Tag Archives: India

India sanitation initiative wins prestigious UN prize

Training women in Nadia District, Sabar Shouchagar programme

Training women in Nadia District,. Photo credit: Sabar Shouchagar programme

The UN has awarded one of their prestigious 2015 Public Service Awards to Nadia district in West Bengal for their sanitation initiative Sabar Shouchagar (Toilets for All).

Bordering on Bangladesh,  the rural district has a population of 5.4 million of whom nearly 2 million or 40% practised open defecation in 2013.  This was in sharp contrast with neighbouring Bangladesh, where only 4% of the people practise open defecation. This realisation sparked the district to start pooling available government resources and develop the Sabar Shouchar concept.

Besides pooling government funds, the concept involved mass awareness campaigns, parternships with NGOs, focus on women and children as change agents, rural sanitation marts, transforming district administration and a 10% mandatory user contribution to cost of toilet construction.

All this resulted in Nadia becoming the first Indian district to be declared open defecation free on 30 April 2015.

2015 UNPSA Banner10

Nadia district will receive its award from the United Nations Secretary-General on 23 June 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.

For more information go to: sabarshouchagar.in

Source: Indian Express, 8 May 2015

Toilet humour is serious business [video]

An inspirational (and funny) TEDx talk on the impact of school sanitation on girls in India.

Told by Australian busnessman, Mark Balla whose visit to the world’s largest slum Dharavi changed his life and turned him into a “toilet warrior”.

Mark is the Founder and Director of Community Engagement at We Can’t Wait.

Culture and the health transition: Understanding sanitation behaviour in rural north India

Culture and the health transition: Understanding sanitation behaviour in rural north India, April 2015. International Growth Centre (ICG) Working Paper.

Authors: Diane Coffey, Aashish Gupta, Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Nikhil Srivastav, and Sangita Vyas.

Key Facts

  • Poor sanitation spreads bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections including diarrhoea, polio, cholera, and hookworm. Despite this, 70% of rural Indian households defecate in the open, without a toilet
    or latrine. Over 60% of the people worldwide who defecate in the open live in India. Bangladesh, which shares a border with India, has a rural open defecation rate of only 5%.
  • Based on a survey of around 3,200 households, and 100 in-depth interviews, this research finds that having a household latrine is widely seen to damage the purity of the home. Open defecation, on
    the other hand, is widely seen to promote purity and strength, and is also associated with health and longevity.
  • A further reason for particularly poor hygiene in Indian public spaces is due to the ongoing renegotiation of caste-based social rules. Most Hindus remain inflexibly opposed to emptying their own latrine pits. As part of a push for greater equality, people from the lowest “untouchable” castes resist emptying latrine pits because this work is widely seen as degrading and reinforcing of their low social status.

India launches national monitoring of toilet use

How does India’s new large-scale sanitation monitoring effort compare with similar initiatives in Bangladesh and Indonesia?

India toilet monitoring app

Image: Government of India (GoI)

According to some media the Indian government has unleashed “toilet police” or “toilet gestapo” into the country [1]. In fact, the central government has instructed local officials to take photographs of new toilets to prove that they have not only been constructed but are also being used. If states don’t upload photos by February 2015, the water and sanitation ministry has threatened to withhold funding from a new national sanitation programme [2].

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Oliver Cumming – Does Improving Sanitation Benefit Health? (podcast)

PODCAST: Does Improving Sanitation Benefit Health?

Description In this podcast, Oliver Cumming, Policy & Research Manager at SHARE, discusses whether improving sanitation benefits health and explains how a sanitation campaign in rural India has led to a rethink about future interventions. This podcast was first published on 23/10/14 by LSHTM.

Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy

Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy, October 2014. SHARE, WSSCC.

The approach utilizes a baseline cross-sectional survey to quantify  WASH practices and reported health history among a randomly-selected subset of girls and women from each of the four life-course groups in tribal, rural, and urban areas of Odisha, and a set of overlapping sub-studies each testing focused hypotheses about pathways between sanitation access, SRPS, hygiene behaviour and health.

Some Key Findings (for Practitioners):

  • While most sanitation challenges are universal for women, their  relative severity and frequency differed in urban, rural, and tribal areas and among young women, married women, and older adults. Strategies for improving latrine access and use could potentially utilize context-specific promotional strategies to
    encourage behaviour change.
  • Sanitation encompasses much more than defecation, specifically  within the Indian context. The act of defecation is embedded within other behaviours, including post-defecation cleaning, ritual bathing, and changing clothing; as well as menstrual management and urination. Strategies to improve sanitation
    coverage in India must be aware of how defecation practices are positioned within these larger behavioural patterns and responsive strategies are needed in order to facilitate adoption and use of sanitation technologies.

Measuring the Safety of Excreta Disposal Behavior in India with the New Safe San Index: Reliability, Validity and Utility

Measuring the Safety of Excreta Disposal Behavior in India with the New Safe San Index: Reliability, Validity and Utility. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8319-8346.

Marion W. Jenkins 1,2,*, Matthew C. Freeman 3 and Parimita Routray 2
1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA
2 Environmental Health Group, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK
3 Department of Environmental Health, Rollings School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Abstract: Methods to assess household excreta disposal practices are critical for informing public health outcomes of efforts to improve sanitation in developing countries. We present a new metric, the Safe San Index (SSI), to quantify the hygienic safety of a household’s defecation and human feces disposal practices in India, where behavioral outcomes from on-going public expenditures to construct household sanitation facilities and eliminate open defecation are poorly measured. We define hygienic safety of feces disposal as capture in a hygienic sanitation facility.

The SSI consists of 15 self-report items and two sub-scales, Latrine Use Frequency and Seven-Day Open Defecation Rate. Households are scored on a standardized scale from 0 (no defecation safely captured) to 100 (all defecation safely captured). We present results of a pilot study in Odisha, India to apply the Index to assess excreta disposal behaviors among rural households and evaluate the reliability and validity of the Index for estimating the rate of correct and consistent sanitation facility usage of household with an improved latrine.