.  Mothers in Mali with a sick baby want to know how much time they have to get fluids into that little body. Shouldn’t that diarrhea article be more easy to read and understand?

I’ve done penance in various ways.  I’ve assigned a few Wikpedia articles so students will know I am no longer snooty about the quality of what can be found there.  I’ve edited a few Wikipedia articles where I thought the experts were making concepts more obscure and complex than they needed to be.  (Thankfully, the Wikipedia Warriors said “Thank you: that makes the point more clear.”)  I’ve even asked colleagues to assign their students to do original research on WASH topics to see if they could find more recent information to add to articles.

Now I’m chairing a SuSanA drive to improve WASH content on Wikipedia ahead of World Toilet Day on 19 November 2017.

It’s that readability thing that has me so motivated.  Our goal is to raise the average readability of all WASH articles to 60-70.  The average is now 37.    (You can check the readability of your own writing at this link.)  In the spirit of  practice what you preach, I just did that for my blog:  65.

On World Toilet Day, we will award $500 Honorariums to especially dedicated Sanitation Wikipedia volunteers.  Click  on this page to join the team or email Wikipedia@SuSanA.org to offer a few hours of your time.  We make it fun.

 

 

12th SuSanA Thematic Discussion: “Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Schools – A neglected issue”

While nowadays the topic of MHM is gaining more and more attention, it has widely been neglected in the past. SDG4 (education), SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG6 (water and sanitation) require female friendly sanitation facilities and available informational materials at schools around the globe.

Taking into account the magnitude of the population affected by issues around MHM, schools provide an ideal environment to reach girls as well as young women and to address taboos and misconceptions in a culturally sensitive manner.

The question, however, is how to approach the topic in a culturally sensitive manner?

Running for two weeks from today (March 27 until April 09) the discussion on the SuSanA forum will look at two areas:

Week 1: Breaking the taboo around MHM                                           Thematic Lead: Dr. Marni Sommer (Associate Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health)

 Week 2: Infrastructural barriers and how to monitor MHM            Thematic Lead: Thérèse Mahon (Regional Programme Manager South Asia, WaterAid)

During the discussion, regular summaries of forum entries will be posted to keep you updated on our conversation.

Coordination on behalf of the SuSanA secretariat for this thematic discussion will be carried out by Dr. Bella Monse, Jan Schlenk and Mintje Büürma. For any questions, you can post on the forum or contact us directly at info@susana.org.

To join the discussion, follow: http://bit.ly/2nZn4n6

And to read the first contribution by Marni Sommer, click on: http://bit.ly/2n9JLkv

SuSanA invites you to take part in a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to celebrate World Water Day now

Stockholm. March 10, 2017. The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is calling on the help of the world’s billions of toilet users and Wikipedia enthusiasts for a major upgrade of Wikipedia’s sanitation-related pages between now and World Water Day on  22 March.

Image about edit-a-thon for tweeting

Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) calls for everyone everywhere to have access to clean water and decent sanitation by 2030. This Edit-a thon is a chance to help realize this ambition.

Working around the world and around the clock, anyone can join the SuSanA Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.  Simply register here to join the group of volunteers and start editing: registration link

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Tender: SuSanA Stakeholder Market Study

On behalf of SuSanA (Sustainable Sanitation Alliance), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has launched an open and global Invitation to Tender  to produce a Stakeholder Market Survey consisting of a baseline market assessment, a communications strategy for SuSanA and a template for measuring the impact of SuSanA on the targeted market. All this to improve SuSanA’s reach, its content as a Knowledge Management (KM) platform and its impact on stakeholder’s work. Tenders are due April 3rd, 2017.

Download tender

See also here on SuSanA Discussion Forum.

SuSanA monthly webinar 2: “Collaborative monitoring, a prerequisite to achieve universal access to WASH,” May 26th 2016 at 9:00 EDT

Please join us for a webinar on ‘Collaborative monitoring, a prerequisite to achieve universal access to WASH’ scheduled for May 26th 2016 at 9:00 EDT (New York time). This is the second webinar in a monthly recurring series on SuSanA.

Overview: Through the UN Sustainable Development Goals, countries have committed to achieve universal access to water and sanitation by 2030. To realise this ambitious goal, they must pull together and regularly review progress in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) access. This webinar is an opportunity to look into some of the main obstacles to effective monitoring (lack of transparency, inclusion and accountability) and how collaborative monitoring can bring a partial response. The WASHwatch platform will also be presented as a tool to achieve collaborative monitoring with concrete examples of the different platform’s uses by partners.

Presenter: Elisa Dehove – Policy Officer – Monitoring and Accountability, WaterAid

The webinar will last approximately 45 minutes. Elisa’s presentation will be followed by perspectives from other WaterAid offices, followed by an open discussion with webinar participants. We will also open the session 30 minutes beforehand for a low-key ‘mingle’ among participants, where you can use your computer video or microphone to chat with others.

The webinar is being hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute and the SuSanA secretariat as part of a grant to SEI funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

SuSanA forum link: http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/146-webinars-and-online-meetings/18029-susana-monthly-webinar-2-collaborative-monitoring-a-prerequisite-to-achieve-universal-access-to-wash-may-26th-900-edt-new-york-time

Time:
9:00 New York/Washington DC
14:00 London, 15:00 Stockholm, 16:00 Nairobi ,20:00 Hanoi, 23:00 Sydney

To register please follow this link: www.susana.org/en/webinar-registration

If you would like to present your work, please contact sarah.dickin@sei-international.org to sign-up for future dates.

SuSanA and IRC online thematic discussion: Sustainable urban sanitation – moving forward

We are happy to announce that IRC is holding a 2-week thematic discussion on the topic “Sustainable urban sanitation – moving forward” on the SuSanA online discussion Forum starting from today.

To view the discussion and post, visit:

SuSanA forum: http://forum.susana.org/forum/categories/218-thematic-discussion-sustainable-urban-sanitation-moving-forward

The overall theme of this thematic discussion is how to move towards more sustainable urban sanitation. The idea is to initiate a discussion from the perspective of the whole sanitation chain and also the role (or lack of role) which local government has as leaders for change in sanitation. The discussion would focus on case study examples which have worked but also those that have not worked and how these could have been improved given the chance with a focus on the whole sanitation chain. Guiding questions by the thematic experts will help to structure the discussion throughout this e-debate.

Theme 1 (October 13-19): Lack of attention to the whole sanitation chain: Why is there a lack of attention to the whole sanitation chain? Given that sanitation is more than building a toilet and includes changed hygienic behaviours, maintenance, emptying, treatment and disposal or reuse of accumulated faecal matter, why are so many programmes and project still only looking at one possible two sides of this multi-sided chain?

Theme 2 (October 20-23): Lack of leadership for change around sanitation: Sanitation improvements are not the sole responsibility of one entity but is shared between households, private service providers (latrine builders, emptying companies) and/or various line ministries (Min. of Health, Education, Infrastructure, Environment). How can we create a sanitation sector that is more coordinated and aligned with the many players as well providing a supportive and regulatory function? The latter is typically the responsibility of national and local governments. However, in many countries, either there is not a unique institution with the overall responsibility for sanitation, or this designated institution is weak and is not able to lead the sector towards change. Is there a means of creating more substantive governmental leadership in this area for better coordination and harmonisation in the sanitation sector?

The first theme has started today by Cor Dietvorst explainingWhat are we talking about? Systemic change is change that encompasses all parts of a system, taking into account the interrelationships and interdependencies among those parts whereas piecemeal change focuses on one or several parts of a system and thereby addresses only pieces of the urban sanitation problem.”

And asking:

1.What are your views on using the systemic change approach for addressing the (urban) sanitation challenges?

  1. Is it justifiable to continue focusing on onsite containment of human faeces and thereby ignoring all the other links of the sanitation chain? 
  2. How can we balance the need for systemic long-time change with addressing some of the immediate urgent needs?

We warmly invite you to engage with us in the discussion. Experts from the sector will be providing their input and respond to your questions:

  • Erick Baetings (Senior sanitation expert, IRC)
  • Marielle Snel (Senior expert, IRC)
  • Cor Dietvorst (Programme officer, IRC)

BACKGROUND

This discussion is the third in a series of events on urban sanitation co-hosted by IRC. The first in the series was the thematic discussion “Urban Sanitation Finance – From Macro to Micro Level” in June, followed by a Round Table Discussion on Urban Sanitation in line with ULCTS in July and the IRC Event “Working towards sustainable urban sanitation” held in September. Recommended background readings for the discussion are provided here

We look forward to hearing your contributions on this discussion!

SuSanA announces new project database as a one-stop shop for information on sanitation projects

A sanitation project database is now available on the website of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). It aims to make  information about sanitation projects of all organizations available in one central location.

The project database currently contains 220 projects. 80% of these have the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as their funding source, due to the fact that the database development was part of a BMGF grant to Stockholm Environment Institute.

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