Who says that women can’t be faecal sludge emptiers? A story out of Zambia.

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  • Chaiwe
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  • Independent consultant (strategic planning, project management and M&E in WASH, climate action and, gender and HIV) and Part-time Solid Waste Management Lecturer at the University of Zambia.
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Who says that women can’t be faecal sludge emptiers? A story out of Zambia.

It is not every day that one meets a female pit-emptier in  Zambia. This is true for most countries in Sub-saharan Africa. While the sanitation sector is trying to deal with the issue of acceptance and formalisation of the sanitation worker profession across the globe, the issue of women, who wish to join the workforce or are part of it has not fully been explored yet. That is why I couldn't resist sharing this story coming out of Zambia, written by SNV.

The story celebrates a young woman sanitation entrepreneur and mother ( Mukuka Mutale ) who is working as a pit-emptier. Mukuka strongly believes that there is a future for women in the faecal sludge management (FSM) business. Read the full story here: snv.org/update/who-says-women-cant-be-faecal-sludge-emptiers

EXTRACT FROM ARTICLE:

‘It is an achievement to be the “first lady” of FSM in the Northern part of Zambia, especially because it is a male-dominated business. In some quarters women sanitation emptiers continue to be stigmatised.'

With a twinkle in her eye she said, ‘Looking clean and good will not feed me. Shit business is good business.’



It would be great to hear of similar stories from other parts of the region and other parts of the world. 

Chaiwe
Co-moderator SuSanA forum
(Under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

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

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  • paresh
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  • Budding WASH researcher, especially interested in governance, public policy, finance, politics and social justice. Architect, Urban & Regional planner by training, Ex. C-WAS, India. I am a patient person :)
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Re: Who says that women can’t be faecal sludge emptiers? A story out of Zambia.

Thanks Chaiwe for sharing this inspiring story.

Reminds me of this recent Social Media campaign by TNUSSP on the occasion of the International Women's Day. TNUSSP brought out stories of 7 women working in sanitation sector. The series captured a variety of role played by women in service provision, operations management,  senior management, awareness generation. Though none of them are involved in emptying pits, they are pathbreakers and trendsetters in their own way. 

Regards
paresh
Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
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  • Chaiwe
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  • Independent consultant (strategic planning, project management and M&E in WASH, climate action and, gender and HIV) and Part-time Solid Waste Management Lecturer at the University of Zambia.
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Re: Who says that women can’t be faecal sludge emptiers? A story out of Zambia.

Hi Paresh,

You bringing up the social media campaign raised a question about what deliberate efforts are out there to support Women in this trade. So I quickly sent SNV in Zambia an email to see how they support Women like Mukuka. This is the response I received from  Mwangala, SNV's Advisor based in Kasama town, Zambia.  

Dear Chaiwe

SNV has introduced Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) which is being mainstreamed into the five components of the projects. In each town ( Kasama, Kabwe, Nakonde, Mpulungu and Mbala) there is a GESI  task force that is part of the District Water Sanitation and Health Education (DWASHE) Committee. So, yes GESI interventions are addressing the gender issues in WASH and activities are being implemented to raise the importance of having an Inclusive WASH program and to influence Change in wider WASH policy and practice.

Chaiwe
Co-moderator SuSanA forum
(Under consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

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

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