Tag Archives: India

The surprising truth of open defecation in India – Sangita Vyas

Published on Jul 31, 2015

In this TEDx Talk Sangita Vyas shares the unheared and little understood reality of open defecation in India.

Its a well known fact that most of the open defecation in the world happens in India, social scientists and the government were struggling to understand why? Is it because we don’t have enough toilets? Is it because we don’t have enough money? The enormity of the problem was getting worse, 300,000 children lose their lives to preventable diseases related to sanitation and open defecation and most rural children face physical and mental stunting.

The answer as Sangita found in her country wide survey – is couter intuitive and very surprising. Listen to her talk to know the surprising truth of open defecation in India.

Sangita is broadly interested in the politics and economics of inequality and making services work in India.

She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received a BS from the University of Pennsylvania. After college, Sangita spent several years working in New York in economic consulting but soon became discontent and moved to India where she oversaw a randomized evaluation of a micro-insurance program for farmers in Gujarat with the Centre for Microfinance.

Sangita holds an MPA in Economics and Public Policy with a Concentration in Urban Policy from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

 

Water.org launches Water and Sanitation Challenge for India

Win US$ 250,000 for you idea on how to ensure that low-income households in India get water and sanitation services.

India-Water[dot]org

Photo: Water.org

How can market-based approaches expand water and sanitation solutions among low-income households in India? This is the question that the Water and Sanitation Challenge seeks to answer.

The Challenge is an initiative of Water.org and OpenIDEO. It focusses on accelerating efforts that meet some specific criteria – such as developing local partnerships and having operations on the ground in India.  Top Ideas will be considered for approximately US$ 250,000 and mentorship from Water.org.

For more information read the challenge brief at: www.water.org/challenge

The deadline for idea submission is March 7th, 2016.

Voice of America – Millions Shun India’s Innovations in Solving Sanitation Problems

Millions Shun India’s Innovations in Solving Sanitation Problems | Source: Voice of America, Feb 18, 2016 |

In Geeta Colony, a crowded slum in the Indian capital, 45-year-old Meena Devi said she would rather walk into open areas in the vicinity of her tiny home for defecation than wait in snaking lines at the “filthy” community toilets. “The toilets are in terrible condition, there is no sewer system. Then they shut the doors at night,” she said.

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FILE – Indian men attend to their morning chores next to a sewage canal before they leave for work early morning in New Delhi, India, Dec. 12, 2014.

Across Indian villages and towns, the government has accelerated a drive to build millions of toilets as it makes ending open defecation by an estimated 600 million people a rallying cry. Some 9 million toilets have been built since the campaign was launched a little over a year ago.

Shifting Social Norms

But sanitation experts say the campaign is faltering as many of the latrines lie unused. It is not just community toilets in festering urban slums that have discouraged people like Meena Devi from changing old habits. Tens of thousands of independent latrines built for village households are also shunned – mostly due to age-old cultural resistance to using them.

Read the complete article.

 

UN ESCAP – Demand for household sanitation: The case of India

Demand for household sanitation: The case of India, 2016. UN ESCAP.

Worldwide, India has the highest number of people defecating in the open. In an attempt to reduce number of open defecation, a supply side initiative is underway. In 2014-2015, Government of India, constructed 8 million toilets. However, an important aspect for this supply-side initiative to become successful is to create demand for toilets.

In this paper we look at household demand for toilets, and study the factors leading to open defecation. Using Demographic and Health Survey data we create a wealth index, and use it to rank household preference for toilets vis-à-vis 20 other different consumer durables.

Our results suggest, among lists of household items that any individual want to have, toilets get a lower preference – ranked 12, out of 21. Additionally, we examine preference structure for using toilets among residents from various federal states in India. We find residents of North Eastern states are more likely to use toilets.

We further investigate factors leading to toilet usage among households. Results indicate a strong case for imparting education and public awareness, especially, among the female cohort.

Sanitation and child health in India

Sanitation and child health in India, 2015. Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Paul Rodriguez-Lesmes (UCL).

Our study contributes to the understanding of key drivers of stunted growth, a factor widely recognized as major impediment to human capital development. Specifically, we examine the effects of sanitation coverage and usage on child height for age in a semi-urban setting in Northern India.

We use instrumental variables to control for endogeneity of sanitation usage coverage. We find that sanitation coverage plays a significant and positive role in height growth during the first years of life.

WSSCC increases support to Swachh Bharat Mission

The Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has announced that it will amplify its support to the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the Government of India’s (GOI) programme to achieve a Clean India by 2019, by establishing an in country India Support Unit and bolstering its work linked to the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF).

The government has welcomed these moves, which enhance WSSCC’s normative and implementation work to improve access and use, equality, knowledge and collaboration in sanitation and hygiene. WSSCC has appointed Mr. Vinod Mishra, previously the organization’s volunteer National Coordinator, to the position of National Officer in a new India Support Unit (ISU). Mr. Mishra will lead a WSSCC team of three professionals, including Ms. Kamini Prakash, an Equality and Non Discrimination Officer, and Ms. Sanchita Ghosh, a Knowledge and Learning Officer, based in Delhi. The unit will coordinate WSSCC support to SBM on policy and monitoring guidelines, capacity building and rapid action learning.

Credit: Anil Teegala

Credit: Anil Teegala

In addition, WSSCC’s work through the Global Sanitation Fund-supported programme managed by NRMC India Private Ltd. will include four additional elements: extension of field operations in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam; support to the Namami Ganga Mission (NGM) within SBM; support to Bihar State on a “District Approach” to collective behaviour change; and facilitation of peer exchanges with neighbouring States in Northern India. Collectively, these additions respond to the Government’s aims to expand and share through successful sanitation programming.

These additional elements build on an already successful GSF programme which, since 2010, has been instrumental working in those three States with high open defecation rates, to establish the modalities for implementing collective behaviour change at scale, an essential pathway to the practical realization of SBM. To date, WSSCC has facilitated open defecation free status for Gram Panchayats in Jharkhand and Bihar. As of July 2015, the GSF programme has empowered 551,000 people to live in open defecation free villages, and 1.4 million people to gain access to improved sanitation in India. “The Swachh Bharat Mission is a call to action for finally ending the practice of open defecation and ensuring equal access to sanitation and hygiene,” says Dr. Chris W. Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC. “We aim to answer that call and work together to solve the serious and deep rooted sanitation challenges for the well-being, prosperity and very survival of India’s 1.2 billion citizens.”

Since 1990, WSSCC has worked closely through its individual members, National Coordinators and partners to support improved access to sanitation and hygiene. In the past five years alone, the Council held the first Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene in Mumbai, facilitated innovative sanitation programming through the GSF, and worked with the Government of India and States to transform sanitation policy and practice to include safe menstrual hygiene management with dignity, responding to the demands of hundreds of millions of women whose monthly periods were hitherto linked to pollution and impurity and therefore shame and indignity.

More recently, along with other partners, WSSCC contributed to the design of the SBM to include equity, innovation, rapid action and learning, and sustainability aspects before it was launched in October 2014. In 2015, GOI called upon WSSCC to organize the first ever national workshop to define the verification of open defecation free (ODF) status in India, followed by the first national sharing of innovations, best practices and failures in sanitation and hygiene. On equity, the Indian example and experience has been leveraged systematically to forge partnerships, innovations and guidelines wider in South Asia and in Africa. Inclusive WASH has also been clearly articulated in regional declarations and hygiene and sanitation proposals for the Sustainable Development Goals. “In a country where pervasive caste and gender inequalities threaten life itself, over 300 million women and girls in India try to squat in a sari, while holding a cup of water to cleanse themselves and keeping an eye out for molesters. Imagine how much more complex and impossible this becomes every month during a woman’s menstrual period!” says Ms. Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, WSSCC. “It is time for the entire development community to unite behind this cause.”

Mr. Mishra added: “The deleterious impacts of poor sanitation and hygiene on health, productivity and well-being extend well beyond India, which is responsible for 60% of the world’s total open defecation, and is nothing short of a global emergency. WSSCC’s amplified engagement will therefore lead to successes and solutions which will not only tackle the emergency here, but help elsewhere.”

Find out more about WSSCCs work in India and in other countries: www.wsscc.org

Why Using Patriarchal Messaging to Promote Toilets is a Bad Idea

Why Using Patriarchal Messaging to Promote Toilets is a Bad Idea | Source: The Wire, June 2015 |

The struggles for women’s empowerment and improving sanitation are both harmed by using patriarchal messages to encourage construction of toilets.

An excerpt: Impact of patriarchal messages

In our empirical research on sanitation and health in rural India, we have become used to seeing patriarchal messages to promote the construction of toilets. Slogans like “Bahu betiyan bahar na jayein, Ghar mein hi shauchalay banvayein” [“Daughters and Daughters-in-law shouldn’t go outside, build a toilet inside your house”] are now painted across walls and toilets in rural India. Through these slogans, men are encouraged to build a toilet not because it will prevent the spread of disease and germs, but because their patriarchal values should not allow women to go outside the house.

Further, the idea of ghoonghat, or keeping women covered, is used in behaviour change messages in rural Rajasthan. In large banners and in yearly calendars, in government offices and on village walls, the Rajasthan government uses a picture of a woman carrying a lota filled with water. In the poster, the woman is being asked by her daughter, “Maa, ghar mein ghoonghat tera saathi, fir kyun shuach khule mein jaati” [“Mother, when you cover your head inside the house, how come you go in the open to defecate”].  messaging

The poster and the slogan use patriarchal logic to point out the inconsistency between practicing ghoonghat and defecating in the open. In the process, this message associates the use of toilets with women, endorses the practice of ghoonghat, and encourages the idea that the right place for a women are the char-diwari of the ghar (four walls of the house).

Read the complete article in: The Wire, June 2015