Suzanne Hanchett

What has worked for Bangladesh?

Over the past two decades Bangladesh has achieved significant successes around national sanitation coverage, through increased latrine access and sanitation education campaigns, which has resulted in a large part of the country’s population shifting away from open defecation to using household concrete-lined pit latrines.  In this post I provide an outline of changes in the sanitation situation in nine Bangladesh unions, mostly rural areas, over a period of five or more years, drawn from a recently published report from Plan Alternatives for Change LLC, ‘

The Dhaka Declaration

An important change agreed upon is the creation of a SACOSAN Secretariat and a Working Group, to facilitate communication and horizontal learning between the biennial conferences. The Sri Lankan government has volunteered to host the Secretariat.

Another point in the declaration is to reach out to other multi-country fora with information and advocacy for sanitation improvement. SAARC, the regional coalition,  was specifically mentioned; and a SAARC representative spoke in the concluding ceremony.

Reporting from SACOSAN VI

The eight large and small countries involved in these biennial South Asia Sanitation Conferences (SACOSAN) differ in important ways. The Maldives is an island nation. Bhutan and Nepal are mountainous areas. Bangladesh’s, Afghanistan’s, and Pakistan’s populations are majority Muslim. India, of course, is the largest and most diverse. And Sri Lanka may be the most advanced in terms of literacy and other development indicators.  Sri Lanka has recently experienced civil war and a tsunami, which also hit the Maldives. Nepal had a terrible earthquake last spring.

A good chance for learning right till the end: last day at the UNC Conference

The weather was lovely, as were the red and yellow colours of the fall trees, for the last day of the conference. A water filter vendor packed up his things and wheeled them to his car. Friends, old and new, took pictures of each other. The hosts served yet another fine lunch when the programme ended at noon. Everyone’s a little weary. It has been an intense week for the many gathered scientific researchers, government representatives, field workers, and others. For me it was a good chance for new learning, right up to the end.

How do we go beyond 'business as usual'? More reflections from the UNC Conference

Today I continued to follow the conversation about new directions in the over-all system of international WASH development. There is a lot of talk about changing the way aid business is conducted. But it’s hard to say how all this lofty talk will translate into actually useful change. I sensed some frustration on the part of developing country governmental reps and residents. No one’s talking about power dynamics. I also listened to some interesting sanitation reports.

Day 2 at UNC: reflections from Suzanne Hanchett

They are doing a fine job of crowd control here in Chapel Hill today. Despite all the organisers’ concerns about huge numbers overburdening the venue, they’re taking good care of us all. Breakfast sweets and coffee, midmorning snacks, big lunches, end-of-day snacks big enough for dinner, on and on. Poster presenters wait eagerly in the lobby for people to stop and talk with them.

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