Sunday, December 9, 2007

Untold Stories

Even in the under-reported water and sanitation sector, we are constantly bombarded by stories and reports about what doesn’t work, what hasn’t worked, how we are failing as a planet to meet the water and sanitation MDGs. So in a belated Happy Thanksgiving post, I offer a couple of stories and snaps that show the progress the sector is making in small but meaningful ways:

There is a child in school in Niger because she doesn’t have diarrhea thanks to an extraordinarily simple bucket half full of clean water and a little sliver of soap that she and her family use to wash their hands every day.

A woman’s hands in Guatemala are no longer calloused because her village recently acquired a borehole with a handpump. The story – more of a human dignity story than a water story - involves her coming up with gratitude to the project leader and insisting that he feel how soft her hands were. (Thanks to Gil Garcetti for the great photo.)

There is a village in Tibet that is 100% free of open defecation because of some bold little kids running around sticking ‘poo flags’ in each pile, with the names of their shamed depositors written on those flags.

There is a woman in Senegal who no longer has to wait until nightfall for cultural reasons to defecate, because her family invested $4 in a household pit latrine. I couldn’t find a picture of ‘less severe constipation’ or ‘fewer liver problems’ to post, but you get the point.


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