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Following the red thread: menstrual hygiene in Uganda

The CLTS Knowledge Hub has just published the latest issue in the Frontiers series- Breaking the next taboo: Menstrual Hygiene within CLTS.  This issue of Frontiers of CLTS illustrates how Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programmes can be expanded to address menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools and communities to alleviate these stresses on women and girls.

IDS in action: sharing and learning on CLTS and sustainability

Life on the beach – the stunning location of the AfricaSan 4 Dakar conference, in a grand hotel perched on the Senegalese coast, was not enough to distract the participants of the IDS CLTS sharing and learning workshop from their task. As usual, the workshop was held the day before the main AfricaSan conference to profit from the gathering together of so many experienced WASH professionals. The event proved almost too popular – something like 90 participants turned up – making it quite challenging and time-consuming to capture and discuss the diverse views of the large group.

AfricaSan 4: scattered highlights, and one lowlight!

A huge conference like AfricaSan provides a wealth of information and learning for the enthusiastic sanitation groupie. But so much is packed into the three-day duration that it is impossible to take in everything – schedules are tight, and often overlap, which means that nobody manages to see all of their top picks, despite efforts to have thematic discussions running in parallel throughout the conference.

Reflections on a field visit to GSF projects in Senegal

In the run up to AfricaSan I joined a Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) field trip and learning event in Matam region, Senegal. Along with Global Sanitation Fund programme managers and WSSCC National Coordinators we visited different villages where local NGOs had been triggering communities. Matam, in the north east of Senegal separated from Mauritania by the Senegal River, has a population of over 550,000 of which 98% are Muslim. In the region 47.2% practice open defecation.

AfricaSan "Making Sanitation for All a Reality in Africa"

I attended the AfricaSan (Africa Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene) convened by the Government of Senegal and AMCOW in Dakar in May. The conference brought together national government ministers and officials, as well as implementation partners, programme managers and teams, and sanitation and hygiene specialists, to discuss opportunities and challenges for Making Sanitation for All a Reality in Africa by 2030.

Nutrition puzzles: the shit factor

A few years ago I posted a blog titled ‘Nutrition Puzzles’. Today, the puzzles seem a bit nearer to resolution. And the answer may be shit.

The earlier blog was prompted by the huge and massively expensive nutrition survey that was sponsored by a range of international aid donors. It showed to everyone’s surprise that, despite the crisis, nutrition indicators across Zimbabwe, including in rural areas, were not as disastrous as expected. Indeed, they were better than most neighbouring countries, including South Africa.

What do giraffes have to do with CLTS sustainability?

According to one African folk tale, the giraffe had a short neck until she got her head stuck in a honey tree. Many years passed and as the tree grew it stretched the neck of the giraffe.  Eventually, the other animals decided to work together to free the giraffe; they grabbed all four of its legs pulled the giraffe out of the tree – stretching its neck and legs in the process.

Minds set in Washington DC

In The Open Society and Its Enemies Karl Popper wrote something like ‘You may be right, and I may be wrong, and by an effort together we may get closer to the truth’. Can we struggle together to get closer to the truth? Can we always to be critical of evidence? Can we seek a new inclusive rigour? Can we always reflect critically on our own mindsets and their determinants? Is there a way forward through methodological pluralism, multiple triangulations and reflexivity?

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