OVERDUE: Tackling the Sanitation taboo across Urban Africa
OVERDUE interrogates infrastructural trajectories and possible pathways to tackle the sanitation taboo across African cities, a task at the core of the Open Defecation Free campaign and the 2030 SDGs, especially SDGs 6 and 11. Sanitation is critical for urban life,yet it continues to be invisibilised, avoided, systematically un-tackled or at best reduced to a 'cultural, technical or financial problem'. Disposing safely of human waste has long been recognised as a human right, yet we witness a persistent, exculpated and prevailing everyday right violation endured by the vast majority of the urban poor in Africa and worldwide.
With the grid narratives aspirating to reproduce the 19th Century sanitary revolution of the urban global North and the incremental coping mechanisms of the urban poor, most African cities just get by, skirting around the sanitation taboo. OVERDUE aims to provide fresh insights into the 'urban sanitation crisis' by decolonising the way it is framed and tackled. This involves a critical interrogation of urban sanitation trajectories and the links emerging across the sanitation continuum between large-scale infrastructural investments in grid systems vis a vis collective and individual incremental investments by the urban poor in off-grid coping mechanisms.
A sanitary revolution across urban Africa requires a new perspective on the gaps and synergies between grid and off-grid efforts and the spectrum of practices and interventions in between, which reads the sanitary metabolism of a city as a highly complex system- of pipes, energy, matter and social relations - which can produce illness or health, poverty or prosperity, suffering or well-being, stigma or respect for the different women, men, girls and boys engaged in the management of sanitation. Focusing on three fast growing cities - Freetown (Sierra Leone), Mwanza (Tanzania) and Beira (Mozambique) - OVERDUE examines the sanitation taboo across contrasting colonial legacies, with links to the experiences of Francophone urban Africa.
- University College London, United Kingdom (Lead Research Organisation)
- COWI Mozambique (Project Partner)
- NDPH NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS PRESSURE (Project Partner)
- COWI (International) (Project Partner)
- Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI) (Project Partner)
- Ardhi University (Project Partner)