Policy and advocacy for sanitation

Discussion note on sanitation policy and practice in India

Background discussion note on sanitation policy and practice prepared by Vinod Mishra (India Country Coordinator, WSSCC) and Robert Chambers (Research Associate, IDS) on the occasion of the Jaipur Rural Sanitation Sharing Forum 'What works at scale? Distilling the critical success factors for scaling up rural sanitation' which was held from the 5-7 February 2014.
Date: 11 March 2014

The untold story of India’s sanitation failure, Addendum

Three months ago, a paper dealing with the causes of the failure of the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in India and written by Brian Bell and myself, was published in the journal Water Policy. A very succinct summary: the TSC –the national rural sanitation campaign of India between 1999 and 2012– was a ‘good’ policy on paper, but yielded very poor results. Its valuable core principles –community-led, people-centred, demand-driven and incentive-based– did not happen in practice. The result: millions of latrines ‘planted’ throughout the country without any involvement or appropriation by the ‘beneficiaries’, severely affecting sustainability. We identified five main causes behind the theory-practice gap in the TSC: low political priority; flawed monitoring; distorting accountability and career incentives; technocratic and paternalistic inertia; and corruption.

CLTS in rural north India

India is the country with the biggest open defecation problem in the world.  In India, open defecation is practiced by more than half of households and by about 67% percent of rural households.  In fact, 60 percent of people anywhere who defecate in the open live in India.  This widespread lack of sanitation, combined with India’s high population density, poses important health threats for children. 

Are children in West Bengal shorter than children in Bangladesh?

Children in West Bengal and Bangladesh are presumed to share the same distribution of genetic height potential. In West Bengal they are richer, on average, and are therefore slightly taller. However, when wealth is held constant, children in Bangladesh are taller. This gap can be fully accounted for by differences in open defecation, and especially by open defecation in combination with differences in women’s status and maternal nutrition.

Date: 19 February 2014

My hang up

my hang up
When we started the switching study – a qualitative research project on latrine adoption in 4 regions of South Asia – I was pretty nervous. Sangita’s already told you about our lifestyle in the field—lots of people on one floor, cold baths and long lines for the bathroom in the morning. Though I must say having our own cook is pretty posh compared to other data collection projects I’ve worked on. But the thing I was most concerned about was how awkward it was going to be to ask people about where and how they poop. Can you imagine if someone came to your house and started asking you about your toilet habits?

Response to The Hindu’s recent editorial on sanitation

rice- India latrine
We recently spoke with a retired public servant who built a latrine about a year ago that is used by only three of the thirteen people in his family. He told us that “if a man wants to stay healthy, then he should [defecate] outside,” and that in his village “you’ll find a latrine in everyone’s house, but I don’t want to go in one…I think going in latrines is disgusting.” This man’s beliefs were far from unique. Many of the people that we spoke with in rural Haryana felt similarly.

Sanitation goals

Pakistan faces a crisis that threatens the lives of millions of Pakistanis every year. It is also a crisis which in its resolution offers the potential for increased wealth, health and dignity for the whole country.
This crisis is about access to water and, in particular, sanitation, the most basic of daily human needs, human rights recognised in international conventions to which Pakistan is a signatory. However, they are still out of reach for many ordinary Pakistanis.

A radical approach is changing Nepal's public sanitation

For several months last year, Pramala Balami, 14, went out every morning with a group of other children in her village, looking for people defecating in the open. The Children’s Club in the Chitlang Village Development Committee in Makwanpur district in Nepal was one of the groups mobilized by local authorities in their drive to make their area an open-defecation-free zone.

Build latrines or face eviction

A traditional leader in Serenje District has given his subjects a one-week ultimatum to build pit latrines or face eviction from his chiefdom. Chief Kabamba of the Lala people in Central Province has warned that he will evict some 300 families from his chiefdom unless they dig pit latrines by November 29 this year. The traditional leader's seven-day ultimatum to construct pit latrines in the villages is in a bid to enhance sanitation in his chiefdom.


Subscribe to RSS - Policy and advocacy for sanitation