Indian NGO Gramalaya is organising a National level Workshop on Appropriate Toilet Technology from 9-11 May 2012 in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, with the support of Arghyam, Bangalore and UNICEF, Chennai. In this participatory workshop, field workers will be joined by engineers and sanitation experts to arrive at better toilet models for different topographical and hydro-geological conditions in India.
In 2007, Gramalaya set up a Centre for Toilet Technology and Training with funding from WaterPartners International (now Water.org), USA.
Read the workshop brochure here
A new report  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.
 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
Arghyam and the WASH Institute have launched the India Sanitation Portal, as a sister web site of the India Water Portal. The new Portal is a collaborative effort with content initially provided by Arghyam, Plan International, Stockholm Environmental Institute, UNICEF, WASH Institute, WaterAid, Water and Sanitation Program, Water for People, and Wherever the Need.
An important part of the Portal is the section on GIS applications and maps related to the performance of Total Sanitation Campaign and Nirmal Gram Puraskar, the flagship government programs related to rural sanitation. These applications were created through data obtained courtesy of the Department of Drinking Water Supply, Government of India.
Other sections are a searchable database of organisations and a Knowledge & Resources section with full text case studies, course materials, videos, research papers and policy documents.
Posted in Education & training, Hygiene Promotion, Multimedia, Progress on Sanitation, Publications, Research, Sanitary Facilities, Technology
Tagged Arghyam, changing behaviour, India, India Sanitation Portal, local support, Nirmal Gram Puraskar, total sanitation campaigns, WASH Institute