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
The government will assess the impact and sustainability of the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (Clean Village Award) scheme implemented between 2005-2008. The Department of Drinking Water Supply under the Ministry of Rural Development will conduct a survey, based on a methodology that it developed with UNICEF, in 12 states*.
The objective is to assess the impact of NGP [Nirmal Gram Puraskar] on the pace of progress of sanitation availability and usage in the country under TSC [Total Sanitation Campaign] and its related impacts on health, education, gender empowerment, social inclusion in rural areas on different user groups particularly the rural poor. This study will also assess the durability and sustainability on the provision and usage of sanitary facilities over time. The rational of this evaluation study will be to provide important evidence on the NGP component of the TSC. The Study will provide a national level report on assessment of impact of NGP.
The Government of India introduced the NGP incentive scheme in 2003 under its Total Sanitation Campaign to reward local government institutions at village, block and district level, that had achieved full sanitation coverage (for households, schools and day-care centres) and were declared open defecation free.
* States to be covered in NGP assessment survey
A 2008 UNICEF study on NGP villages found high levels of non-use of toilets (34%), and that only 34% of schools had separate toilets for girls and boys. In most villages the study found a “severe drop in efforts towards social mobilisation and monitoring of ODF status after the NGP award has been received. This has resulted in slippage of ODF status in many GPs and is a serious concern with respect to sustainability”.
Source: PIB, 13 May 2010 ; DDWS/Ministry of Rural Development, 11 May 2010 ; India Sanitation Portal – Nirmal Gram Puraskar
Feb 2 (PIB Feature): The afternoon session of the second day Bharat Nirman campaign held at Panthoibi Lampak started with a speech by Swamikanta Director Communication and Capacity Development Unit (CCDU) attached to the Public Health Engineering Department Government of Manipur. He said under the total sanitation campaign launched by the department 20,476 toilets have been constructed in Manipur break up being 11,513 for those belonging to BPL families and 8963 belonging to APL out of 263,254. 111 sanitary complexes have been constructed out of 386. He also said 1602 toilets for Government schools have been constructed. The target set to be covered is 3919 Government schools, he added. He said every family having six persons is entitled to get one toilet. If the family members exceed six persons they will be entitled to receive more toilets.
He said the main objects of the Total sanitary campaign are to bring about an improvement in the general quality of the life in rural areas, accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to enable them have access to toilets to all by 2012 and to motivate communities and panchayat institutions promoting sustainable sanitation facilities through awareness creation and health education among other things. Every year Nirmal Gram Puraskar Award is bestowed to the Panchayat which can have maximum number of toilets constructed in his area. The award for the year 2008 went to Gram Panchayat Maklang and the award for the year 2009 was bagged by Utlou Gram Panchayat. The aim and objects for institution of the award are to make total sanitation programme a success.
A BPL can get the facility of having free toilet by depositing just Rs 300, he also said. He informed the gathering that ecosan toilets will be constructed as an experiment in Manipur. In this case the human excreta will be used for useful purposes. On being pointed out that while some persons get the benefit of the Government programmes of constructing free toilets the others do not get the prestige of getting one, he rebuked saying this is total sanitary programme wherein the question of leaving applications do not arise. K. Kullachandra Consultant CCDU, PHED Manipur also participated in the discussion. He recited a poem that encouraged the masses to pay the thrust in the construction of toilets.
Source – KanglaOnline