Golden Sludge

Promoting Safely Managed Sanitation in Africa

Sanitation is a key focus area for Speak Up Africa. Today, more than 2.4 billion of the world’s population do not have access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets and latrines. This is a particular problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the rate of access to basic sanitation services is only 28% with 32% of the population still practicing open defecation.

When fecal sludge and wastewater are not safely contained, they escape into the environment polluting the places where people live, work, and play. Poor sanitation management highly exposes women, children and men to fecal borne diseases such as diarrhea, neglected tropical diseases and malaria. Those diseases harm human and economic productivity of entire communities and countries.

In 2016, we launched our Golden Sludge campaign, working in close collaboration with national institutions that are directly responsible for the development and implementation of sanitation programs. The Golden Sludge campaign aims to increase awareness, prioritization levels and commitment to improve access to adequate and equitable sanitation for all in Africa. In this sense, the campaign aims to:

  1. Increase political commitment to the Africa Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) to trigger policy review, development and implementation.
  2. Build the capacity of civil society organizations to support the endorsement of the ASPGs, their implementation and to maintain ongoing dialogue around policy change.
  3. Contribute to an enabling environment at the national level for safely managed sanitation.

As part of this effort, we collaborated with Niyel on the West Africa Sanitation Policy Activator, a 3-year project implemented between 2018 and 2020 to support governments towards increasing the access to and use of non-sewered sanitation in Francophone West Africa. This was achieved through a three-tiered approach which directly targets: municipalities, policy- making at the national level and strong engagement at the regional level. Learn more here.

Finally, to effectively reach our goal of creating awareness and improving access to adequate sanitation at a continental level, we launched an alliance of like-minded organizations called CAPOOP, Communications, Advocacy, Policy Opportunities and Outreach for Poop. It is a platform aiming to coordinate our collective advocacy efforts towards raising the profile of sanitation and increase resource allocation for its management across Africa.

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