The ‘Accelerated Sanitation and Hygiene Practices Programme’ supports national and post-2015 goals to eliminate open defecation, increase access to improved sanitation and promote safe hygiene practices in Malawi. The programme works in six districts through local and international NGOs.
During the year, four Traditional Authorities (Amidu, Chapinduka, Kaduya and Mwadzama), comprised of 269 communities in four GSF-supported districts, were certified as ODF by the National ODF Task Force. The programme also facilitated follow-up activities in triggered villages, carried out sanitation and hygiene promotion campaigns and helped disadvantaged groups such as the disabled and chronically ill, widows and child-headed families, gain access to improved sanitation and handwashing facilities. By the end of 2015, the programme reported close to 713,000 people in over 2,000 communities to be living in ODF environments, an increase of more than 129,000 people since December 2014.
In early 2015, southern Malawi experienced heavy rains and floods and was in a state of emergency. Three GSF-supported districts were severely affected, with many latrines demolished across ODF and non-ODF areas. Programme implementation was further hindered by damage to most access roads and follow-up activities were put on hold, while organizations collaborated on relief efforts. Massive campaigns were carried out to ensure households made use of available sanitation and hygiene facilities. Even as they were being resettled, many communities were able to rebuild toilets immediately after the floods. This highlighted the potential of sustainable behaviour change approaches to enable the quick re-establishment of sanitation and health benefits in post-disaster situations. In addition, local leaders, such as those in Chikwawa District, played a key role in sustaining behaviour change by serving as role models and showcasing viable technologies.
Learning and innovation
A range of local approaches have been used to reinforce behaviour change. For example, a local Sub-grantee introduced a system that provides red cards to households that are practicing open defecation and do not have latrines. Traditional leaders are notified about these households, so that follow up measures can be taken. Extension workers, Sub-grantee staff and natural leaders are tasked with inspecting each household to verify if they are using latrines. Programme stakeholders participated in AfricaSan 4 in Senegal. To follow up on the event, the programme organized workshops to encourage all six supported districts to boost their commitments and plans to end open defecation. The workshops concluded with traditional leaders, District Coordinating Teams and other stakeholders agreeing on target dates and plans for their districts to become ODF.
During the 2016-2017 extension period, the programme will focus its efforts on helping exemplary Traditional Authorities move up the sanitation ladder, certifying three entire districts as ODF and facilitating institutional strengthening. Communities within Traditional Authorities will continue to be central to the implementation of programme activities.
When WASH practitioners understand the patterns and causes of slippage, they can devise innovative strategies to avoid it.
Global Sanitation Fund programmes are designed to incorporate gender considerations and equity dimensions.
Monitoring slippage should go beyond the numbers to truly understand behaviour change and community dynamics.