Archive for May, 2014

May 31, 2014

West Africa: Research on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Offing

WaterSan Perspective
May 31, 2014

WaterAid’s West Africa office, in conjunction with WaterAid country programmes in Nigeria and the region, plan to conduct a research to help develop strong programmes on Menstrual Hygiene Management and reinforce our work for more impact, especially in schools.

The research, slated for this year, will also identify key actors for collaboration, capacity building needs for civil society and local government partners, and areas for advocacy.

On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating. Yet menstruation remains a taboo subject.

A woman in Kanzilu village in Mutomo, Eastern Kenya cuts cassava stem

A woman in Kanzilu village in Mutomo, Eastern Kenya cuts cassava stem

UNESCO estimates one in 10 African girls miss school during their periods, leading to a higher dropout rate.

In many countries, menstruation is surrounded by a lot of myths including banishment from the family home to an outdoor shed during each cycle. These myths range from harmless to extreme and even though, in many cases, they date back to ancient times they continue to persist even now.

Clarisse Baghnyan, Coordinator of WaterAid’s Regional Learning Centre for Sanitation said:

“We need to make a shift in our thinking and attitude and bring an end to the stigma that still surrounds menstruation. For the sake of our girls and women, it’s time to start talking about this issue. The myths and taboos around periods can and do take a heavy toll on the health of our girls and women, especially in developing countries such as Nigeria. We must ensure that our girls have decent and separate toilet facilities in schools otherwise their health is put at risk and they are likely to miss or drop out of school rather than face the humiliation of finding somewhere private to change. By talking about periods, we can help normalise this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”

WaterAid works in more than a dozen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to teach women and their families how to care for themselves properly during their periods.

School projects range from building private, gender-separate toilets and taps for washing to creating hygiene clubs where girls learn how to sew washable, reusable sanitary towels.

This four stance latrine belongs to a public school in Kashari Mbarara. Instead of toilet papers, pupils use leaves

This four stance latrine belongs to a public school in Kashari Mbarara. Instead of toilet papers, pupils use leaves

Last week on Wednesday, 28 May 2014, organisations including WaterAid, WASH United, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Save the Children, declared the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day.

May 31, 2014

Nigeria: WaterAid Supports UN’s Call to End Open Defecation

WaterAid and WaterSan Perspective
May 31, 2014

WaterAid has welcomed a new UN campaign championed by UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson to end the practice of open defecation.

Over one billion people around the world relieve themselves in bushes, in fields or at the sides of roads or railway tracks for lack of even a basic, shared pit in the ground. This is 14 per cent of the world’s population, or one person in seven.

A latrine in rural Uganda.  The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

A latrine in rural Uganda. The world remains behind in providing universal access to safe and hygienic toilets.

Where there is open defecation, pathogens spread quickly, causing diarrhoea, cholera, bilharzia (a freshwater worm) and other diseases.

In a country like Nigeria, recent WHO/UNICEF JMP figures indicate that about 122 million Nigerians do not have access to improved sanitation and a staggering 39 million (23 per cent of the population) practice open defecation.

Based on these figures, indications are that at present rates of progress, Sub-Saharan Africa overall will not become open defecation free until 2063.

WaterAid is campaigning for everyone, everywhere to have access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2030. Some 748 million people in the world are without safe water, while another 2.5 billion are without adequate sanitation.

Dr. Michael Ojo, Country Representative of WaterAid Nigeria, said: “It is time for a drastic change to the status quo. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, people must still risk their health and dignity for the lack of a basic toilet. It’s even more difficult for girls and women who risk danger and harassment every time they go in search of a private place to relieve themselves. Safe water and basic sanitation has to be a top priority in effectively tackling extreme poverty. We call upon our leaders to take action.”

Without basic toilets, girls are more likely to drop out of school, and adults are less able to care for their families or to work, exacting huge social and economic costs.

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lots of diseases

Several people living in such places are not aware that poor sanitation may cause lots of diseases

The new UN campaign to end open defecation is expected to last till the end of next year, as the UN develops a new set of development goals to replace the original Millennium Development Goals.

Among the goals were pledges to cut in half the proportions of people without safe water and sanitation, respectively. Though the overall universal target on water has been met; some individual countries, especially developing countries like Nigeria, are yet to meet those goals and those still without safe water are the hardest to reach. The target on sanitation remains the most off-track.

Recently, in April this year, Nigeria joined 44 other developing countries at the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting and committed once again to achieving universal access to water and sanitation and eliminating open defecation nationwide by 2025.

Up to 1,400 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.

May 27, 2014

African Water Week: New Map Shows That the Goal of All Africans Accessing Clean Water by 2030 “Realistic and Achievable”

May 27, 2014
WaterSan Perspective

A new interactive map http://www.wateraid.org/africawaterweek published by the international development charity WaterAid has been launched online showing that 14 African governments are on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030.

The map has been released on the day that African water ministers and delegates arrive for the start of African Water Week conference in Dakar, Senegal for crucial talks as to whether they should back a proposed new global Sustainable Development Goal for universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by the year 2030.

A new interactive map showing that 14 African governments are on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030

A new interactive map showing that 14 African governments are on course or within touching distance of reaching the historic mark of everyone in their countries having access to clean drinking water by 2030

WaterAid are lobbying minister and delegates at the conference for the outcome communiqué to include such a commitment.

Nelson Gomonda, WaterAid’s Pan-African Programme Manager said:

“This map shows that a new water, sanitation and hygiene Sustainable Development Goal that puts Africa on track to everyone having access to these essential services by 2030 is realistic and achievable.

“Many African countries are already on course to achieve this historic milestone at current rates of progress, and most others can get there with relatively modest improvements in levels of access.

“Ministers at Africa Water Week conference should grasp this opportunity to set in motion a happier, healthier and more prosperous future for everyone on the continent.”

The map is understood to be the first online interactive data representation project produced with a predominantly African audience in mind, which is increasingly online and social media savvy.

According to the International Telecommunications Union, around 177 million African’s are now internet users, while over 50 million African’s have Facebook accounts.

The African Water Map shows that on average, 28 million people are gaining access to water each year across Africa, but that if this increased by an extra 17 million people, that everyone everywhere across the continent would have access to clean water by 2030.

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Most African countries struggle to provide access to water and sanitation to their people

Currently over a third of African’s, 325 million, lack access to clean drinking water, while over 70%, 643 million, go without basic sanitation.

A lack of access to these services costs sub-Saharan Africa over $50 billion USD every year in health care costs and lost productivity, more than the continent receives in aid.

Nearly half a million African’s (481,000) die every year because of diarrhoea diseases attributable to a lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. A lack of access to these essential services is also understood have a substantial impact on the prevalence and mortality associated with pneumonia, and under-nutrition on the continent.

The UN has estimated that half the hospital beds in developing countries are filled with people suffering from diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene.

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