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Initiative for Sanitation Workers - protecting providers of a fundamental public service

The Initiative for Sanitation Workers (ISW) is a global advocacy partnership between SNV, the International Labour Organization (ILO), World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and WaterAid. 

Sanitation worker

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 are often only employed informally, and face extreme health hazards and safety risks on the job, as well as social discrimination and stigma.

Sanitation workers deserve greater recognition and attention, so the Initiative aims to support policy and regulatory reforms aimed at safeguarding their rights.

A recent ISW exhibition in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, displayed sanitation’s workers’ stories, which can also be explored in WaterAid’s interactive online experience - featuring video and audio interviews - called Sanitation Work: Look Deeper originally developed for the launch of ILO’s report in 2019: Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers: An Initial Assessment, available here.

22 to 24 March on the ground floor of the UN conference centre during the UN 2023 Water Conference, the exhibition "Sanitation work: Light at the end of the tunnel" will be hosted.

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For media and interview requests, contact us on: mentioning [Media request] in the subject heading.

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