Tag Archives: total sanitation campaign

India, Madhya Pradesh: sanitation campaign humiliates women, say critics

Controversial illustration from Madya Pradesh sanitation campaign booklet

Controversial illustration from Madya Pradesh sanitation campaign booklet

A government campaign to stop open defecation in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has been criticised for using humiliation to change behaviour. Journalist M. Poornima writes that the ambitious scheme called ‘Maryada Abhiyan’ (Hindi for dignity), “gives little of it to women”.

From catcalls to publishing names to photographing the people caught — the government booklet [1] suggests a number of measures meant to humiliate people. That it would hit women the hardest is not a thought that appears to have occurred to the authorities.

The criticism is backed up by WaterAid programme officer Binu Arickal, who called whistling at or photographing women practising open defecation “foolish”. This reflects a discussion started at the beginning of this year on community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and human rights in the SuSanA Forum, which was sparked by a journal article [2] by Jamie Bartram and others.

UNICEF contributed to the Maryada campaign booklet. The campaign’s brand ambassador is Anita Narre, the bride from a Madhya Pradesh who  sparked a “sanitation revolution” in her village by forcing her husband to build a toilet in their home.

[1] Madhya Pradesh. State Water and Sanitation Mission (2012?). Maryada Abhiyan: guideline. Available at: <http://washurl.net/42kkyn>

[2] Bartram, J. … [et al.] (2012). Commentary on community-led total sanitation and human rights: Should the right to community-wide health be won at the cost of individual rights?. Journal of water and health, 10(4), pp. 499–503. doi: 10.2166/wh.2012.205. Available at: <http://washurl.net/56qm77>

Related web sites:

Source: M. Poornima, No ‘maryada’ for women in MP govt’s sanitation drive, Hindustan Times, 24 Dec 2013

Bollywood actress becomes India’s sanitation brand ambassador

Vidya Balan, who received the Best Actress National Film Award for her role in 2011 Bollywood hit ‘The Dirty Picture’, will now play a role to alter the real dirty picture in India. Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh has named the Bollywood actress as the brand ambassador in his campaign for improving sanitation [1].

According to India’s 2011 census, nearly half of population have no toilet at home, but more people own a mobile phone [2]. There are 2.1 million toilets in India which rely on manual scavengers to empty them [1].

The Minister hopes that Balan can help turn his campaign to end open defecation into a national obsession:

“it is going to be a very serious commitment on her part – she’s had a dirty picture in reel life, but this will be a clean picture in real life”. [1]

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Time to acknowledge the dirty truth behind community-led sanitation

In rural India, extremes of coercion are being used to encourage toilet use writes Liz Chatterjee in the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog. Her provocative post has drawn comments from the likes of Robert Chambers, Rose George, Ned Breslin and Erik Harvey.

Wall art on the local council headquarters in Karnataka, where a two-year sanitation education campaign still has a long way to go. Photo: Liz Chatterjee

A spectacular rise in toilets usage from 20% to nearly 100% in a semi-rural district in Karnataka, realised by India’s national Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), Ms Chatterjee discovered, was founded on community-led coercion.

Previous efforts to build toilets in the area failed to ensure actual use. They were often used to store firewood or chickens while families continued to defecate outdoors.

But some of the techniques used to persuade reluctant community members to construct toilets were unorthodox to say the least.

At its mildest, this meant squads of teachers and youths, who patrolled the fields and blew whistles when they spotted people defecating. Schoolchildren whose families did not have toilets were humiliated in the classroom. Men followed women – and vice versa – all day, denying people the opportunity even to urinate. These strategies are the norm, not the exception, and have also been deployed in Nepal andBangladesh.

Equally common, though, were more questionable tactics. Squads threw stones at people defecating. Women were photographed and their pictures displayed publicly. The local government institution, the gram panchayat, threatened to cut off households’ water and electricity supplies until their owners had signed contracts promising to build latrines. A handful of very poor people reported that a toilet had been hastily constructed in their yards without their consent.

A local official proudly testified to the extremes of the coercion. He had personally locked up houses when people were out defecating, forcing them to come to his office and sign a contract to build a toilet before he would give them the keys. Another time, he had collected a woman’s faeces and dumped them on her kitchen table.

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India: achieving sustainable sanitation – lessons from civil society experiences [report]

Step by Step coverA new report [1] by Arghyam highlights the outcomes of research and discussions on the experiences of civil society organisations involved in implementing sustainable sanitation campaigns in India.

Several concerns were raised during the discussions on the the manner in which the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) was being implemented, followed by identification of steps that were needed to ensure social, technical, institutional, financial and environmental sustainability of the programme.

The discussions revealed that:

  • The TSC indeed led to the mainstreaming of sanitation in India. However, more emphasis was placed on hardware targets, while social mobilisation had been largely ignored. Thus, inspite of increase in the coverage of toilets, their usage and sustainability had remained low.
  • Experiences of civil society organisations indicated that a sanitation campaign needed to address a range of social, technical, financial, institutional and environmental concerns to be sustainable, rather than focusing exclusively on the technical aspects.
  • A closer look at the TSC revealed that three critical elements needed strengthening to ensure sustainability:
    • Software: Social mobilisation, capacity building and IEC for behavioural change
    • Hardware: Appropriate technology, integration with water management
    • Governance: Integrated and participatory planning, institution building and convergence

It was important to allocate adequate time and resources, both human and financial, to each of these. Prior experience indicated that civil society organisations had taken between three to five years to implement sustainable sanitation campaigns.

The report highlights a preliminary template formulated by Arghyam on the phases involved in a sustainable sanitation campaign, based on responses from civil society organisations. These consist of four distinct phases that involve planning, laying the foundation, implementation and finally ensuring that the toilets constructed continue to remain in use. The key aspects of the campaign include:

  • Building relationships with the community
  • Selecting appropriate hardware
  • Ensuring the smooth flow of funds
  • Monitoring quality and inculcating a sense of ownership

The report concludes by highlighting the urgent need for documenting other such processes and experiences in different contexts that have been attempted across the country to make the sanitation effort sustainable and argues that these can go along way in facilitating better informed changes at the policy level.

[1] Babu S.V., S. (2010). Step by step : achieving sustainable sanitation : lessons from civil society experiences. (Learning document ; no. 2). Bangalore, India, Arghyam. 63 p. Download full report.

Source:  India Water Portal

India: impact of sanitation award scheme to be assessed

The government will assess the impact and sustainability of the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (Clean Village Award) scheme implemented between 2005-2008. The Department of Drinking Water Supply under the Ministry of Rural Development will conduct a survey, based on a methodology that it developed with UNICEF, in 12 states*.

The objective is to assess the impact of NGP [Nirmal Gram Puraskar] on the pace of progress of sanitation availability and usage in the country under TSC [Total Sanitation Campaign] and its related impacts on health, education, gender empowerment, social inclusion in rural areas on different user groups particularly the rural poor. This study will also assess the durability and sustainability on the provision and usage of sanitary facilities over time. The rational of this evaluation study will be to provide important evidence on the NGP component of the TSC. The Study will provide a national level report on assessment of impact of NGP.

The Government of India introduced the NGP incentive scheme in 2003 under its Total Sanitation Campaign to reward local government institutions at village, block and district level, that had achieved full sanitation coverage (for households, schools and day-care centres) and were declared open defecation free.

* States to be covered in NGP assessment survey

Source: DDWS

A 2008 UNICEF study on NGP villages found high levels of non-use of toilets (34%), and that only 34% of schools had separate toilets for girls and boys. In most villages the study found a “severe drop in efforts towards social mobilisation and monitoring of ODF status after the NGP award has been received. This has resulted in slippage of ODF status in many GPs and is a serious concern with respect to sustainability”.

Source: PIB, 13 May 2010 ; DDWS/Ministry of Rural Development, 11 May 2010 ; India Sanitation Portal – Nirmal Gram Puraskar

India – Total sanitation programme to cover 2.63 lakh families

Feb 2 (PIB Feature): The afternoon session of the second day Bharat Nirman campaign held at Panthoibi Lampak started with a speech by Swamikanta Director Communication and Capacity Development Unit (CCDU) attached to the Public Health Engineering Department Government of Manipur.  He said under the total sanitation campaign launched by the department 20,476 toilets have been constructed in Manipur break up being 11,513 for those belonging to BPL families and 8963 belonging to APL out of 263,254.  111 sanitary complexes have been constructed out of 386.  He also said 1602 toilets for Government schools have been constructed. The target set to be covered is 3919 Government schools, he added. He said every family having six persons is entitled to get one toilet. If the family members exceed six persons they will be entitled to receive more toilets.

He said the main objects of the Total sanitary campaign are to bring about an improvement in the general quality of the life in rural areas, accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to enable them have access to toilets to all by 2012 and to motivate communities and panchayat institutions promoting sustainable sanitation facilities through awareness creation and health education among other things.  Every year Nirmal Gram Puraskar Award is bestowed to the Panchayat which can have maximum number of toilets constructed in his area.  The award for the year 2008 went to Gram Panchayat Maklang and the award for the year 2009 was bagged by Utlou Gram Panchayat. The aim and objects for institution of the award are to make total sanitation programme a success.

A BPL can get the facility of having free toilet by depositing just Rs 300, he also said. He informed the gathering that ecosan toilets will be constructed as an experiment in Manipur. In this case the human excreta will be used for useful purposes. On being pointed out that while some persons get the benefit of the Government programmes of constructing free toilets the others do not get the prestige of getting one, he rebuked saying this is total sanitary programme wherein the question of leaving applications do not arise.  K. Kullachandra Consultant CCDU, PHED Manipur also participated in the discussion. He recited a poem that encouraged the masses to pay the thrust in the construction of toilets.

Source – KanglaOnline

Squatting with Dignity: new book on rural sanitation in India

This new book by Mr. Kumar Alok talks about the story of the successes and challenges faced in building the fast expanding rural sanitation network in India.

It presents a detailed account of the development of the rural sanitation movement in India in the last decade. It is a story of breaking of sanitation taboos in India and teaching people to defecate with dignity and privacy. The book presents a historical account of the importance attached to sanitation and hygiene in ancient India and the evolution of sanitation policy in modern India. Operationalising reforms in a vast country like India, where pace and status of development varies significantly from state to state, is not an easy task. This book captures in detail the key debates and challenges faced in making policy makers and programme managers across the states accept the reform principles in the Total Sanitation Campaign, the process of involving different key stakeholders in developing faith and conviction in TSC strategy and the development of key building blocks for programme management. The key factors which influenced the success of the programme and the lessons learned have been critically analyzed and presented in the book. One chapter introspects about the weaknesses in the programme and the scope of improvement. The book outlines a vision for the future of the sanitation programme in India and offers innovative ideas for launching a second generation of sanitation initiatives. The lessons from India are equally relevant for other countries in the world that are struggling with similar issues [Publisher's text].

Kumar Alok is Chief Executive Officer of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council in India.

Contents: Foreword by Dr N C SAXENA / Preface by KARIN HULSHOF / Introduction / Rural Sanitation: Development in Phases / Debate on Key Policies and Evolution of Implementation Strategy / System Building / Geographical Spread / Spread of the Movement / Key Achievements and Learnings / Key Challenges / The Way Forward

2010 / 412 pages / Cloth (978-81-321-0305 -9) /

To order from:

  • South Asia Click (Rs 850, US$ 21)
  • UK, Europe, Africa, Australia Click (£ 45.00)
  • North and South America Click (US$ 49.95)
  • Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia Click (£ 45.00)