Giving Compass' Take:

• 3ie, Emory University, and Gram Vikas share collective learnings from sanitation efforts in India that reveal the importance of social inclusion. 

• How can projects better engage local communities? 

• Learn about WASH tools for donors

In November 2018, three teams working on sanitation in India came together for a learning exchange funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Members from Gram Vikas (GV), Emory University and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) visited villages in the Indian state of Odisha where both Emory and GV are implementing sanitation programmes alongside the Indian government’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

SBM’s goal is to achieve an open defecation-free India by October 2019.  This is a daunting task, as studies show that despite having access to a latrine, rural Indian households still prefer defecating in the open for a variety of reasons, such as the fear of having to empty the latrine pit and lack of water at, or near, the latrine. Odisha, in particular, is considered one of the slow performers under SBM. According to the National Family Health Survey (2015-16), only 35 percent of the households have access to an improved or unimproved latrine.

Emory and GV have taken very different approaches to promote latrine use. Leveraging our different organizational perspectives (evaluation funder, practitioner, and researcher), our goal for the exchange was to learn about how these sanitation behavior change programmes have worked on the ground. We were looking for answers to the questions of what works and doesn’t, to promote latrine use in rural Odisha, and how the lessons learned could inform future sanitation policy.

Read the full article about social inclusion in sanitation efforts by 3ie, Emory University, and Gram Vikas at India Development Review.