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Thursday, 30 May 2013

"Every Day Over A Thousand Children Die Due To Three Reasons"

Every Day Over A Thousand Children Die Due To Three Reasons: They are unsafe drinking water, bad sanitation and un hygienic practices . we can protect our child by providing safe drinking water in school and at home , adopt good sanitation practice in home ,school, and public places . Personnel and community hygiene helps in personnel as well as community development.  Globally, an estimated 2,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhea diseases and of these some 1,800 deaths are linked to water, sanitation and hygiene.
 Because of Un safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene many children are dying. Many of them became the victims of disease ,and affect mentally & physically. It also affect personnel development and community development.  
Almost 90 % of child deaths from diarrhea diseases are directly linked to Unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation and  hygiene facilities . Deaths have come down significantly over the last decade, from 1.2 million per year in 2000 to about 760,000 a year in 2011,UNICEF says.UNICEF child mortality data show that about half of under-five deaths occur in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan and China. Two countries –  India (24 per cent) and Nigeria (11 per cent) – together account for more than a third of all under-five deaths. These same countries also have significant populations without improved water and sanitation.
Of the 783 million people worldwide without improved drinking water, there are 119 million in China; 97 million in India; 66 million in Nigeria; 36 million in DRC; and 15 million in Pakistan.
Those without improved sanitation in these countries are: India 814 million; China 477 million; Nigeria 109 million; Pakistan 91 million; and DRC 50 million. Improvements in water and sanitation would greatly contribute to a reduction in child mortality in these counties.

By Gaurav Kashyap

Data Source :Unicef

Friday, 24 May 2013

"Collective efforts to achieve water secure world"

Unless greater efforts are made to reverse current trends, the world will run out of freshwater, the United Nations said today marking the International Day for Biological Diversity and urging stronger scientific alliances to understand and protect natural resources.
“We live in an increasingly water insecure world where demand often outstrips supply and where water quality often fails to meet minimum standards. Under current trends, future demands for water will not be met,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day.
“Although seemingly abundant, only a tiny amount of the water on our planet is easily available as freshwater,” he added.
Of the total volume of water on Earth, freshwater makes up around 35 million km3, or about 2.5 per cent of the total volume, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Water scarcity affects almost every continent and more than 40 per cent of the people on our planet, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said. With current trends, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water stressed conditions.
“Biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides are central to achieving the vision of a water secure world,” Mr. Ban said, noting the mutually supporting roles of forests, wetlands and soil biodiversity.
“Integrating nature-based solutions into urban planning can also help us build better water futures for cities, where water stresses may be especially acute given the rapid pace of urbanization,” he added.
This year’s theme for the Day is ‘Water and Biodiversity’, which coincides with the UN designation of 2013 as International Year of Water Cooperation. The Year is being coordinated by UNESCO on behalf of UN-Water.
“This is an opportunity for us to join efforts to enhance fair and innovative water management arrangements and to share best practices for the preservation of wetlands – streams, lakes, coasts and marine zones – that play a substantial role in ensuring biodiversity,” Irina Bokova, head of UNESCO, said in her message for the Day.
Ms. Bokova and Mr. Ban noted the importance of strong scientific alliances as part of a global effort to protect natural resources. They encouraged parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity who have not already done so to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Adopted in 2010, the Nagoya Protocol also sets a goal of cutting the current extinction rate by half or more by 2020.
Recognizing the importance of biodiversity, the UN General Assembly encouraged the use of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. Last year’s Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) also recognized the role of ecosystems in maintaining water quantity and quality.
He stressed that a focus on water and biodiversity is particularly important now as the international community strives to hasten progress towards the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline and to plan a new set of development targets.
“As the international community strives to accelerate its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and define a post-2015 agenda, including a set of goals for sustainable development, water and biodiversity are important streams in the discussion,” he noted.
In a press conference in New York, Braulio de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity said biodiversity needs to be seen as part of a ‘win-win’ solution for sustainable development.
“It’s very easy to say that yes, we should provide water for everyone, but how do we do that, so the traditional way of doing this is to work in silos,” Mr. Dias said, stressing the importance of thinking beyond traditional engineered solutions in a more integrated, collaborative way to effectively deliver on the MDGs.
He also noted that Governments sometimes make decisions based on “short-sighted information” without informing sufficiently communities about the impact of those decisions on local ecosystems.

Source:UN News Center 

"Protection against hazardous chemicals and waste"

Representatives from 170 countries have adopted a series of measures to strengthen protections against hazardous chemicals and waste during a United Nations conference in Geneva.
The conference, organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), brought together three UN conventions – the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm treaties – that together regulate chemicals and hazardous waste, and sought to promote synergies among them.
The three autonomous Conventions convened the joint meeting to strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the Parties to the treaties, with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of their activities on the ground. Each Convention then continued individually over the two-week period to deal with its own specific topics of the global chemicals and waste agenda before returning in a joint session at the end of the week to finalize their outcomes.
In a press conference, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said the meeting was “a unique historic event coming at a time of unprecedented change and progress in the arena of global environmental governance. The strengthening of UNEP and the synergies process of chemicals and waste multilateral environmental agreements are complementary parts of the ongoing reform to fortify the environmental dimension of sustainable development.”
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that countries need to find more sustainable ways to produce food while using chemical pesticides responsibly.
“Around 70 per cent of the chemicals addressed by the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions are pesticides, and many are used in agriculture,” he said. “It is in the best interest of all countries to ensure that the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions can work together, effectively and efficiently, to address various aspects of the chemical life-cycle.”
Mr. Steiner and Mr. Graziano da Silva, along with Global Environment Facility CEO Naoko Ishii also pledged to deepen cooperation and collaboration as part of a broader effort to raise the profile of chemicals and waste issues, promote green growth and alleviate poverty.
On Friday, the conference hailed the “Geneva Statement on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste” which welcomed the UNEP-led consultative process on financing options for chemicals and waste.
“The Parties have agreed to strengthen capacity building and technical assistance for countries by investing the savings realized over the past two years into an enhanced technical assistance programme that better meets the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition” said Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. “In an era of financial austerity, we have learned through synergies how to deliver more to parties while living within the economic limits faced by governments today.”
The Parties also adopted a framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and agreed, over the next two years, to develop technical guidelines on movements across borders of electronic and electrical wastes.
The Basel Convention regulates the export and import of hazardous waste and waste containing hazardous chemicals. It was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1992. It currently has 180 Parties.
The Rotterdam Convention regulates information about the export and import of 47 hazardous chemicals listed in the Convention’s Annex III, 33 of which are pesticides and 14 of which are industrial chemicals. It was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2004. It currently has 152 Parties.
Adopted in 2001, the Stockholm Convention regulates 23 toxic substances that are persistent, travel long distances, accumulate in organisms and are toxic. The treaty entered into force in 2004. It currently has 179 Parties.

Japan to host world conference on disaster risk reduction next year

Japan will host the world conference slated to be held next year at which countries will adopt the successor to the current global blueprint for disaster risk reduction efforts, it was announced today at a United Nation forum on the issue that wrapped up in Geneva.
The 10-year Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) came out of the world conference held in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, in 2005. It is the first plan to explain, describe and detail the work that is required from all different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses.
The HFA outlines five priorities for action, and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving disaster resilience. Its goal is to substantially reduce disaster losses by 2015 by building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.
Delegates at this week’s 4th Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction called for immediately starting work on developing targets and indicators to monitor the reduction of risk, ahead of next year’s conference, to be held in the Japanese city of Sendai.
Martin Dahinden, Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Chair of the Global Platform, said the three-day meeting confirmed that the process to develop a successor to the Hyogo Framework is well underway.
“There is consensus that the new instrument should build on the HFA and introduce the necessary innovations to address the challenges of increasing risk over the next 20 to 30 years,” he stated.
“We need to enable local action, address climate risk and recognize the central roles of both the scientific community and the private sector, which were both very present at this Global Platform.”
In addition to the scientific community and the private sector, the record 3,500 participants at the Global Platform also including representatives of government, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among others.
Organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Global Platform was established in 2007 as a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest development and knowledge and partnership-building across sectors, with the goal to improve implementation of disaster risk reduction through better communication and coordination amongst stakeholders.
Also today, UNISDR released the most detailed account yet of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. It finds that, since 2005, 121 countries have enacted legislation to establish policy and legal frameworks for disaster risk reduction.
In addition, 191 countries have established HFA focal points and 85 countries have set up national coordinating bodies for disaster risk reduction.
While noting that almost 90 per cent of countries report the integration of disaster risk reduction in some form within public investment and planning decisions, the report finds that a key challenge is finding the resources to ensure that frameworks and principles become operational.
“Since the HFA was introduced there has been a significant change in mindset. We are seeing lots more planning, legislation and new policies. There are 56 national disaster loss data bases and their numbers are growing all the time. Nearly every country in the world now has a HFA focal point,” said UNISDR Director Elizabeth Longworth.
“There is evidence that the HFA is making a difference, even if a lot more needs to be done to address the gap between policy and implementation and arrest the continuous rise in economic losses from disasters,” she added.
Among the events at this week’s forum was the launch of a new interactive tool for accessing disaster data. With the touch of a finger, users of “GAR for Tangible Earth” can access real-time weather data or check historical disaster patterns. It uses earth science data from the 2013 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, released earlier this month by UNISDR.
Tablet computer users can download the application for free from iTunes. Among other functions, they can request hourly weather updates or query the probability of seismic events for a given region. They can also make correlations between such phenomena as continental drift, El Niño, global warming and the growth of megacities.

Source: UN News Center 

Ahead of June climate change

In the face of “clear and present danger,” the United Nations climate change body is warning that a stepped-up coordinated response is needed to fend off the impacts of climate change after the world’s carbon-dioxide concentrations surpassed their highest level in 4 million years.
“The world must wake up and take note of what this means for human security, human welfare and economic development,” said the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres.
“In the face of clear and present danger, we need a policy response which truly rises to the challenge,” she continued urging a “greatly stepped-up response across all three central pillars of action: action by the international community, by government at all levels, and by business and finance.”
The statement follows the announcement that global concentrations of heat-trapped carbon dioxide in the atmosphere last week passed the 400 parts per million mark, which impacts efforts to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre- industrial levels.
The new measurement came from Mauna Loa, a volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has been monitoring the worldwide trend on carbon dioxide.
According to media reports, the last time was during an epoch called the Pliocene when the daily temperature was much warmer, the ice caps smaller and the sea level as much as 80 feet higher.
With this in mind, Governments will meet for two-weeks starting on 3 June in Bonn, Germany, for the next round of climate change talks under the umbrella of the UNFCCC.
A central focus of the talks will be negotiations to build a new global climate agreement and
to drive greater immediate climate action.
Source:UN News Center.

"Natural resource revenues could nearly double school access in developing nations"

Developing countries rich in natural resources can make huge gains towards universal schooling if they managed resource revenues better and devoted a significant share to education, according to a United Nations study released today.
The Education for All Global Monitoring Report study, produced by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), argues that by maximizing and transparently managing the revenues from their extractive industries, 17 focus countries could raise an extra $5 billion in funding for education every year – or about two and a half times the amount they received in aid to education in 2010.
“National commitment to education has to be supported by adequate resources. The 17 countries covered in this study face tremendous educational challenges that can be met only through additional financing to expand their systems,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
The study, entitled Turning the resource cures into a blessing for education, finds that revenue from natural resources could enable these countries to reach over 11 million out-of-school children. “This is an investment in future generations that should be seized now,” Ms. Bokova added.
The study illustrates how this can be done. In Uganda for example, the Government’s budget is set to double by 2016 due to recent oil discoveries, which could lead to a doubling of the education budget and send all primary and lower secondary school-aged children to school.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), less than 10 per cent of the revenue from minerals goes back to the country, as 90 per cent of gains go to extracting companies. Changing these percentages would allow the Government to keep more revenue and invest it in education, the report says.
“Many countries have mismanaged the income from their natural resources, have poorly negotiated with extractive companies, or have made misguided spending choices” said Pauline Rose, Director of the Global Monitoring Report.
“In some cases, the funds have been channelled into armed conflicts instead of towards education. If they managed their income revenue better and put 20 per cent of the revenue into education, 10 of the 17 countries we analyzed could reach universal primary education,” she said.
The paper, released just ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa being held in Cape Town, South Africa, for 8 to 10 May, makes a series of recommendations including maximizing revenues to improve social services, managing and monitoring the use of revenues from natural resources, and channelling at least 20 per cent of natural resource revenue into education.
The countries studied in the report are: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Laos, Malawi, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Source:UN News Center.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Vital contribution of forests to food security and nutrition

The crops, animals and trees found in forests can play a crucial role in improving food security and nutrition around the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is hosting a gathering on the issue in Rome next week.
Forests cover nearly a third of the globe and provide an invaluable variety of social, economic and environmental benefits. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are also the source of three-fourths of freshwater, help to regulate the impact of storms and floods and store carbon from the atmosphere. Also, more than three billion people depend on forests for wood for cooking and heating.
The International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, to be held at FAO headquarters from 13 to 15 May, will bring together policy-makers, scientists, the private sector, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and community and farmers' groups, as well as indigenous representatives to raise awareness and understanding about the many ways forests contribute to food security, especially in developing countries.
“If you talk to the general public about forests, they think about building houses and furniture and maybe recreation. But they don't primarily think about food,” said Eva Muller, Director of FAO's Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division.
“So one of the main reasons for organizing this conference is to draw attention to the contribution that forests can actually provide to food security and nutrition,” she stated in an interview with the UN News Centre ahead of the Rome meeting.
Ms. Muller pointed out that forests contribute to food security in a variety of ways. They are a source of 'forest foods', which include things such as fruits, leaves, seeds and mushrooms, as well as wild animals and insects.
“These usually are not the main staple of people's diets but they are a very important supplement to diets because they are very nutritious and add minerals and vitamins. Also, the insects and wild animals provide the main source of protein for many people who live in and around forests.”
Forests and trees also provide income and in many rural areas, they are the basis of small businesses, Ms. Muller noted. Very often, women collect products from the forests – mainly non-wood products – and sell them in the markets to generate crucial additional income which they use to provide food for their families, pay school fees and clothe their children.
“But forests also contribute in a more indirect ways to food security and nutrition. And that is through the environmental services they provide,” she stated. Forests help mitigate climate change by storing carbon, regulate water flows, and sometimes provide protection against the effects of storms. Forests are also home to bees which are pollinators for agricultural crops, she added.
The first day of the conference will feature the launch of the book Edible Insects: future prospects for feed and food security, which address the multi-faceted role that insects can play in nutrition and supporting livelihoods in both developing and developed countries.
Insects, Ms. Muller pointed out, are extremely nutritious. “They're rich in protein, they're rich in fat, and they're also rich in vitamins and minerals.” While edible insects may not be all the rage right now, FAO believes there is growing interest in them and that they can help address the food security needs of a growing global population.
“If we think about edible insects, there's a huge potential that has essentially not been tapped yet because currently, two billion people in the world eat insects but most of these are just collected and there's very little experience in insect farming, for example, which is something that could be explored in view of a growing population.”
The agency has been working on edible insects for a number of years and has established a database of edible insects that are reported to be used in various countries. It decided that the time was right to compile all of the information into one major publication.

Tetanus eliminated in over 30 countries at high risk

The United Nations and its partners today announced that tetanus – one of the most deadly diseases a mother and her newborn can face – has been eliminated in more than 30 countries with previously had high rates of the illness.
The broad based Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination Initiative, in which various United Nations agencies participate, said that since 1999, over 118 million women of child-bearing age have been vaccinated against tetanus in 52 countries.
Many of these women received their tetanus vaccine as part of a campaign which included other life- saving interventions for children – such as immunization against measles, Vitamin A supplements, de-worming tablets and information on umbilical cord care.
Tetanus kills one newborn baby every nine minutes and almost all of these babies are born in poor families living in the most disadvantaged areas and communities. The disease is transmitted when children are born in unhygienic conditions, and non-sterile materials are used to cut the umbilical cord, or are applied to the umbilical bump. At that point, the mother’s life is also in danger.
Tetanus is easily preventable with a vaccine administered to the mother. With at least three protective doses that cost about $2, the mother and her future newborns are protected for five years.
In a news release, the Initiative said that despite the progress half the 59 priority countries, some 28 other have still not reached the elimination goal. The main challenges to eliminate the disease are a lack of access to communities because of insecurity, cultural barriers, competing priorities, and inadequate funding.
The countries that have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus are: Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Iraq, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Turkey, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Gap Between Poor And Rich Countries

The health gap between poor and rich countries has narrowed significantly over the past two decades according to a United Nations report released today, which stresses that in spite of this progress, challenges still remain to achieve the health targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Intensive efforts to achieve the MDGs have clearly improved health for people all over the world,” said the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, but with less than 1000 days to go to reach the deadline for achieving the Goals, “it is timely to ask if these efforts have made a difference in reducing the unacceptable inequities between the richest and poorest countries.”
Agreed by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, the eight MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and the creation of a Global Partnership for Development – all by a deadline of 2015.
WHO’s World Health Statistics 2013 report, which compares progress made by countries with the best health status and those with least-favourable health status over the past two decades, shows that considerable progress has been made in the areas of reducing child and maternal deaths, improving nutrition, and reducing deaths and illness from HIV infections, tuberculosis and malaria.
The gap in child mortality fell, from 171 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 107 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011. Countries that had some of the world’s highest child mortality rates in 1990 – including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, Madagascar, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal and Timor-Leste – have improved child survival to such an extent that they no longer belong to that group.
However, despite 27 countries having already reached the MDG target, the current rates of progress will not be sufficient to reach the global target of a two-thirds reduction in 1990 levels of child mortality by 2015, the report says.
Global statistics on the number of women dying in childbirth also improved, but WHO earned that the global decline rate in maternal deaths – currently at 3 per cent – needs to double to meet the goal of reducing maternal deaths by three-quarters.
“Our statistics show that overall the gaps are closing between the most-advantaged and least-advantaged countries of the world,” said Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO. “However, the situation is far from satisfactory as progress is uneven and large gaps persist between and within countries.”
The report noted several key areas to focus on before the MDG deadline including reducing tuberculosis in the countries with the highest rates, addressing increasing rates of diabetes, and ensuring low and middle-income countries have access to affordable medicines.
The report contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from key diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health.

Key role of private sector to boost maternal health

Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the role that the private sector can play in contributing to improve maternal health services across the world through the United Nations Every Woman Every Child initiative.
“We want to connect the private sector’s greatest strengths with the public sector’s greatest challenges,” Mr. Ban said at the Every Woman Every Child Taking Action Summit in New York.
The Every Woman Every Child effort, launched in 2010, aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015 by mobilizing governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children around the world.
To date, Every Woman Every Child has brought together 260 partners and made ambitious commitments to advance its goal, and billions of dollars in new funding for women’s and children’s health have been mobilized and $10 billion has already been delivered.
“Philanthropy can play a particularly important role as a catalyst for under-resourced and often neglected areas of women’s and children’s health that can be quickly made available for larger public and private flows,” Mr. Ban said.
“Now is the moment for old and new partners to do more – because we are in a race against time,” he added, referring to the approaching 2015 deadline to achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Sunday, 12 May 2013

When ‘Right to Sanitation’ becomes ‘Right to Life’

By Suman Bhanoo, PRIA
We all are aware of the recent rape in Delhi where a young girl of a basti was subjected to major atrocities in the unguarded public toilet near her basti. This is by no means a stand-alone case and most of the urban poor – especially women and girls have to deal with various issues (health, security and safety, loss of dignity to name few) either due to lack of facilities or ill-equipped services in their slums bastis.
According to United Nations Human Rights, it is estimated that 2.6 billion people live without proper sanitation. Over 1.1 billion people have no sanitation facilities. On the other hand, WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) estimates that 80 percent of the world’s urban population has access to adequate sanitation, compared to only 39 percent of the rural population. However it is a known fact that the health impact of lack of access to sanitation is far worse in urban areas than in rural areas, due to higher density of population.
 Slums of Bihar, where PRIA is initiating activities for Strengthening Civil Society Voices on Urban Poverty, are no exception to the above situation. Besides the usual problems of slums like potable water, sewerage facility, land rights, street light, BPL card and voter card, Ketari slum of Patna is facing huge problem related to sanitation facilities.  According to the slum dwellers, many people prefer plastic bags, sewerage lines, road sides, railway tracks, nearby forest areas, behind bushes, field, streets or other places for defecation that do not provide adequate privacy, safety, dignity and hygiene.  And above all these places are not secure for girls and women. Lack of toilets affects women and girls in particular; it makes them vulnerable to rape and other forms of gender-based violence. Women and girls face threats of sexual assault when they have to walk long distances to sanitation facilities, especially at night.
Absence of household toilets not only generate element of myriad fears but also pollutes environment and water sources. It is known that world over, millions of children are left malnourished, physically stunted and mentally disabled by excreta-related diseases. To combat   with these issues, residents of slums have formed temporary toilets near to their respective households. Now, after prolonged struggle and wait, in coming month, the slum residents going to get “six public toilets” in their slums. But main agenda is maintenance of “public toilets”. As the adjoining slum “Adalatganj Slum” is facing same issues related to maintenance. In adjacent slum toilet is in worse condition and to avail its services each time residents have to pay 3Rs/. It is a huge amount for whole family. So either they are forced to use ill maintained toilets or they have to defecate in open. Ms. Arzoo Devi from Adalatganj stated every day brings the same problem. For middle class society concept of defecation doesn’t deserve any consideration but for us this simple act of defecation takes thoughtful planning. Being a woman it is matter of dignity, health and safety.
                In June 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the “Sustainable Sanitation: Five-Year Drive to 2015” a push to speed up progress on the Millennium Development Goals of improving global sanitation by 2015 and to ensure sanitation for all. Let see how far it goes….

Friday, 3 May 2013

Spearheading Hand Wash & Menstrual Hygiene Practices in India

HEEALS, a non-profit organization has collaborated with various schools to spread awareness about the importance of hand wash and menstrual hygiene among children of variable ages. It’s often seen that a simple practice like washing hands is not given enough importance by children as well as adults. But, it is a medically proven fact that proper hand washing is one of the best ways to  avoid getting sick. Similarly, menstrual hygiene is also an  ignored practice among adolescent girls because of the taboo attached to it.

                                                                             Sanitary Pad Distribution in Schools

HEEALS spearheaded their campaign “Hand Wash and Menstrual Hygiene” using various innovative and interesting activities to explain the importance of hygiene practices. Till now, they have targeted six schools and 1050 students in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh and Gurgaon, Haryana, India between the age group 10-14 years studying in classes 5th – 9th.

For explaining the importance of hand wash and menstrual hygiene, the Heeals has designed four games for the children. These games are called as the “wash games”. They organized workshops in the schools where all the targeted children took part in these games. They also saw cartoon films to understand why they need to keep their hand clean. The multimedia techniques and interactive games were specially designed to help children easily memorise the information.

To break the taboo related to menstrual hygiene, the Heeals members counselled around 210 girl students. They spoke to these girls and resolved their queries and apprehensions related to menstruation making them aware about the importance of menstrual hygiene. HEEALS also distributed sanitary napkins amongst the girl students.
HEEALS Managing Director Gaurav Kashyap Present at the venue emphasised that “Awareness and more awareness is the only Key to make people realize regarding the Menstrual Hygiene . A menstrual taboo is a social taboo by ending this we can make a gender equal society”.