2 years of Swacch Bharat Mission – Thematic online discussion on the SuSanA Forum

The India Sanitation Coalition in cooperation with the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), is holding its first thematic online discussion on the Swacch Bharat Mission. The thematic online discussion is the first in a series of discussions taking place under the umbrella of the SuSanA Indian chapter. The discussion will run from 29th July- 21st August 2016. Join our discussion on the SuSanA Forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/259-on…usana-indian-chapter

Since it was launched 2nd October, 2014, Swacch Bharat Mission has been one of the government’s flagship programmes. The percentage of the eligible rural population with toilets has increased to 52% from about 39% in 2012, according to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation that oversees the programme. Though a lot of work has been done in the field of rural sanitation in the past decade in the country, sanitation coverage is still poor.

A major challenge has been to ensure everybody uses toilets all the time to make communities free from open defecation (ODF).

Though it is necessary that the construction of new toilets has to continue, mere creation of infrastructure will not be the sole mean to achieve the government’s target to make India ODF until 2019. An innovation is the use of concurrent learning, called Rapid Action Learning Units, to help in course correction and sharing information.

To ensure that the constructed and functional toilets are also used, behaviour change is key. Information, education and communication (IEC) efforts are increasingly important to change the people’s mindset and spreading knowledge about the adverse health impact of open defecation. In fact, a study shows a strong correlation between the use of IEC funds and the construction of toilets.

And there is more to the picture. Looking only at the number of constructed toilets, dismisses the whole sanitation chain, which includes containment, emptying, transport, treatment and disposal. A shift towards toilets that are used, maintained is needed.

The first thematic online discussion of the India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) which is hosted by the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance, aims at creating a broader understanding of what is needed to provide sustainable sanitation in India and to make India ODF in the context of Swacch Bharat Mission.

For this, the discussion will be structured along the following sub-topics:

  1. Policy and institutions: What has changed for SBM to work the way it especially with regard to funds utilisation and construction? Please suggest modifications for the period 2016-19 for SBM for sustainable ODF. Chairperson of the India Sanitation Coalition Naina Kidwai will initiate the discussion
  2. ODF: Is the existing definition provided by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation sufficient for sustainable and effective ODF? How can we ensure behaviour change leads to ODF and then ODF+? Sanchita from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council will initiate the discussion
  3. Sustainability: How can we ensure that the focus from constructing toilets is shifted towards using and maintaining toilets as well as the safe treatment of human faeces – taking into consideration the whole sanitation chain? UNICEF India’s sanitation specialist Sujoy Mojumdar will initiate the discussion
  4. Good practices: What are good practice examples of how SBM has effectively contributed to significantly improve sanitation in communities? WaterAid’s policy manager Siddhartha Das will initiate the discussion

To participate in the discussion, please post on the SuSanA Forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/259-on…sana-indian-chapter. Alternatively you can send your posts directly to posting@forum.susana.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (this is a service only for registered SuSanA members. Please register here in case you are not yet a SuSanA member: www.susana.org/register)

Regular summaries and a synthesis of the discussion will be provided and disseminated publicly.

We look forward to your active engagement.

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