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Before yesterday1. Water

United Nations launches framework to speed up progress on water and sanitation goal

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, joined the UN-Water Chair and heads of 10 United Nations entities, Member States representatives and stakeholders from … Read more

The post United Nations launches framework to speed up progress on water and sanitation goal appeared first on UN-Water.

Member in the Spotlight: Tanzania Women Empowerment in Action

By: editor
Member in the Spotlight: Tanzania Women Empowerment in Action editor 25 June 2020 - 09:41

UN-Water 2030 strategy focuses on accelerating progress towards SDG 6

Coordinated action to tackle the complexity and magnitude of the water and sanitation challenges is urgently needed. The UN-Water 2030 Strategy represents a collective way forward to address the water … Read more

The post UN-Water 2030 strategy focuses on accelerating progress towards SDG 6 appeared first on UN-Water.

My experience of the RWSN Mentoring Programme

This is a guest blog by Byamukama Arinaitwe, a young professional enrolled as a mentee in the RWSN Mentoring Programme. My name is Byamukama Arinaitwe, a recent civil engineering graduate from Uganda. In September 2019, I started out in my career working with Kigezi Diocese Water and Sanitation Programme as a Civil Engineer. The programme … Continue reading My experience of the RWSN Mentoring Programme

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SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework to be launched during 2020 High-level Political Forum

Official launch of the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework will take place during the 2020 High-level Political Forum, in a  Special Event on Thursday 9 July 2020 at 08:00-09:30 EDT. … Read more

The post SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework to be launched during 2020 High-level Political Forum appeared first on UN-Water.

UN-Water Chair: After the pandemic we must build hope through water and sanitation

Opinion Gilbert F. Houngbo, Chair of UN-Water and President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) The coronavirus has stopped the world in its tracks and while the pandemic … Read more

The post UN-Water Chair: After the pandemic we must build hope through water and sanitation appeared first on UN-Water.

Les populations rurales peuvent-elles payer pour l’eau en temps de crise ?

Les co-auteurs de ce blog invité sont le Professeur Rob Hope (REACH Programme) et le Dr Guy Hutton (UNICEF). Une version de ce blog an anglais est disponible sur le site web du programme REACH. Rendre l’eau potable abordable pour les populations rurales a toujours été un défi. La COVID-19 exerce des pressions urgentes sur … Continue reading Les populations rurales peuvent-elles payer pour l’eau en temps de crise ?

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Job alert: Sanitation and Water for All consultant

By: editor
Job alert: Sanitation and Water for All consultant editor 24 June 2020 - 09:25

Getting trained on horticulture, aquaculture, pumps and wells: 2020 SKAT/ZH2O Training is ongoing at SHIPO SMART Centre!

The SMART Centre in Njombe, Tanzania, has recently started a new round of trainings funded through SKAT/ZH2O. The topics of the training include horticulture, aquaculture and training in the production of SMARTechs such as Rope pumps and manual drilling. See the newsitem on the website of the SMART Centre for an impression of the activities.

The trainees after the production of the first two Rope pumps.

Citywide access to water and sanitation services in Kenya

Clean, piped water brings dignity to people, reduces living costs, frees up time – and crucially, given the situation right now, is a critical defence against infectious diseases.

With the support of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) has been working with Kenyan city authorities to enable more than 600,000 urban residents across five cities to improve access to clean water, safe sanitation and improved hygiene.

Improving water supply

Through new pipeline extensions, residents in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu can now connect to the water supply. Nancy Adhiambo, a fishmonger in Nairobi, says, “To be able to sell the fish I must first prepare them. I use water from the prepaid water dispensers to clean them. It is very helpful for business.”

WSUP also worked with private water operators to improve the quality of service for residents in marginalised communities. “I was trained on business development, human resources, financial and customer management,” says Vincent Omondi, a water entrepreneur in Kisumu.

Fishmonger Nancy Adhiambo has benefited from WSUP and RAIN’s extensions to the water network in Nairobi. Credit: Brian Otieno

Upgrading sanitation services

In Nairobi’s under-served community of Kaptagat, WSUP worked with the city utility Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company to extend the sewer network, upgrade pit latrines to pour flush toilets, and build demand for the new service.

Alice Nduta was one of the first to get a sewer connection in the community. Before, she had to use a room as a septic tank, and had to pay twice a month to have the room cleaned out. “The whole community is now cleaner and there is no bad odour in the area mainly because other plot owners have also connected their toilets to the sewer line.”

RAIN and WSUP provided residents like Alice Nduta with sewer connections that reduce the monthly cost of sanitation

Empowering women and girls

Ensuring that facilities meet the needs of women and girls is a vital part of building inclusive services. In Naivasha, WSUP worked with Life Bloom Services International to develop a sanitary pads sales and distribution business. Many of the sales agents are former sex workers, giving these women an opportunity to improve their lives through the Life Bloom social business.

Stronger utilities

As a result of the programme, utilities in four cities now have an improved ability to serve the poorest communities. For WSUP, this achievement represents significant progress towards our overall goal of supporting water and sanitation providers in Kenya to provide universal access across cities in the country.

Learn more about WSUP's work with The Coca-Cola Foundation

IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saints present COVID-19 relief items

Relief goods for 500 vulnerable and poor households affected by COVID-19 restrictions were handed over to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly. 

Relief items for poor families in Kumasi

On May 18, 2020 in Kumasi, IRC Ghana in partnership with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana presented USD 25,000 worth of COVID-19 relief items to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA). The relief items are for onward distribution to 500 households in selected vulnerable communities of the Ashanti Region who have been most impacted socially and economically by the COVID-19 mitigation measures imposed by the Government of Ghana.  

Presentation of relief items

In a joint presentation to KMA, Abubakari Wumbei of IRC Ghana recalled that in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ghana announced a series of measures for Ghana’s enhanced response to the pandemic, which included the imposition of a three-week partial lockdown in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. The directive, according to him affected social and economic life of people and incomes severely, especially for vulnerable and poor households with limited resources to support their their families with food and other essentials.

Mr Wumbei speaking at the handover of goods

Mr. Wumbei acknowledged that the Government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the National Disaster Management Organisation and affected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) embarked on measures to mitigate the effects of the lockdown on vulnerable populations, but the effort - including food rationing, was inadequate due to the large numbers within the affected cities.

“As a partner that works with Government and other development partners at the national and sub-national levels, IRC Ghana joined hands with the Latter-day Saint Charities in Ghana to work through KMA in supporting 500 affected vulnerable and poor households (approximately 2,500 people)  in the Kumasi Metropolitan area with USD 25,000 worth of relief items: 500 bags of rice (25kg), 104 boxes of canned fish, 83 boxes of vegetable cooking oil, 32 boxes with bars of soap, 35 cartons of carbolic soap and 104 boxes with cans of tomatoes,” Mr. Wumbei added.

He further noted that the COVID-19 experience has reaffirmed the relevance of WASH in the development paradigm and most of all the strong link between WASH and health that requires urgent attention of particularly Government; and that IRC will continue to build alliances to support Government to strengthen WASH systems for COVID-19 emergency response and beyond.

President of the Kumasi Bantama Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Samuel Appiah

On his part, the President of the Kumasi Bantama Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Samuel Appiah, said the donation was indeed to complement the government’s effort in supporting the needy and vulnerable who were affected by the COVID-19 situation. He said the pandemic had brought untold hardships to many people, especially the vulnerable, and added: “As a church, our aim is to seek the welfare of the poor and the needy, hence this collaborative gesture.”

IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saints teams then joined hands in presenting the detailed list of the relief items to the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi.

Timely support as families urgently need food

The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi, Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, who received the items thanked the two organisations on behalf of his team and the affected beneficiary households, stating that the support was timely as a lot of people are yearning for food to feed their families due to the COVID-19 restrictions that affected the area.

Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Kumasi

He commended IRC for the great support over the years, “they were at the forefront of a nationwide MMDA sanitation contest that ended last year where KMA came up tops and was awarded GBP 400,000; and today they are here again, this time with the Latter-day Saint Charities brought on board at a time this support is most needed.”

The MCE said that the collaboration needs to be further strengthened as IRC’s expertise in WASH was crucial in the management of the pandemic since most of the protocols of COVID-19 are water, sanitation and hygiene related.

The Metropolitan Director of Social Welfare and Community Development and the lead person in-charge of the onward distribution of the relief items, Esther Apraku Nyako expressed her excitement and appreciation for the donation. “I'm excited because this is one of the biggest non-governmental donations of food items we have seen so far since the COVID lockdown and we really appreciate it.” She explained that the 500 target beneficiary households include widows, persons with a disability, the aged and those on the livelihood empowerment against poverty (LEAP) programme; and that each household will receive 1 bag of rice (25kg), cooking oil (2 litres), canned fish (5 pieces of 400g), tomato paste (5 pieces of 400g), 1 long bar of soap and 5 pieces of carbolic soap.

Present at the donation ceremony were the KMA team led by the MCE and Metropolitan Coordinating Director, representatives of IRC Ghana and Latter-day Saint Charities, and members of the media.

Initiatives by SMART Centres to fight COVID

While the measures to confine the spread of COVID in Europe are showing effect the spread of the virus is increasing in the countries where the SMART Centres are established and where the support local businesses in providing WASH facilities and services. These local businesses and their technologies are an essential tool in the efforts to confine the spread.

The Jacana SMART Centres in Zambia and the CCAP SMART Centre in Malawi have both started a project, which is supported by Wilde Ganzen.

The Jacana SMART Centre will, through the trained entrepreneurs provide water to all Health Centres in Eastern Zambia. See the website for more info.

The CCAP SMART Centre will provide hand washing stations to local markets and health centres in Northern Malawi. See the website for more info.

The EERN SMART Centre in Niamey, Niger, focusses on training local (female) leaders in the construction of hand wash stations, local production of mouth masks, water filters and provision of food aid to the most effected families. See a recent news item for pictures.

The SHIPO SMART Centre in Njombe, Tanzania, focusses on the distribution of hand washing facilities to health centres in Mbozi district and the promotion of Face shields, partly made from recycled plastics. See the website for more info.

The projects in Zambia and Malawi are supported by Wilde Ganzen who will double the funds raised. Any support to the projects is appreciated and can be donated through the SMART Centre Foundation or for Zambia directly through their website. Dutch donors can get a tax-refund ANBI.

Other SMART Centres in Kenya and Mozambique are also developing proposals for COVID-related activities and once these are approved we will publish them through the SMART Centre Group website.

UN-Water launch Analytical Brief on Unconventional Water Resources

At the same time water is increasingly considered as an instrument for international cooperation to support food production, livelihoods, ecosystems, climate change adaption, and sustainable development. As water scarcity is … Read more

The post UN-Water launch Analytical Brief on Unconventional Water Resources appeared first on UN-Water.

Uganda: IRC supports COVID-19 response

By: Watsisi

In Kabarole District IRC's support is driven by strengthening WASH in healthcare facilities.

Provision of personal protective equipment

On 21 March 2020, Uganda had its first confirmed case of COVID-19. This was followed two days later by eight more. Prior to that, on 18 March, the President addressed the nation on COVID-19 and outlined the guidelines on preventative measures. 

The Government of Uganda has established a number of structures to coordinate various COVID-19 response activities. These include:

  1. A multi-sectoral and inter-ministerial National COVID-19 Response Team headed by the Prime Minister. The Response Team has various subcommittees including the WASH subcommittee.
  2. At district level, all districts have established District and Sub County COVID-19 Task Teams with different response subcommittees.
  3. Inter-Agency Joint Task Force established by Uganda’s National Security Council to support the Ministry of Health. It is led by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces and comprised of the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Prison Services, National Joint Intelligence Committee, Immigration and Customs, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, UMEME (Electricity utility) and Kampala City Council Authority. 
Guidelines, operating procedures, information materials 

The Ministry of Health has published and disseminated key COVID-19 information materials including a fact sheet, a poster and guidelines for prevention of COVID-19 in public places (banks, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, markets). Other ministries including the Ministry of Water and Environment have also issued their guidelines. The Government established a call centre and a COVID-19 Information Portal with a real-time database.

A summary of the national and Kabarole District COVID-19 situation as of 31 May 2020:

Uganda

  • Confirmed cases - 457
  • Active cases - 283
  • Samples tested - 84,576
  • Recoveries - 72
  • High risk travellers - 1,550

 Kabarole

  • Alerts- 177
  • Suspected cases- 61
  • Total community and suspected case samples taken- 1,629
  • Confirmed case-01
  • Institutional quarantine-26
District/regional government priorities, needs and response

Following the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Uganda, Kabarole District Health Office constituted a District COVID-19 Response Task Team concerned with surveillance, response and mitigation against the spread of the disease. This is headed by the District Health Office and is part of the overall District COVID-19 task force. The task force developed a detailed Preparedness and Response Plan and Budget which was widely shared with all stakeholders in the district, including IRC. This was used to raise financial and material support in the district in addition to funding provided by the Ministry of Health. 

Kabarole’s focus is towards risk communication, surveillance, infection prevention and control, transport for frontline health workers, information education communication (IEC) materials and personal protection equipment (PPE). IRC agreed to contribute towards the key areas and participate as a member in the COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) team albeit virtually and on the phone. 

IRC contributions in Kabarole District

IRC Uganda has supported Kabarole District’s efforts in the prevention and mitigation of the virus in the following ways:

  • Contribution to conducting IPC drills in healthcare facilities (HCFs) for healthcare workers and cleaning staff. The interventions are based on training of trainers (ToT) conducted last year for District IPC team. IRC Uganda has used the experience gained by being part of the IPC team for Ebola preparedness in 2019. Each HCF has an IPC focal person in an IPC committee that was trained to conduct COVID-19 IPC drills in 54 healthcare facilities. IPC and WASH in healthcare facilities often overlap, for instance on hand hygiene, medical PPE, environmental cleanliness, and healthcare waste management.
  • Eight radio programmes on Jubilee FM and Voice of Tooro (VOT) for risk management communication. The major focus was on providing facts about COVID-19 and dispelling the myths that were undermining government sensitisation of communities about the disease. The radio programmes were facilitated by the District Health Team and members of the Kabarole District WASH Task Team who emphasised the WASH component in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
  • Personal protective equipment including disposable gloves, aprons and face masks. The major objective was to keep the health workers motivated to continue working, knowing they are safe from contracting the disease. And at the same time, reducing the chances of healthcare workers transmitting COVID-19 and other nosocomial diseases. PPEs were also important for practical IPC drills.
  • Renovation of eight latrines in health centres was another contribution IRC made towards the district response to COVID-19. Assessments had been done on 21 latrines in government HCFs that needed renovation to ensure the latrines are usable and reduce the current latrine deficit. Eight were prioritised and have since been renovated. The renovation involved pit emptying, fixing doors and handwashing facilities, making floors and adding sato pans. The District Water Officer, as senior district engineer, and the District Health Inspector have been focal persons in ensuring latrine standards are met.
  • IRC is committed to building WASH systems resilient enough to address even these global health challenges. It builds on earlier interventions to improve WASH in healthcare facilities in Kabarole by addressing the numerous gaps identified.
Renovation of sanitation facilities in health centres in Kabarole

Part of the low cost but high impact interventions that will be carried out by IRC to improve WASH in HCFs are based on the 2018 WASH in Healthcare Facilities Assessment Report. Latrines were not only inadequate in HCFs, but existing structures fell below standards of safety, privacy and convenience to the user. They were not washable, had cracked floors and most were nearly full. IRC contracted KAHASA (Kabarole Hand Pump Mechanics Association) to do renovations with a double benefit of improving WASH in HCFs and also further building capacity of the Hand Pump Mechanics Association to provide operation and maintenance of water and sanitation services.

KAHASA working on curtain wall of latrines at a health centre (IRC Uganda)

What has been achieved in Kabarole

These rather low-cost interventions have had a great impact on Kabarole District’s response to and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. By 31 May 2020:

  • 126 radio talks shows have been held on local FM stations for risk communication management involving healthcare workers and influencers. These have been supported by the office of the Resident District Commissioner, UNICEF, IRC and Amref. 24 TV talk shows on NBS and King TV and 10 spot messages on prevention were offered by KRC radio. In addition, 43 Mobile van and megaphone risk communication days have been conducted mainly targeting market centres. The funding for these activities coming from IRC, Marie Stopes and HEWASA.
  • Of the five infection prevention and control steps issued by the Ministry of Health, four are related to WASH. So far 156 sessions of IPC drills have been conducted in 54 HCFs by the District Health Team supported by IRC.
  • Other outputs include: 57 routine sensitisations targeting trading centres, markets and hotels; 31 Sub County Task Forces created, oriented and trained. Follow up with volunteers and supporting their efforts in community mobilisation and sensitisation headed by the District Chairperson and with support from organisations like HEWASA, DHT, JESE, Amref, IRC and Baylor and 1512 IEC materials distributed such as information charts on COVID-19, handwashing and hand rub guides have been distributed to the communities.
  • The District COVID-19 Task Force has been active in ensuring health services are delivered. During the lockdown, 570 health emergencies (deliveries mainly) were responded to.
Investing in WASH in healthcare facilities is essential

These interventions have so far provided significant outcomes for Kabarole, marking a progressive response and mitigation against the spread of the virus. All healthcare facilities and healthcare workers in Kabarole have remained active and motivated. All Kabarole markets were able to maintain the standard operating procedures and none were closed by authorities during the lockdown compared to other parts of the country. There has been increased interest of the district in addressing WASH in HCFs. Extension of piped water in Kasenda and Kabende has targeted the HCFs. District decision makers take more note from the Health Team. There is also increased adoption of handwashing practice and gradually entrenching behaviour.

Moving forward, IRC would like to see strengthening of WASH in HCFs in Kabarole District. Therefore, immediate attention will be on advocacy and lobbying for increased interest and investment for WASH in HCFs; capacity development of the District Health Officer and ensuring adequate linkages with other key sectors like the water department.

Organising the availability of IPC materials (chlorine  dispenser, sanitisers, handwashing with soap, alcohol-based hand sanitiser) and access to safe clean water with the district water department, utility companies  and WASH partner organisations like Amref, PATH, HEWASA and the Infectious Diseases Institute among others. IRC will continue building a more sustainable medical waste management system in Kabarole (contributing to one or two centrally located incinerators and collection systems in the district).

In conclusion, significant lessons can be learned here. Having a strong WASH system prepares organisations, districts and nations to address even these global health challenges. Interventions in WASH in HCFs are ‘no regret’ investments as their impact is far reaching especially as it results in improved healthcare outcomes. And lastly, WASH is pivotal in IPC and primary health care. It is important that we demonstrate this to countries and donors.

 

The need for professional associations for water well drillers

This is a guest blog by RWSN Young Professional Uyoyoghene U. Traoré, geologist and freelance consultant in water and environment. This article was originally published in GeoDrilling international and is reposted with thanks. You can read the original article here. Groundwater accounts for over 97% of the world’s fresh water with over two million people … Continue reading The need for professional associations for water well drillers

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Srilekha Chakraborty uses art in her activism for women’s health – 2020 Ton Schouten Awardee for WASH Storytelling

re-posting from IRC WASH Srilekha is a young professional from India with a focus on WASH and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocacy with indigenous tribal women and girls. Advocacy through art with rural communities She is driven by her close experience with how in poor, rural areas, discussions on gender, menstrual hygiene and … Continue reading Srilekha Chakraborty uses art in her activism for women’s health – 2020 Ton Schouten Awardee for WASH Storytelling

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Participating in the 2020 Capacity Development Symposium

IHE Delft hosted the 2020 Capacity Development Symposium from 27 – 29 May. Due to the COVID-19 measures an online platform was created using webinars and poster presentations.

Henk Holtslag and Reinier Veldman both presented on behalf of the SMART Centre Group on SMART Centres. A promising approach to reach SDG6 and water related SDGs in rural areas and Faith and Water – Accelerating WASH knowledge sharing and capacity building through the use of Faith Groups.

Their presentations and webinar recordings can be accessed through the resources page.

Stronger regulators crucial to improving sanitation services for the poorest, report finds

A new report published by Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and the Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) Regulators Association identifies how stronger regulators can play an important role in improving sanitation for under-served urban residents.

The report, entitled Referee! Responsibilities, regulations and regulating for urban sanitation, has four key findings:

  1. Regulatory effectiveness is a core driver of improved sanitation services. Every football match needs a referee.
    An independent regulator can act as a referee between the government, and sanitation service providers, to ensure the best deal possible for customers.
  2. Regulations are not enough: clear responsibilities and active regulating is essential.
    A plethora of national laws and municipal by-laws already governs much around sanitation services. Yet on their own, rules rarely translate into improved outcomes.
  3. Problems cannot be solved in one bold step. Active regulating involves incremental change, extensive consultation and testing.
    Even countries which are showing good progress have a long way to go. Sandwiched between utility, government and consumer, regulators have to introduce change gradually and manage stakeholders wisely.
  4. A Regulating Ladder could support countries in their journey to active regulating.
    A ladder which mirrors the industry-wide UNICEF / WHO JMP sanitation ladder could inform assessments of where countries stand in their journey from passive regulations compliance to active regulating.

Download the full report here

As part of this research we spoke to staff from regulators in Kenya, Zambia and Mozambique about the importance of active regulating in promoting access to quality, affordable sanitation.

Safe sanitation is not just about toilets – it’s about the effective systems that underpin strong services. Regulators are a crucial, but often undervalued part of that.

WSUP and ESAWAS have analysed the role of regulators in four countries to assess their importance in the broader system of sanitation services, and understand how their roles are being made more impactful. The report identifies a range of different regulatory instruments and demonstrates how their introduction is leading to improved sanitation services in traditionally under-served urban communities.

The national case studies are as follows:

Bangladesh: national institutional and regulatory framework for un-sewered sanitation

Kenya: standard operating procedures in the city of Kisumu

Kenya: introducing cross-subsidies to finance sanitation

Mozambique: adopting new regulatory responsibilities

Zambia: a new national framework for regulating un-sewered sanitation

Kenya: incentives to encourage utilities to serve the poorest communities

The report also assesses the contribution being made by ESAWAS to drive change through at pan-African level.

Read the full report here

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