Supporting sanitation workers to mobilise and advocate for their rights - call for expressions of interest

20 September 2021
WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

The Initiative for Sanitation Workers is offering an exciting opportunity for sanitation workers' organisations, and those working closely with them, in a number of countries. 

Sanitation workers provide an essential public service. But this is often at the cost of their dignity, safety, health and living conditions. Often invisible, uncounted and ostracised, sanitation workers face serious health and safety hazards, risking illness, injury and even death. Sanitation workers deserve greater recognition and attention, as well as policy and regulatory reforms to safeguard their rights.

The Initiative for Sanitation Workers (ISW), a global advocacy partnership between the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, WaterAid, the World Bank, and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, invites organisations to submit ideas for initiatives that will support sanitation workers to: 

  • Come together and voice their issues
  • Build and strengthen their networks and movements  
  • Engage with authorities and other stakeholders, highlight the challenges they face, and advocate for their health, safety and dignity

Selected organisations will be offered financial and other support to implement their initiative. This call is open to:

  • Organisations formed by sanitation workers (including unions, groups, associations and cooperatives)
  • Local organisations or NGOs already working closely with sanitation workers (organisations that do not have an existing focus on supporting sanitation workers’ rights are not eligible)
  • Organisations based in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, India, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia

Note: ‘Sanitation workers’ includes those involved in the faecal waste management chain, such as sewer cleaners, pit latrines or septic tank emptiers, dry latrine cleaners, toilet cleaners, faecal sludge treatment plant operators, etc. Solid waste workers are not covered under this grant.

Deadline: 5 October 2021

Please refer to the detailed announcements below for more information on the support available and the application process:

Top image: Gangalappa, 50, (centre) is a sanitation worker who performs manual sewer servicing to clear residential blockages in Bangalore.