By Prakhar Jain (email) and Aditya Bhol
The run-up to elect a new government brought sanitation to the fore of public conversation in India. Last month, Prime Minister Modi declared sanitation as a national priority, announcing ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, a sanitation programme dedicated to creating clean India by 2019 as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. Whether or not this plan succeeds may depend on whether it is simply a repackaged programme such as the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’ that was focused entirely on building toilets in rural India, or a renewed commitment to improve sanitation in both the rural and urban areas. As India urbanizes, demand for effective and sustainable sanitation services will increase. India, with 11% of the world’s urban population currently, accounts for 46% of global urban open defecation [i]. While other developing countries like China, Vietnam, and Peru have already achieved open defecation free (ODF) status in urban areas, India still lags behind. The situation is particularly abysmal in small cities (population below a million) where close to 17% of the population defecates in the open as compared to 4% in large cities (population greater than a million) [ii]. The 2011 national census has shown that these small cities represent more than 91% of total urban open defecation in the country. If we are to catch up, the key is to immediately turn our attention towards small and medium-sized cities.
Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition | Source: by Gardiner Harris, New York Times, July 13, 2014.
Excerpts: A long economic boom in India has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that many of the 162 million children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation.
Two years ago, Unicef, the World Health Organization and the World Bank released a major report on child malnutrition that focused entirely on a lack of food. Sanitation was not mentioned. Now, Unicef officials and those from other major charitable organizations said in interviews that they believe that poor sanitation may cause more than half of the world’s stunting problem.
“Our realization about the connection between stunting and sanitation is just emerging,” said Sue Coates, chief of water, sanitation and hygiene at Unicef India. “At this point, it is still just an hypothesis, but it is an incredibly exciting and important one because of its potential impact.”
This research has quietly swept through many of the world’s nutrition and donor organizations in part because it resolves a great mystery: Why are Indian children so much more malnourished than their poorer counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa?
How do you design and implement an effective urban WASH programme? In WSUP’s recent publication “The Urban Programming Guide” we set out the many activities involved, from planning and capacity building to improving services and promoting behaviour change. This short animation brings the publication to life and takes you on a virtual tour of some of these activities in action: enjoy the ride!
You can download the Urban Programming Guide for free from our website.
Posted in Africa, Education & training, Hygiene Promotion, Resources, Sanitary Facilities, South Asia
Tagged Animation, capacity building, FSM, hygiene, sanaition, urban, utilities, WASH programming, water
The toilet tripod: Understanding successful sanitation in rural India. Health Place. 2014 Jun 19.
O’Reilly K, Louiss׳ E.
Building toilets and getting people to use them is critical for public health. We deployed a political ecology approach specifically to identify the multi-scalar political, economic, and environmental factors influencing toilet adoption in rural India. The research used ethnographic and technical methods in rural villages of West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh over the period September 2012 to May 2013. The elements of successful sanitation adoption depended on three factors (i.e., toilet tripod):
- (1) multi-scalar political will on the part of both government and NGOs over the long term;
- (2) proximate social pressure, i.e., person-to-person contact between rural inhabitants and toilets;
- (3) political ecology, i.e., assured access to water, compatible soil type, and changing land use.
This research contributes to studies of sustainable development and global public health by developing a theory and framework for successful sanitation.