Working Group 7
Community, rural and schools (with gender and social aspects)

7a: Raising general awareness for community and rural sanitation by creating discussion fora and enhancing networking opportunities.

7b: Developing a fact sheet addressing the specific needs of both men and women in sustainable sanitation so that both accept the sustainable sanitation solutions.


7a: Experiences around the world have revealed that sanitation initiatives funded by external agencies only, usually do not achieve sustainable sanitation services on a large scale in the longer term, particularly in the rural communities. It is important that communities themselves get deeply involved here and take leadership in their own sanitation projects and programs, including for example school sanitation. This has paramount importance to ensure sustained sanitation services and to link sanitation to communities' livelihood programs.

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Based on these premises, this working group tries to raise general awareness for community and rural sanitation by creating discussion fora and enhancing networking opportunities. The aims of these activities are to encourage research and innovations, and to encourage community members to advocate and engage in policy dialogues. Another important aspect is to strengthen school sanitation within community structures, and to show the link of improved school sanitation with academic performance particularly for education of girls and the rural poor.

7b: Gender mainstreaming is an important tool in any field in order to approach gender equality. In sanitation, gender aspects have to be particularly taken into account, as these are essential for sustainable sanitation and hygiene. Noticeably one of the most observable divides between women and men, especially in developing countries, is in sanitation and hygiene. The provision of hygiene and sanitation are often considered women’s tasks.

Women are promoters, educators and leaders of home and community-based sanitation practices. However, women’s concerns are rarely addressed, as societal barriers continually restrict women’s involvement in decisions regarding toilets, sanitation programmes and projects. And in many societies women’s views – as opposed to those of men - are systematically under-represented in decision-making bodies.

Girls, particularly at and after puberty, do miss school or even drop out of their schools due to the lack of sanitary facilities, and/or the absence of separation of girls’ and boys’ toilets. In these situations girls also stay away from school when they are menstruating.

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Working Group Leads

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WECF, Germany

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UNICEF, Cambodia