Archive for October 10th, 2011

October 10, 2011

CSOs develop key messages for Global forum on Sanitation

                                                                                                 Baatope Babalobi

Members of the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)and the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA) have jointly developed messages to be presented to participants at the ongoing Global Forum on Sanitation, Mumbai, India.

Arpita De, FANSA Coordinator...yesterday

Ahead of the side event of the two organizations holding this Wednesday at the Global meeting, about twenty members of the two bodies met this Monday to brainstorm on the relevance of the Civil Society in developing the sanitation sector and how civil society organizations can add value to the forum’s  debates on strategies of resolving sanitation challenges.

Key messages the ANEW and FANSA  resolved to present to the conference delegates include the following:

1.         Civil society organizations play a role in influencing policy processes at the national levels and therefore should be given greater space for participation in global sectoral meetings.

2.         Civil Society bodies are good in monitoring projects to ensure successful implementation and ensuring service providers are accountable.

3.         Sectoral projects implemented by civil society groups are more cost efficient as they usually do not spend more that 10% of the total project cost on overheads.

4.         Civil society groups assist government in reaching the grassroots, and they are not necessarily antagonists of government programmes; but can complement government efforts, target service delivery and supplement what other service providers are doing.

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October 10, 2011

Civil society groups form new WASH charity

By Babatope Babalobi

The Freshwater Action Network (FAN) will become an Independent charity to be known as FAN Global in July 2012.

Ceridwen Johnson

Disclosing this today, at a Civil Society Interactive session during the ongoing Global forum on Sanitation holding in Mumbai, India, Ceridwen Johnson – FAN’s Communication Manager, said the new charity will be constituted by five regional networks- the African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW)and the Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA),, FAN Mexico and FAN Central America.

However, each of the five bodies-will retain some autonomy on financial and administrative matters while working together at global level on development and implementation of programmes.

“A smaller global Secretariat will work in collaboration with the regions to coordinate global policy and advocacy and programming, fundraising, strategy and governance”, said Ceridwen.

October 10, 2011

Water and Sanitation vital in fight against AIDS, says experts

                                                                                      By Babatope Babalobi

The United Nations views  that  access to improved water supply and sanitation will improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS

Although HIV/AIDS is not a water-related disease, the issues are closely linked, says the United Nations World Water Development Report titled : “Water, a shared responsibility”.

Many of the opportunistic infections that kill people living with HIV/AIDS are transmitted through contaminated water and unsanitary living conditions.  once people are sick, they frequently suffer from diarrhea and require access to safe, sanitary latrines and large quantities of water for keeping themselves and their surroundings clean.

Improved water supply and sanitation can reduce the frequency of diarrhea.  The incidence of malaria can also be reduced when mosquito breeding areas caused by insufficient drainage are eliminated.

The UN report argues that there is a lack of research on the role the water sector plays for people living with HIV/AIDS.  Thus far, the disease has been treated as an epidemic and not considered a chronic disease or socio-economic problem. The emphasis, therefore is heavily placed on treatment and prevention.

Neither international organizations nor country governments have looked closely at the implications and potential contributions of the water sector in combating the disease and a remarkably small amount of academic research has been done on the subject.

A nearby and reliable supply of water, including for small-scale production and sanitary latrines, allows those infected by HIV/AIDS to continue productive activities and reduces the workload for caregivers. Due to lack of access to safe water for preparing infant formula, many HIV positive women breastfeed even though this exposes their babies to HIV.

If a reliable source of safe water and infant formula can be provided until the baby starts to eat solid foods at six months of age, the generational spread of the virus can be reduced.

The World Bank supported Water Supply and Sanitation programme is one leading organization that has established the link between water supply and sanitation and HIV/AIDS.

WSP-Africa recently engaged with partners to discuss  the strategic role of water in the alleviation of HIV/AIDS and Poverty.  At the Pretoria, South Africa Think Tank Meeting on 26-29 November, Senior Specialist Barbara Mwila Kazimbaya-Senkwe asked, “How can the Water Sector Improve Service Delivery to people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa’s Low Income Peri-Urban Areas?”.

 “It is necessary for the global HIV/AIDS community to work with the global water community to develop a consensus list of prioritized research needed on water and sanitation and HIV/AIDS,” said Dr. Kate Tulenko, a public health specialist of the Water and Sanitation Program.

 “With combined efforts of the AIDS and water communities, WaSH services can be offered to people living with HIV/AIDS to improve their health, relieve the caregiving burden, preserve human dignity, and fulfill the call for every sector to participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS”. 

People affected by HIV/AIDS are often marginalized by society and face extraordinary difficulties in accessing safe water and sanitation, while both is vital to their health.

Another global body- the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)  promotes close linkages of WASH and HIV/AIDS sectors to increase dignity and well-being of infected people as well as their families.

According to a 2008 report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), 33.4 million people worldwide live with HIV and new infections now number 2.7 million annually. It is estimated that 2 million deaths occurred due to AIDS-related illnesses worldwide. Hundreds of millions more are affected through loss of parents, children, or colleagues.

Though a global pandemic, sub-Saharan Africa is most severely affected with 22.4 million HIV-positive people. South Asia and South-East Asia follow with 3.7 million infected. Poverty, including insufficient access to water supply and sanitation services, exacerbates the spread of HIV/AIDS; the highest burden of disease is found in regions with widespread poverty.

Diseases related to poverty, such as diarrhoeal and skin diseases, are the most common for people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Moreover, access to improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services is also important for health and livelihoods in general, helping to prevent exposure to infection. These are clear reasons to facilitate the collaboration between the WASH and HIV/AIDS sectors.

Other cross-cutting issues include water quantity and quality and the training of family members, especially of caregivers, to support safe handling of water and maintaining hygienic conditions for those infected.

October 10, 2011

Experts converge in Mumbai to discuss global sanitation challenges

                                                                                               By Edmund Smith-Asante           

Global and National bodies working in the Sanitation sector as well as leading sector practitioners have converged in Mumbai India to discuss sanitation challenges facing about 2.6 billion people worldwide.

In India, for every 1,000 children, 87 die before they reach age five (5), while national water coverage is 87% but sanitation trails at 30% nationally in the country, according to reports from UNICEF.

For Nigeria in Africa, the United Nations agency says out of a 1,000 children, 198 die before they celebrate their 5th birthday, the national coverage for water is 60%, while for sanitation it is 38%.

In Ethiopia, children who die before they are five are 169 for every 1,000, while the coverage figures for water and sanitation are 22% and 6% respectively, according to the same UNICEF source.

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October 10, 2011

WSSCC official charges Journalists to ‘keep asking questions’

Amanda Marlin, Programme Manager, Advocacy and Communications, WSSCC

                                                              By Babatope Babalobi

“Keep asking questions. Sanitation and hygiene are not glamorous issues that you can easily get into the front pages of the media.

You have an incredible role to play in terms of transparency, in terms of ensuring there is public accountability. You need to ask great questions that will put service providers and regulators on their foot.

Use your expertise, professional skills, and enthusiasm to keep asking questions on how Sanitation and Hygiene services can be effectively delivered to the people. ”

-Amanda Marlin, Programme Manager, Advocacy and Communications, WSSCC at a Training workshop for West Africa WASH Journalists during the Global Forum on Sanitation, Mumbai, India, October 9, 2011