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.

 

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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.

Nutrition and Handwashing

This post is a re-blog and first appeared on the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) website here.

March 22, 2015

By Layla McCay, Secretariat Director, the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)

Love is in the air – or rather, in the water. This World Water Day, nutrition and handwashing with soap may be the hottest ‘celebrity couple’. The two have been enjoying a close relationship for years, so what has propelled them into the public eye, as seen in recent developments such as the new policy in India mandating handwashing before the midday meal in schools? The answer is integration.

Integration means linking different sectors together to leverage synergies and achieve greater impact than could be achieved working alone. It is also the latest buzzword in international development. At first glance, nutrition and handwashing may not seem like obvious bedfellows. One is about ensuring affordable access to adequately nutritious food; the other is about soap, water and turning a behavior into a habit to prevent infections. But in fact, nutrition and handwashing are closely linked.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tells us that 50 percent of child undernutrition cases are due to repeated diarrhea and intestinal infections caused by poor sanitation and hygiene conditions or by a lack of safe water. This means that handwashing with soap is a critical determinant for achieving and maintaining good nutrition. It plays an important part in preventing micronutrient deficiencies, stunting, wasting and nutrition-related deaths. To properly address child undernutrition, we need to address hygiene.

We know that good nutrition is about more than consuming nutritious foods; it’s about the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If people don’t wash their hands before handling food, disease-carrying germs have a direct route into their mouth and down into their gut where they can inhibit the body’s ability to use the food’s nutrients. In fact, germs can directly consume nutrients before they even get into the body.[i] They can also directly damage the intestinal lining (a condition called environmental enteropathy), which contributes to nutrients being lost in feces instead of being absorbed.[ii] Germs can furthermore irritate the gut lining so that toxins can get inside and cause inflammation – using up nutrients in the process.[iii] Since children who are undernourished are more susceptible to developing diarrhea when they come into contact with disease-causing germs, lack of handwashing and undernutrition can become a vicious cycle.

Good handwashing with soap can prevent nearly half of all cases of childhood diarrhea. It is also estimated that drinking clean water and handwashing with soap can reduce the loss of nutrients through diarrhea, and reduce stunting in children under the age of five by up to 15 percent.[iv],[v] Handwashing with soap should be an integral part of nutrition programs, and this World Water Day, let’s think seriously about their integration. #Wateris fundamental to good nutrition through handwashing. It’s time for handwashing and nutrition to take their relationship to the next level.

This World Water Day share what water means to you by using #WaterIs on social media. 

[i] Solomons NW. Pathways to the impairment of human nutritional status by gastrointestinal pathogens. Parasitology 1993; 107:S19–35.

[ii] Solomons NW. Pathways to the impairment of human nutritional status by gastrointestinal pathogens. Parasitology 1993; 107:S19–35.

[iii] Sharp TM, Estes MK. An inside job: subversion of the host secretory pathway by intestinal pathogens. Curr Opin Infect Dis 2010; 23:464–9.

[iv] Fenn, B. et al. (2012). An evaluation of an operations research project to reduce childhood stunting in a food-insecure area in Ethiopia. Public Health Nutrition, 15(9), 1746-1754.

[v]  Dangour, A. D. et al. (2013). Interventions to improve water quality and supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, and their effects on the nutritional status of children. The Cochrane Library.

What Does Water Mean To You?

World Water Day is marked on March 22 every year. It’s a day to celebrate water. It’s a day to make a difference for the members of the global population who suffer from water-related issues. Celebrate World Water Day 2015 by sharing your thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #WaterIs. Show the world what water means to you!

March 22 is World Water Day!

Photos from WASHplus project in Bangladesh where the provision of improved WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) services is making a difference in the lives of children and communities! Learn more about how WASHplus is Improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Southwest Bangladesh through a three-year program, funded by USAID and implemented through WaterAid and local NGO partners.

Making a SPLASH: Celebrating World Water Day

Poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) lead to poor health. Poor health keeps kids out of school, and when kids miss class, they can’t learn. Through the Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) project, FHI 360 and CARE, in partnership with USAID and the Ministry of Education in Zambia, are bringing water, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene (WASH) to classrooms, turning a cycle of poor health, interrupted learning and gender inequity into a cycle of opportunity. SPLASH is a five-year project started in 2011 funded by USAID Zambia to reach more than 240,300 primary school pupils in four districts of the Eastern Province (Chipata, Lundazi, Mambwe and Chadiza). SPLASH aims to improve pupils’ health, learning and performance by increasing their access to safe water and adequate sanitation and improving their hygiene and health practices at school and at home. Join SPLASH in celebrating World Water Day!