Taking a holistic approach to sanitation in India

In 2010, the UN released statistics showing more people had access to a mobile phone in India than a toilet. Around 45 percent of the population had access to a mobile phone, while only around 31 percent had a toilet. Today, of the 1 billion people that practice open defecation, around 60 percent, or almost 600 million, live in India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to ending open defecation with his Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign is inspiring, and it is great to see a willingness to tackle the challenge head on from so many groups and government representatives in India. The government has committed to building 111 million toilets by 2019. However addressing the supply of toilets through a massive infrastructure drive will not solve the sanitation challenge in India.

A holistic approach is needed to effectively address the sanitation challenge in India and see the ambitious Swachh Bharat mission succeed. This holistic approach will need to encompass many elements including:
1. Appropriate toilet technology and design.
2. Supply models and micro-financing for households.
3. Provision of sanitation infrastructure.
4. Training for the cleaning and maintenance of public, communal and school toilets.
5. Models for school sanitation.
6. Promoting Sanitation and hygiene awareness.
7. And driving demand and tackling behavioural change to end open defecation.

It will require effective coordination between all of the parties working towards a Swachh Bharat.

World Toilet Organization is already working with partners including government ministries, state governments, NGOs and private sector partners on a number of exciting new projects in India.

WTO boosting Singapore-India Collaboration in Swachh Bharat
Just last week, WTO Founder Jack Sim was appointed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu as Co-convenor for the state’s Swachh AP mission, to advise on best practices and a holistic model for sanitation. Mr Sim will act as co-convenor jointly with the Honourable Speaker of the AP Legislative Assembly Dr. Kodela Siva Prasada Rao.

Behavioural Change Campaign
Together with our partners we’re developing an aspirational marketing campaign to reposition the toilet as a desirable lifestyle item and drive demand for toilets. Stay tuned for more details…

Working with religious leaders
We recently signed an MoU with the Global Interfaith Wash Alliance and Ganga Action Parivar to collaborate with the group to drive awareness and behavioural change in India through a number of initiatives, including a film.


Model for school sanitation
We are also developing a model for the cleaning and maintenance of school toilets across India, to be piloted in one state.

And we have many other exciting initiatives in the ‘pipelines’. Only by working together will we see 111 million toilets not only built, but being fully utilised as they were intended, and an end to open defecation in India.

Please get in touch by emailing partnerships@worldtoilet.org if you are interested in working with WTO for our projects in India.


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