Experiences from mobilisation of Sanitation Workers in African cities; The 2023 AfricaSan7 conference

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  • LeylaKhalifa
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Re: Experiences from mobilisation of Sanitation Workers in African cities; The 2023 AfricaSan7 conference

Thanks, Chaiwe for capturing this important session. It is indeed great to see progress in terms of recognition and efforts to formalise manual emptiers as discussed in the session convened by SNV, WaterAid and the world bank during the AfricaSan 7 conference.  

The journey with manual emptiers in Tanzania through the 
  WASH SDG programme  has been eye opening and has paved way for opportunities for improved and safer emptying. Formation of manual emptier groups has developed to the formation of a national level manual emptier platform with a constitution and working management system, supported by the ministry of health, a national Occupational Health and Safety guideline for sanitation workers has been developed to be disseminated to the whole country.

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  • Chaiwe
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Experiences from mobilisation of Sanitation Workers in African cities; The 2023 AfricaSan7 conference

Making the invisible visible and beyond, Experiences from mobilisation of Sanitation Workers in African cities

As we witness a growing representation of sanitation workers in international conferences, exemplified by initiatives like the Pit-Emptying Challenge (learn more here ), it becomes increasingly apparent that the sector should take proactive measures to further their inclusion in main conference events. At the 2023 AfricaSan7 conference in Swakopmund, I had the privilege of capturing this inspiring session featuring three pit-emptiers who provided first hand accounts of their work and engaged with the audience through insightful discussions.

Acknowledging that not all of us work at the grassroots level, these opportunities are pivotal in supporting the pit-emptying profession and addressing challenges within the sector. Here, I share the remarkable stories of the three sanitation workers who participated in the session, shedding light on their unique journeys into the field of pit-emptying.

Jonas Sakala, Zambian Pit-Emptier:
My journey began as an informal pit emptier, operating without proper protective gear during night time hours, using basic tools for latrine emptying. The transition to formalized Pit Emptying (PE) programs marked a transformative shift, providing access to legal employment with full personal protective equipment (PPE) and well-equipped vehicles for more efficient operations. I am now employed formally with Lukanga Water, benefiting from job security and enhanced safety measures.

Pit-Emptier from Lyberia, Freetown:
I managed to turn this work into a livelihood. Initially conducted discreetly, the introduction of formalized PE interventions led to the formation of an association, bringing structure to our work. This not only allowed me to make a living but also streamlined tasks such as digging and emptying latrines. The evolution of the job into a more mechanized process has significantly reduced the manual labour involved.

Pit Emptier from Bukinafaso, Wagadugu:
Originally a photographer, I noticed wastewater issues in the local stormwater drainage while residing in an informal settlement. This prompted me to transition into pit emptying. In my pursuit of formalized structures to establish a business, I discovered the Pit-Emptiers Association in my country, boasting a significant membership, including over 45 women emptiers. The legal framework established by the association paved the way for regulations on safe dumping, vaccinations, and PPE. Now, my company not only effectively supports emptying but also provides training for aspiring pit-emptiers, contributing to the professional development of individuals in the field.


Kind Regards,
Chaiwe
SuSanA Forum Moderator
Skat Foundation (With financial support by GIZ and SIRWASH up to November 2023)

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
Emails: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaiwe-mushauko-sanderse-21709129/
Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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