Sanitation: Isn’t it time to break down the silo?
Shyama Ramani et al., UNU-MERIT et al.
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SITE4Society is founded on the belief that to solve societal challenges (including the COVID-19 pandemic), the mere existence or creation of science, innovation and technology is not enough. They must be combined with real engagement by multiple stakeholders such as policymakers, public agencies, firms and citizens to address them.
With respect to sanitation, while the world as a whole is on track for meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) with respect to water, there is a clear delay in terms of reaching the sanitation target. Since 2015, around 500 million low-cost toilets have been diffused, but still about 2 billion people have to respond to the call of nature out in the open -- every day -- because they lack access to a functioning toilet. Furthermore, because of ill-constructed low-cost latrines, some scholars note an increase in water contamination and incidence of diarrhoeal diseases.
How can we change this situation? For Friend In Need India (FIN) an NGO that functions as a teaching, training and action research laboratory, it is imminently clear that the solution does not lie in simply mobilising finances to build another 2 billion toilets. First, we must get out of the silo mode and recognise the complementarity between water, sanitation, waste management and then gain engagement – from all economic players including citizens. Second, with climate change and dwindling water resources, it is imperative to transition towards circular models with respect to sanitation, water, waste management and citizen’s behaviour.
To illustrate the above arguments, on World Toilet Day, we are thrilled to present our change makers: a sanitopreneur, a wastepreneur and an engaged policymaker. So register for our event and join the #Igiveashit community at: https://forms.gle/xcLYXmZRLdYNELzU7. Full brochures and reminders will be sent to registered participants. For queries, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: 19 November 2020