Tag Archives: open defecation

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF


Swachh Bharat  website photo

The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015


African Ministers renew commitment to sanitation and hygiene

The AfricaSan4 conference (25-27 May) ended with a declaration defining the vision and aspirations of the African Ministers in charge of hygiene and sanitation.


African ministers in charge of sanitation and hygiene under their umbrella body African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) have expressed their commitment to achieve universal access to adequate and sustainable sanitation and hygiene services and eliminate open defecation by 2030. They reinforce their committment by promising to increase annually the sanitation and hygiene budget lines “to reach a minimum of 0.5% GDP by 2020”. This is contained in a declaration issued by the ministers at the closure of AfricaSan4 in Ngor, Dakar, Senegal.

The declaration acknowledges that while 133 million people living in Africa have gained access to sanitation since 1990, over 500 million still lack access and many more still defecate in the open.

The Ministers’ commitments address a wide range of issues that must be tackled to improve sanitation and hygiene including: political leadership; financing; monitoring and evaluation; equity and inclusion; research and learning among others. The Ministers also call upon all stakeholders to play different roles to achieve the vision. The commitments contained in the Ngor Declaration 2015, replace the eThekwini commitments of 2008.

Lydia IRC UgandaBy Lydia Mirembe, Communication and knowlegde management advisor | IRC Uganda

This news item was originally published on the IRC website, 29 May 2015

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].

Continue reading

Open Defecation in India by Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey

Open Defecation in India. EPW Economic & Political Weekly, December 6, 2014 vol xlix no 49

Authors: Assa Doron, Robin Jeffrey

This study identifies 11 issues that have inhibited the spread of a comprehensive sanitation programme. It emphasises the complexity of issues and helps avoid the facile targeting of the poor as deficient citizens, whose latrine practices are viewed as a “primitive” source of social disorder and disease. Recognition that many factors are involved and interrelated might also serve as a warning against patchwork policies that disregard local context in their haste to proclaim another district an “open defecation free zone”.

Making a stink: creating social media platforms to end #opendefecation



Make a stink -final posterThe UNICEF India WASH section is hosting a side event at the Stockholm World Water that builds on their poo2loo campign to promote the use of social nedia iniatives aimed at ending open defecation.

Journalist and author of The Big Necessity Rose George will moderate the event. Panel members Include: Stephen Brown (Global Poverty Project and Global Citizen, UK), Sanjay Wijesekera (UNICEF New York), Thorsten Kiefer (WASH United) and Sue Coates and Maria Fernandez (both from UNICEF India).

Make the Stink will be held from 12.30-14.00 on 3 September.

Register for the event

More information at: www.unicef.org/india/reallives_8970.htm

#CleanUpIndia: #Sanitation “All Stars” discuss plans to make India #opendefecation free

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up sanitation as a special cause. He would like to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019 by declaring India open defecation free. A noble goal, but is it realistic? The political will and financial commitment is there but can the shift in mindset from building infrastructure to behaviour change and ensuring toilet use and safe disposal be made?

As part of its #CleanUpIndia initiative, TV channel CNN – Indian Broadcasting Network (CNN – IBN) invited an “all star” cast of sanitation celebrities to discuss the Swach Bharat or Clean India campaign that Modi intends to launch in October 2014. What do they think needs to be done to clean up India for good?

In the line up are:

and invited guests:

India, Madhya Pradesh: sanitation campaign humiliates women, say critics

Controversial illustration from Madya Pradesh sanitation campaign booklet

Controversial illustration from Madya Pradesh sanitation campaign booklet

A government campaign to stop open defecation in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has been criticised for using humiliation to change behaviour. Journalist M. Poornima writes that the ambitious scheme called ‘Maryada Abhiyan’ (Hindi for dignity), “gives little of it to women”.

From catcalls to publishing names to photographing the people caught — the government booklet [1] suggests a number of measures meant to humiliate people. That it would hit women the hardest is not a thought that appears to have occurred to the authorities.

The criticism is backed up by WaterAid programme officer Binu Arickal, who called whistling at or photographing women practising open defecation “foolish”. This reflects a discussion started at the beginning of this year on community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and human rights in the SuSanA Forum, which was sparked by a journal article [2] by Jamie Bartram and others.

UNICEF contributed to the Maryada campaign booklet. The campaign’s brand ambassador is Anita Narre, the bride from a Madhya Pradesh who  sparked a “sanitation revolution” in her village by forcing her husband to build a toilet in their home.

[1] Madhya Pradesh. State Water and Sanitation Mission (2012?). Maryada Abhiyan: guideline. Available at: <http://washurl.net/42kkyn>

[2] Bartram, J. … [et al.] (2012). Commentary on community-led total sanitation and human rights: Should the right to community-wide health be won at the cost of individual rights?. Journal of water and health, 10(4), pp. 499–503. doi: 10.2166/wh.2012.205. Available at: <http://washurl.net/56qm77>

Related web sites:

Source: M. Poornima, No ‘maryada’ for women in MP govt’s sanitation drive, Hindustan Times, 24 Dec 2013