Andrés Hueso González
After a few years researching and working on sanitation, I feel (felt) that I have a good knowledge about the topic, or at least good knowledge of most of it and a clear picture of the areas I should learn more about. Moreover as a shit-worker I –and probably most of us in the sector– have developed a sort of pride or even vanity about being a herald of a neglected cause...
Urban sanitation is becoming an emerging priority in the WASH sector, partly due to the realisation that it has not been given enough attention in the past. For one thing, because the Millennium Development Goals targeted sanitation coverage (people having access to latrines) and cities are doing much better than rural areas in this respect.
“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.
Sanitation is probably one of the sectors with the highest levels of overreporting. It is clearly the case of India, where 4/5 of the toilets reported during the Total Sanitation Campaign were found ‘missing’ in the 2011 Census. The monitoring system, intended to measure the sanitation coverage increase, was found to actually reflect funds disbursement.
Apart from the pre-conference workshop, there were two CLTS events during the SACOSAN V in Kathmandu.
One was on ‘Transforming sanitation: CLTS around the world’ and attracted a very high attendance. For around one hour, Kamal Kar (CLTS Foundation), Deepak Sanan (CLTS Foundation), Robert Chambers (Institute of Development Studies) and Chris Williams (WSSCC Executive Director) shared their views on how CLTS has evolved and influenced the sanitation sector.
The South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN V) kicked off on the 21 October 2013 in Kathmandu. It is a biennial convention providing a platform for interaction on sanitation to South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), enabling learning from past experiences and setting actions for the future.
On the 20th October 2013, a one-day CLTS Sharing and Learning workshop was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in the run-up to the 5th South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN V). We were 45 participants, coming from different countries –with Nepal leading in terms of numbers of participants and India second– and with various degrees and kinds of experience in CLTS.