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TitleGender perspectives on ecological sanitation
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsHannan, C, Andersson, J
Pagination7 p. : 1 fig.
Date Published2002-01-01
PublisherSIDA, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Place PublishedStockholm, Sweden
Keywordsecological sanitation, gender, poverty, social aspects

Ecological sanitation is an ecosystem approach to waste disposal based on three key principles : 1) sanitation should be safe from a health perspective; 2) "green" or non-polluting; and 3) be based on principles of reuse and recycling of the valuable nutrients in human excreta. There are two basic techniques in ecological sanitation. One is urine-diversion, in which urine and faeces are kept separate. In the second technique urine and faeces are combined and transformed into humus through a composting process. In each type of ecological sanitation it is possible to manage the system with little or no water, and it is also possible to keep the end products out of ground and surface waters.

Ecological sanitation improvements should be developed within a framework that must be people-centred, recognizing the poor as actors and as change agents rather than as victims. The contributions, needs, priorities of all stakeholders - women as well as men - should be taken into account.

Ecological sanitation approaches can only be empowering if both women and men have the possibility to participate actively in the implementation of these approaches and benefit directly from them. To bring about constructive change, efforts need to be made to better understand the gender implications of ecological sanitation. Ways of reaching and involving both women and men have to be developed, to provide them equitable access to the economic benefits and opportunities, such as training, entrepreneurial development support and credit made available in the context of ecological sanitation programmes

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