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I will add one more example from one of the Indian province Bihar where BBC Correspondent Mike Thomson traveled in November 2010 to rural areas to meet the so-called manual scavengers whose work – removing human waste from dry latrines – has been outlawed by the government due to prejudice and abuse, but still exists in practice. Link to Dirty, horrible job’ of manual scavengers. You can see the interview at http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/
Let me support my argument with Indian Daily NEWS about the grim situation of water in Schools from National Capital NEW Delhi. You can imagine situation in other part of country:
The Education Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has urged the Delhi government to renew its efforts for providing clean drinking water to MCD schools, 35 of which have no water supply at present. Mahendra Nagpal, chairman of the Education Committee, has written a letter to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in this regard.
The MCD has 1,746 primary schools and 1,361 of them have been fitted with water purifiers. For the rest of the schools, Nagpal asked the education directors to instruct children to bring water from home as the water in the schools, provided by Delhi Jal Board (DJB) tankers, might be unsafe. A recent study by the Health department of the MCD had shown that 18 per cent of water supplied by the DJB is contaminated.
“Fifty water purifiers in (various) schools are not working at present. Students of such schools should bring water from home till the time the purifiers are fixed,” Nagpal told Newsline.
Agree with Dick on his rationale. We failed. Given that even evolution history had some good news, and it improved various processes and human being progressed in many sense. So, is the case with sanitation, and in comparison to the laudable efforts in WASH, we are not even fair. In my personal opinion, we need to review our strategies and funding mechanism, and focus upon close and consistent monitoring of funded programs. Developing infrastructure and doing research or pilot projects is not enough. We have to rely upon the sustainability of efforts and look the cases of failure at large. Writing good reports with escalated figures, is the trend now! We need to face field realities and work upon with integrity.
I would argue that, we failed due to following issues:
1. Un-coordinated efforts in covering schools for water and sanitation at all levels.
2. Project approach that failed in sustaining the efforts and no followup by the donor/implementing agency.
3. Incorrect reporting of data on the coverage of water and sanitation situation in school. Please read the article - http://vajpai.org/2011/03/30/
4. Top-down approach by agencies in developing countries.
5. Failing to communicate safe water, sanitation and hygiene related messages up to the children in schools. Poor communication means / tools adopted by agencies promoting WASH in schools.
5. Poor monitoring mechanism, which is unreliable and no liability fixed on wrong reporting by government as well.
The failure mainly is due to poor partnership efforts within international agencies. I would hardly see any positive and productive partnership among such international agencies. There are repeated efforts and they are mostly futile, even after pumping huge finances. Would you be able to let us know such partnership, that has made difference in any part of India in school sanitation?
What ever figures have been mentioned from developing countries are doubtful in general. Please read the article on JMP process ( http://vajpai.org/2011/03/30/
"The determination of the overall sample size is also governed by the magnitude of the key indicators, the desired level of precision of the estimates, etc.. So, it is more about producing population and health indicators at both the national and state levels. It has been found one of the major limitations of NFHS or DHS data, which, at present is being used under JMP to show progress of a country on MDG target 7c, so a limitation of JMP data itself."
Another issue is related to institutional functioning in generating / gathering data on sanitation from rural areas. You may like to read article- http://vajpai.org/2011/03/11/
What ever data we are providing in general are either incorrect or manipulated in majority of cases. When we don't have basic facilities like water supply for drinking purposes in schools, we can't even imagine that children are practicing better hygiene. The situation is like, schools have toilets, but they are filth ridden, they have no water, or the taps are dry, or the toilets are locked. The teachers are not oriented towards sanitation and hygiene situation and safe water related issues. The teachers themselves are not able to communicate messages to students. Another issue is related to maintenance of built facilities / infrastructure in schools, once the toilet or wash room or urinal is broken, there are hardly efforts to correct the problem and then the school management / teachers are constrained with funds.
I won't buy the statement given by Murat at all about such highlighted figures.
Given the focus on the provisions for water and sanitation at least in India we failed. This is not only true in government run schools, but also in booming private schools in small, medium and major towns in India. This I could say from my experiences, that even the international schools in Delhi don't have provision of soap for the children before eating food in their wash basins. So, you can imagine the situation in government run schools. If a school has toilet, then it has water problem and so on. There are hardly efforts in separate toilets for boys and girls in primary schools in rural areas. We can't imagine the use of soap before their meal in schools and after defection. The coordination between institutions responsible for water and sanitation and education department is a major concern. Further, the awareness level among teachers in these schools is a concern. We will hardly find that the schools have adequate provisions of WASH in real sense.