Key documents for the sub-category on sanitation workers


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Key documents for the sub-category on sanitation workers

This is the new thread for the key documents of the sub-category on sanitation workers. This post contains key documents recommended for people who are new to this thematic area.

Recommended top three documents in reverse chronological order:

Sperandeo, L., Srinivasan, S. (2020). The Heroes behind Sanitation - An insight into faecal sludge management workers in Zambia. BORDA, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bonn, Germany

This photo story captures the working process of a small group of pit emptiers and service providers from public utilities in Zambia, highlighting their lives, ordeals, opinions and dreams, the people they serve, and the unserved.

World Bank, ILO, WaterAid, and WHO (2019). Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers: An Initial Assessment. World Bank, Washington, DC.

Sanitation workers provide an invaluable service that many of us notice only when confronted with locked, blocked, or filthy toilets; overflowing septic tanks; or beaches contaminated with sewage. These workers are vital to the proper functioning of the sanitation systems that underpin daily life, and many more ae needed to achieve the ambitious agenda of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. This report, the most extensive global exploration of the topic to date, analyzes the problems, explores good practices, and sets out actions to improve the health, safety and dignity of sanitation workers.

Dalberg Advisors (2017). Sanitation worker safety and livelihoods in India: A blueprint for action. Dalberg Advisors, New Delhi, India

The Sanitation Workers Project is a structured, first-of-its-kind 5-month long study of sanitation workers across India carried out by Dalberg Advisors in 2017, with the support of The Gates Foundation. The state of sanitation workers remains a blind spot, as workers face significant challenges on multiple fronts – financial, health and social. To develop a blueprint with solutions for this murky problem, we interacted with all the stakeholders – workers across the sanitation value chain, government officials, contractors, NGOs and experts.

You can find further important documents and website links dealing with this topic here: Please provide your feedback. What do you think of this selection? We can update it from time to time.


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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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