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News, Opinions and Resources for Sanitation for All
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Francis de los Reyes: Sanitation is a basic human right

Wed, 2014-11-26 19:01

This talk might contain much more than you’d ever want to know about the way the world poops. But as sanitation activist (and TED Fellow) Francis de los Reyes asks — doesn’t everyone deserve a safe place to go?


Filed under: Dignity and Social Development

WSP – Success with Sanitation Business in Indonesia

Wed, 2014-11-26 18:39

This 4-min video overview of the sanitation business model in Indonesia illustrates a one-stop shop sanitation business model targeted at entrepreneurs and other stakeholders.

The video animation follows Mr. Budi, a sanitation entrepreneur who produces healthy toilet facilities at an affordable price. Mr. Budi’s experience highlights steps needed to become a successful sanitation entrepreneur, such as close cooperation with various stakeholders, as well as coordination from local health offices.

The video describes the sanitation business process in stages, from drawing a social map and identifying customers to receiving orders, creating a work plan and settling payments. As a sanitation entrepreneur, Mr. Budi is creating more jobs, supporting the community, and helping the government program improve access to sanitation.

 

 


Filed under: East Asia & Pacific, Economic Benefits Tagged: entrepreneurs, Indonesia

New business-led coalition for market-based sanitation for the poor

Fri, 2014-11-21 17:22

On World Toilet Day, Unilever announced the launch of The Toilet Board Coalition. The aim of the new coalition is to tackle  open defecation using market-driven solutions.

The Toilet Board Coalition brings together some of the most forward-thinking organisations in the sanitation space: Firmenich, Kimberly-Clark, LIXIL Corporation and Unilever represent the business sector; Dr Val Curtis of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Barbara Evans of the University of Leeds bring academic rigour to the table; and a number of development sector and governmental bodies bring their one-of-a-kind resources and specialist knowledge: Agence Française De Développement; the Asian Development Bank; the UK’s Department for International Development; Stone Family Foundation; WaterAid; Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP); Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC); the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme; the World Toilet Organization; Water and Sanitation for Africa; and UNICEF.

Toilet Board Coalition publications

Unilever had already initiated The Toilet Board Coalition in 2012. Over the past 6 months, the coalition has started five key initiatives:

  • Supporting the Clean Team urban mobile toilet initaitive started in Ghana by WSUP and Unilever, now with funding from DFID and the Stone Family Foundation
  • Evaluating the potential international roll-out of the Clean Team model with Manila Water Company subsidiary Laguna Water
  • Designing and testing commercially sustainable solutions for villages in India, Bangladesh and Cambodia
  • Leading an Open Innovation team formed by the LIXIL Corporation, Firmenich, Kimberly-Clark and Unilever
  • Exploring innovative ways of integrating waste treatment; decentralised or large scale – into sustainable value chains

Jean-Laurent Ingles

The Toilet Board Coalition consists of a Steering Committee, chaired by Jean-Laurent Ingles, Senior VP of Unilever’s Household Care Category, and a  Partnership Council, which acts as an expert advisory group.

Source:

  • Toilet Board Coalition develops initiatives to fight the sanitation crisis, Unilever, 19 Nov 2014
  • World Toilet Day: business steps in to tackle open defecation with affordable toilets, Guardian, 19 Nov 2014

Web sitewww.toiletboard.org


Filed under: Economic Benefits, Funding Tagged: Clean Team, Jean-Laurent Ingles, NGOs, Private sector, sanitation marketing, Toilet Board Coalition, Unilever, World Toilet Day

Innovation in Urban Sanitation: FaME and U-ACT Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Fri, 2014-11-21 15:03
In Sub-Saharan Africa sanitation needs of the majority of the urban population are met by onsite sanitation technologies such as pit latrines. As part of the SPLASH sanitation research programme the FaME (Faecal Management Enterprises) and U-ACT Project researched innovative solutions to increase access to sustainable sanitation services. Building on this research Sandec/Eawag  has recently started the SEEK Project (Sludge to Energy Enterprises) researching co-processing of faecal sludge and other urban waste streams into fuel pellets and with these electricity through gasification.
Filed under: Research Tagged: faecal sludge management

World Toilet Day: cities can’t wait

Wed, 2014-11-19 14:42

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to ‘systemically change sanitation in cities’. A new working paper marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population.

Convergence of human and solid waste in a stormwater drain in Mumbai, India (Photo by Giacomo Galli/ IRC).

While more people in cities have access to toilets than in villages, both wastewater and solid waste remains largely untreated. Take Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh: 99 percent of the population use toilets but according to Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) a staggering 98 percent of their waste is dumped untreated in the enviroment [1].

On World Toilet Day, IRC presents its ideas how to tackle sanitation in cities. A new working paper “Towards Systemic Change in Urban Sanitation“, marks one of the first steps in finding answers on how to reform a sanitation sector, which is failing a large part of the urban population. The problems in urban sanitation range from lack of facilities to lack of public funding and messy politics in urban governance.The root causes are systemic and technology alone is not the solution.

In the paper IRC argues that sanitation is a public good and is therefore a public responsibility. This does not exempt households from their responsibilities, or exclude private businesses. However, there is a strong need for governmental agencies to lead a reform in urban sanitation. At the same time, IRC proposes a process of change leading to a sector that is self-reliant, trusted by citizens and private parties, and able to respond to current and upcoming challenges.

You can join the discussion on urban sanitation with Giacomo Galli, the author of the working paper, on his blog post.

World Toilet Day is a global campaigning day where many organisations in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector collectively call to take action. Jointly they raise awareness on the 2.5 billion people who lack access to sanitation, the 1 billion people who have to defecate in the open and the women and girls who are particularly at risk because of this situation.

[1] Blackett, I., Hawkins, P., and Heymans, C., 2014. The missing link in sanitation service delivery : a review of fecal sludge management in 12 cities. (Research brief / WSP). Washington, DC, USA,
Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) 

[2] Galli, G., 2014. Towards systemic change in urban sanitation. (IRC working paper). The Hague, The Netherlands, IRC

IRC’s work in urban sanitation

The Urban Sanitation Development Program (USDP) (2010-2014) focuses on 330 cities in Indonesia. IRC provides technical assistance together with Royal HaskoningDHV/MLD and works with Indonesian consultants in providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Health on health, gender and poverty aspects of the programme.IRC trainee Giacomo Galli, who visited the programme in August 2014, gives an overview of the programme and discusses the unrsolved problems related to faecal sludge management.

The Pan-Africa programme (2010-2014), managed by Plan with the help of IRC and IDS (UK), promotes and scales up Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in 8 African countries, in both rural and peri-urban areas. The programme is also testing Urban Community-Led Total Sanitation (UCLTS).

For a full overview of what we do on sanitation see our topic page.

This news item orginally appeared on the IRC website.


Filed under: Policy, Publications Tagged: IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, urban sanitation, World Toilet Day

Celebrating Cambodia’s progress in rural sanitation: iDE video

Wed, 2014-11-19 07:02

iDE congratulates the people of Cambodia in a new video:

“Cambodia: Growing Momentum for Sanitation”

The great progress in rural sanitation is something for Cambodia to be proud of.”
—Chreay Pom, Director, Department of Rural Health at Ministry of Rural Development

The rate at which sanitary toilets are being installed in rural Cambodia has increased dramatically since the Government of Cambodia made rural sanitation a priority in 2008. In the past six years, hundreds of thousands of rural families are experiencing the benefits of improved sanitation for the first time. This video celebrates Cambodia’s progress in sanitation and highlights the people who have made it possible—government officials, local business people and rural families.

“In 2008, the government set sanitation as a priority in order to improve people’s standard of living. Since then, we’ve noticed a huge change in rural communities. People have latrines at home and they understand what good sanitation is, and actually practice it within their families.” —Dr. Chea Samnang, WSSCC National Coordinator

Many national and international organizations have also contributed to the sanitation movement happening in Cambodia. One of these organizations is iDE. iDE is dedicated to outsmarting diarrheal disease by making sure that quality toilets are accessible through local markets at an affordable price.

“…We are helping the private sector learn what people want and helping them produce and sell it at an affordable price. The last few years have been a turning point across the country, with annual toilet sales increasing four-fold since 2008.” —iDE

iDE’s three-year Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up (SMSU) project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Stone Family Foundation, and technically supported by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) of the World Bank. The project is supported by the Ministry of Rural Development.

iDE is an international non-profit organization dedicated to creating income and livelihood opportunities for the rural poor. In addition to worldwide programs in agriculture, iDE implements programs in Africa and Asia in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. iDE’s WASH programs focus on creating markets around aspirational and effective WASH products and services that reduce diarrheal disease among poor households. iDE has impacted more than 23 million people globally to date through its WASH and agriculture interventions.

ideorg.org


Filed under: East Asia & Pacific, Multimedia Tagged: Cambodia, IDE Cambodia, rural sanitation, sanitation marketing, Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up (SMSU), videos

5th International Dry Toilet Conference: call for papers

Tue, 2014-11-18 09:06

The Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland will organize the 5th International Dry Toilet Conference (DT2015) in Tampere, Finland, in the Tampere University of Applied Sciences on 19th – 22nd of August 2015.

The main theme for DT2015 will be solutions, which will be reflected in all the presentations. The aim of the conference is to discuss concrete ideas and solutions through sessions and workshops, covering topics from ecological sanitation and nutrient cycling to dry toilet technologies and use of excreta as a fertilizer.

You can find the call for papers and register here: http://www.huussi.net/en/activities/dt-2015/


Filed under: Campaigns and Events Tagged: ecological sanitation, Global Dry Toilet Association of Finland, International Dry Toilet Conference

SCA and WSSCC partner to break silence around menstruation

Mon, 2014-11-17 11:32

Geneva, 17 November 2014 – SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest products company, and the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), the only United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of vulnerable and marginalized people, have today entered into an innovative new partnership to break the silence around menstruation for women and girls around the world. SCA and WSSCC will jointly work to educate on menstrual issues and the importance of good hygiene.

The parties announced the partnership in Cape Town, South Africa, in connection with Team SCA’s first stop-over in the Volvo Ocean Race round the world competition. During the Cape Town stop-over, Team SCA attended a menstrual hygiene workshop with girls and women from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu, where experts from WSSCC, the Volunteer Centre (a Cape Town NGO), and SCA led a training session and discussion of the challenges the women face in managing their periods.

The partnership will include actions during, and between, the race stopovers until June 2015. These include Brazil (Itajai), China (Sanya), New Zealand (Auckland), Portugal (Lisbon), South Africa (Cape Town), Sweden (Gothenburg), The Netherlands (The Hague), United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) and the USA (Newport).

“Safe and hygienic menstruation is a basic human right and fundamental to women’s equality,” said Chris Williams, executive director of WSSCC. “Securing this right requires action at every level of society, from the girls and women of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu to multinational companies like SCA. I am proud that SCA has stepped up to the challenge, and I look forward to working closely with them to continue breaking the silence around menstruation.”

“Breaking the silence is the first step towards change”, said Rockaya Aidara, Programme Officer for Policy, Media, Advocacy and Communications at WSSCC.
Photo credit: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi

“A majority of adolescent girls and women in the world do not have access to adequate information about menstruation nor access to sanitation or hygiene products,” said Jan Johansson, President and CEO of SCA. “With the WSSCC partnership SCA aims to break the menstrual taboos that jeopardize the health of millions of women every day, raise the awareness of menstrual hygiene and empower women and communities to take action, as menstruation should not hold women back to participate fully in society socially, educationally and professionally.”

“They asked a lot of good questions,” said Sally Barkow of Team SCA, who also emphasized the importance of talking to young girls about these issues. “You can even see a bit of their confidence now after only a couple of hours training.”
Photo credit: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi

In many developing countries, millions of women and girls are left to manage their periods with solutions at hand, such as cloth, paper or clay and no access to private toilets, water or soap. Sanitary products like pads are unaffordable or simply unavailable, and urinary or reproductive tract infections are common. As a result, girls miss valuable days in school, and women are unable to work, stifling productivity and advancement.

Watch:

Facts:

  • On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15-49 are menstruating. Adequate and appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities can provide a comfortable space for them to manage their menstruation with privacy and dignity.[1]
  • 70.9% of girls in India had no idea what was happening to them when they started their first period.[2]
  • One school study in Ethiopia reported over 50% of girls missing between one and four days of school per month due to menstruation.[3]
  • A factory case study in Bangladesh showed that 60% of female workers used rags from the factory floor as menstrual cloths. This resulted in infections that caused 73% of the women workforce missing work for an average of six days a month. An intervention to change this saw absenteeism drop to 3% resulting in significant economic gains for workers and factory owner.[4]
  • Women and girls living without any toilets (which also provide safe spaces for managing menstruation) spend 97 billion hours each year finding a place to go.[5]
  • 23% of Indian girls drop out of school after reaching puberty.[7]
  • Only 12% of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins.[8]

About WSSCC — The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council is at the heart of the global movement to improve sanitation and hygiene, so that all people can enjoy healthy and productive lives. Established in 1990, WSSCC is the only United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized people. In collaboration with our members in 150 countries, WSSCC advocates for the billions of people worldwide who lack access to good sanitation, shares solutions that empower communities, and operates the Global Sanitation Fund, which since 2008 has committed $97 million to transform lives in developing countries. Learn more at www.wsscc.org.

About SCA — SCA is a leading global hygiene and forest products company. The Group develops and produces sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products. Sales are conducted in about 100 countries under many strong brands, including the leading global brands TENA and Tork, and regional brands, such as Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo and Vinda. As Europe’s largest private forest owner, SCA places considerable emphasis on sustainable forest management. The Group has about 44,000 employees. Sales in 2013 amounted to approximately SEK 93bn (EUR 10.7bn). SCA was founded in 1929, has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm. For more information, visit www.sca.com.

[1] Team SCA is the only all-female crew in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race. www.teamsca.com/

[1] Needs and Trends in Menstrual Management: A Global Analysis; Ashwini Sebastian and Vivian Hoffmann, University of Maryland and Sarah Adelman, Mount Holyoke College

[2] In 2012, WSSCC designed and ran a Menstrual Hygiene Lab as part of the Great Wash Yatra that journeyed through five Indian states and 2,000km over 51 days. Twelve thousand girls and women took part in focus group discussions and 747 completed formal surveys.

[3] Menstrual hygiene matters, WaterAid 2012

[4] Jennifer Schappert, HER project and BSR at the Celebrating Women meeting in Geneva, March 8th, 2013

[5] WaterAid: Briefing note – 1 in 3 women lack access to safe toilets (19 November 2012).

[7] WSSCC

[8] IBID


Filed under: Uncategorized

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on World Toilet Day 2014

Fri, 2014-11-14 15:28

Issue 169| Nov 14, 2014 | Focus on World Toilet Day 2014

This issue of the Weekly features websites and reports on World Water Day 2014 as well as other recent sanitation reports and articles that have not been featured in previous issues of the Weekly. November 19 is now formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as World Toilet Day. The objective of World Toilet Day is to make sanitation for all a global development priority and urge changes in both behavior and policy on issues ranging from improving water management to ending open defecation.

WORLD TOILET DAY 2014 RESOURCES

World Toilet Day 2014 Website. Link
This website contains a wealth of information and resources on World Toilet Day.

WaterAid: It’s No Joke: World Toilet Day 2014. Link
WaterAid is using comedy to get the nation talking toilets. Watch some of Britain’s best-loved comedians go head to head with their toilet-related jokes.

Ten Things You Can Do for UN World Toilet Day. World Toilet Organization. Link
Sustainable sanitation is a matter of dignity, equality, and safety and is crucial to improving the health and well-being of one-third of humanity. What can you do to help make “sanitation for all” a reality this World Toilet Day?

World Toilet Organization. Link
Founded on November 19, 2001, the World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global nonprofit committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. WTO empowers individuals through education, training, and building local marketplace opportunities to advocate for clean and safe sanitation facilities in their communities.

EVENTS

Picturing CLTS: Photo Competition. Link
The CLTS Knowledge Hub is sponsoring a photo competition and is seeking photos that depict the CLTS approach and/or show different types of CLTS activities, tell a story about what has happened as a result of CLTS, and illustrate related aspects of sanitation and hygiene, e.g., menstrual hygiene  management, hand washing, etc. The winning entries will be published in a special feature on the CLTS website. Both winning and non-winning photos will be used on the CLTS website and in other published materials with full credit to the photographer.

Request for Applications: Partnership with R4D on Scaling WASH Innovations, 2014. Results for Development. Link
Results for Development Institute (R4D) announces a request for applications to become a country or regional partner for a new center focused on scaling innovations in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. The center will identify the most promising and innovative WASH programs, policies, and practices and facilitate their scale-up by connecting these programs to others in the field, policy makers, researchers, and potential funders, as well as to the key tools and services they need.

SANITATION REPORTS/VIDEOS/BLOG POSTS

How to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2030. Devex, Oct 2014. J Ahmad. Blog post
The author discusses political will and the need for a focus on behavior change as keys to ending open defecation.

Revealed Preference for Open Defecation: Evidence from a New Survey in Rural North India, 2014. D Coffey. Working Paper | Research Brief
Researchers found a regional preference for open defecation: many survey respondents reported that open defecation is more pleasurable and desirable than latrine use. Among people who defecate in the open, a majority report that widespread open defecation would be at least as good for child health as latrine use by everyone in the village. These findings suggest that intensifying existing policies of latrine construction will not be enough to substantially reduce open defecation.

No Flash in the Pan: How Pour Flush Toilets Are Driving Away South Africa’s Sanitation Backlog, 2014. L van Vuuren. Link
While the ventilated improved pit toilet has become symbolic of basic sanitation in South Africa, with millions of these units being constructed all over the country in the last 20 years, it is the flush toilet that most South Africans aspire to. A new technology developed with funding from the Water Research Commission aims to bridge this gap on the sanitation ladder while restoring dignity, privacy, and safety to people who have been left behind in the drive toward basic services for all.

Rose George: Let’s Talk Crap, Seriously. Video
Two and a half billion people in the world have no access to a basic sanitary toilet. And when there’s no loo, where do you poo? In the street, probably near your water and food sources—causing untold death and disease from contamination. Get ready for a blunt, funny, powerful talk from journalist Rose George about a once-unmentionable problem.

Social and Psychological Impact of Limited Access to Sanitation: The Link between MHM and Reproductive Tract Infections, and between WASH Practices and Pregnancy, 2014. SHARE. Link
The conceptual model of pathways among sanitation access, hygiene practices, and health is evolving as preliminary data emerge. The findings so far suggest that sanitation-related stress and hygiene practices may both contribute to disease risks in women through complex biological, environmental, and social pathways.

Toilets for Health, n.d. E Roma. Link
This London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine report provides statistics on sanitation coverage and the health impacts of poor sanitation.

Sanitation and Education, 2014. A Adukia. Link
At younger ages, girls and boys both benefit substantially from a latrine, regardless of whether it is unisex or sex-specific; at older ages, however, separate latrines become crucial. Pubescent-age girls do not benefit from unisex latrines, and their enrollment increases substantially after the construction of separate sex-specific latrines. These effects persist at least three years after construction, in contrast to the impact of many educational interventions that fade over time.

Sanitation and Health Externalities: Resolving the Muslim Mortality Paradox, 2014. M Geruso. Link
It is the open defecation of one’s neighbors, rather than the household’s own practice, that matters most for child survival. This study found that moving from a locality where everybody defecates in the open to a locality where nobody defecates in the open is associated with a larger difference in child mortality than moving from the bottom quintile of asset wealth to the top quintile of asset wealth.

Cleaning Human Waste: “Manual Scavenging,” Caste, and Discrimination in India, 2014. Human Rights Watch. Link
India’s central government since independence in 1947 has adopted legislative and policy efforts to end manual scavenging. In recent years these include commitments to modernize sanitation so there is no further need for manual disposal of feces, and prohibitions on engaging anyone to do this work. However, because these policies are not properly implemented, people remain unaware of their right to refuse this role, and those who do refuse may face intense social pressure, including threats of violence and expulsion from their village, often with the complicity of local government officials.

Special Report for the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High-Level Meeting (HLM): Investing in Water and Sanitation: Increasing Access, Reducing Inequalities, 2014. F Gore. Link
The objective of the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) is to monitor the inputs required to extend and sustain WASH systems and services. This third UN-Water GLAAS report presents data from developing countries, covering all the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) regions, and from external support agencies.

We Can’t Wait: A Report on Sanitation and Hygiene for Women and Girls, 2014. Domestos, WaterAid, WSSCC. Link
Working together Unilever, Domestos, WaterAid, and WSSCC recommend that: governments make strengthening the sanitation sector and bringing the MDG target back on track an immediate and urgent political priority. Governments (of both developing and donor countries) across the world keep their promises and implement the commitments made at the national, regional, and global level. Furthermore, they must significantly increase financial resources to the sector, use these resources wisely, and ensure that the most marginalized and vulnerable people are targeted.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Ending Open Defecation in Rural Tanzania: Which Factors Facilitate Latrine Adoption? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Sept 2014. S Sara. Link
This analysis examines rural Tanzanian households’ sanitation behaviors and attitudes to identify barriers and drivers to latrine adoption. The inability to pay for upgrading sanitation infrastructure was commonly reported among the households. Future efforts should consider methods to reduce costs and ease payments for households to upgrade sanitation infrastructure. Messages to increase demand for latrine adoption in rural Tanzania should integrate themes of privacy, safety, prestige, and health. Findings indicate a need for lower cost sanitation options and financing strategies to increase household ability to adopt sanitation facilities.

It’s a Girl Thing: Menstruation, School Attendance, Spatial Mobility and Wider Gender Inequalities in Kenya. Geoforum, Sept 2014. S Jewitt. Link
Findings from the study conclude that menstruation and poor sanitary product access affect girls’ school attendance. These girls are further restricted by their lack of mobility and access to resources. Poverty plus tolerance of gendered violence promote girls’ sexual exploitation. Multi-sectoral initiatives are needed to address these gender inequalities.

Association between Social Network Communities and Health Behavior: An Observational Sociocentric Network Study of Latrine Ownership in Rural India. Am Jnl Public Health, May 2014. H Shakya. Link
Three levels of social contacts (direct friends, social network community, and village) significantly predicted individual latrine ownership, but the strongest effect was found at the level of social network communities. In communities with high levels of network cohesion, the likelihood was decreased that any individual would own a latrine; this effect was significant only at lower levels of latrine ownership, suggesting a role for network cohesion in facilitating the non-ownership norm.

Factors Associated with Pupil Toilet Use in Kenyan Primary Schools. Int J Environ Res Public Health, Sept 2014.  J Garn. Link
The study found evidence suggesting facility dirtiness may deter girls from use, but not boys. This study provides insight into the complexity of factors affecting pupil toilet use patterns, potentially leading to a better allocation of resources for school sanitation, and to improved health and educational outcomes for children.

Descending the Sanitation Ladder in Urban Uganda: Evidence from Kampala Slums. BMC Public Health. June 2014.  J Kwiringira. Link
Whereas most sanitation campaigns are geared toward provision of improved sanitation infrastructure, these findings show that mere provision of infrastructure (improved or not) without adequate emphasis on proper use, cleaning, and maintenance triggers an involuntary descent off the sanitation ladder.

The Contribution of Unimproved Water and Toilet Facilities to Pregnancy-Related Mortality in Afghanistan: Analysis of the Afghan Mortality Survey. Trop Med Intl Health, Oct 2014. G Gon. Link
Unimproved household water access was an important risk factor for pregnancy-related mortality in Afghanistan However, this study was unable to discern whether an unimproved water source is a marker of unhygienic environments or socio-economic position. There was weak evidence for the association between unimproved toilet facilities and pregnancy-related mortality; this area requires confirmation from larger studies.

Analysis of Behavioral Change Techniques in Community-Led Total Sanitation Programs. Health Promotion International, Sept 2014. R Sigler. Link
The aims of this study are to: show which behavior change frameworks and techniques are the most common in CLTS interventions; describe how activities are implemented in CLTS interventions by region and context; and determine which activities program implementers considered the most valuable in achieving open defecation status and sustaining it.


Filed under: Campaigns and Events, Dignity and Social Development Tagged: World Toilet Day 2014

My toilet: global stories from women and girls

Tue, 2014-11-11 16:20

You are invited to view an exciting new exhibition by WSUP, launched to mark World Toilet Day.

My Toilet documents women and girls and their toilets to build a visual representation of the day to day reality and the effect this has on their lives, both positive and negative.

Keyla, 4, by her toilet in Bolivar, Ecuador. Photo: Karla Gachet, Panos Pictures for WSUP.

The images and stories show that, although the type of toilet changes from country to country, the impacts have recurring themes. Having can mean a better chance of education, employment, dignity, safety, status and more. Wherever you are in the world, a toilet equals far more than just a toilet.

Get involved on social media!
Help spread this message by sharing a picture of yourself holding up a sign with the hashtag #ToiletEquals followed by a word, or a few words, to describe what having a toilet equals for you and for millions of others around the world. All the tweets and pictures will be shown on the My Toilet website.

Visit the exhibition!
Images from 20 countries, spanning every continent, will be exhibited at The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, London SW1Y 4UY. The gallery is open to the public from 17 – 22 November 2014, 10am – 5pm daily. Entry is free. We hope to see you there!


Filed under: Africa, Campaigns and Events, East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, North America, Sanitary Facilities, Sanitation and Health, South Asia, Uncategorized, Web sites Tagged: #ToiletEquals, Africa, Asia, Australia, Exhibition, My Toilet, North America, photography, sanitation, South America, World Toilet Day, WSUP

Beyond Malnutrition: The Role of Sanitation in Stunted Growth

Tue, 2014-11-11 15:36

Below are the 3 latest posts to the WASH Nutrition Library, http://blogs.washplus.org/washnutrition that is maintained by the USAID Community of Practice on WASH and Nutrition. If your organization has recent studies that we can add to the library, please let us know.

  • ​Beyond Malnutrition: The Role of Sanitation in Stunted Growth
  • Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As
  • Understanding the Rapid Reduction of Undernutrition in Nepal, 2001–2011:​

Beyond Malnutrition: The Role of Sanitation in Stunted GrowthEnv Health Perspect, Nov 2014

Author: Charles W. Schmidt

An excerpt from the article: Beyond Nutrition – Nutritionists have tried dozens of approaches to prevent stunting, such as micronutrient supplements for pregnant women and children (especially growth promoters including iron, zinc, calcium, and folate); increased availability of fat-fortified commercial products such Nutributter and Plumpy’nut; a concerted push to encourage breastfeeding during the first six months of life; and efforts to improve the nutritional quality of the complementary foods babies eat while weaning.6

But Jean Humphrey, a professor of human nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says none of these interventions has been able to eliminate stunting completely. At best, she says, they improve growth by about a third of the typical height deficit in stunted Asian and African children. “This tells us that dietary improvements are important but not sufficient,” she says. “If we really want to eliminate stunting, we need to do more.”

Meanwhile, mounting evidence has shown that poor hygiene and sanitation also constrain linear growth in children. One study found that Bangladeshi children who had access to clean drinking water, improved toilets, and facilities for handwashing with soap, for instance, had a roughly 50% improvement in HAZ scores compared with control children who didn’t.18 Similar results emerged from studies in Sudan19 and Mexico,20 yet it was unclear exactly why poor WASH would contribute to stunting and WASH improvements would help to ameliorate it.

—————————————————-

Reframing Undernutrition: Faecally-Transmitted Infections and the 5 As, October 2014.

Robert Chambers and Gregor von Medeazza, Institute of Development Studies.

The dominant nutrition discourse concerns access to adequate food and its quality. It now includes food security, food rights and justice, governance and agriculture. Despite many initiatives to assure food access, and growing economies, high levels of undernutrition persist in much of Asia. It is increasingly suggested that much of this ‘Asian enigma’ can now be explained by open defecation (OD) combined with population density. However, the insight that ‘shit stunts’ remains a widespread blind spot. The persistence of this blind spot can in part be explained by factors which are institutional, psychological and professional.

Reductionist focus on the diarrhoeas, which are serious, dramatic, visible and measurable, has led to the relative neglect of many other often subclinical and continuously debilitating faecally-transmitted infections (FTIs) including environmental enteropathy (EE), other intestinal infections, and parasites. These are harder to measure but together affect nutrition much more: the diarrhoeas are only the tip of the much larger sub-clinical iceberg. How OD and FTIs, poverty and undernutrition reinforce each other is illustrated in this paper by looking at the case of India, which has about 60 per cent of the OD in the world, around a third of the undernourished children, and approximately a third of the people living in poverty. Through OD, FTIs and in other ways, lack of sanitation leads to losses, which may be estimated, in the range of 1 to 7 per cent of GDP in various countries.

To reframe undernutrition for a better balance of understanding and interventions, we propose two inclusive concepts: the FTIs and the 5 As. The first two As – availability and access – are oral, about food intake, while the last three As – absorption, antibodies and allopathogens – are novel categories, anal and internal, about FTIs and what happens inside the body. These concepts have implications for research, professional teaching and training, and policy and practice. While other countries make rapid progress towards becoming open-defecation free, India remains obstinately stuck, making undernutrition in India one of the great human challenges of the twenty first century. The concepts of FTIs and the 5 As reframe more inclusively how undernutrition is perceived, described and analysed. Our hope is that this reframing will contribute however modestly to a cleaner, healthier and happier world in which all children and adults are well-nourished and can grow and live to their full potential.

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Understanding the Rapid Reduction of Undernutrition in Nepal, 2001–2011: IFPRI Discussion Paper 01384, 
October 2014.

AUTHORS: Derek D. Headey (d.headey@cgiar.org) is a senior research fellow in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition
Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC.

John Hoddinott is a senior research fellow in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division of IFPRI,  Washington, DC.

Abstract: South Asia has long been synonymous with unusually high rates of undernutrition. In the past decade, however, Nepal has arguably achieved the fastest recorded decline in child stunting in the world and has done so in the midst of civil war and postconflict political instability. Given recent interest in reducing undernutrition–particularly the role of nutrition-sensitive policies–this paper aims to quantitatively understand this surprising success story by analyzing the 2001, 2006, and 2011 rounds of Nepal’s Demographic Health Surveys.

To do so, the authors first construct and test basic models of the intermediate determinants of child and maternal nutritional change and then decompose predicted changes in nutrition outcomes over time. They identify four broad drivers of change: asset accumulation, health and nutrition interventions, maternal educational gains, and improvements in sanitation.

Many of these changes were clearly influenced by policy decisions, including increased public investments in health and education and community-led health and sanitation campaigns. Other factors, such as rapid growth in migration-based remittances, are more a reflection of household responses to changing political and economic circumstances.


Filed under: Sanitation and Health Tagged: Nutrition, WASH nutrition integration

SuSanA Discussion Forum – Shame in sanitation

Wed, 2014-11-05 20:32

A series of interesting posts on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and the shaming strategy/approach used in CLTS.

Excerpts:

  • Not a big fan of such tactics either, but I think one needs to acknowledge the other side too, i.e. open defecation is not simply an individual problem but rather one that effects entire communities, so exerting social pressure on the offenders is to some extend justified. The main problem seems to be that it is “all sticks and no carrots”, which given the low economic capabilities of many offenders isn’t very likely to work in the medium to long term.
  • Whistle-blowing by students to stop open defecators is like promoting gang-mobbing as a sort of rule of law. There are underlying reasons for why open defecation is practiced. One billion open defecators cannot be wrong. The psychology of shaming people for defecating in the open or even discussing defecation in public is a deep-rooted one relating to the commonly shared taboo surrounding human excreta. I would even accuse WASH experts and senior officials for indirectly contributing to this behavior when they use swear words to describe human excreta. This is the last chapter in human development and most people have not progressed beyond childhood when it comes to discussing excreta.

 


Filed under: Dignity and Social Development Tagged: Community-Led Total Sanitation

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

Mon, 2014-11-03 17:43

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.


Filed under: Sanitation and Health, South Asia Tagged: India

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Ebola

Fri, 2014-10-31 15:57

Issue 167| Oct  31, 2014 | Focus on WASH and Ebola

This issue contains updates on Ebola outbreaks and other recent journal and newspaper articles as well as links to World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites on Ebola. Included are WHO/UNICEF factsheets, guidance on making chlorine solution from Tufts University, articles from the Global Public-Private Partnership on Handwashing, a summary of water and Ebola issues from the Pacific Institute, Ebola-related anthropological studies from the Institute of Development Studies, and other resources. 

OVERVIEWS

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD): Key Questions and Answers Concerning Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, 2014. WHO. Link
The key to controlling the hazard associated with the presence of the virus in the body fluids of infected individuals lies in the rigorous enforcement of protocols to separate and contain ALL body fluids (including feces and urine). Feces from suspected or confirmed Ebola cases must be treated as a biohazard and handled at a minimum.

An Open Memo on Ebola and Water. Science Blogs, Oct 2014. P Gleick, Pacific Institute.Link
As input to the ongoing discussions about how to meet and overcome the spreading risks of Ebola, this blog post provides thoughts on the water-related components of U.S. efforts. The author urges manufacturers of water treatment technologies to confirm that they are designed and can be operated to specifically remove or inactivate Ebola-type viruses with high reliability and for medical experts to determine the quality and quantity of water needed in a field hospital setting.

Ebola Virus Disease Factsheet, 2014. WHO. Link
Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance, and contact tracing; a good laboratory service; safe burials; and social mobilization. Community engagement is key to successfully control outbreaks.

WASH-RELATED RESOURCES

Methods to Make Chlorine Solution in Ebola Emergencies, 2014. D Lantagne, Tufts University. Link
The methods for onsite manufacturing of chlorine include: diluting HTH or NaDCC powder in water; diluting concentrated liquid solution in water; and generating sodium hypochlorite using salt, water, and electricity.

Methods to Test Chlorine Solution Concentrations in Ebola Emergencies, 2014. D Lantagne, Tufts University. Link
This document describes three methods for testing chlorine solution: portable iodimetric titration kits; dilution followed by testing with FCR/TCR test kits; and calculation based on manufacturing.

WASH Package for Ebola Care and Treatment Centres/Units: Guidance Note, UNICEF. Link
This guidance note recommends actions for the implementation of WASH packages in treatment and care centers. The recommended actions are presented under the different components (water supply, hygiene and hand washing, disinfection, solid waste management, latrine and wastewater management, and dead body management) of the defined Ebola Care Center/Unit WASH package to complement community and house-to-house level interventions.

Ebola and WASH. UNC Water Institute Water and Health Conference, 2014. P Hunter. Link
There is still much to learn about Ebola risks associated with WASH as the virus has not been extensively studied in this context. Nevertheless, much is known about the Ebola virus and other viruses that provide the basis for addressing WASH-related questions concerning potential environmental transmission routes and human exposure risks. This workshop communicated what is known or suspected as well as what we still need to know about Ebola virus risks in relation to WASH.

Ebola Information Released for Water and Wastewater Utilities, 2014. Water Research Foundation. Link
Because of Ebola’s fragility when separated from its host, bodily fluids flushed by an infected person would not contaminate the water supply. Researchers believe Ebola survives in water for only a matter of minutes. This is because water does not provide the same environment as bodily fluids, which have higher salt concentrations. Once in water, the host cell will take in water in an attempt to equalize the osmotic pressure, causing the cells to swell and burst, thus killing the virus.

HAND WASHING/HYGIENE

Handwashing and Ebola: The Facts, 2014. Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. Link
Hand washing with soap after any contact with body fluids is one method to protect against infection. It is known that the Ebola virus can be killed by soap, chlorine, alcohol-based hand rub (CDC recommends at least 60 percent alcohol), very high heat, and exposure to many hours of sunlight. The preferred way to remove Ebola virus from your hands is with soap and running water. Soap and running water should always be used when hands are visibly dirty/soiled. If hands are not visibly dirty/soiled, alcohol-based hand rub may be used.

Global Handwashing Day in the Time of Ebola. Huffington Post, Oct 2014. J Sachs, Earth Institute at Columbia University. Link
Many of the world’s poor lack access to safe water and soap needed to protect them from water-borne and hand-to-mouth pathogens. One problem that needs to be overcome is extreme poverty itself. Proper hygiene requires a basic minimum of resources. Ending the extreme poverty that blocks proper hygiene and the foundations of good health should be a core worldwide commitment of the new Sustainable Development Goals. The second problem to overcome is that of bad habits. Proper hygiene requires that individuals know the importance of good hygiene and develop the habits to carry it out.

Ebola, Other Hospital-Acquired Infections… and HandwashingHuffington Post, Oct 2014. L McCay, Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. Link
As hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrate Global Handwashing Day on October 15, the focus on promoting hand washing comes at a pertinent time for health services. The Ebola outbreak has compelled health facilities around the world to assess their infection control readiness.

ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES

The Significance of Death, Funerals and the After-Life in Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia: Anthropological Insights into Infection and Social Resistance, 2014. J Fairhead, IDS. Link
The aim of this briefing paper is to consider the various ways in which widely reported fear and resistance to the Ebola response can be understood, and what each way of understanding offers to those battling with the current epidemic.

Medical Anthropology Study of the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Liberia/West Africa, 2014. WHO. Link
The topics explored in this study are: local knowledge and understanding of Ebola as a viral hemorrhagic disease, understanding of current health messages, and community concerns regarding Ebola.

OTHER STUDIES

Controlling Ebola: Next Steps. The Lancet, Oct 2014. R Dhillon. Link
Control strategies based on rapid diagnosis, patient isolation, and treatment can reduce the transmission to well under one additional person per infected case, thereby rapidly containing the epidemic. No coherent national or international approach has so far been implemented to integrate the intervention chain from case identification to diagnosis, to secure transport, to isolation and treatment. While efforts to create new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics are underway, the authors recommend these three measures be adopted in a concerted way.

How to Avoid Being Infected with Ebola. The Guardian, Oct 2014. S Boseley. Link
Can I get Ebola from a toilet seat? Yes – feces from somebody with Ebola are a real hazard and the virus has also been detected in urine. But there would only be a danger if a seriously sick person had used the toilet and contaminated it and that is most likely in their home or hospital. Public toilets, in general, are very unlikely to be a risk.

The Ebola Epidemic Special Collection. Science. Link
Given the current outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine are making their collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.

Consolidated Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness Checklist, 2014. WHO. Link
The Consolidated Checklist identifies 10 key components and tasks for both countries and the international community to complete within 30, 60, and 90 days.

Transmission Dynamics and Control of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD): A Review. BMC Medicine, Oct 2014. G Chowell. Link
The complex and unprecedented Ebola epidemic ongoing in West Africa has highlighted the need to review the epidemiological characteristics of EVD as well as the current understanding of the transmission dynamics and the effect of control interventions against Ebola transmission. This article reviews key epidemiological data from past Ebola outbreaks and carries out a comparative review of mathematical models of the spread and control of Ebola in the context of past outbreaks and the ongoing epidemic in West Africa.

Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Care of Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Filovirus Haemorrhagic Fever in Health-Care Settings, with Focus on Ebola, 2014. WHO. Link
This document provides a summary of infection prevention and control measures for those providing direct and non-direct care to patients with suspected or confirmed cases of Filovirus haemorrhagic fever, including Ebola or Marburg, in health care facilities.

WEBSITES

UNICEF WASH Cluster – WASH and EbolaLink
This page enables users to be directly linked to the technical Q&A platform in order to ask questions to Ebola specialists in real-time. It also aims at providing up-to-date WASH guidelines, manuals, and news related to the evolving Ebola response.

World Health Organization Ebola WebsiteLink
This website contains updates on Ebola outbreaks and links to WHO reports on Ebola.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website - Link
This webite contains factsheets, situation reports, and other resources.
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WASHplus Weeklies highlight topics such as Urban WASH, Household Air Pollution, Innovation, Household Water Treatment and Storage, Hand Washing, Integration, and more. If you would like to feature your organization’s materials in upcoming issues, please send them to Dan Campbell, WASHplus Knowledge Resources Specialist, at dacampbell@fhi360.org.


Filed under: Sanitation and Health Tagged: Ebola

Launch of World Toilet Day 2014 website

Fri, 2014-10-31 15:18

WHAT IS WORLD TOILET DAY?

World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation.

Alcime, 28, in front of her community toilet. Cap-HaÏtien, Haiti. Photo: Shiho Fukada, Panos pictures for WSUP, Assisted by International Medical Corps UK.

It is a day to do something about it.

Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.

We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. This day had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world but was was not formally recognized as an official UN day until 2013. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.


Filed under: Campaigns and Events Tagged: World Toilet Day 2014

BioFizz, a biological product formulated to treat septic tanks as well as urban sanitation systems

Fri, 2014-10-31 14:35

BioFizz, a biological product formulated to treat septic tanks as well as urban sanitation systems, 2014. 

BioFizz is a biological sanitation treatment product intended for use in both septic tank systems, as well as conventional urban lavatories

BioFizz is a biological product developed by CSIR Biosciences, intended for use in both septic tank systems, as well as conventional urban lavatories. Septic tank systems are widely used in various parts of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in various other developing countries. Most urban populations in these countries are provided with septic tanks; although in some other less developed countries, up to 45 % still use traditional pit latrines.

The septic tank system provides a cost-effective on-site sanitation mechanism, and is the most cost-effective, and likely the only practical approach for securing the health benefits associated with hygienic disposal of excreta. Although its use is advantageous, numerous limitations of the use of septic tank systems have been reported.

The BioFizz product can also be applied as a biological alternative in normal domestic water borne sewage systems, where environmentally aware customers can use the product to reduce the burden on sewage treatment facilities and ensure cleaner effluent traps and pipes. On-site, point-of-source treatments of these septic tanks and urban lavatory systems are required in order to suitably treat sewage generated from households. This form of sanitation is also being adopted by suburban lifestyle estates and game lodges across Africa.

A scientifically developed, effervescent product was formulated to release beneficial bacteria into the system upon application. The incorporated bacterial strain has the capability of liquefying solids, and reducing waste ions such as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, chemical and biological oxygen demand. Various product prototypes have been formulated and given to various clients for testing acceptance with their customers.

This product makes possible more hygienic ablution facilities, reduces burden on existing treatment facilities and also reduces maintenance costs required to pump out the contents of full tanks (in the case of septic tanks).

 


Filed under: Sanitary Facilities Tagged: septic tanks, urban sanitation

Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy

Fri, 2014-10-31 14:29

Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy, October 2014. SHARE, WSSCC.

The approach utilizes a baseline cross-sectional survey to quantify  WASH practices and reported health history among a randomly-selected subset of girls and women from each of the four life-course groups in tribal, rural, and urban areas of Odisha, and a set of overlapping sub-studies each testing focused hypotheses about pathways between sanitation access, SRPS, hygiene behaviour and health.

Some Key Findings (for Practitioners):

  • While most sanitation challenges are universal for women, their  relative severity and frequency differed in urban, rural, and tribal areas and among young women, married women, and older adults. Strategies for improving latrine access and use could potentially utilize context-specific promotional strategies to
    encourage behaviour change.
  • Sanitation encompasses much more than defecation, specifically  within the Indian context. The act of defecation is embedded within other behaviours, including post-defecation cleaning, ritual bathing, and changing clothing; as well as menstrual management and urination. Strategies to improve sanitation
    coverage in India must be aware of how defecation practices are positioned within these larger behavioural patterns and responsive strategies are needed in order to facilitate adoption and use of sanitation technologies.

Filed under: Hygiene Promotion Tagged: India, menstrual hygiene management

Oct 29, 2014 – The 3rd Annual Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in WASH in Schools Virtual Conference

Tue, 2014-10-28 16:04

The 3rd Annual Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in WASH in Schools Virtual Conference, Wednesday 29 October 2014

The 3rd virtual MHM in WinS conference will build on the content and recommendations of the prior two conferences and continue the effort to fill in the gaps in the existing knowledge and advocacy around this important issue. The one-day conference will bring together academics and health, gender, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts from around the world currently implementing MHM-related activities.

Conference objectives:

  • To share recent research findings that relate to various aspects of MHM in WinS
  • To highlight school-based MHM program descriptions and their potential for scale
  • To share recommendations about how new MHM programs can be developed by WinS practitioners

Filed under: Campaigns and Events, Hygiene Promotion Tagged: menstrual hygiene management

What to do with infant poo? The blind spot of the blind spot

Mon, 2014-10-27 19:16

After a few years researching and working on sanitation, I feel (felt) that I have a good knowledge about the topic, or at least good knowledge of most of it and a clear picture of the areas I should learn more about. Moreover as a shit-worker I –and probably most of us in the sector– have developed a sort of pride or even vanity about being a herald of a neglected cause…

Last week at the UNC Water and Health Conference I was humbled and even slightly embarrassed when I ‘discovered’ the world of children’s faeces in an exciting side session: “What to Do with Infant Poo? Evidence-based Programming to support safe disposal of young children’s faeces”. Convened by WSP, UNICEF and USAID / WASHPlus Project, the session included presentations of experiences from Kenya, Bangladesh and Cambodia, followed by group work on ways forward. 

It is not that I ignored everything about child faeces; I had read something, had had some coincidental observations while staying in Indian villages, where I also included the issue partially in household surveys by gathering information of individuals’ defecation practices. But overall my knowledge was limited to the fact that child faeces have more pathogens than adult shit, and therefore should be disposed of safely; I had not fully acknowledged the complexities of the issue and kind of took for granted that improvements in adult sanitation would automatically lead to better management of child faeces. I was thus struck by a study in Bangladesh (by ICDDR,B), a country where adult open defecation is minimal, that showed that only 11-14% of children’s faeces are disposed of in latrines.

I had also not reflected about of the different defecation practices by age groups (my nephew is still in the nappy-phase) which vary country to country and require specific approaches. In Cambodia, for instance, Watershed’s research has shown that children up to six months, not having control over their bowels, rely on nappies (either disposable or reusable –more or less rudimentary). From seven months to two years they generally defecate openly, mostly in the courtyard. From two to five years they start using the potty or the latrine if available.

Finally, I had not given much thought either to how the different choices impact the environment and the implications in terms of solid and liquid waste management. In Cambodia again, in villages with high latrine coverage, when potties are used, in 92% of the cases these are emptied in latrines. Faeces in the courtyard are removed with a scoop or an improvised tool, just to be thrown farther away or in the trash. Baby’s disposable nappies always end up in the trash, which is mostly burnt or buried. Cloth diapers –used by 30%– are emptied in the latrines and then cleaned, but the resulting wastewater is again disposed of in or near the courtyard.

So what to do about children faeces?

The Bangladesh experience was based in supporting caregivers in potty training and promoting the best potty after a test of different models available in the local markets. In Cambodia, efforts have been made to develop potty designs that are more stable than those traditionally used, which small children cannot use on their own. In parallel, WSP and UNICEF are developing 25 country profiles summarising available data on child faeces disposal and providing ideas to strengthen safe practices.

These emergent efforts are very interesting… but very scarce. We need more people and more organisations that engage in this topic and contribute take children faeces out of the blind spot. Please share your thoughts and any related experience you know about!

DATE: 22 OCTOBER 2014
CONTRIBUTORS: Andrés Hueso González


Filed under: Hygiene Promotion Tagged: infant feces

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