Case Examples: Sanitation Services

Cost-Effective and Appropriate Sanitation Systems; Sulabh International Social Service Organization, India

India has a population of 952 million where the urban centers account for 27% of the population and covers an area of 3.3 million sq. km. 85% of the population i.e., over 750 million people practiced an open-air defecation and use of bucket latrines resulting in health and environmental hazards Sulabh International (NGO) initiated a cost-effective sanitation system in 1970. It converts dry/bucket privies to sanitary toilets, supplies toilets to houses where no latrines existed before, provides well designed and maintained community facilities, trains and rehabilitates scavengers to find other jobs and generates bio-gas from public toilets for energy generation. Sulabh International has also forged close co-ordination and partnership with the government, local authorities and the communities involved.

Results to date include 1 million toilets and 4000 "pay and use" community toilets serving more than 11 million people daily, liberating 40,000 "scavengers". 240 towns have been made scavenger free. Due to this success, state and local governments have started to implement the sanitation program all over the country. Finding that affordable and sustainable technology is available and that institutional capacity has been built to train "scavengers", the Government of India has passed legislation to ban "scavenging" in the country. The program is being replicated in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania and Kenya. The project’s impact on health, sanitation as well as on a socially excluded group; high level of replicability of the technologies and the partnership between various sectors has been recognized by various environmental agencies.

Reference: Best practices and Lessons Learnt Unit –UNCHS (Habitat)


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