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29 August 2014

He is married with two children and works hard to support his family, but Martial Ramartin has spent three decades fighting the stigma of his partial paralysis, left from a bout of measles when he was just four.

As a child, his parents treated him the same as his siblings, encouraging him to learn to walk again despite his paralysed left leg, and requiring him to help with the daily rhythm of life in rural Madagascar – lighting the morning fire, pounding rice to prepare it for meals, and fetching water from an open pond at the foot of the village.

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Comments: 0 Policy and advocacy for sanitation, Children and schools, Governments and Institutions
29 August 2014

“Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in the open?” With these words, the new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week pushed sanitation up the hierarchy of national concerns. Using the solemn speech in the annual commemoration of the Independence Day, Modi announced a new campaign to eliminate open defecation – the practice of people relieving themselves in the open – by 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth in 2019.

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Comments: 0 equity, Policy and advocacy for sanitation, Women and gender
16 June 2014

Gender-based violence (GBV) is rarely out of the news, around the world shocking cases of abuse are reported on a daily basis.

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Comments: 0 equity, Policy and advocacy for sanitation, Monitoring and sustainability, nutrition
28 March 2014

I have been puzzling to understand why I found this conference so energising and such a good experience.  In part it was the choreography and facilitation by Barbara Evans and others – what a difference it makes to have inventive ways of involving everyone and keeping us awake with bits of serious fun, and what a difference when facilitators and presenters are on top of their topics, have new things to share, are driven by controlled passion, and really enjoy themselves.  And maybe there is something Ozzie about this – welcome, openness, informality, climate.

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Comments: 0 behaviour change, campaigns, Policy and advocacy for sanitation
18 March 2014

Over the past few weeks, I visited India for the first time, primarily to work on a research project about the economic effects of sanitation.  During that time, I had the chance to visit several villages in northern India, starting with one that won the "Nirmal Gram Puraskar" clean village prize for being open defecation free a few years ago.

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11 March 2014
Three months ago, a paper dealing with the causes of the failure of the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in India and written by Brian Bell and myself, was published in the journal Water Policy. A very succinct summary: the TSC –the national rural sanitation campaign of India between 1999 and 2012– was a ‘good’ policy on paper, but yielded very poor results. Its valuable core principles –community-led, people-centred, demand-driven and incentive-based– did not happen in practice. The result: millions of latrines ‘planted’ throughout the country without any involvement or appropriation by the ‘beneficiaries’, severely affecting sustainability. We identified five main causes behind the theory-practice gap in the TSC: low political priority; flawed monitoring; distorting accountability and career incentives; technocratic and paternalistic inertia; and corruption.
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11 March 2014

This year’s Pan Africa annual review meeting has been yet another fascinating experience, bringing a rich set of African voices to share experiences, discuss challenges and develop action plans to achieve set objectives for the Plan Africa CLTS programme and combat Open Defecation in Africa.

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7 March 2014

This week Plan International WASH Advisors, IDS, IRC, Plan Netherlands,Plan UK and Plan USA have converged in Lusaka to deliberate on shit. It has been interesting to see how different countries have progressed over the four years of implementing CLTS. The experiences from the participants reveal that gender is critical in CLTS because we need to engage women, men and children to make decisions on sanitation as well as address their specific needs.

Comments: 0 Policy and advocacy for sanitation
6 March 2014

India is the country with the biggest open defecation problem in the world.  In India, open defecation is practiced by more than half of households and by about 67% percent of rural households.  In fact, 60 percent of people anywhere who defecate in the open live in India.  This widespread lack of sanitation, combined with India’s high population density, poses important health threats for children. 

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6 March 2014

Today, the 5th day of March 2014 has been yet another exciting day at the 2014 Pan-African CLTS Annual Review meeting hosted by Plan Zambia, in Lusaka. We had a field visit to Chibombo district’s Keembe Constituency falling under Chief Liteta’s chiefdom in Mashikili ward.

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