This paper provides insights from initiatives to include transgender people in sanitation programming in South Asia. Three case studies of recent actions to make sanitation inclusive for transgender people (in India and Nepal) are presented, accompanied by reflections and recommendations to guide future practice. Practitioners are recommended to: engage with transgender people as partners at all stages of an initiative; recognize that the language of gender identity is not fixed, varying across cultures and between generations; and acknowledge that transgender people are not a single homogeneous group but rather have diverse identities, histories, and priorities. The case studies aim to raise awareness of the diversity of transgender identities, exploring the needs and aspirations of transgender women, transgender men, and third gender people in South Asia.
Faecal sludge management (FSM) is a rising priority in the WASH sector, and governments and development agencies are increasing their investments in faecal sludge treatment plants (FSTPs). In Bangladesh there are plans to build 100 FSTPs in secondary municipalities. However, lessons from past experiences are not widely understood or considered. This article aims to fill that gap, shedding light on the drivers of success and challenges in the provision of municipal FSM services, analysing the cases of older FSTPs in four secondary towns in Bangladesh. Only one of these plants was fully operational, one was not operating, and two were partially operational. A challenge identified was that the faecal sludge treatment plants were not part of an integral and well-thought-out plan considering the whole sanitation service chain. Unbalanced partnerships between stakeholders was a crucial barrier to the long-term success of FSTPs, as it hindered the empowerment of the municipal governments to take ownership of FSM service provision. The financing and technical capacities of the municipalities were another barrier, which was covered by NGOs in the most successful plant. The study suggests that future investment in FSM services in secondary towns in Bangladesh and similar contexts should 1) put municipalities in the driving seat, 2) ensure adequate financing, 3) consider the whole sanitation service chain, and 4) strengthen the capacities of the local actors to deliver FSM services.
Integrating sanitation and climate change adaptation: lessons learned from case studies of WaterAid’s work in four countries
The links between climate change and sanitation are frequently overlooked in the WASH sector. This paper examines experiences of WaterAid in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, and Madagascar where there was some consideration of the impacts of climate change on sanitation. Climate resilience was often not considered explicitly, however, with work instead framed around weather-related threats that are now increasingly frequent and severe. In these case studies, sanitation and climate integration involved adapting on-site sanitation hardware to physical impacts on infrastructure, while some social aspects of climate resilience were also considered. Integration took place primarily at the project level, while climate change consideration seemed absent from wider planning and decision-making. Aside from these case studies, most of WaterAid’s sanitation work does not seem to incorporate climate change. It is recommended that climate resilience is integrated into each stage of sanitation programming, with a more systematic consideration of its potential impacts.