Talking about women and sanitation

Vulnerability to violence can have a significant impact on people’s access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene. In both urban and rural contexts, girls and women frequently face harassment when they have to go to the toilet in the open. They may delay drinking and eating in order to wait until nightfall to relieve themselves because of feelings of shame and risks to their dignity if they are seen defecating in the daylight. Given taboos around defecation and menstruation, and the frequent lack of privacy at WASH facilities in internally displaced or refugee camps, women and girls may decide to use the toilet or bathing units under cover of darkness.

Live & Learn partners with International Women’s Development Agency to mainstream gender and social inclusion throughout the activities of the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Program. As part of monitoring the mainstreaming activities we have been collecting video interviews with men and women involved in the community-based sanitation enterprises so far established by the program. Below is a short video that shares the story of two women in the sanitation enterprises, one from SAMAPETA Saniation Enterprise in Vanuatu and the other from Kulangit Sanitation Enterprise in Kavieng, PNG.

In the past few weeks L&L offices in the program have been facilitating gender and WASH discussions with the different community sanitation enterprises. In Solomon Islands Namoliki Community Sanitation Enterprise participated in exercises to learn practical skills of good leadership, good governance, decision-making and conflict resolution. They also documented a Laddar of WASH for Namoliki Community. Also in Solomon Island, Henderson Community Sanitation Enterprise worked through exercises in power, causes of violence and how to advocate for better relationships in their community.

In Kavieng, PNG, the members of Kulangit Community Sanitation Enterprise also went through “Good Decisions – Good Leadership” training to improve their internal operations and to have clearer understanding of the different roles and responsibilities in operating the community enterprises successfully.

The Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing & Innovation Program is working with communities in PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji with funding from the Australian government through the Civil Society WASH Fund.


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