After a long day of presentations and discussions to better understand the current situation and learn from each other’s experience in markets for sanitation, the second day of PSI’s recent sanitation conference took on an entirely different mood: it’s time to think outside the box, be innovative and apply the lessons we’ve learned to addressing the key blockages.
With nearly 170 participants registered, 21 countries represented, countless organizations and specialties and the loud buzz of excited conversation, the first ever Unclogging the Blockages in Sanitation workshop in Kampala got off to a great start. Day 1′s goal was to Understand the Blockages: an entire day dedicated to informing participants of the challenges faced within the sanitation sector.
Despite growing attention to sanitation being paid by donors and governments, and the declaration by the United Nations that access to basic sanitation is a human right, progress remains slow. In an effort to get things moving (pun intended), on Tuesday, February 18, the first ever Unclogging the Blockages in Sanitation workshop will commence in Kampala, Uganda.
By Ashish Karamchandani, Founder, Monitor Inclusive Markets, Monitor Deloitte
Lack of sanitation is a major problem. More than 1 billion people defecate in the open. Lack of access to hygienic sanitation is responsible for 2.7 million deaths every year.
The issue is acute in India. Some 67% of rural Indian households do not have toilets. Of all the people in the world who defecate in the open, 600 million live in India.
The Government of India recognizes this issue and has approved subsidies to increase rural sanitation coverage. However, these have not had the desired impact.
Bihar is one of the Indian states with the lowest toilet coverage (~18%). The Supporting Sustainable Sanitation Improvements project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is intended to address this problem. It facilitates the supply of toilets from the private sector in the rural parts of 8 target districts in Bihar state.
PSI is the lead grantee of this project. Monitor Inclusive Markets had a 6 person team work on an intensive 5 month initial Landscaping phase. In this phase, we followed a rigorous analytical process, studying the sanitation landscape in Bihar, and performed extensive customer research and value chain mapping, to develop private sector-based business models that could scale rural sanitation.
The findings were fascinating.
PSI and Global Communities hosted a USAID delegation in Liberia’s Bong county, earlier this month. The delegation was visiting sites the USAID-funded Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (IWASH) Project. Leading the delegation was USAID Global Water Coordinator Chris Holmes.
The IWASH project helped sixty-one communities reach open defecation free status in July 2013. A total of 120 communities are targeted in the effort, the program projected to reach 100 communities open defecation free by September.
“The Improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program is not just focused on bringing one group communities to ODF status, but the goal is to develop the structures and capacity of National, County and District Government”, said IWASH Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Project Manager, Madam Elizabeth Geddeh, in July.
The CLTS approach is a crucial part of both improving sanitation at the community level and ensuring that it lasts. Outlined in a 2012 document, CLTS will be spread at the local level through the IWASH project.
A recent news story in Shout Africa covered the visit by the USAID delegation:
In rural Liberia access to water and sanitation facilities is very low, a leading contributor to the spread of water-borne diseases which are one of the major causes of death amongst Liberians, especially children.
Additionally, open defecation is commonly practiced in these rural areas, which spreads disease and contamination. USAID IWASH activities are addressing these issues in three counties: Lofa, Nimba, and Bong.
Why are these kids so excited? Handwashing!
Oscar Ntakarutimana, a Maternal Child and Health Coordinator from PSI/Burundi, taught kids at a school in the suburb of Bujumbura City, Burundi, how easy it is to prevent diarrhea. With fun games, skits and quizzes, he taught all the children the importance of washing hands with soap and using chlorine solution to clean drinking water.
Jean Chrisostome Rukundo, a 10-year-old in the class Oscar taught, lives in a mud house with 11 family members – his parents, two siblings, an aunt and her two children, and four other cousins.
Even though they live in the city of Bujumbura, they have no running water in their neighborhood, leaving them at the mercy of the seasons. When the rains come, they collect water from their roof. But during the dry seasons they walk 40 minutes up the hill to a small river to get just one pot of water. The family uses this water for everything – cooking, drinking and bathing. In a household of 12 people, this one pot of water does not last very long.
This water from the river also makes the people in their community very sick. Everyone has diarrhea and worms, especially
Toilets may not be a topic that get as much attention as others, but over 1 billion people around the world must defecate out in the open and over 2 billion people do not have access to clean and private toilets. That means that billions are at risk of diseases that are spread through fecal matter such as diarrhea and cholera.
Today’s World Toilet Day is meant to make some noise about the issue by raising awareness. The stakes are high and the issue is serious. According to the WHO, the areas with the lowest access to proper sanitation are sub-Saharan Africa (31%), southern Asia (36%) and Oceania (53%). “World Toilet Day has a serious purpose: it aims to stimulate dialogue about sanitation and break the taboo that still surrounds this issue,” says the World Toilet Day website. “In addition, it supports advocacy that highlights the profound impact of the sanitation crisis in a rigorous manner, and seeks to bring to the forefront the health and emotional consequences, as well as the economic impact of inadequate sanitation.”
Last week, PSI/Kenya joined the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to launch a national behavior change communication campaign that will seek to educate Kenyans on Fortification and its health benefits. PSI/Kenya has worked with The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, The Kenya National Food Fortification Alliance (KNFFA) and partners in the design of the consumer awareness and education campaign that will teach Kenyans about the benefits of food fortification and how to identify the fortified foods by looking out for the Food Fortification Logo (attached). The fortified staples include; Maize meal, Wheat flour, Sugar and Edible oils. GAIN is providing financial and technical support to the overall Fortification program.
The following post is by Myriam Sidibe, Global Social Mission Director, Unilever-Lifebuoy. It originally appears on the CSRwire blog.
It’s common knowledge that prevention is better than cure; yet, every year an estimated 2 million children don’t reach their fifth birthday due to the largely preventable diseases diarrhea and pneumonia. Prevention need not be complicated; for diarrhea and pneumonia the simple practice of regular handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and low-cost public health interventions available.
From a health and hygiene perspective, the power of prevention is massive.
Saving 600,000 Lives Every Year
Research demonstrates that handwashing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhea by 45 percent,pneumonia by 23 percent, and improves levels of school absenteeism by approximately 20 to 50 percent. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimates handwashing with soap could save the lives of over 600,000 children every year – the equivalent of 10 jumbo planes of children saved every day [UNICEF].