Giving Compass’ Take:
• This post from the India Development Review examines the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), which is trying to end open defecation in India through affordable toilet construction. One research project showed how context and a more localized approach is essential to SBM’s success.
• What can we learn from the findings of this research? One main takeaway is that engaging with a community on implementation (not just awareness) is key to any major undertaking.
The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) launched on October 2, 2014 aims to end open defecation in India by October 2019. The SBM aims to construct 11 crore toilets in 5 years, to be able to achieve its goal.
Some have argued that the SBM policy framework is merely a continuation of the shortcomings of the NBA, and that ending open defecation by constructing toilets cannot fully realize the fundamental right to sanitation. Our field visits across different districts showed that households despite having toilets built, were not being used. A 2015 CAG report on the NBA echoed this in their five year audit of the program, stating that “more than 30% of Individual Household Latrines (IHHLs) were defunct/non-functional for reasons like poor quality of construction, incomplete structure, non-maintenance, etc.”
It is in this context that Public Affairs Centre (PAC), engaged in a research-to-action project to assess and advocate for community-led participation in the SBM-G (G-Gramin) in two diametrically opposite administrative spectrums in terms of implementation: the states of Odisha and Tamil Nadu. According to government data, the former was a worse-performing state and the latter a better-performing one; we focused on six districts in each state.
Read the full article about the Swachh Bharat Mission by Dr Annapoorna Ravichander and Varsha Pillai at India Development Review (via WASHfunders).
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