Aug 7, 2010: Lilongwe – Diarrhoea causes more deaths than malaria and AIDS combined, yet while funding to fight the latter two have risen sharply, the same cannot be said of resources available for hygiene, sanitation and clean drinking water.
The United Nations Children’s Fund says 12,000 Malawian children die due to diarrhoea-related diseases every year.
In the densely-populated areas on the outskirts of the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, there is urgent need for clean toilets and safe drinking water: but so crowded are these neighbourhoods, there is hardly room to construct them.
Mgona is one such informal settlement. An estimated 36,000 people crowded into a tiny space near an abandoned railway line. People here make a living as best they can – selling vegetables, running small shops; charging other residents to watch bootlegged Hollywood, Nigerian and Chinese movies.
Few here can afford houses made of cement blocks or adobe. Access to proper toilets is almost unheard of.
Or it was before international non-governmental organisation WaterAid and a local NGO partner called Training Support for Partners began training community members to build composting toilets called Skyloos.
The toilets consist of two brick-pits, with a concrete slab covering them and a metal access cover at the rear. Waste drops through a hole in the slab into one of the pits, and ash from cooking fires is regularly thrown on top. The ash raises the alkalinity and along with high temperatures from the sun shining on the metal covers, kills off harmful pathogens; the toilets are remarkably smell-free, attracting few flies.
When one pit fills up, users switch to using the other. The faeces decompose into a safe, rich fertiiser which is dug out and used to grow crops. The empty chamber is then ready for re-use.
The whole structure is topped with a baked brick enclosure to protect privacy. Falesi Jeffrey is a local business woman. She notes approvingly how little space the toilets require.
“We can harvest manure after six months, the waste is mixed with ash and soil to harden, then it is ready for use,” she explains.
WaterAid says that a staggering 80 percent of African countries are currently behind schedule to meet the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target, yet simple and cost-effective programmes that deliver sanitation and hygiene can not only cut diarrhoea cases, but also significantly reduce other causes of child death such as under-nutrition and pneumonia.
Martin Meke, a WaterAid programme officer in Malawi, says that by empowering communities to construct their own toilets, the people are in a strong position to sustain the project, taking charge of improving their quality of life.
The toilets cost nothing to maintain, other than community members’ applying ash, and digging the fertiliser out when it’s ready.
“These people are able to take the water and sanitation programmes and own them, they are also able to teach their fellow community members, thereby making water and sanitation achievable,” Meke noted.
Esther Sakala, one of many who has built her own toilet, vividly remembers the pain of the death of her four-month old grandchild due to diarrhoea.
“I rushed with the baby to the hospital, but all efforts failed and the baby died just two days after contracting diarrhoea,” she says. “With the coming of these toilets, I urge government to invest more resources in these modern toilets, so that we can reduce deaths.”
The Lilongwe Water Board, the government parastatal in charge of water and sewerage in the capital, seems to have heard the complaints and plans to launch a four-year water and sanitation project with financial support from the European Union, which will complement the work already undertaken by NGOs in this area.
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s poorest women risk the deadly diseases related to poor sanitation because “endemic” sexual violence in the capital’s sprawling slums keeps them away from its communal toilets, a rights group said on Wednesday.
About 60 percent of Nairobi residents, or some 2 million people, live in shantytowns with limited access to water, sanitation and other vital services. Sewage runs though ditches and pathways are littered with garbage and human waste.
“Women and girls in Nairobi’s slums live under the constant threat of sexual violence,” Amnesty International said in a statement attached to its new report on Kenyan women in slums.
“Unable to leave their one-roomed houses after dark, many women in informal settlements resort to ‘flying toilets’ – using plastic bags thrown from the home to dispose of waste.”
Amnesty International said these women were at high risk of communicable diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
The group criticised the slum’s lack of police and the government’s failure to enforce planning laws and regulations in the settlements.
“There is a huge gap between what the government commits to do, and what is going on in the slums everyday,” said Godfrey Odongo, Amnesty International’s east Africa researcher.
Kenya is east Africa’s largest economy and the population of its capital is seen doubling to nearly six million by 2025.
This is seen heaping pressure on the city’s slums. Already, Nairobi’s slum-dwellers live on just 5 percent of the city’s residential area.
During the violent crisis that engulfed Kenya following its disputed 2007 election, the shantytowns with their huge numbers of marginalised youths became notorious ethnic battlegrounds.
Aid workers say they are “ticking time bombs” ahead of the country’s next poll in 2012.
Rating of Cities under the National Urban Sanitation Policy announced yesterday is the part of the exercise started last year to create awareness about sanitation. The exercise of rating of Cities covers all major cities of the country and almost 72 percent of India’s total urban population. The country was divided into five zones for the purpose- North; South; West; East and North East and Central and South Central. Each city has been scored on 19 indicators which are divided into three categories: Output (50 points), Process (30 points) and Outcome (20 points).
The methodology for the exercise was designed incorporating standardized methods for measurement and scoring and was evolved after extensive stakeholder consultations. The rating makes use of both primary data collection during field visits and secondary data from published sources such as census. Each agency was required to follow the prescribed methodology, ensuring uniformity and comparability of data. The data was collected from cities in a consultative and collaborative manner. Based on the scores for output, process and outcome indicators, cities were then classified under four color categories; red, blck, blue and green.
The rating was carried out by three agencies i.e AC Nielsen-ORG Marg, Development and Research Services (DRS) and CEPT University, which were selected through a transparent and open bidding process. The process of data collection was carried out between December 2009 and March 2010 and was subsequently scrutinised in April by a team of experts. The results were communicated to State Governments as part of consultations and presented to the National Advisory Group on Urban Sanitation, the apex Group which oversees implementation of the Policy. The final consultations with States and Cities were held at Vigyan Bhawan before declaration of ratings.
The rating of Cities creates a baseline which can be used to measure progress in respect of sanitation in our cities and is expected to encourage cities to perform better in years to come. Based on the results of the rating, the best performers will be recognized with a National Award- “The Nirmal Shahar Puruskar”.
The award aims to recognize and reward improvements made by a city towards becoming totally clean and healthy by achieving 100% sanitation. A totally sanitized city is one that has achieved the objectives specified in the National Urban Sanitation Policy i.e open-defecation free city; universal access to toilets for all including the urban poor; elimination of manual scavenging; adequate provision of personnel protection equipment that addresses safety of sanitation workers; safe collection, treatment and disposal of all wastewater, solid waste and storm water; and recycle/reuse of treated wastewater with the ultimate objective of ensuring improved public health outcomes and environmental well being.
The exercise reveals that more than half of the cities are in the Blue or Black categories. There are four cities in the blue category which have scored above 66 but less than 90 marks out of hundred. Almost all cities report complete elimination of manual scavenging. More than 50 cities report 90 percent or above safe collection of human excreta. Twenty four cities collect more than 80 percent of their solid wastes – another six show an outstanding performance of nearly 100 percent primary collection. While treatment is a big challenge for most, 17 cities have achieved treating at least 60 percent of their wastes. Most cities have performed well in the process indicators, especially the larger cities, but results for the output and outcome indicators are mixed.
The exercise also highlights that considerable efforts are required to improve access to community and public toilets for the urban poor and to stop open-defecation. Wastewater treatment poses considerable challenges – 380 cities collect and treat less than 40% of their human excreta, though there are six cities that treat more than 90% of their human excreta.
It is expected that the ratings will help in bringing city sanitation in focus in all States and Cities. With significant enhancement in grants for urban local bodies under 13th Finance Commission recommendations, and assistance available under schemes like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Urban Infrastructure Scheme for Small and Medium Towns, Infrastructure Development Scheme for Satellite Towns, North Eastern Region Urban Development Programme, Backward Region Grant Fund, multilateral and bilateral funds and significant initiatives by States themselves, it should be indeed possible to move towards better levels of sanitation and the ratings seek to trigger this much needed change.
List of the rating of the cities on sanitation parameters ( 10 pages) is available on PIB site www.pib.nic.in.
Link to the city rankings: http://pib.nic.in/archieve/others/2010/may/d2010051103.pdf
Cain, A. and M. Mulenga (2009) Water service provision for the peri-urban poor in post-conflict Angola. (pdf, 851KB)
Human Settlements Working Paper Series Water 8, IIED, London.
One of the important challenges of post-war reconstruction is to provide more and better quality basic services, such as water. Previous attempts at upgrading main supply systems to accommodate peri-urban areas have been overwhelmed by the explosive demographic growth of Angola’s major cities brought about by many years of civil war. This paper documents strategies developed by the informal private sector and local communities themselves to meet the demand for water services that the Angolan Government has been unable to provide. The paper demonstrates that local communities’ own engagement in the management of water distribution and their assumption of the responsibility for maintenance and the payment of service fees is a sustainable and affordable model. The paper also points out that building on the successes of existing locally driven initiatives, can bring national and international water targets closer to realisation and that local innovations not only improve water provision, but do so in a manner that involves and responds to the urban poor more than conventional water projects do.
Water and Sanitation Program
WASHINGTON, August 18, 2009—Giving poor people a say in the water and sanitation services they receive, and allowing alternative documentation to prove residence are some of the simple solutions that can bring sustainable water and sanitation services to the hundreds of millions currently living without, according to a new report today released by the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).
According to UNICEF and WHO, 900 million do not drink safe water and 2.5 billion people live without access to improved sanitation, leading to millions of deaths every year, mostly of children under five.
The report, Guidance Notes on Services for the Urban Poor: A practical guide for improving water and sanitation services, identifies barriers to service delivery for poor people living in urban areas in Africa, East and South Asia, and Latin America and recommends practical solutions to overcome them.
“Hundreds of millions of people are living in these conditions, but the underlying reasons preventing service delivery can vary depending on whether a person lives in the city or in the countryside,” said WSP Program Manager Jae So. “To identify appropriate solutions, we must identify these contexts, examine the barriers, and formulate logical and practical steps that can be implemented to overcome them.”
Citing an example from the report, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist Dennis Mwanza said “Project designers and service providers often assume they know what type of services the poor want and are willing to pay for. Their assumptions are not always correct and often result in costly and unsustainable, supply-driven public programs. Giving the poor the opportunity to participate in planning and design can mean the difference between success and failure.”
Among other solutions, the study added that simplified, client-friendly procedures for billing, collection, and connection help the poor to gain and retain access to water and sanitation services.
The report includes a compilation of 19 case studies from 12 countries as well as consultations with urban poor communities to analyze similar barriers and propose solutions.
Below are links to the full-text of 11 2009 reports from USAID, WaterAid, WSP and others on urban water and sanitation issues. I found these when responding to an information request and searching IRC’s Digital Library which is a great resource.
1 – Rogers, J; Karp, A.; Nicholls, R.; Sukarma, R.; Bimo and Andharyati M., P.
(2009). USAID Indonesia – Support on water and sanitation sector analysis and program. Washington, DC, USA, USAID
The purpose of this report is to provide input for the water and sanitation portion of USAID’s five year development assistance strategy for Indonesia, including a proposed set of programmatic technical assistance activities that could constitute a USAID Water and Sanitation portfolio for the next five year period (2009-2014). Interventions would include PDAM capacity building; Finance activities including microfinance and utility/local government finance; Community Mobilization for water, sanitation, and hygiene; National and sub-national Advocacy Strategies to increase political and financial commitment; Strategies to address Sanitation (advocacy, infrastructure, and behavioural); Increase Access to water services among poor households in urban/peri-urban areas; Rural approaches to improving access to drinking water; Sanitation in coastal areas including technology and behavioural innovations; Household alternative POU methods; Watershed activities impacting water quality and quantity ; Water Quality Testing and reporting. The authors recommend that seventy percent of the USAID funded project budget be directed to water, with thirty percent applied to sanitation and hygiene promotion. It is also recommended that the sanitation and hygiene promotion activities be implemented in a manner that will reduce associated risks, beginning with selection of communities where the likelihood of successfully benefiting the poor is greatest.
2 – Water and Sanitation Program
(2009). Global experiences on expanding services to the urban poor. (pdf, 1.73MB)
Report on the research initiated by the Water and Sanitation Program–South Asia in 2006–2007 to identify barriers to service delivery for the urban poor. The research included a review of various initiatives from across the globe that have resulted in improved service delivery for the urban poor and consultations with the urban poor communities. This report supports the Guidance Notes on Improving Water Supply and Sanitation Services for the Urban Poor in India. It is divided into two sections: Case studies of 18 initiatives from South Asia, Africa, and Latin America and Consultations with urban poor communities across four major Indian cities, namely, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Vadodara, and Delhi.
3 – Triche, T. and McIntosh, A.
(2009). Improving water supply and sanitation services for the urban poor in India. New Delhi, India, Water and Sanitation Program – South Asia. (pdf, 3.76MB)
Findings of the research to identify barriers to service delivery for the urban poor, initiated by the Water and Sanitation Program–South Asia in 2006–07. The Guidance Notes provide a systematic analysis of the barriers to service delivery for the urban poor and recommend practical solutions and strategies for overcoming these barriers. The Guidance Notes are based on an in-depth research of various initiatives from across the world (including South Asian, African, and Latin American countries) and consultations with urban poor communities across four major Indian cities (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Vadodara, and Delhi). An accompanying volume, Global Experiences on Expanding Services to the Urban Poor, is a documentation of ‘Global and Indian Case Studies’ and ‘Consultations with Urban Poor Communities’.
4 – Colin, J.
(2009). Urban sanitation in Indonesia : planning for progress. (Field note / WSP). (pdf, 1.14MB)
Urban sanitation planning needs to be more than a voluntary activity if it is to be undertaken nationwide. Government needs to develop both incentives and obligations for municipalities to adopt comprehensive strategies, by linking funding to the adoption of city-wide sanitation plans.
5 – WaterAid -Kathmandu, NP
(2009). Nepal: Is menstrual hygiene and management an issue for adolescent school girls? Kathmandu, Nepal, WaterAid. (pdf, 2.05MB)
This small scale study was undertaken with the objective of determining the prevailing knowledge and experiences of menstrual hygiene and management, and their implications, among adolescent school girls in rural and urban settings of Nepal. This is a descriptive cross-sectional study in which mixed methods were applied. Data was collected from 204 adolescent school girls from four government secondary schools, one in each of Dhading, Morang, Lalitpur and Kathmandu districts, using self-administered structured close-ended questionnaires, focus group discussions (FGD), and semi-structured in-depth interviews. Four main recurrent themes have been identified in the analysis: a) knowledge and beliefs b) experiences during menstruation c) seclusion, exclusion and absenteeism and d) hygiene practices. Restrictions during menstruation that limit daily activities and routine are widely practiced. Further, lack of small things required for maintaining basic hygiene during menstruation, like privacy, water supply and waste disposal compound the situation. Conscious efforts need to be made to address lack of privacy, which is an important determinant for proper practice of menstrual hygiene and also school attendance.
6 – Castro, V.; Msuya, N. and Makoye, C.
(2009). Tanzania: Sustainable community management of urban water and sanitation schemes : (a training manual). Nairobi, Kenya, Water and Sanitation Program.
This manual is intended to provide a trainer with the tools and information to build management capacity in the target communities in Tanzania to improve water supply and sanitation management practices. The courses in this training manual are based on participatory training methodologies, an important feature of which is to draw on the experiences of all the participants, under the guidance of an experienced facilitator. The participants will likely range from those with extensive experience to those with no experience managing a water supply and /or sanitation scheme. However, where possible, the trainer should encourage sharing of ideas and experiences throughout the training. The seven modules are meant to equip communities with the tools to eliminate or reduce the major constraints in managing infrastructure and providing services. The manual also enables the clarification of the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders. It covers technical issues such as operations and maintenance activities—but also has a strong focus on institutional, managerial, and financial issues. The material is especially relevant for communities who have a relationship with the main water services provider and who are also committed to hiring an Operations Manager. The Operations Manager, the report says, should be a paid employee and their performance should be reviewed by beneficiaries. Although the manual is geared for trainers, it has also been designed to serve as a reference tool for communities who may wish to review the material on an on-going basis. Government, planners and donors will also find the manual useful for helping to ensure that communities have the appropriate skills to manage their infrastructure schemes.
7 – Locussol, A.R. and Fall, M.
(2009). Guiding principles for successful reforms of urban water supply and sanitation sectors. (Water working notes; no. 19). Washington, DC, USA, World Bank.
This report focuses primarily on improving the service provided by official water supply and sanitation (WSS) service providers, which because of limited coverage or poor performance do not always have the monopoly of provision usually associated with WSS in urban areas. Chapter 1 rapidly analyzes the data published by the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for monitoring the evolution of access to urban WSS infrastructure. It also reviews the indicators developed by the International Benchmarking Network for Water and Sanitation Utilities (IBNET) for measuring efficiency, reliability, financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, and affordability of piped WSS service. Chapter 2 summarizes the methodology proposed for assessing the accountability framework of urban WSS sectors, defined as the set of mandates of its key actors, contractual arrangements that clarify both interaction between actors and the instruments used by each actor to implement their mandates. Chapter 3 summarizes recommendations for designing and implementing reforms of WSS sectors and focuses on Involving stakeholders in WSS reforms; Revisiting WSS policies; Changing the culture of public WSS service providers; Optimizing WSS asset management and infrastructure development; Improving WSS service provision through internally developed programs; Improving WSS service provision through partnerships with the private sector; Financing WSS operations in a sustainable and affordable manner; Regulating the WSS service in a transparent and predictable manner; and Implementing WSS reforms.
8 – Wodon, Q.; Diallo, A.B. and Foster, V.
(2009). Is low coverage of modern infrastructure services in African cities due to lack of demand or lack of supply?. (Policy research working paper series / World Bank; no. 4881). (pdf, 1.5MB)
The aim of this paper is to show how to measure the contributions of both demand and supply-side obstacles to better coverage of infrastructure services using household survey data. Some households may live in an area where there is access to the service, but may still be located too far from the water pipe to be able to be connected. This paper suggests how, to some extent, this type of biases can be dealt with by using regression techniques and shows that using an econometric as opposed to a statistical approach to the estimation can make a significant difference in the results. Section 2 of the paper describes and formalizes in simple mathematical notations the methodology for assessing the relative role of demand and supply-side problems to explain lack of coverage of modern infrastructure services. Results obtained with this methodology for African countries in the case of urban coverage of piped water are then provided. The next section presents an alternative econometric approach to assessing the magnitude of demand and supply-side constraints to coverage, as well as the results obtained from this alternative method
9 – Tettey-Lowor, F.
(2009). Closing the loop between sanitation and agriculture in Accra, Ghana : (improving yields in urban agriculture by using urine as a fertilizer and drivers & barriers for scaling-up). (pdf, 2.4MB)
Urban agriculture is now a predominate feature within the urban ecological system but it is confronted with many challenges key amongst them is the high cost of mineral fertilizers which has led to the search for alternative fertilizers. Meanwhile the majority of the city’s populace uses the public toilet as their main means of sanitation making these places a potential source of nutrients production for urban agriculture in Accra in the form of human excreta and urine. The value of human urine as nutrient is well known amongst some of the farmers and its application has been advocated on many platforms on sustainable sanitation worldwide but its implementation on a wide scale virtually remains unknown.
10 – Ondieki, T. and Mbegera, M.
(2009). Impact assessment report on the PeePoo bag, Silanga village, Kibera, Nairobi-Kenya. (pdf, 2.57MB)
This study report is intended to be an informational tool that help project designers understand better the problems encountered in improving sanitation in Kibera Slums, Nairobi, Kenya and provide sustainable solutions. It is not meant to be a technical design manual, nor is it a comprehensive reference document on existing technologies.
The primary objective of this study is to find out if the Peepoo bag meets the objectives, expectations and perceptions of beneficiaries/end users in meeting their sanitation needs and demands, and if the product is designed in such a way that it not only biodegradable but economically viable in terms of generating organic manure for sale.
There were many women interviewed during this study and thus showing the overall high number of women to men who participated in the use of the Peepoo bag. This ratio indicates that the peepoo bag would greatly assist women and children’s sanitation in Silanga Village, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.
About 40% of the respondents live on less than a dollar a day as indicated by the monthly income distribution while the high monthly rent further explains the high poverty levels thus exerting pressure on the already strained sanitation services. At least 90% of the users of the Peepoo bag strongly recommended it as the absolute sanitation solution within Kibera and the same percentage also felt that the Peepoo bag is safe and clean to handle. More than 80% of the respondents were of the opinion that the Peepoo bag be sold for less than Ksh.5 (USD 0.0625) to make it affordable to the majority of the slum dwellers.
There was a significant need for Peepoo bag usage in Silanga Village because more than 50% of the respondents admitted that they throw their waste using the flying toilet approach. On the distribution of the Peepoo bag, the majority of the respondents were of the opinion that group leaders, community based organizers, church leaders, youth and village elders be used in coordinating the distribution process.
The size of the Peepoo bag ellicited concern among the respondents. Over 60% suggested a bigger bag to fit both urine and feaces at the same time. The use of the Peepoo bag would save valued time that is otherwise spent queing to access toilet facilities. It was noted that the fertilizer benefit seemed most valuable for the majority of respondents because of the implied financial benefits that such a venture would bring to the community.
The Kibera Slum areas present unique challenges to sanitation improvement. Most challenging are the characteristics that set these areas apart from the urban and rural sectors: poor site conditions, unreliable water availability, high population density, the heterogeneous nature of the population, and the lack of legal land tenure.
These characteristics are much more complex than those typifying rural and formal urban areas.
The standard technical and social solutions for low-cost sanitation currently used in rural communities are not necessarily appropriate for improving community sanitation in slum areas. Conventionally, most community sanitation problem assessments and project design efforts focus primarily on the technical feasibility of the various technical options. Experience to date suggests that these technology-driven projects often fail to meet their objectives.
This report suggests that the complexities of peri-urban settlements require that a more comprehensive interdisciplinary approach be used to understand the problem before attempting to design a project that will address peri-urban community sanitation needs. This report reviews the key public health, environmental, social, financial, economic, legal, and institutional issues that many of these settlements face which must be understood before developing a program designed to improve a peri-urban community sanitation service.
To address these problems, the project designer must deal not only with engineers but also with legal experts, financial analysts, social scientists, urban planners, and a wide range of institutions, such as the water and sanitation utility, the Ministry of Health, urban development authorities and the municipalities.
11 – Platz, D.
(2009) Infrastructure finance in developing countries—the potential of sub-sovereign bonds. United Nations.
This paper sets out to explore the potential of sub-sovereign bonds in financing infrastructure in developing countries. Taking into account the historical experience of the US, it develops a supply and demand side framework for analysis of the market for sub-sovereign bonded debt in developing countries and applies this framework to Mexico, India and South Africa. Finally, it draws lessons for countries seeking to promote markets for sub-sovereign bonds. Evidence suggests that the regulatory environment, a diversified financial sector and increased capacity for debt support and management matter most for the development of the sub-sovereign bond market.
Below are links to selected presentations on urban water and/or sanitation from the 33rd WEDC Conference in Ghana on Access to Sanitation and Safe Water: Global Partnerships and Local Actions, April 2008. All presentations are in pdf format.