In these uncertain times, it can be difficult to determine what is true and what is not. This includes the news from around the world for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). This article attempts to dispel nine myths that may have appeared in response to WASH events.
1. SYSTEMIC RACISM DOES NOT EXIST IN INTERNATIONAL WASH PUBLICATIONS
If you have not seen the news highlighting racism in international publishing, you might think that all peer-reviewed journals were created equal. A reseach team based in South Africa, Australia and Denmark brought this debate front and center on Twitter and on E4C, and they keep the conversation going on breaking racial barriers.
2. DE-COLONIZATION OF WASH KNOWLEDGE IS NOT THE NEED OF THE HOUR
In continuation to the above, the Rural Water Supply Network shared an article by Euphresia Luseka. It caused an online furor on the state of relationships between the global South and global West when it comes to WASH knowledge. Two key sections from Euphresia’s article have been summarized well on the SuSanA forum. The author argues that, while the physical state of colonization is a thing of the past, it is still alive and well when it comes to the WASH knowledge. Also, “It’s 2020 and still it is puzzling how north donor organizations design strategies, policy documents, frameworks, guidelines and so on to guide Africa’s water sector and they are endorsed for sector practice with zero participation in authoring, editing or overall contributions by Africans, including those from their organizations,” the author writes. A new approach needs to be applied to not only systems thinking but also alleviate institutional biases.
3. SATIRE HAS NO PLACE IN RAISING AWARENESS
After the upsetting news from the above revelations, we could use a break provided by this article on How (not) to write about global health, by Desmond T Jumbam in BMJ Global Health Journal. The article was inspired by a famous satirical article by the Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, “How to write about Africa,” and presents guidelines for how to write about global health poorly. “There has been little guidance on how to write about global health in a way that advances equity and justice. I present some guidelines for how (not) to write about global health,” the author writes.
• Urban sanitation is more than just toilets. Dense urban environments require consideration of the whole sanitation service chain to ensure safely managed sanitation: fecal waste containment, collection, transport, treatment, and final disposal or reuse. • Effective urban sanitation is city-wide and inclusive. There is no simple solution – rapidly growing cities require a range of technical solutions across the sanitation service chain. Ensuring that everyone benefits from safely managed sanitation requires specific approaches to target the underserved. • Apply commercial principles to service provision. Management of sanitation services is as important as the technologies involved, and financial viability is a critical element of sustainable services. Local governments and providers must understand what the costs are for safely managed sanitation and how costs will be covered. • Aim for strategic, incremental improvements. The sanitation challenge in urban areas is likely to overwhelm any single actor, so it is important to identify a manageable gap for USAID programming to address. Large investments in master planning and infrastructure are required, but urban migration, political dynamics, and logistical complexity require an incremental, locally relevant, and dynamic approach.
DigDeep USA | Home-Based / Remote Position Type: Full-Time | Organization Type: NGO/Civil Society Experience Level: Senior (10+ Years) | Degree Required: Bachelor’s (Or Equivalent)
Simply Put: DigDeep is the only WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) organization serving the more than 2 million Americans who still don’t have a tap or toilet at home. DigDeep is growing fast. We won the 2018 US Water Prize for our Navajo Water Project, which has brought clean, running water to hundreds of Native families across New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
The Director of Engineering leads and coordinates DigDeep’s water, sanitation, and hygiene systems, including the design, technical implementation, operational excellence, and long-term sustainability. This position will support headquarters and field programs by creatively identifying appropriate technology, preparing and reviewing designs, monitoring system performance, and providing leadership and oversight throughout the project cycle.
The Director of Engineering is responsible for actively participating in the development and completion of projects, ensuring quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of DigDeep’s WASH systems, providing expert guidance and support, and maintaining positive relationships with both internal and external stakeholders,
The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS) project is a centrally funded activity of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Global Health Bureau, implemented by Tetra Tech ARD and partners.
The objective of this RFP is to adapt existing MHM measure(s), as appropriate, for applicability to the workplace and/or advance development of metrics to more comprehensively capture menstrual needs, practices/behaviors, as well as attitudes and social norms relating to MHM in the workplace, and field test these in two or more countries to develop a set of validated metrics which can be considered for inclusion in broad-scale, national surveys such as the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).
Activities should account for women and girls as more than beneficiaries of water and sanitation services. They are consumers, customers, influencers, professionals, household deciders, and keepers of traditional knowledge and solutions. Water and sanitation activities that empower women to be change agents have multiple benefits.
Participatory approaches are key. Gender-related barriers to WASH vary widely by geographic, religious, legal, and cultural context, and whether multiple layers of vulnerability––such as disability or extreme poverty––exist. Programs must take the time to understand the preferences, needs, and experiences of the women and girls and the specific barriers they face. The economic, health, educational, environmental, and social benefits to women’s empowerment in the water and sanitation sector must be a priority for all.
Innovative finance is an important tool for bridging the financing gap for SDG 6. Yet WASH has proved challenging for impact investment—despite great interest.
The Cambodia Rural Sanitation Development Impact Bond is the world’s first DIB in WASH. It is a nearly $10m partnership between iDE, the Stone Family Foundation and USAID to achieve 1,600 open defecation free villages, in support of the Cambodian government’s goal of universal sanitation by 2025.
The DIB demonstrates how innovative finance can help achieve national sanitation outcomes, and can provide important insights for others looking to develop similar mechanisms.
This session will start with a brief introduction to the DIB and then share how it was developed from the perspective of the three partners, including key lessons , such as:
Ensuring the right finance at the right time.
Aligning incentives and playing to organizational strengths.
Focusing on social outcomes in line with national government strategy.
The audience will then be invited to pose questions to the panel and to share their experiences of innovative WASH financing.
WaterAid webinar: Safety and well-being of sanitation workers during COVID-19 in South Asia
Sanitation workers provide an essential public service – keeping our cities, towns and villages running and clean, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite working in a dangerous profession under heightened risks, little is known about how sanitation workers are coping with COVID-19.
WaterAid facilitated rapid assessments in four South Asian countries – Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan – which identify the challenges being faced by sanitation workers in the midst of lockdowns, and proposes potential solutions to address both immediate and longer-term needs of workers.
There has always been a strong, but neglected, moral and public health imperative to protect sanitation workers’ rights. The COVID-19 pandemic not only strengthens that case, but also represents an opportunity to redress the historical neglect.
We invite you to join us as we share the regional synthesis of these studies in a webinar on 3rd September 2020, followed by a panel discussion with members of worker communities, and experts from government and civil society across these countries.
The United States Government represented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security is in the process of designing a new activity or activities to answer critical implementation research questions in the WASH sector. We are seeking public COMMENTS on the below proposed concept to inform the design process.
THIS IS A REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) ONLY, issued solely for information and planning purposes, and responses do not constitute a proposal. It is not a solicitation and is not to be construed as a commitment by the U.S. Government or USAID to issue any solicitation or to ultimately award a contract or assistance agreement on the basis of this RFI. If a Solicitation is issued, it will be announced publicly later, and all interested parties must respond to that Solicitation announcement separately from any response to this announcement.
Responses to this RFI are strictly voluntary and USAID will not pay respondents for the information provided in response to this RFI. Information, comments, and suggestions received will be reviewed and may be incorporated into future solicitation(s) but USAID will not provide direct response to any individual submissions, and will not publicly release the responses.
The purpose of the activity or activities as envisioned under this RFI is to design, carry-out and ensure use of implementation research on the research questions identified below, and to provide high-quality and sector-specific analytical, technical and evaluation services to USAID missions and Operating Units. This will allow USAID to address critical knowledge and learning gaps related to achieving USAID’s goal of increasing the availability and sustainable management of safe water and sanitation for the underserved and most vulnerable, especially within countries designated as High Priority or Aligned for investments authorized by the 2014 Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act.
The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) welcomes comments on this discussion paper.
Please leave your suggestions and comments in the Comment field or contact: Jona Toetzke, firstname.lastname@example.org, of the German Toilet Organization.
WASH & Health: Prevention is the Best Medicine – WASH in Times of COVID-19. A SuSanA Discussion Paper, July 2020
The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), an international network of partner organizations and individual members, plays an important role at the WASH and health linkage. Direct and indirect connections are anchored in most of SuSanA’s 13 working groups. While none of them focuses on health only, all of them contribute to services, processes or approaches that are fundamental to achieve sustainable WASH and health impact.
This discussion paper visualizes current opportunities and activities from the SuSanA community and highlights synergies between SuSanA working groups and several key issues of the health sector. Furthermore, it is a starting point for dialogue and collaboration with / for implementing organisations of the health sector. In this regard, the discussion paper intends to address the following topics:
1 – No Health without WASH: How WASH contributes to key health topics – Public Health Risks – Zoonoses – Neglected Tropical Diseases – Large-Scale Outbreaks
2 – Approaches for Risk Reduction and Prevention – One Health – Health Care Facilities – Hand Hygiene – Comprehensive WASH
3 – SuSanA, a Network for Sustainable Solutions – Beyond SuSanA – Within SuSanA – Timetable
Dear Elaine, I had all of the questions that Dorothee had and I appreciate your responses. Just an additional one, how do you feel the website complements SuSanA, or where do you feel it gap fills?Reading through one of thefeatured articles on World Toilet Day which had the theme ‘sustainable sanitation and climate change’ was great! I hope that the Sanitati […]
Please take a moment to complete the following survey, which was set up by the IWA Specialist Group on Resource-Oriented Sanitation: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IWA_ROS-SG_Survey2020 "With this survey we aim to get an overview of recent and current projects in resource-oriented sanitation, that means any projects, which are connected to the reuse […]
Very good point Chaiwe, The self-assessment was developed for schools in South Sudan with the help of GIZ To be honest, I have struggled to find tools for different contexts, hence why I made the request in the first place. I agree the assessment should keep national standards in mind and in the absence of national standards should use JMP data as a baseline […]
Thank you for your response Ryan, I wondered about the context because I was somewhat under the assumption that countries e.g Zambia (national or local level) have made substantial progress with respect to School WASH standards guided by policy, and this would mean that self-assessment tools similar to the ones you have shared would have been developed to re […]