Shit flow diagrams - does it need to be called "shit"? The use of the term shit (a swear word or not?) in sanitation dialogues

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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Shit flow diagrams - does it need to be called "shit"? The use of the term shit (a swear word or not?) in sanitation dialogues

Hi Wasif
I like your suggestion and the idea behind it. However, I asked some colleagues during coffee break and we agreed that the "right" expression" depends very much on what kind of message you try to convey (e.g. are you trying to wake up officials about the waste volumes requiring management in order to protect people's health; or are you trying to inform industries on the the renewable resources right at their door step?).

I am not sure weather we do need a unique name for this sankey diagrams..?

Dorothee
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  • wasifbashir15
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Re: Shit flow diagrams - does it need to be called "shit"? The use of the term shit (a swear word or not?) in sanitation dialogues

Dear Arno & Dorothee and all valued people on this topic greetings from Pakistan.
The word Shit as using for the Feacal matter is really so condemnatory and not bear up as working in the communities not much aware about the Feacostuff.
I am conducted my Research and work with the community in Pakistan and come to know that the word
"Shit" using for the Feaces is not much welcomed in the rural areas and people assume it as a abusing some on with style of (OH Shit). So i had submitted my paper to present at
3rd International Feacal Sludge management Conference to be held at Vietnam Hanoi in January 2015 with the title of (Socio-Cultural barrier in the way of Sustainable Feacal sludge management in Pakistan).
anyhow dear Arno please i will suggest the term for this matter as (Feacal Resource Flow Diagram) please.
AS We know well that there is not any waste in the world but we can recycle nutirients and other required matters even from Feacal stuff so never try to use word feacal waste please but yes we can use feacal resource management as well.

Thanks and best regards
Wasif Bashir Babar
Skype:wasifbashir
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Mr. Muhammad Wasif Bashir Babar is son of soil of Pakistan and a very energetic young professional & Researcher in the field of Water, Ecological Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) Climate Change, Ecosystem, and Disaster Risk Reduction. He hold Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Science with specialization on “Sustainable Water Sanitation Health & Development” while Master of Arts (MA) in Sociology with Specialization of Civic Engagement and Good Governance. He had been working in social & WASH development sector since 2008 with diversified national & international Research & humanitarians organizations. He is youth motivator and working to engage the young professionals in achieving the global commitments on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030 especially for SDGs 5, 6, 13 & 17. Global youth Speaker, researcher, moderator, focal person at different forums related to SDGs especially SDG 5, 6, 13 & 17.
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  • arno
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Re: Shit flow diagrams - does it need to be called "shit"? The use of the term shit (a swear word or not?) in sanitation dialogues

Thanks Dorothee.

And to be more accurate the flow diagrams are looking at excreta (faeces, urine) and wastewater which in parts of the world also includes significant amounts of toilet paper. So a more accurate title might be "excreta and wastewater flow diagrams". At the end of the day we will need to convince mayors to set levies for improved collection and treatment. That means fees and taxes. Calling this shit doesn't seem like a convincing way to go if people are being asked to pay for these services.

Regards
Arno Rosemarin PhD
Stockholm Environment Institute
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: Shit flow diagrams - does it need to be called "shit"? The use of the term shit (a swear word or not?) in sanitation dialogues

[Start of Page 2 of the discussion]

Working with people in Sub-Saharan Africa I made the experience that the word "shit" for official use is the most often perceived as offensive. I aim therefore not using it for written information, but may use in for personal exchange. For official use, I prefer the term "Faecal Waste Flows" as used in the new working paper of IRC "Towards systemic change in urban sanitation"(www.ircwash.org/resources/towards-system...nge-urban-sanitation).

Cheers, Dorothee
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  • phawkins
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Re: Shit flow diagrams - does it need to be called "shit"? The use of the term shit (a swear word or not?) in sanitation dialogues

"Sanitation pathway" sounds good to me. I'm sure we can be creative. In the end we want to get the mesage across, and that will depend on the way we feel and the way our intended audience feels. I still have no issues with "shit" and dislike circumlocution, but if we can use words that convey the meaning OK, then fine. What we DO need to do is avoid using terms like "wastewater" when that's not what we mean.


[End of Page 1 of the discussion]

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  • pippa
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Re: RE: shit flow diagrams - does it need to be shit?

Hello All,

I think the term 'shitflow' is very catchy and helps decision makers quickly appreciate what the diagram is showing. That said, one of the great strengths of these diagrams is as an advocacy tool i.e. that you can in fact walk into a Ministry and show unequivocally the sanitation status of their city, it would be a shame to lose that leverage over a point of language or offence.

I developed an excreta flow diagram as an analytical tool for my phd research several years back and used the terms "sanitation pathways" which can probably translate ok as well as "Excreta/feacal sludge flow" and "sanitation cityscape" (i.e. the urban sanitation landscape) although the latter might only work in some languages? Are those of any use? Link here: dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/8493

Cheers,
Pippa
Pippa Scott
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  • caetano
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Re: RE: shit flow diagrams - does it need to be shit?

Hi,
As Cecilia correctly mentioned shit is translated as "merda" in Portuguese (at least in Brazil), not "merde" as mentioned in Peter's post. However, "merda" in Portuguese, in my opinion is a bit offensive; particularly if you are speaking to people in a more authoritative position in formal contexts. I think though that anyone would agree that if you use "merda" to describe the Brazilian World Cup performance, nobody would have any issues with you :)
I believe the question at hand is engaging with your audience. For sure you can take a "if they are offended, then they need to be woken up" approach. However, at the end of the day, if you have lost your audience... well, I guess you really haven't advanced. So, it may work in some cases and not in others... it all depends on the communicator and the context. That said, I guess if an offensive term is said by a foreigner, I can see how some might actually find it cute and quirky.
As for other synonyms in Portuguese that may be more in line with an appropriate "technical" vernacular I would suggest "fezes" or "excrementos". The issue I have with "dejeto" is that, for me, it also has a "solid waste" connotation. For a more popular and perhaps less offensive choice, I would go with "cocô" (not to be confused with "coco" which means coconut - important when in holidays in Brazil!). However, I say this as a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker. Not sure how all this can be useful or relevant in Mozambique.
Anyhow, these are my two crappy cents...
Cheers,
Caetano
Caetano
University of Victoria

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  • CeciliaRodrigues
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Re: RE: shit flow diagrams - does it need to be shit?

Dear Peter,

I am interested in knowing the terms in Portuguese you used when talking to the Mozambican Planning Ministry. Every time I translate into Portuguese it sounds awkward to me. I have faced diverse reactions in Brazil. I normally use 'Diagrama do fluxo da merda' or 'Diagrama do fluxo de dejetos', but I am still not sure how to address this issue.

Kind regards,
Cecília.
Programme Officer at GIZ - Sustainable Sanitation Programme
and the SuSanA Secretariat

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Re: Shame in Sanitation (article in Indian newspaper: The Dirty Fight)

Kris you have a very good point here ! You are absolutely right !
Cécile Laborderie
MAKATI Environnement

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Shame in Sanitation (article in Indian newspaper: The Dirty Fight)

I too, like Kevin, consider the word "shit," offensive. Yes, I too would prefer the good old term excreta. Every now and then, I come across the terms poo and loo. Boy! who invented them?

F H Mughal
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Shame in Sanitation (article in Indian newspaper: The Dirty Fight)

Hmm just a quick thought (not sure where to take that), but in many places the language these things are communicated in are not the primary language of the people the message wants to target (like most of francophone or anglophone Africa).
Obviously translating it in yet another language (say Swahili or Hindi) has its own problems, but when talking in the secondary or tertiary language, easier words might make a lot of sense. Everyone knows "shit" or "merde" and can instantly relate. I have also often thought that people consider swear-words less offensive in their non-native language for whatever reason.
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  • kevintayler
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Re: Shame in Sanitation (article in Indian newspaper: The Dirty Fight)

Hi Cecile

I could not agree with you more about the use of the term 'shit'. Its slang and I too find it rather offensive. I would use the term excreta to include both faeces and urine and those terms where appropriate when talking about components of excreta.

I am writing this as an English speaker but am so pleased that someone has raised this subject.
Kevin Tayler
Independent water and sanitation consultant
Horsham
UK
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