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At a glance Check out the latest resources, news, blog posts and events related to Sanitation Workers.

WaterAid/DRIK/Habibul Haque

Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers - An Initial Assessmen

The global sanitation workforce bridges the gap between sanitation infrastructure and the provision of sanitation services. Sanitation workers provide an essential public service but often at the cost of their dignity, safety, health, and living conditions. They are some of the most vulnerable workers. They are far too often invisible, unquantified, and ostracized, and many of the challenges they face stem from this fundamental lack of acknowledgment. Sanitation workers are exposed to serious occupational and environmental health hazards risking illness, injury, and death.

This report presents the findings of a study that examined nine case studies of sanitation workers in low- and middle-income countries, predominantly focusing on emptying pits and tanks, providing transportation of fecal sludge, and performing sewer maintenance. It is an initial analysis into a growing body of work on sanitation workers, but already the findings highlight several action areas to ensure that efforts in reaching Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6.2 and 6.3 do not compromise the dignity, health, and rights of the workforce. Collecting data from literature and key informant interviews, the nine cases provide an overview of the key challenges sanitation workers face. The report also addresses good practices and suggests areas for action.
Click here to read the assessment report



Sanitation Workers Forum 2021: Linking Research, Policy, and Practice

The Sanitation Workers Forum 2021 was organized with an aim to address some of the critical knowledge gaps on sanitation workers' rights, by raising the visibility of sanitation workers and fostering discussion and collaboration between activism, research, policy and practice. The organising committee comprised of volunteer MSc, PhD students, researchers and professionals based in the UK, USA and India working on and passionate about the topic of sanitation work. The organisational partners included the Initiative for Sanitation Workers, a collaborative partnership for global advocacy on sanitation workers between the International Labour Organization, WaterAid, the World Health Organization, the World Bank and SNV Netherlands Development Organization.

Watch the session replays…
WaterAid/DRIK/Habibul Haque

Sanitation workers’ health: a global perspective

A blog post by Jen Barr, PhD, MPH | August 2022

A team from Emory University and the World Health Organization published a literature review examining health outcomes of sanitation workers in the 2022 International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. Given the working conditions and the potential exposures to hazardous materials, understanding the exact risks that sanitation workers are exposed to is vital in improving their wellbeing. While most parts of this field need significantly more study, the three populations identified by the literature review that need the greatest amount of work yet are women, informally employed workers, and workers in low-income nations.

Read the blog…
WaterAid/Nelson Owoicho

2021 Research Awards- Sanitation Workers

To encourage research on the subject of sanitation workers, The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the Initiative for Sanitation Workers organised the 2021 Research Awards – Sanitation Workers, to recognise studies that show excellence, relevance, impact, clarity and novelty.

Check out the 2021 winners…

The Stories of Sanitation Workersan interactive 360 experience

Explore the stories of sanitation workers faced with poor working conditions.

Experience the Story