Latest Equinet Updates

Waste is wealth: Small scale urban farming challenging food insecurity in informal settlements of Kibuye I Parish in Kampala, Uganda
ACTogether Uganda, Urban Authority Association of Uganda, TARSC: EQUINET, Harare, 2024

Poor waste disposal and management is an overwhelming environmental issue in Kibuye informal settlements. There are no designated communal garbage collection points, as land owners are unwilling to give land for it, citing poor maintenance of the sites. The littered waste clogs the existing drainage channels, gullies and wetlands exposing Kibuye slums to frequent flooding. The small-scale urban farming initiative by SCINE Uganda is providing a foundation for urban food security and sustainable management of the environment in Kibuye I Parish.

A CALL FOR APPLICANTS: Online capacity building on health impact assessment in east and southern Africa
Call closes 5pm Southern Africa time October 6 2023

Health impact assessment (HIA) is a structured process that helps to identify where changes to project design or operation provide health benefits and mitigate health risks, While HIA is being more widely practiced, in ESA countries HIA is sometimes implemented in a more limited manner as a part of environmental impact assessment. The lack of a specific process and legal requirement for HIA leaves the region with inadequate capacities, practice and evidence on health impacts of policies and activities, at a time when new health challenges, changes in trade policy and production systems make it even more necessary. EQUINET is thus, in association with regional and international partners, convening training in 12 online sessions in February to May 2024, including mentored case work to build HIA capacities in different actors in ESA countries. The course is being held free of any fee cost for participants. Applicants for the call should be from an ESA country, should be from state, non- state, labour, professional or academic institutions, and have roles in or an intention to implement HIA. We encourage applicants to apply as a team of up to 4 people from these groups from a country or setting, but will also consider individual applicants and if selected include them within the teams for their country. Further information is available on the EQUINET website, including the information applicants for the call are asked to provide before the closing date. Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application before or by 1 November 2023 and be provided with further course information and materials.

A conceptual framework for healthy urban systems for food and waste management in ESA countries
Urban health community of practice: EQUINET, Harare, 2023

Food and waste management systems are key entry points to foster innovation, collaboration, accountability, literacy and system-wide change to support healthy people, healthy ecosystems (including green spaces, energy and water) and an inclusive, productive, regenerative and circular urban economy. This document outlines a conceptual framework and features of key elements for urban systems to achieve this, organised within 5 key areas for such systems to provide affordable, safe, nutritious foods in healthy urban food neighbourhoods and green spaces, in ways that respect and protect ecosystems and provide an inclusive, poverty-reducing and equity oriented circular economy, that reduces, recycles and reuses urban food and other waste to support other needs and benefits, including for water, energy and green spaces. This framework is being applied in ongoing case studies and work in EQUINET.

Brief from the webinar: Climate justice and the right to health and wellbeing

In 2023 – 24 EQUINET is organising a series of online dialogues to share knowledge and perspectives from community/local, national and international level on the impact of climate trends, the intersect with the other drivers/ determinants of inequity, the implications for policy and action that links climate to health equity and vice versa, and the . proposals for policy, practice, research, and action. This brief reports on the issues raised in the first webinar in the series on climate justice and health rights, convened by the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), and EQUINET steering committee member. The full webinar is available on the EQUINET site. This brief summarises key points raised by speakers and participants on how climate features are impacting on the right to health; the actions that need to be taken to address these issues at local, national and regional level and in international/ global level processes and forums from a regional lens; and issues raised to be further discussed in the other thematic webinars. The brief is shared to draw further comment and input on the issue.

Delving into the Cityscape: Transforming the connections between urban environments, social factors, and public health in Nairobi, Kenya
Oranga A, Kounkuey Design Initiative: EQUINET Photojournalism brief, Kenya, 2023

Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi, is situated alongside Ngong River, running along its southern edge. The dam water became hazardous for consumption due to pollutants accumulated during the course of the river, spreading diseases such as malaria, typhoid and cholera, and illnesses caused by chemical effluents pumped into the river from industries. Together with New Nairobi Dam Community, Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) conducted a series of workshops with community members and the local administration to identify the challenges, with a series of workshops planning and designing solutions to the pressing issues they had raised, including flood protection, improved sanitation, opportunities for youth, and income generation. Planting, landscaping-driven engineering, solid waste management activities carried out from 2006 to date and improved sanitation services were coupled with community-led site operations and maintenance. The activities changes polluted unhealthy conditions into green, clean environments and improved health for community members living near the river and dam. Beyond these environment and health infrastructures, the community set up childcare services, a school feeding program, and a greenhouse for urban agriculture. The transformation demonstrates the power of co- designing solutions with communities that prioritise a combination of social, ecological, and health benefits.

Effective Waste Management in a Local Food Market: The Longacres experience in Lusaka, Zambia
Phiri P, Centre for Primary Care Research: Photojournalism brief, EQUINET, 2023

This brief describes a story of the change at Longacres. Solid waste generated in this food market is sorted at the source, separated by type and placed into designated bins, as receptacles that receive the waste. Stakeholder meetings were organised by BORDA Zambia in collaboration with the Lusaka City Council to train marketeers on how to separate waste at the source and discard it in specific bins for further processing. In 2021 BORDA Zambia met representatives from the Lusaka City Council, school authorities, marketeers and a ‘Market Advisory Committee’ of those involved and developed a shared framework for the smooth running of the pilot. A decentralised organic solid waste management treatment system and biodigester were locally designed and made, The initiative has installed a functional end-to-end chain for waste disposal and management at the market and Lusaka City Council is now planning to replicate the concept in other markets throughout Lusaka. The story of change is being shared as it could also be applied in food markets in other urban settings in the region.

Enhancing sustainable access to safe clean water and gender-sensitive sanitation services in Epworth
Ndlovu T, Civic Forum on Human Development: EQUINET Photojournalism brief, Harare, 2023

Epworth, a peri-urban settlement about 15 kilometres southeast of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare faces water stress and poor santiation. The Civic Forum on Human Development (CFHD) worked with Epworth households and identified with the community a priority to to build better toilets and hygiene facilities. In community-Based planning, information was gathered through a rapid assessment and focus group discussions with community members and organisations, Realising the challenges of water in Epworth, a two litre flush system was introduced as a more appropriate toilet system and pump minders trained. This process combined local technology and social processes to improve water and sanitation in a community with limited infrastructure, and water scarcity.

Health-promoting urban food systems in selected local authorities in Zimbabwe
Loewenson R, Kadungure A, Machinda T, et al: UCAZ, TARSC, Bulawayo, Chegutu, Harare, Kariba, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Victoria Falls local authorities, MoHCC, EQUINET, 2023

Evidence suggests that Zimbabwe’s urban households are becoming more food insecure post-2018, including from the impact of COVID-19 and a shift to ultra-processed foods increasing food–related non communicable diseases (NCDs). Case studies from seven urban local authorities (Bulawayo, Chegutu, Harare, Kariba, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Victoria Falls) in Zimbabwe point to range of initiatives underway to support healthy food systems. This synthesis report provides a structured thematic content analysis of and common findings from the seven case study reports, for wider exchange with other urban settings. Urban agriculture (UA) is being actively promoted with innovations to address local water and land constraints, including hydroponics, aquaculture; using available land in hospitals, schools and public spaces; replacing areas of waste dumping with nutrition gardens and recycling bio-waste to fertilise UA. Local technology has been developed and support provided for maize meal fortification, peanut butter processing, fish and livestock farming and vending, supported by solar energy and boreholes for more reliable inputs.These and other activities documented indicate the scope of interventions for urban food systems that could be extended to other local authorities.

Solid waste management in Slum Communities of Bwaise III Parish: Transforming Solid Waste into Valuable Resources
Gramsen Kizza F, Innovations for Development: EQUINET photojournalism brief, Kampala, 2023

Bwaise is an urban locality in the Kawempe Division, Kampala. The inadequate management of solid waste in Bwaise presents numerous difficulties, including sporadic flooding and outbreaks of diseases. Recognizing the need to address these challenges and the economic struggles faced by the community, the local chairpersons took the initiative to motivate the residents. They initiated training programs, facilitated through saving groups, to promote use of the waste as a resource for energy in the form of briquettes. Under the guidance of the local chairpersons, the community chose members, primarily women and youth, from different community groups. The groups promote waste collection and use the waste for briquettes used for household energy. The groups have also set up plastic waste collection centres to aid the removal of plastic waste in the communities. Fostering collaboration among all stakeholders within the communities has enabled solutions to be designed and implemented to address the challenges encountered.

Taxing for health: taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in east and southern African countries
Kadungure A, Loewenson R: TARSC EQUINET Discussion paper 130, EQUINET, Harare 2023

This paper explores sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes and their role in a public health response to the challenges of rising consumption of SSBs. The paper outlines the global and regional standards, guidance and areas of legal or policy debate on the control of SSB health risks, particularly through taxation; it provides evidence on the design, taxation levels and products covered in SSB taxation in different regions globally and in east and southern Africa (ESA) countries. It also discusses experiences of and issues around using SSB-related taxation for health in ESA countries. Drawing on the evidence identified, it proposes actions and issues for policy dialogue in ESA countries and in the region.