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Water Currents: World Toilet Day 2018

Water Currents: World Toilet Day 2018.

On Monday, November 19, join USAID and its partners around the globe in celebrating World Toilet Day to help bring attention to the roughly 4.5 billion people without access to safely managed sanitation. Now in its 17th year, World Toilet Day (WTD) inspires action to tackle global sanitation challenges through improving sanitation facilities and services, strengthening the effectiveness and financial sustainability of wastewater management utilities, and raising public awareness about the health benefits of eliminating open defecation. wtd

Increasing access to safe, sustainable sanitation is a key objective of USAID’s Water and Development Plan, as well as the broader U.S. Government Global Water Strategy. This issue of Water Currents highlights some of the USAID-funded research and activities that help to fulfill that goal, along with studies and resources on the WTD 2018 theme, nature-based sanitation solutions. The issue also includes recent sanitation-related reports and studies from IRC, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor, and others.

You can help spread the word by forwarding this issue to your friends and colleagues. And let @USAIDWaterknow how you are celebrating #WorldToiletDay.

Read the complete issue.

Vacancies at the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is pleased to share the following vacancy announcements. Please note the positions, locations, application deadlines and information links below.

Position:              Head of Global Policy, Strategic Engagement & Innovation (P5)
Location:              Geneva, Switzerland
Deadline:             11 November 2018
More info:           https://jobs.unops.org/Pages/ViewVacancy/VADetails.aspx?id=16666

Position:              Safely Managed Sanitation Services Study Consultants (IICA-3)
Location:              Home based
Deadline:             11 November 2018
More info:           https://jobs.unops.org/pages/ViewVacancy/VADetails.aspx?id=16603

Position:              Partnerships Officer (P3)
Location:              Geneva, Switzerland
Deadline:             14 November 2018
More info:           https://jobs.unops.org/Pages/ViewVacancy/VADetails.aspx?id=16694

Position:              Head of Corporate Communications and Advocacy (P4)
Location:              Geneva, Switzerland
Deadline:             16 November 2018
More info:           https://jobs.unops.org/Pages/ViewVacancy/VADetails.aspx?id=16716#7

For more information on salary scales, please visit this United Nations International Civil Service Commission page.

USAID supported study on unsafe drinking water & environmental enteric dysfunction

Unsafe Drinking Water Is Associated with Environmental Enteric Dysfunction and Poor Growth Outcomes in Young Children in Rural Southwestern Uganda. Source: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 22 October 2018.

Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), a subclinical disorder of the small intestine, and poor growth are associated with living in poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions, but specific risk factors remain unclear. Nested within a birth cohort study, this study investigates relationships among water quality, EED, and growth in 385 children living in southwestern Uganda.

Water quality was assessed using a portable water quality test when children were 6 months, and safe water was defined as lacking Escherichia coli contamination. Environmental enteric dysfunction was assessed using the lactulose:mannitol (L:M) test at 12-16 months. Anthropometry and covariate data were extracted from the cohort study, and associations were assessed using linear and logistic regression models. Less than half of the households (43.8%) had safe water, and safe versus unsafe water did not correlate with improved versus unimproved water source.

In adjusted linear regression models, children from households with safe water had significantly lower log-transformed (ln) L:M ratios (β: -0.22, 95% CI: -0.44, -0.00) and significantly higher length-for-age (β: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.00, 0.58) and weight-for-age (β: 0.20, 95% CI: 0.05, 0.34) Z-scores at 12-16 months.

Furthermore, in adjusted linear regression models, ln L:M ratios at 12-16 months significantly decreased with increasing length-for-age Z-scores at birth, 6 months, and 9 months (β: -0.05, 95% CI: -0.10, -0.004; β: -0.06, 95% CI: -0.11, -0.006; and β: -0.05, 95% CI: -0.09, -0.005, respectively).

Overall, our data suggest that programs seeking to improve nutrition should address poor WASH conditions simultaneously, particularly related to household drinking water quality.

Acknowledgments: We would like to express special gratitude to the study participants in southwestern Uganda; the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition team based at Tufts University in Boston, MA; and the UBCS team based at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. We also wish to acknowledge Wafai Fawzi and Nilupa Gunaratna for their contributions to the UBCS design and implementation.

Financial support: Support for this effort was provided by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition at Tufts University, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (award AIDOAA- L-10-00006). C. P. D. was supported in part by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants K24DK104676 and 2P30 DK040561. Funding sources had no role in the publication process including the analysis of data or the writing of the manuscript.

Rapid monitoring and evaluation of a community-led total sanitation program using smartphones

Rapid monitoring and evaluation of a community-led total sanitation program using smartphones. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, September 2018.

India accounts for around 50% of the world’s open defecation, and under a World Bank initiative, a rural district was selected to be the first open defecation-free (ODF) district in Punjab. Considering this, the current study aims to evaluate the application and impact of a smartphone-based instant messaging app (IMA) on the process of making Fatehgarh Sahib an ODF district. smartphone

The District Administration involved the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Non-government Organizations, and volunteers to promote the process of a community-led total sanitation. Proper training was provided to the volunteers to spread awareness about the triggering events, health impacts of open defecation, and monetary benefits of building new individual household latrine (IHHL).

IMA was used as an aid to speed up monitoring and for the evaluation of a sanitation program. All the volunteers were connected to an IMA. This helped in providing a transparent and evidence-based field report on triggering events, follow-up activities, validation of existing IHHL, and monitoring of construction of new IHHL.

IMA is a cost-effective tool as it is already being used by the volunteers and requires no additional cost (on the user or on the project) but requires a training on ethical uses of mobile and data safety.

Shame of menstruation must be replaced with support for improved menstrual hygiene, says U.N. Human Rights Council

WSSCC welcomes resolution promoting respect for the human rights of women and girls and their greater participation in society

Geneva, 28 September 2018: A Human Rights Council resolution urging countries to take decisive action to ensure women and girls have universal access to information, products and facilities needed for improved menstrual hygiene has been warmly welcomed by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).

The resolution expresses great concern that the lack of access to adequate water and sanitation services, including for menstrual hygiene management – in schools, workplaces, health centres, and public facilities and buildings –negatively affects gender equality and women’s and girls’ enjoyment of human rights, including the rights to education, health, safe and healthy working conditions, and to participate in public affairs.

The resolution encourages states to address the widespread stigma and shame surrounding menstruation and menstrual hygiene by ensuring women and girls have access to factual information, universal access to hygienic products and gender-sensitive facilities, including disposal options for menstrual products. WSSCC welcomes the adoption of this new resolution that makes menstruation explicit and provides guidance on actions to be taken to address this issue.

“The updated wording on MHM is a great step towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal target 6.2,” said Virginia Kamowa, WSSCC Technical Expert on Menstrual Hygiene Management. “We look forward to working collaboratively with Member States in the coming months at the global and national level”, she said.

On September 17, WSSCC convened a side event at the 39th Human Rights Council on the theme: Realizing the Human Rights to water and sanitation, from menstruation to people on the move. The event provided an opportunity to inform the deliberations of the Human Rights Council and advocate for women’s and girls’ rights to water and sanitation, especially during menstruation. Hosted by the Permanent Missions of Germany, Niger and Spain, the event brought together 19 Permanent Missions present in Geneva.

Resolution A/HRC/39/L.11 was passed on 27 September at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva in a vote of 44-to-1, with two abstentions.

Link to Resolution: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=23652&LangID=E

 

Call for researchers: Modelling faecal pathogen flows in urban environments

This research project is commissioned under the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, a 2017-2020 research programme core-funded by UK aid from the British people, and managed by Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

The research will develop, apply and validity-test a modelling approach for understanding faecal pathogen flows within a defined urban location (in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique or Zambia). This will likely require significant on-site data collection to feed the model and to test its validity.

A possible modelling framework has already been developed in an earlier concept study under the Urban Sanitation Research Initiative, but we are open to considering other frameworks and approaches (more information about this framework can be found within the Call itself).

While this research aims to develop an internationally useful modelling approach, we would also expect it to be useful and influential in the specific location in which it is developed.

Maximum budget under this Call: GBP 250,000 inclusive of VAT

Bids due: Before 1700 hours on 22nd October 2018

Focus country: One of Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique or Zambia

More information can be found in the Research Call.

Queries and clarifications can be sent to erl [at] wsup [dot com].

Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention to Share India’s Sanitation and Hygiene Improvements with the World

India has taken massive strides towards achieving universal safe sanitation. The number of people without access to toilets in rural India has gone down from 550 million in 2014 to less than 150 million today, through an intensive behaviour change campaign, the Swachh Bharat Mission, which has become a people’s movement. India is on track to achieve open defecation free status by 2019, significantly contributing to the global achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation and improving health, educational and other outcomes for millions of people.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, with support from UNICEF, is  organizing the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention, MGISC (www.mgiscindia.org) in New Delhi.  The convention will bring together ministers and other leaders from over 50 countries around the world in order to both showcase India’s progress and learn about the best Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices across the globe.

The MGISC is a four-day international conference scheduled to be held from 29 September-02 October 2018 in New Delhi and is being organized by the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), or Clean India Mission, the world’s largest sanitation programme.

At a briefing last week, Mr. Parameswaran Iyer (IAS), Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India said “India has taken massive strides towards achieving universal safe sanitation. The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched on 2 October 2014, with an aim to build a Clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, as a befitting tribute to the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.”

Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative, added, “Safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and every community – and thus are essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable societies. SBM is a unique programme, it is the largest such programme in the world and represents a mass movement. Swachh Bharat has captured the attention of the people across the globe. The convention will be a platform to exchange ideas and foster collective effort to ensure that every girl and boy has access to safe drinking water and sanitation.”

Since the inception of the SBM program, the rural sanitation coverage of India has increased significantly, from 39 per cent in October 2014 to over 92 per cent as of end of August 2018. The number of people without access to toilets in rural India has gone down from 550 million in 2014, to less than 150 million today. According to the latest real-time data, over 83.9 million household toilets have been constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission. As a result, 21 States/Union Territories, 450 districts, and approximately 450,000 villages have declared themselves as free from open defecation.

India is on track to achieve open defecation free status by 2019, significantly contributing to the global achievement of SDG 6.

Open defecation can have debilitating impact on the economy. A UNICEF report in 2017 found that if a family invests in a toilet, it will save Rs. 50,000 a year in India. The study conducted across 10,000 households in 12 states, to measure the economic impact of sanitation at a household level, discovered that a single rupee invested in sanitation, allows a family to save Rs. 4.30 by averting medical costs.

Sanitation is not just about building toilets but about changing behaviour. Open defecation means that diseases such as cholera, polio, and hepatitis are spread more easily. It means that children are at a higher risk of diarrhoea, which in turn leads to malnutrition. Women are the worst affected due to lack of sanitation facilities. A huge number of pregnant women or new mothers die annually in India from preventable causes. This includes haemorrhage, eclampsia, sepsis and anaemia. Many deaths occur due to poor nutrition and improper sanitation.

The success of the Clean India Mission will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the global achievement of SDG 6.2. India is the only country which received special recognition in the Joint Monitoring Programme 2017 update by the WHO and UNICF. The MGISC aims to share sanitation success stories and lessons from the participating countries and culminates with the launch of the Mahatma’s150th birth year celebrations in India, as SBM enters its final year of implementation.

About the Event

The MGISC will be attended by over 50 minister-led delegations from high, middle, and low-income countries including Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Japan.

Participants will gain practical knowledge on key challenges, successes, failures and opportunities, share experiences across regions and with other government decision-makers, and accelerate progress towards ending open defecation as part of the broader effort to achieve SDG Target 6.2 by 2030. Participants will go home stimulated, motivated and empowered as part of a broader sanitation and hygiene movement.

A parallel exhibition of sanitation innovations will be held at the meeting venue.