Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

1 February 2013

Tanzania: Sociologists Tout Embracing Sanitation As Sub-Discipline

New Delhi — SOCIOLOGISTS in the Indian subcontinent have unanimously agreed to introduce sociology of sanitation as a new subdiscipline at national and global level.

The Sulabh International founder, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, told the 'Daily News' that he felt that there was need for a new sub-discipline of sociologists because of the growing interest the world is having on sanitation and benefits it has to society.

"It is my firm belief that the time has come when sanitation should be included as a discipline in sociology because of the core problems embodying it," he said.

The importance of sanitation has also trickled down to Tanzania where recently, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare started implementing a pilot project in three districts of Dodoma with funding from the Global Sanitation Fund as well as launching a national campaign, last year.

Dr Pathak, the advocate for the inclusion into the discipline of sociology defined the sociology of sanitation as being a scientific study to solve society's problems in relation to sanitation, social deprivation, water, public health, hygiene, ecology, environment, poverty, gender equality, welfare of children and empowering people for sustainable development.

Sulabh International is an Indianbased social service organization which works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education and is the largest non-profit organization in India.

A national conference on sociology of sanitation just ended in Delhi where sociologists from around the country also proposed that the new sub-discipline should be implemented at the theoretical, empirical and action level. The conference recommended that the primary objective of the discipline was to achieve total elimination of open defecation (easing oneself in the open and not in toilets) and empowering of the disadvantaged communities.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr Pankaj Jain said during the closing of the conference that NGOs of the calibre of Sulabh International were needed to be in the forefront of promotion of sanitation.

Mr Jain said that it gravely saddened him that India was rapidly inching towards becoming a superpower with the highest levels of technological advancements, some of the best doctors yet it accounted for over 60 per cent of the global population that defecate in the open.

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