Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm probably going to be out most of next week in Mandie taking measurements of all our completed dams from our sister project in the Guro District. This blog is long and might be kinda boring, which is unfortunate because I enjoyed writing it. Oh well. At least, I should be back with some pictures from Mandie soon.

Millennium Development Goal 7, Target 7c, strives to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation.” This goal is measured by the use of the following indicators:

• Proportion of population using an improved drinking-water source
• Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility

Simple enough, but I think both indicators require a bit more definition to make them really understandable. The words “improved” and “using” are probably the most important words for here. Luckily for us, really smart people have spent a lot of time defining them.

An “improved” drinking water is defined as one that, by nature of its construction or through active intervention, is protected from outside contamination, in particular from contamination with fecal matter (UN). The following as improved water sources:

• Piped water into dwelling
• Piped water to yard
• Public tap or standpipe
• Tubewell or borehole
• Protected dug well
• Protected spring
• Rainwater

Unimproved water sources include:

• Unprotected spring
• Unprotected dug well
• Cart with small tank/drum
• Tanker-truck
• Surface water
• Bottled water

An improved sanitation facility is defined as one that hygienically removes human excreta from human contact (UN). The following are considered improved sanitation facilities:

• Pour or flush toilets connected to public sewer or septic system
• Pour-flush latrine connected to public sewer or septic system
• Pit latrine
• Ventilated improved pit latrine
• Composting toilet

Unimproved sanitation facilities include:

• Public latrine
• Latrine shared by more than one family
• Pit latrine without slab
• Bucket
• Hanging toilet or hanging latrine
• No facilities or bush or field
• Latrines that directly discharge to water bodies

Notice that the word “accessisn’t used in the original indicators, which is surprising because it was commonly used for water and sanitation discussion in the past. The word “access” is typically broken down into two categories: reasonable access and sustainable access. Reasonable access is defined as the availability of at least 20 liters per person per day from a source within one kilometer of the user’s dwelling. Sustainable access has two components with respect to water: one stands for environmental sustainability, the other for functional sustainability.

Use" obviously implies "access," but it also means more than just access. A facility in “use” is one that is the used primarily at home in everyday life. So using a bathroom at an airport, though shared, does not mean you don’t “use” improved sanitation at home.

WHO, UNICEF. (2010). "WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation." < > (Apr. 29, 2011).

UN. (2010). "Goal 7 Ensure Environmental Sustainability." < > (Apr. 29, 2011).

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