AFRICA-SOUTH ASIA ONLINE CONCLAVE AND TRAINING
The recently released Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report of the World Health
Organization (WHO) and UNICEF clearly states that India has been responsible for the largest global drop in open defecation -- in terms of absolute numbers -- since 2015. The country has built over 170 million toilets in 0.6 million villages under the government’s ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ launched in 2014. The question one may ask here is, does this otherwise commendable feat signal the end of the story of our quest for sanitation? We don’t believe it does.
The story in India has now moved forward to one of a new challenge. The construction
of such a huge number of toilets requires serious thinking on safe containment and
management of the waste from them. In rural areas, where on-site containment is the
only solution, an emphasis on correct toilet designs and management of liquid waste
from toilets and bathrooms is needed to move towards safe sanitation. Wrong choice of
technologies, sub-optimal construction, and neglect of local geography have often led to
leaking of black water into ground and surface water sources.
The story in Sub-Saharan Africa remains where India was before 2015: the region needs to work on eradicating open defecation. The JMP report says that around 196 million of the 494 million people practicing open defecation in the world are from Sub-Saharan Africa.
But the countries in this region must not wait to first become ODF and then start planning for safe sanitation – they must plan ahead and holistically, and start focusing simultaneously on safe sanitation practices.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) invites you to a 10-day virtual training –kicked off with an online Africa-South Asia Conclave – to discuss and demystify the issues and concerns faced by countries of the Global South in managing faecal waste in rural areas, where a majority of the population of these countries resides.