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© WaterAid/ James Kiyimba
© WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

Sanitation workers are involved in several steps of the faecal waste management chain, including emptying of pits and septic tanks; cleaning toilets, sewers, and manholes; and operating pumping stations and treatment plants. They provide a fundamental public service, yet often face extreme health hazards and safety risks on the job, as well as social discrimination and stigma. 

The topic of sanitation workers' rights has recently gained attention due to the scaling up of sanitation services and interrelated occupational hazards and health issues. It has also become a crucial discussion point in achieving SDG6. A number of studies have been conducted to highlight the condition of sanitation workers which deserve the attention of various stakeholders. 

The Sanitation Workers Knowledge and Learning Hub serves as the platform for the dissemination and exchange of resources and information regarding sanitation workers. It comprises a library of publications, research, reports and other resources, forum posts, events, a photo library as well as blog posts and opinion columns on sanitation workers' rights. 

The Sanitation Workers Knowledge and Learning Hub platform is linked to the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) platform. It is supported by the Initiative for Sanitation Workers, a collaborative global advocacy initiative by the International Labour Organisation, WaterAid, World Bank, World Health Organisation, and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation; with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Initiative for Sanitation Workers is supported by an Advisory Committee, which constitutes members from the following organizations: Asian Development Bank; Burkinabe Association for Sanitation and Environmental Protection (ABASE); Centre for Law and Justice; Department of Housing and Urban Development, Odisha; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) Regulators Association; Ifakara Health Institute; International Dalit Solidarity Network; International Trade Union Confederation; Lancaster University; Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company Limited; Nagorik Uddyog; Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research; Pan African Association of Sanitation Actors (PASA); Practical Action; Public Services international; Safai Karamchari Andolan; SNDT Women's University, University of Louisville; Urban Management Centre (UMC); Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP); Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO); and the World Bank.