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India

Project Update

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

*Due to the level of COVID-19, infection rates and the pressure the healthcare system is under, WaterAid India has taken the decision to pause all fieldwork. We are closely monitoring the situation and will soon review whether we can resume fieldwork in any capacity.*

The Context

60% of people in India have access to a decent toilet, that’s over 540 million people. Further, every hour 13 children under the age of five die due to diarrhoea. Where people do not have clean water and sanitation, diseases spread fast. While decent toilets and sanitation should be a normal part of daily life for everyone, everywhere, for many people in the urban areas, small towns and rural landscapes in India, they are not. Without access to basic sanitation, people suffer ill-health, miss out on an education and lack opportunities to support themselves and their families.

The Problem We Will Solve

A key area of the sanitation crisis in India that we will focus on is the stigmatisation of urban sanitation workers, which is currently a deep-rooted issue. Sanitation workers are responsible for cleaning out pits and septics tanks, which often sees men and women physically removing human waste with their hands, usually without any protection or proper equipment.

Ensuring our contact with human waste ends when we leave the toilet is one of the most important jobs in society, yet around the world sanitation workers are mostly unseen and unappreciated. They face stigmatisation around the nature of their work and discrimination based on caste, ethnicity and religion.

Access to decent toilets that properly manage waste is a human right and forms part of The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6. We will need many more sanitation workers across the world if we are to achieve this ambitious target.

The Proposed Solutions

Due to the level of COVID-19, infection rates and the pressure the healthcare system is under, WaterAid India has taken the decision to pause all fieldwork. We are closely monitoring the situation and will soon review whether we can resume fieldwork in any capacity.

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

WaterAid/CS Sharada Prasad/Safai Karmachari Kavalu Samiti

What We Have Learnt

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Gangalappa, 50, is a sanitation worker who performs manual sewer servicing to clear residential blockages in Bangalore, India. “I am over 50 years old now. I have been working as a sanitation worker for more than 30 years. Many things end up in large sewers. The water in the large sewer is knee-deep and sometimes comes to waist level and has all sorts of creatures in it - snakes, birds, rats. When I had to go home, I could not take a bus or rickshaw. I was stinking because of a rotten cow. I walked for two hours to get home. Even while walking I had to stay as far away from the public as possible.”

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