After an intense and exciting week in Stockholm for World Water Week, it is time to look back at some conclusions of the conference and the way forward for next year. I was in Stockholm as a “Lead Rapporteur” and reported in the closing plenary session on “Cooperation to achieve equity by balancing competing demands”; other teams reported on “Managing waters across borders,” “Responding to Global Change,” and “Closing the science-policy-practice loop” (see closing plenary here). This is my attempt to summarize over 100 sessions, you can find all the sessions in the WWW website.
If a year ago you told me that I would be able to speak authoritatively on the technical aspects of sanitation, I would have thought you were crazy! Kenya is my home; I am 130% Kenyan and have lived here my whole life. In all this time, I never fully realized the sanitation issues in my country. True, I knew the statistics but until recently I didn’t fully realize how the impact was hitting my home.
It’s widely reported that most of the world’s population lives in urban areas. UN-Habitat estimates that 40% of urban dwellers live in slums, and that number is growing by more than 20 million people per year. Perhaps, less commonly reported is that while population is growing rapidly, urban sanitation coverage has only increased slightly.
While toilet access is generally higher in urban areas as compared to rural, sanitary conditions in urban areas are aggravated by high-density living, inadequate septage and solid waste management, and poor drainage. Recent analysis by WSP concludes that to make any significant impact it is essential to adopt a multi-dimensional approach to this complex problem. Here are five reasons why urban sanitation is about more than building a toilet.
Did you know that, when you go shopping, you are acting as a Budget-Constrained Utility Maximizer? Or, in common parlance, you are trying to maximize your happiness, welfare or living standard with the cash you have in your pocket.
Next week as thousands of practitioners gather at annual World Water Week in Sweden the focus is on cooperation, echoing the UN’s declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation.
As mentioned in the previous post, the three grand prize winning teams of the Sanitation Hackathon boarded from their home countries – Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania, and the UK – for a week-long trip to Silicon Valley, hosted by IDEO.org. They met with companies such as Zynga, the world’s leading social gaming company, Facebook, the social network giant, AirBnB, a travel site, The Hub, a collaborative work space, and Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform. The young web developers learned about the importance of data, how to reach large networks, why trust and collaboration are key, and what makes a crowdfunding campaign successful.
The Sanitation Hackathon & App Challenge three grand prize winners, mSchool, Taarifa, and SunClean, flew over from their home countries, Senegal, Tanzania, England, and Indonesia to attend the awards ceremony in Washington, DC. With a 64inch touchscreen provided by Microsoft, the teams showcased their apps to sanitation sector specialists at the WB-IMF side event on Investing in Sanitation.
It’s no secret that the rapid rise in access to mobile phones has created a new vehicle for the delivery of information and services, particularly for people at the base of the pyramid – or those who live on less than $1.25 a day. The challenge we, as development practitioners, face is understanding how to leverage mobile phones in ways that empower citizens as agents of change who can influence and drive development processes in their communities.
Kerala is a beautiful state in South India, home to about 34 million people, many of whom share my pride as a Keralite. Of all the states in India, Kerala scores the highest on the human development index, has one of the highest literacy rates in India (around 95%), a low Infant Mortality Rate, gender ratio in favor of the female population, stunning landscapes (highlands, mid-lands, low-lands), and a booming tourism industry. It is God’s own country, as the promoters of tourism industry has named it.
Open defecation – going outside without using a toilet or latrine – is one of the most important threats to child health and human capital, period; ending it must be a policy priority.