13 children under the age of 5 die every hour in India due to diarrhoea (WHO 2015). Where people do not have clean water and sanitation, diseases spread fast.

For girls and women, the lack of toilets also affects their privacy and safety – they often wait until dark to find a quiet place to defecate, which increases the risk of being harassed. Without toilets in schools, children are left to defecate in the open. This makes them vulnerable to diarrhoeal illnesses and causes them to miss school.

WaterAid and rural sanitation

Sanitation is at the core of our programmes delivery and through our advocacy and campaigns, we raise awareness of the fact that improvements in sanitation are key to the success of many other areas of development – including health, environment, education, housing and infrastructure. Some key highlights from our work are –

  • In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, we provide technical support to the district and state governments to ensure access to toilets by everyone, everywhere. Our key focus is to form community cadres, make the mandated institutions (such as schools and health centres) self-reliant, promote hygiene education, and ensure access to toilets by disabled people and the most marginalised. We have also initiated models around solid and liquid waste management in selected gram panchayats in collaboration with State Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • In south region, we facilitate the process of building models around sanitation and water security in the communities. Basti Vikas Manch (village development committee) is one of our key strengths in terms of community cadres.
  • In Chhattisgarh, we work with the government to manage solid and liquid waste. In terms of technical support, we strengthen the efforts of local government and concerned officials and demonstrate appropriate cost effective technology for clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
  • In Odisha, we have initiated work to create community level disaster resilient models for access to clean water and decent toilets in coastal regions. The models include household level bio-digester toilets.
  • The programme also entails promoting strong community cadres in form of Nari Nirmal Awas Samiti in urban slums. These collective primarily interface to demand access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.

Our approach

To ensure that the improvements we advocate are long-term, we promote behaviour change and work with communities to review various sanitation options so they can make informed decisions about which best meets their needs.

Children, pregnant women, disabled and the elderly often require toilets which cater to their specific needs. By devising simple and long-lasting solutions, we intend to provide specific solutions for specific individuals and communities. We use a mix of practices to be able to reach out to everyone, everywhere:

  • Promote behaviour change through campaigns and community mobilisation activities.
  • Strengthen mandated institutions, such as schools and anganwadis, by providing technical support and advice.
  • We address the sanitation chain to make sure human waste is safely managed, including transportation or storage, treatment, and disposal or re-use. ODF sustainability and Solid Liquid Waste Management.
  • Building community cadres/ collectives, ensuring participation of disable, women and children in process.

Key impact

Building on from our models on the ground have helped influence the district governments to integrate inclusive designs as part of the annual planning. District-wide solid and liquid waste management plans are being developed with support from the local government. We also lead training sessions for community-led total sanitation. At the state level, we have also been a part of facilitating processes of state resource groups in states, such as Uttar Pradesh.

Furthermore, the state resource group will support the State Sanitation Missions. This includes training sessions with district functionaries and other technical assistance. We have been a part of the independent validation and learning processes, including social audits to ensure improvements in data quality and monitoring systems especially in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Know our niche and themes on which WaterAid India works.

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How our work is changing the lives of people across India.