Throwback: 1 Year of Sanitation for Millions in Colombia

In October 2022, Colombia became the fourth country of implementation of Sanitation for Millions. Let’s take a look back at what has happened over this past year. Not only did Sanitation for Millions take the first steps towards building and rehabilitating school sanitary facilities, but also raised awareness on menstrual health and hygiene among vulnerable populations and advocated politically for our mission.

In Colombia, Sanitation for Millions started this year with the kick-off of our project during a Conversápolis event in February 2023, since Colombia joined Sanitation for Millions as the fourth country in October last year, after being part of the finalised CREW+ project. Conversápolis is a multi-programme platform, organised in cooperation with the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Colombian ministries of Environment, Transport, Housing, and the National Planning Department. It allows representatives of different regional governments to share experiences, including safe access to sanitation. The event resulted in an initial activity plan and the commitment of local partners to our mission.

On 28 May this year, Sanitation for Millions – Colombia celebrated jointly with the Green Jobs and Circular Economy Program (PREVEC) the Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023 in Cúcuta. A workshop on menstrual hygiene management for female waste pickers, migrants, and their daughters took place. The workshop created a safe space with an atmosphere of sisterhood that allowed for an open discussion about the female anatomy, the menstrual cycle, and myths about menstruation. Many women in the recycling sector face societal and cultural barriers to gain access to menstrual supplies.  During the workshop, these issues were addressed and the participants were introduced to the option of reusable products. Reusable menstrual products are not only better for the environment, they are more cost-effective in the long run than disposable ones, thus making them a viable alternative for participants.

What will happen next?

Sanitation for Millions – Colombia is planning the rehabilitation and construction of sanitary facilities in five schools in Colombia, benefiting at least 2,000 students. The first construction activities will be initiated at the end of this year.

As every year, 15 October will be the Global Handwashing Day. Sanitation for Millions is already busy planning campaigns and awareness activities. Watch out for our next update soon!