As part of our ongoing work and thinking around our values and principles, in 2022 we decided to try a new approach to partnership by creating in-country focal point positions for Nigeria and India.
The idea behind this was to:
- Develop understanding of the priority sanitation and hygiene issues, concerns and challenges faced within Nigeria and India
- Strengthen regional and international networks and platforms for sharing and learning
- Support the Sanitation Learning Hub (SLH) with strategic decision-making, and
- Co-develop country-specific activities to make sure our work is timely, actionable and relevant.
This has already been a fantastic experience for the SLH team with our new in-country focal points providing invaluable advice and guidance, and the ability to network on behalf of the programme.
Nanpet Chuktu: In-country focal point for Nigeria
Previously working with United Purpose Nigeria, Nanpet’s team, using demand-led initiatives and innovations in sanitation, achieved Nigeria’s first Open Defecation Free (ODF) Local Government Authority in 2016. They have since produced six more ODF local government areas, demonstrating how sanitation models can be taken to scale to reach whole geographic regions.
In 2022, Nanpet has worked alongside key partners in the Nigerian WASH sector: UNICEF, WaterAid Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Water Resources. They held Nigeria’s first Rapid Action Learning workshop and are exploring future potential for horizontal learning and sharing across the country, with a goal to accelerate progress towards improved and sustainable sanitation for Nigeria.
In 2023, Nanpet hopes to build on the gains of 2022 and to strengthen a number of learning research and learning opportunities in Nigeria with a proposed study on sustainability and slippage, as well as monthly webinars with the network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in WASH (NEWSAN).
VR Raman: In-country focal point for India
VR Raman has over three decades of work on equity, inclusion and human rights. He has unique associations with various missions of Government of India including the Swachh Bharat Mission on universal sanitation. He has rich research experience and works with several WASH, health and environmental organisations. He also teaches. He has written extensively on many issues facing India, including COVID-19 and the impact on informal settlements, norms around latrine use, closing the loop in the Swachh Bharat Mission, manual scavenging including women manual scavengers, direct benefit transfers, and transgender inclusive sanitation.
In 2022, Raman focused on supporting major actors in the sector in India:
- The FINISH Society – immersive research on the sanitation situation with focus on equity and inclusion, in locations with considerable indigenous/tribal populations, as well as locations regularly affected by flood and related natural disasters.
- UNOPS – conducting a Rapid Action Learning Workshop, specifically to understand how village action plans are evolving across the state of Uttar Pradesh.
- The Centre for Policy Research and the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence – in studies to understand the challenges of women from urban poor communities in accessing sanitation.
- The National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR), UNICEF and other partners – developing an action-oriented agenda for strengthening local government roles in sanitation.
Raman also travelled to Nigeria to support Nanpet with facilitating Nigeria’s first Rapid Action Learning workshop.
In 2023, Raman is working on a number of different projects, with a focus on developing recommendations for, sanitation in challenging contexts, challenges and solutions for gender minorities including transgender communities, methodological insights for urban poor contexts and local government planning and action.
We are delighted to have both Nanpet and Raman attend our team meetings regularly, and our annual planning week sessions. We’re looking forward to continuing our collaborations with Nanpet and Raman next year, with plenty of activities to look forward to.