Root causes lack of sanitation

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  • NellekeP
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Root causes lack of sanitation

Hi,

My name is Nelleke and I work for Landcent, a company fighting poverty-related diseases.
Currently, we focus on malaria, but we are also interested in the "sanitation crisis" and especially the lack of toilets, as many poverty-related diseases are caused by a lack of safe and clean sanitation.

During the past months I did some research on the lack of toilets in parts of the world. There was enough research available about the problems that the lack of safe sanitation causes. However, as I would like to better understand the context I could not find any information about the root causes of the lack of sanitation.

So, my main question is, why is this problem still not solved? There are so many innovations and solutions to provide everyone with a clean and safe toilet. There are many organisations working on it, but still 3.6 bilion people lacked safely managed services in 2020 (JMP 2000-2020 report).

I would assume it would have something to do with either too little funding available, lack of innovation or a behavioural issue. However, I am absolutetely not an expert and just guessing.

Would anyone be able to provide me with some resources about the root causes of the lack of safe and clean toilets, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Warm regards,

Nelleke
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  • PDIKIGOMA
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Re: Root causes lack of sanitation

Hello we are ready to cooperate with you....especially in providing resources on sanitation issues in Tanzania.

Just get in touch.

PDI Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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  • reidharvey7734
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  • I am a ceramic industrial designer focused on environmental health and development. Ceramics is ideally suited to addressing the urgent needs of low-income communities and countries. Those embracing ceramic developments will industrialize, gaining resilience and self-sufficiency.
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Re: Root causes lack of sanitation

Hi Nelleke, thanks for the question, asking the reason for the sanitation crisis. The short answer lies in the education crisis. There has been a serious lack of formal education, especially good quality, formal education. This has a lot to do with a rather boring subject: the responsibility, never shown, by so many of the colonizers. Some were better than others of course, but take the case, for example, of Congo DR. When Congo gained independence around the 1960s, there were only 20 college graduates.

As we all know, their primary idea of the colonizers was to exploit the resources, not so much to uplift the local population. Formal education is essential of course, but there's been little or no attempt to get the local population a knowledge of the use of their abundant resources. Over my twenty years in Africa, everywhere I have gone there are people who ask in agony, "why do we not develop? We have the resources and yet we do not develop!" Get sub-Saharan Africa quality education and the kinds of training that make use of the resources and the sanitation crisis will disappear. This will take time of course, but by all that is good and true, development will; happen.
All the best, Reid
Anthony Reid Harvey, ceramic industrial designer
Africa Prosperity Inc.
Niagara Falls, NY USA
Here is a video presentation that gives an overview of ceramic WASH and development interventions:
Harvey, Anthony Reid (2021): Sanitary stoneware toilets: production closer to the need. Loughborough University. Conference contribution. hdl.handle.net/2134/16941193.v1
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  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
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Re: Root causes lack of sanitation

Dear Member Mr Reid Harvey and others.

Water and Sanitation habits playing part in day to day hygiene and health aspects need to be made aware in all homes, when a child starts to walk and comprehends daily routines Etc.
The child picks up more practices as she) he advances in age like using WASH devices not at home, but at common places viz schools, play grounds, market places Etc.
All these need to be practiced at school level and even cleaning and maintenance practices also learnt.
In certain rural villages, women and girl child not having Toilet facilities in common regime, are permitted to use the facilities at school premises. 
They learn from elders to operate and maintain also.
In certain schools awareness on waste segregation is also practiced, in a practical way.
Schools have veggies and flower garden and have also composting pits for bio waste Etc
Children are encouraged to bring segregated bio waste in paper bags for filling school compost pits from homes.
In this way, they learn botanical subject and wash aspects Etc.
Certain schools have compost done on vermi route.
In this they rear nurture worms, when worms are in abundance, the communities associated with fishing for their lively hood. Use these worms as bait for fish catch Etc.
Issued in the social and environmental interests. 

Well wishes and best regards 
Prof Ajit Seshadri 
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Root causes lack of sanitation

Hi Nelleke,
I've asked your question to Chat GPT - an amazing new tool using artificial intelligence (if you don't know it yet, see here on Wikipedia for some info about it). So I asked Chat GPT your question:
"what are the root causes of the lack of safe and clean toilets, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa?"

Here is the answer which I think makes perfect sense:

There are several root causes of the lack of safe and clean toilets in Sub-Saharan Africa, including:

  1. Poverty: Many people in Sub-Saharan Africa live in poverty and cannot afford to build or maintain toilets.
  2. Lack of infrastructure: In many rural areas, there is a lack of basic infrastructure such as sewage systems, which makes it difficult to build and maintain toilets.
  3. Limited access to clean water: Without access to clean water, it is difficult to maintain basic hygiene and sanitation, which can lead to a lack of safe and clean toilets.
  4. Cultural beliefs: In some areas, cultural beliefs and practices may discourage the use of toilets and lead to open defecation.
  5. Natural disasters: Natural disasters such as floods and droughts can damage or destroy toilets and make it difficult to maintain them.
  6. Political instability: Political instability can make it difficult to implement and maintain sanitation programs, which can lead to a lack of safe and clean toilets.
  7. Low priority: Improving sanitation may not be a priority for governments and communities facing more pressing issues such as food security or healthcare.

I also asked it: "what are the best publications to read about this topic?"

Here are its answers (I haven't checked through them; at times Chat GPT is known to make up references that don't exist):

There are several publications that cover the topic of lack of safe and clean toilets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some examples include:

  1. "Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Progress and Challenges" published in the Journal of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Development.
  2. "Sanitation and hygiene in sub-Saharan Africa: progress, challenges and opportunities" published in Tropical Medicine & International Health.
  3. "The State of the World's Toilets" report published by the World Toilet Organization
  4. "Sanitation in Africa: A Review of Current Status, Challenges and Opportunities" by the African Development Bank.
  5. "Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review of Progress and Challenges" by the World Health Organization.
  6. "Sanitation and hygiene in sub-Saharan Africa: progress, challenges and opportunities" by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  7. "Sanitation for the poor" by WaterAid
These publications provide detailed information on the current state of sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa, the challenges faced, and opportunities for improvement. They also provide recommendations for addressing the lack of safe and clean toilets in the region.

I think we'll hear a lot more about Chat GPT in future. This question of yours might be a good example of the type of "basic questions" that Chat GPT can answer in future for us quite well, taking away the need for humans to answer. The humans can then elaborate further on specific aspects.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
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Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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  • AjitSeshadri
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  • Marine Chief Engineer by profession (1971- present) and at present Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, Chennai, India. Also proficient in giving Environmental solutions , Designation- Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Head- Environment, The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, NGO, New Delhi, INDIA , Consultant located at present at Chennai, India
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Re: Root causes lack of sanitation

Dear Nelieke and Elizabeth.. SuSanA Members:
Lack of Toilet facilities and in lieu leading to OD, happens more also in our country India and many developing regions
7 causes explained for lack of Toilet facilities is right, and would take a great reform change in each region to give the facilities. 
In India we wanted communities to be ODF so that Rain water falling on ground is not dirtied, it has not happened in many regions.
Lack of Toilets has led men, women and others to fall back on time- tested but primitive practice of OD, done.
The only alternative is to go for OD in controlled mode.
My article refers in this Forum wherein, had discussed on this COD Mode of sanitation facilities. 
It is same practice done by communities,  in open but Two sets of 3 categories are done.
Say 6 Nos open barren areas are allocated for this OD purpose,  ie 3 Nos in use for one month and next month itt is alternated.
While one in use, other is maintained ie sludges are taken to pit composting there itself.
In this way the spaces are maintained and FS is taken up as compost - manure for action farm use.
Certain areas, for more security for women, girls schools toilets are used 24x7 with Admin approved.. 
To be continued 
Well wishes 
Prof Ajit Seshadri 
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
Head-Environment , VigyanVijay Foundation, Consultant (Water shed Mngmnt, WWT, WASH, others)Located at present at Chennai, India
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