Toilets have the power to transform economies

Toilets have the power to transform economies

Sounds unbelievable right? Well, it’s not! Having a safe and clean toilet in your workplace will improve your health, along with your concentration and productivity. In turn, not having access to proper sanitation facilities can increase sick days due to diarrhoeal diseases, and disease transmissions caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

Today, 19 November 2016, we celebrate World Toilet Day to raise awareness and take action to reach the well over 2 billion people currently living without a toilet. At SNV, we have been working on safe and clean access to sanitation for over 50 years, focusing on reducing pathways for disease transmission and untreated human waste and wastewater.

Change that lasts
Through Rural Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All (SSH4A) programmes, we aim to increase access to safe toilets and better hygiene practices. Our programmes integrate supply chain, hygiene behavioural change communication and governance to ensure sustainability.

We support health workers to provide technical information and advice on different toilet options and work with entrepreneurs to develop the sanitation supply chain. However, we do not promote one single latrine model, rather we ensure that people can make an informed choice for a design that suits their situation. “Once they understand the need for change,” says Anne – SSH4A programme leader, “I am often impressed by people’s abilities to come up with their own creative solutions.”

Senior citizen Ujarnath from Nepal had never laid eyes on a toilet before and had no idea what it might be used for. But through our SSH4A Results programme in Nepal, he is now a proud toilet owner and an inspiration to his fellow villagers – proving change can come at any stage of life!

Read the full article on Anne and Ujarnath on page 39 of our _Connect 2016 magazine__._Find out more about our Rural Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All product.

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Our Urban Sanitation & Hygiene for Health and Development product addresses the reality that for the vast majority of cities and towns in developing countries, wastewater and human waste end up untreated back in the living environment. Our work includes the setting-up of facilities and services for waste management through collaboration between the public and private sectors and communities.

One of the people who will benefit from improved sanitation practices is Gopal, a 70-year-old man who manually empties latrine pits – surely one of the most unenviable jobs in the world. Every day he drains faecal sludge from toilets that are used by hundreds of people, with no protective or mechanical equipment whatsoever. It’s a dirty job which considerably affects his health and that of his thousands of fellow manual sludge emptiers.

Under a faecal sludge management programme, funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and DFID, SNV is working to provide safer, more profitable working conditions for Gopal and his colleagues, while improving sludge-emptying services to households. “Currently, they can empty one pit a day, but with the right tools and increased awareness at demand side, they can empty three to five – that’s a huge increase in income,” explains project manager Rajeev Munankami. The programme professionalises their work, links them to viable business models and promotes the adoption of safe, timely emptying, and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) standards.

Want to know more about Gopal and his work? Read the full article on page 16 of our _Connect 2016 magazine__._Read up on our latest Urban Sanitation & Hygiene for Health and Development work.