Sustainable Development Goal 6 for water and sanitation calls for the realization of safely managed services (SMSS) for everyone by 2030. While there has been significant research and implementation to improve the sanitation service chain in urban settings, little guidance is available on how to achieve and sustain SMSS in rural contexts.
In 2019, WSSCC commissioned this study conducted by Andy Robinson and Andy Peal to examine to what extent Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programmes enabled SMSS in rural areas with collective behaviour change approaches like CLTS.
This study includes: – A summary of SMSS concepts and issues in rural areas – SMSS findings from GSF-supported programmes in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia – Good practices for monitoring SMSS in rural areas – Recommendations for rural programming
Authors: WSSCC; Publication date: October 2020; Publisher: WSSCC; No. of pages: 155
In September 2019, the Government of Nepal declared the country ‘open defecation free’ (ODF). Leading up to this milestone, the Government of Nepal and other sector partners focused on the challenging Terai plains – the ‘last mile’ of Nepal’s Sanitation Campaign.
Sprinting the Last Mile: Nepal’s Sanitation Campaign in the Terai documents the key success factors from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council’s Global Sanitation Fund programme in Nepal, executed by UN-HABITAT, concentrating on the Terai region. By building local campaign coordination bodies, leveraging local finance, and igniting broad-based movements for improving sanitation and hygiene, sanitation coverage in the Terai accelerated from around 13% to near universal coverage in just over four years, according to data from the Government of Nepal. These insights and lessons are relevant for other behaviour change-based sanitation and hygiene campaigns across Asia and beyond.
In the next five years, it is expected that more than 500 faecal sludge treatment plants (FSTPs) have to be designed, built and operated in India. However, there is a significant gap in understanding of the faecal sludge management opportunities and operations amongst practitioners such as contractors and operators.
To address this gap, the Centre for Advanced Sanitation Solutions (CASS) in partnership with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BORDA and the CDD Society is organising a training course + exposure visit on faecal sludge management from 5-8 February 2019 in Bengaluru, India.
This study of Uttar Pradesh systematically measures relevant social norms and cultural schema persistent in rural villages. The study finds two pathways through which social norms inhibit latrine use: (i) beliefs/expectations that others do not use latrines or find open defecation unacceptable; and (ii) beliefs about ritual notions of purity that dissociate latrines from cleanliness.
The study finds a statistically significant positive relationship between latrine use and social norms. To confront these, the study piloted an information campaign to test the effectiveness of rebranding latrine use and promoting positive social norms, by making information about growing latrine use among latrine owners more salient.
The results show statistically significant improvements in open defecation practices across all treatment households, with latrine use scores in treatment villages increasing by up to 11 percent, relative to baseline. Large improvements were also observed in pro-latrine beliefs.
This suggests that low-cost information campaigns can effectively improve pro-latrine beliefs and practices, as well as shift perceptions of what others find acceptable vis-à-vis open defecation
Over 17 years of mission programming, (1994–2011) USAID’s Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion–Debt and Infrastructure (FIRE-D) activity partnered with India’s central, state, and municipal governments to provide technical assistance to 16 Indian states.
The focus of this three-phased activity changed over time, but the goal remained the same: to expand sustainable water and sanitation access to the poor while improving the ability of city and state governments to mobilize resources and increase their revenues.
Through implementer TCG International, FIRE-D piloted policy-related interventions to better plan, design, and finance urban infrastructure.
The most successful solutions were then expanded and incorporated into a Government of India (GoI) urban development scheme called the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
What We Did
This fourth in a series of independent ex-post evaluations of past USAID water and sanitation activities followed up on six states and cities seven years after FIRE-D ended to understand how urban water and sanitation services have changed and to what extent policies, practices, and financing mechanisms introduced through FIRE-D have been sustained.
Open defecation (OD), an age-old practice in India, impacts the health of individuals as well as their communities. To tackle the problem, the Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in 2014, aimed at making the country open-defecation free (ODF) by October 2019 by giving more attention to community-based approaches.
However, while such approaches have helped solve the sanitation riddle in many countries, curbing OD in India is much more complicated: the root of the problem is a combination of lack of sanitation infrastructure and deep-seated habits. So far, India’s sanitation policies have used the top-down approach, focusing on financial assistance for latrine construction.
While this is necessary, considering the social determinants at play, the emphasis must be on changing collective behaviour through participatory methods, a component that has been largely absent from past policies on sanitation.
Demand-driven approaches must be adopted, keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses and ensuring equity-focused actions through community-monitored, locally appropriate and culturally sensitive interventions.
Despite increasing focus by the government and programmes such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, unsafe sanitation work, loosely captured under the catch-all phrase manual scavenging, still exists in India. There are five million people employed in sanitation work of some sort in India with about two million of them working in ‘high risk’ conditions.
Here is the first article in a series which introduces the situation of sanitation workers in the country, their different personas, the challenges they face, and the solutions that are essential to improving this situation.
Credit: Dalberg Advisors
The last few years have been the golden age for sanitation in India. What started out as the Total Sanitation Campaign in the 1990s morphed into the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan under the UPA Government and then transformed into the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with full gusto driven by the prime minister’s special attention.
This translated directly into increased budgets, a mission-mode implementation across the country and by official estimates, 80 million additional toilets getting constructed. Now, over 89% of the country’s population has access to a household toilet, compared to 40% in 2014.
Many people view toilets as impure and refrain from installing them within their household premises
The risks associated with open defecation in India are not just restricted to diseases. Rapes occur when women and young girls are on their way to fields to defecate at night. Photo: Mint
For most of us, going to the toilet is as simple and natural as breathing. However, for many it is a daily nightmare. About 2.3 billion people in the world do not have access to clean, safe and reliable toilets. They have to walk for miles every day to reach a safe spot where they can relieve themselves in the open. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280,000 deaths worldwide, annually.
In India, about 732 million people do not have access to proper toilets. As much as 90% of the river water is contaminated by faeces. People drink water from the same rivers, bathe and wash their clothes and utensils there, and even cook food with the contaminated water. Pathogens and worms from the faeces spread life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, schistosomiasis and trachoma.
Most people in South Asian towns and cities rely on toilets that are not connected to sewers. With the global urban population set to double by 2050, the need to ensure safe disposal of waste is growing ever more urgent. Jaison Thomas, WaterAid’s Regional Funding Manager for South Asia, reflects on the faecal sludge discourse in the region, taking reference to deliberations at the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) VII at Islamabad.
Eliminating open defecation is just the first step in ensuring everyone has safely managed sanitation services, as outlined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. In South Asia, where most people use on-site toilets and sewerage coverage is limited, faecal sludge management (FSM, which involves everything from emptying pits of faecal matter and transporting the sludge to treatment and disposal) is central to ensuring safely managed services.