First Lady Michelle Obama’s Call to Action: Support Girls’ Education!

FLOTUS_LET GIRLS LEARN

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2016—At the World Bank today, the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama urged policymakers and influencers from around the world to commit to urgent action in support of adolescent girls.

First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted the power of investment in adolescent girls, as well as the transformative impact that adolescent girls’ education has on girls, their families and their countries.

Said First Lady Michelle Obama. “The evidence is very clear: when we invest in girls’ education, and we embrace women in our workforce, that doesn’t just benefit them, it benefits all of us.”

The First Lady in her speech addressed the issue of girls missing school days during their menstrual cycle.

Kudos to First Lady Michelle Obama for helping break the silence on menstruation and for recognizing that #menstruationmatters to girls’ education!

World Water Day: Better Water, Better Jobs

We believe in the power of water and jobs for transforming lives ! 

WWD 2016 better water better jobs

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Under SPLASH project in Zambia, WASHplus trained area pump menders to repair broken water pumps. 

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On the job latrine building training from SPLASH helped this young man gain meaningful employment.

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Constructing handwashing facilities for SPLASH gave this man valuable experience, and helped secure more handwashing construction jobs. 

 

 

World Water Day: Providing Jobs, Empowering Lives

In 2011, USAID/Zambia invested $18 million in a four-year WASH in Schools program that covered half the districts of Eastern Province and provided enough resources to meet the sanitation facility, water points, and hygiene education needs of the school population of those districts. These numbered 200,000 students attending more than 400 primary schools. SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) was implemented from 2012-2015. The USAID funded WASHplus project, managed by FHI 360, implemented SPLASH in partnership with CARE.

When 21-year-old Masauso Zimba of Fyofyo village in Lundazi District had to drop out of school for lack of school fees, he was confronted with a grim job outlook. When the SPLASH project began building school latrines nearby, Masauso went to see what was going on, “I kept observing the construction, offered my services, and helped out here and there.”

After two weeks, he was hired to carry materials for the artisans constructing the latrines; all the while he continued to observe what the workers were doing during the construction. Not long after, the project sent out engineers to teach skills in basic construction.

 

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On-the-job training with SPLASH inspired Masauso to pursue an engineering degree

“I signed up and was trained. Now, I have building skills. And I have made enough money to go back to school where I want to study engineering and supervise artisans. I am so grateful to SPLASH and USAID for bringing a flicker of light in my dark tunnel.”

World Water Day: Building Latrines, Providing Livelihoods

In 2011, USAID/Zambia invested $18 million in a four-year WASH in Schools program that covered half the districts of Eastern Province and provided enough resources to meet the sanitation facility, water points, and hygiene education needs of the school population of those districts. These numbered 200,000 students attending more than 400 primary schools. SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) was implemented from 2012-2015. The USAID funded WASHplus project, managed by FHI 360, implemented SPLASH in partnership with CARE.

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Ananias stands outside the double ventilated improved pit latrine that he constructed

Twenty-two year old Ananias Shawa was hired as a helper by a local artisan when the SPLASH project started constructing washrooms and latrines at Chisomo Primary School, near his village in Chipata District in Zambia’s Eastern Province.

As a helper, Ananias learned to mix the concrete and also fetched water. He was a “daka boy,” which in the local language, means “concrete that has been mixed.” He easily met the job’s requirement, which was to be physically fit and willing to work hard. Ananias was not new to such work; he had been earning a living since he had to drop out of school in Grade 7 to help his struggling family.

During a visit to the Chisomo site, an engineer from the SPLASH Chipata District team encouraged Ananias to ask his supervisor, a local artisan and accomplished bricklayer, about learning to lay bricks for washroom construction. He also encouraged Ananias to learn through observation. Ananias followed the advice and was hired to take on the additional task of laying bricks.

He gained valuable knowledge and experience assisting the construction of a double ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine and a washroom. He used his newly gained knowledge, along with technical support from the engineer and a supervisor, and completed construction of a single VIP latrine from scratch. The successful completion and job well done earned him another contract to construct a handwashing facility and a borehole fence.

Ananias earned K 2,650 for this work, an amount he had never earned before. He is grateful to the USAID-funded SPLASH project for the skills he has gained and for the WASH facilities at the local school that serves his community.

Ananias is not standing still; he is now focused on perfecting his construction skills to earn a certificate. And with the additional income he has earned, he is buying fertilizer as the farming season is now underway.

 

World Water Day: Training WASH Service Providers

In 2011, USAID/Zambia invested $18 million in a four-year WASH in Schools program that covered half the districts of Eastern Province and provided enough resources to meet the sanitation facility, water points, and hygiene education needs of the school population of those districts. These numbered 200,000 students attending more than 400 primary schools. SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) was implemented from 2012-2015. The USAID funded WASHplus project, managed by FHI 360, implemented SPLASH in partnership with CARE.

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Under the SPLASH project, area water pump menders received technical and business training during a four day workshop. Trainees put their new knowledge and skills into practice by repairing broken water hand pumps.

A large component of SPLASH’s (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene’s) sustainability plan for infrastructure is to train a cadre of area pump menders (APMs) to rehabilitate, maintain, and repair the water points installed at schools and provide them with the tools they need to conduct the regular maintenance. Training has taken place in all four districts, with a total of 190 APMs trained and certified. Of these, 40 are women. During the five-day training program, APMs learn the intricacies of hand pump repair as well as business skills to enable them to become self-sufficient WASH service providers. SPLASH developed Operations & Maintenance Guidelines, which have been distributed to each school in all four districts, with an orientation session during distribution. The guidelines encourage the schools to engage local APMs to perform regular maintenance, and they include a space to record the contact information for the closest APMs for each school. The program involves mentoring where more experienced APMs helped mentor and supervise the trainees, who are being prepared to go out on their own.

The Partial Usage of Toilets

Reposted from Institute of Development Studies website.

18 February 2016

The partial usage of toilets is a frontier subject for Community-Led Total Sanitation as well as the broader sanitation sector. Some members of a household may not use a toilet at all, while others may only use it some of the time. Some people may only use toilets during the rainy season when open defecation becomes more difficult and uncomfortable.

Partial usage of toilets both prevents and threatens open defecation free (ODF) status of communities. It is something we explore in Norms, Knowledge and Usagethe latest in the CLTS Knowledge Hubs Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights series.

The word frontier is appropriate as it is something not well researched or documented and consequently we know very little about it. Most of the evidence comes from India where the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), a large scale government sanitation programme, is currently underway. However, India is also where most of the research has been conducted and we cannot assume that this does not happen in other parts of the world – studies in Ethiopia have shown similar results. Yet, it presents some very serious challenges ahead in order to achieve and clean and open defecation free India.

Why does partial use happen?

We have identified different factors associated with partial usage which are:

  • Social norms
  • Taboos, beliefs and prohibitions
  • Preferences and convenience
  • Age and disability
  • Gender and gender relations
  • Pressure on use
  • Full pits and fear of pits filling up
  • Dirt, smell, disgust, fears and cleaning
  • Design, construction and ownership

These factors may work in isolation but it is more likely a combination of these is to blame. Social norms and social pressures can be different for different members within a household which can be due to age, gender or disability. For example a study in Bangladesh found that elderly members continued to openly defecate despite others stopping were not severely criticised. Men may practice openly defecation when toilets are in high demand as it is more socially acceptable for a man than a woman.

So what?

Despite this being a new and emerging topic there are still preliminary conclusions that can be drawn:

  • Any intervention attempting to change social norms must make sure that open defecation by all community members, including men and the elderly, becomes socially unacceptable. Campaigns that focus on particular groups within a community run the risk of others who do not identify with messages continuing to defecate in the open.
  • This establishment of new and consistent social norms needs to be coupled with technologies that are accessible and affordable as well as socially and culturally acceptable for all. These will vary and will be dependent on physical and social context. Acceptability and affordability of maintenance and safe sludge and pit management options must also be considered.
  • Finally, this topic is something that should be given priority for rapid action research. Is this predominantly an Indian problem or does it challenge the sustainability of ODF communities in other countries?

We are in the early stages of exploring and learning about this and invite comment, criticism, correction and further insights on the work we have untaken so far.

WASHplus Year Five Annual Report, October 2015

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In its Year Five Annual Report, WASHplus has stories to tell, results to share, events to celebrate, and studies that add to the evidence base. WASHplus activities serve as the backdrop for many stories: the Zambian school girl who has access to privacy and menstrual supplies when she needs them, the Malian household that can now build an improved latrine on their rocky soil, the mother in Bangladesh who understands the importance of a feces-free environment, the Nepali home breathing cleaner air as it trials an improved cookstove. And perhaps more compelling than the individual stories are the results the project is beginning to record through endline data collection in Kenya and formative research on school enrollment and in Zambia. Providing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure to schools is having a notable impact on enrollment. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) may be inoculating communities exposed to cholera. Numbers also tell the story of the project’s impact. Look for a snapshot of those figures throughout the report.

The conclusion of field activities in Uganda and Zambia this year provided opportunities to reflect, celebrate accomplishments through end-of-project (EOP) events, and share lessons learned. Several articles were published this year in peer-reviewed journals and others submitted on topics ranging from consumer preferences and willingness to pay for improved cookstoves to habit formation and costing of handwashing. WASHplus also played a key role in preparing the joint document on WASH and nutrition for publication and distribution.

WASHplus’s focus on integrating WASH into other development initiatives enabled the project to get in on the ground floor on subjects that are gaining traction at USAID and globally, such as WASH and nutrition, neglected tropical diseases, and MHM. This integration focus dovetailed nicely with the project’s mandate to serve a technical leadership role, and project staff had many opportunities this year to share its work and lessons from the field on a global stage, strategize with partners on important advocacy issues, inform policy, and develop guidance in multiple countries. Also toward that end, WASHplus launched its first two learning briefs on small doable actions and WASH and nutrition. This series details the variety of approaches WASHplus uses to improve WASH and household air pollution (HAP) across its portfolio of countries.

And finally, it’s been an exciting year for innovation with pilot projects underway in Ethiopia and Bangladesh focusing on sanitation marketing and sand envelopment. These two efforts will add to WASHplus’s body of knowledge on sanitation innovation and aligns closely with USAID’s global interest on the topic. WASHplus is also documenting its fecal sludge management work in Madagascar to tell the next chapter in that story.