Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity?
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TOPIC: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity?

Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 23 Nov 2012 11:49 #2710

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Dear WG5 members,

During last Stockholm Water Week 2012 the German WASH Network together with WSP convened a seminar which focussed on the link between WASH and nutrition (see summary of the seminar here: ).

Right after the seminar several participants expressed their interest to create a new working group that entirely focusses on the link between WASH (and here particularly sanitation) and nutrition to shed some more light on this widely neglected issue. The German WASH Network and Action Contre La Faim would be interested and willing to take over the lead of the group.

Together with the SuSanA secretariat we already explored the possibility to create a new SuSanA working group on "Sanitation and Nutrition". In order to avoid creating an additional working group and as it is thematically closely related to the existing WG5 "Food Security and Productive Sanitation" we, together with the SuSanA secretariat, would be in favour of splitting the WG5 into two. As a suggestion to you as the members of the working group 5 we would therefore propose that under the WG5 headline "Sustainable Sanitation and the Link to Food and Nutrition Security" to have the following two sub groups, if that's agreeable with you:

WG 5a: Productive Sanitation and Food Security
WG 5b: Sanitation and Nutrition

We would very much appreciate your feedback if this would be an agreeable solution (and also on the labelling of the sub groups) and please kindly let us know if you have any objections.

Thanks you very much in advance and best regards

rob

Robert Gensch

German Toilet Organization
Niedstrasse 16, 12159 Berlin
Posted by a member of the SuSanA secretariat held by the GIZ Sustainable sanitation sector program
Located at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany
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Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 23 Nov 2012 11:50 #2711

  • rahulingle
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Dear All,

Let me rephrase what Rob and us at the SuSanA secretariat have in mind. We would like to combine (not split) the proposed working group on WASH and Nutrition with the existing working group on Food security as they are very similar topics. The new working group thus formed by combining the two will then be renamed as "Sustainable Sanitation and the Link to Food and Nutrition Security" with sub sections WG 5a: Productive Sanitation and Food Security and WG 5b: Sanitation and Nutrition.

Technically, both the sub group with utilise all the working members of the existing WG 5. People could choose to work on either or both of the Thematic topic as per their choice. The new working sub group on WASH and nutrition will then automatically also have a database of members to work with and can have good start with its activities.


cheers

Rahul
Best regards,

Rahul Ingle
Program Advisor "Sustainable sanitation"
GIZ, Eschborn, Germany
and SuSanA secretariat

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Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 23 Nov 2012 13:55 #2713

  • fppirco
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Dear Rahul and WG5 members

If you need redefine WG5 title I think integrated sanitation and food safety & security with no need creating new gruop and losing gained experinces and skills .
of course both topic are serious and crtical for country with water shoratge and scarcity
using raw waste water for irrigation in agriculture emphasizes need focusing more on sanitation and food security and safety for preventing diseases burden and hungry in people live in low income countries particular among children

with best regards

Mohammad Mojtabaei
www.fpp.ir
Telfax:00985117629569
P.O Box:00985117629569

Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 23 Nov 2012 15:40 #2715

  • rob#
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Dear Rahul, all,

Thanks for bringing up our WG5 discussion in the forum again and for having rephrased my initial email a bit.

Just a few more thoughts on that:

The initial idea was to even create an entirely separate SuSanA WG for this "sanitation and nutrition" link as we feel that this is a topic in itself and way too important to be subsumed under another working group. Combining "sanitation & nutrition" with the existing food security working group might still be a bit of a risk as many people might not be fully aware that there is in fact a considerable difference between food and nutrition security and that both topics have an entirely different focus.

The main idea of this new nutrition WG is to look into the issue that even if sufficient food is available and accessible (where productive sanitation comes into play) many people still can't efficiently metabolise the food and suffer from undernutrition and stunting (which can be considerably reduced by having access to basic sanitation services and by practising proper hygiene and which has nothing to do with productive sanitation).

Below just a paragraph copied from our Stockholm session summary:

"A significant body of evidence suggests that poor WASH services play a considerable role in undernutrition and stunting particularly among children in three key ways:

  • Repeated bouts of diarrhoea lead to malabsorption of nutrients, as part of the food will be excreted without being metabolised (leaky bucket syndrome).

  • Intestinal nematode infections like Ascaris and hookworm infections, with up to 2-3 billion affected people worldwide, deprive the human host of nutrients which are thus not available to be taken up by the human body
  • Faecal bacteria ingested in large quantities by young children living in unhygienic conditions can lead to permanent gut damage. This condition is characterised by increased gut permeability and reduced small-intestine surface area, which leads to nutrient malabsorption and thereby undernutrition and stunting. This phenomenon is known as environmental enteropathy


A review of more than 40 studies for food programmes in Africa found that even the most successful programmes only achieved 33% normalisation and thus only have a limited effect to improve the nutritional status of the affected population. It can be assumed that other environmental aspects like the access to WASH services play a much bigger role than currently recognised."


Therefore I would highly recommend to separate the 2 topics from each other, but it could certainly be under the WG5 umbrella. This way we can show that there is a distinction between the 2 and at the same time still having them linked as far as needed.

Hope this helps a bit and best regards to all of you

rob
Robert Gensch

German Toilet Organization
Phone: +49-(0)30-41934345
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Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 26 Nov 2012 13:09 #2733

  • patnayeja
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Good idea. I think the two go together. We cant separate wash from Nutrition. How can we cook food with dirty water. How can we avoid food borne diseases if we do not talk about clean. This is such a weclome idea. Lets see how far we can GO

Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 26 Nov 2012 23:02 #2738

  • muench
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Dear all,

I am really in two minds about this.
Adding a new sub-group to WG 5 has the advantage of having a relatively low administrative burden for the SuSanA secretariat team and for the website manager. And there is some relationship or links between productive sanitation (more crop from excreta-based fertiliser) and nutrition.

On the other hand, I understood that this nutrition working group would focus more on the health aspects of nutrition and WASH-related diseases - characterised by the slogan "Grow tall with toilets". Then there is less connection to WG 5 (and possibly more with WG 4 which should include health aspects!).

Also, WG 5 has the title "productive sanitation", it is really focused on reuse-activities (it is the most "ecosan-heavy" working group of the 11 groups - and that could be a weakness because some people really don't like ecosan...). But reducing malnutrition and reducing diarrhoea can be achieved with good sanitation and hygiene practices - whether you reuse excreta or not.

If ACF will be the lead of this new working group (will they?), do they prefer to start afresh with a totally new group or be a sub-group of an existing group?

I also want to stress that working groups do not have to live forever. They can also have "mission accomplished" and closed. Or re-opened later. SuSanA is a dynamic network!

We could also make it as WG 12 "WASH and nutrition".

And meanwhile, we could e.g. close WG 10 (Operation and Maintenance) - not because O&M is not important but because O&M needs to be an integral part of most of the other working groups, in particular very much part of WG 4 (systems) and WG 9 (business). One could keep the numbering the same, but mark WG 10 as "closed". Or make WG 10 then the "WASH and nutrition" group.

In any case, please keep an open mind: The SuSanA working groups are not set in stone and don't have to live forever, but they can adapt to where the energy is and where people want to do some work, right now.

Regards,
Elisabeth

(just to clarify: I wrote this in my capacity as a simple SuSanA member - I am no longer part of the SuSanA secretariat)
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Last Edit: 26 Nov 2012 23:04 by muench.

Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 27 Nov 2012 12:13 #2740

  • rahulingle
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Thanks for your post Elisabeth. Your concerns with regards to under which working group (4 or 5) could the WASH and nutrition group fall under are very much valid . This needs to be debated with the both working groups as well as with ACF and Robert who are taking the initiative of the working group.

However I need to provide a few clarifications to some of the points you raised.

" Adding a new sub-group to WG 5 has the advantage of having a relatively low administrative burden for the SuSanA secretariat team" - that is not the reason for the secretariat suggesting the merging of the group. Infact having a completely new working group implies all amongst the 1800+ members who are interested in the new working group have to go back to their settings and add WASH and Nutrition to the list of their interested working groups. It is quite a hassel for the members to change their settings everytime there is a new working group.

Moreover just like you said " The SuSanA working groups are not set in stone ", their titles are also not set in stone. They can be modified to accomodate a new sub working group instead of closing down and putting the members through the inconvinience of re- registering again. Also as you mentioned in your post the working group should look forward for new tasks, I see this as a good opportunity for having a new goal for working group 4 or 5.

Why do you suggest to close down Working group on operation and maintenance? Is that because the working group lead has decided to step down? Faecal sludge managemnet has been a hot topic recently and there has been a lot of interest in this topic as you might have observed in Durban. If there is a general interest in the working group to work on this topic, it could be possible to energise this working group.

In my opinion it is much better to integrate the exisiting working groups instead of closing them and starting new.

Regrards

Rahul
Best regards,

Rahul Ingle
Program Advisor "Sustainable sanitation"
GIZ, Eschborn, Germany
and SuSanA secretariat

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.giz.de/sanitation
www.susana.org
Last Edit: 27 Nov 2012 14:50 by rahulingle.

Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 27 Nov 2012 13:53 #2741

  • muench
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Dear Rahul,

Thanks for your reply.
I don't see it as a major problem if SuSanA members would have to go back into their setting and set a tick for a new working group on WASH and nutrition, if they are interested in this working group. After all, why should only the members of WG 5 be the ones who are "automatically" added to this new WG or sub-WG? If someone is interested in WASH and nutrition, then it is a small step to login, set a tick, and log out again. And new members can set the tick already at the time of registration.

I agree that titles of WGs are not set in stone. There have been changes before (e.g. name change to WG 2, WG 7 was merged with the gender group, WG 9 was split). No problem there.

As you say, FSM is a "hot topic". It is however already inside of WG 4 (see elsewhere on the forum where the lead of WG 4, Charles Niwagaba, has outlined his plans for FSM as a topic inside of WG 4: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/57-wg-...a-new-ideas-for-wg-4 )
So this is not a strong argument for keeping WG 10.

I suggested closure of WG 10 because in my personal view, this WG has accomplished what it set out to do: it authored a factsheet and it has raised the importance of the topic. I can't see what future activities there might be. And I don't think O&M should be seen in isolation, as a theoretical topic. O&M is rather part of FSM (= WG 4), it is part of any business (= WG 9), it needs to be part of school sanitation (=WG 7), it is part of the overal costs and economics (= WG 2) and so forth. Also it seemed to me that the energy levels were rather low in that group (maybe precisely for that reason?). If that is an indication at all, then you also see here in the forum that the WG 10 space has only had 1 posting, whereas other WGs have been much more active in their space on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/63-wg-10-oam.

I hope this has clarified my views. At the end it is of up the the members and specifically to the core group what they want. As to WG 5 and nutrition, it will be very interesting to know whether ACF (as the lead) has a particular preference for one way or the other?

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
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Last Edit: 27 Nov 2012 13:54 by muench.

Re: Should WASH and Nutrition be a sub group of WG5 on Foodsecurity? 28 Nov 2012 08:57 #2747

  • Marijn Zandee
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I think I have some of the same reservations as Elizabeth, but maybe I am also understanding the aim of the newly proposed (sanitation and nutrition) WG wrong?

My understanding is that the new group does focus mainly on the concept that lack of sanitation results in reduced nutrient up-take in the bodies of especially children. Which is a very important issue.

However the existing WG 5 already has a "nutrient" focus, but these are plant nutrients. Further "nutrition security" in the sense that it was advocated to be included in the WG 5 title some time last year was focussed on the intake of vital nutrients through a diversified diet.
Both these "nutrition" issues are in my undersatnding a bit different from the aim of the newly proposed sanitation and nutrition "sub-group", therefore I am affraid that making this new group a part of WG 5 will be confusing rather then helpful. I think having a new working group (though maybe number 13 would be considered unlucky?) is the better solution.

Kind regards

Marijn Zandee


++++++++++++
Note by moderator (EvM): the new Working Group on WASH and Nutrition (WG 12) was officially opened in May 2012.
Marijn Zandee
Technical Advisor
Nepal Biogas Promotion Association (NBPA)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Kathmandu, Nepal

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Last Edit: 13 Jun 2013 09:59 by muench.
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