India is an agrarian economy, utilizing approximately 80 percent of water for agriculture and due to the shrinking availability of water and the poor management of water resources, the Water and WASH problems in India are thus increasing. Majority of the population reside in either rural (64.61 percent) or urban slum (5.41 percent) areas and it becomes of top priority of government to cater and work towards providing them a clean and healthy surrounding. The Government of India launched Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) with an aim of providing accessible sanitary facilities. Under this project, more than 11.09 crore Individual Household Latrines(IHHL) and 2.18 lakh Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs) have been constructed.
Sanitation in Pimpri Chinchwad
PCMC has a total of 71 notified low-income settlements (slums) spread across the city. Due to the lack of space in the households, individual toilets constructed under the SBM were facing concerns and public toilets were a way out to solve this challenge. Thus, to provide safe and hygienic sanitation facilities to the communities, PCMC constructed160 community toilet blocks in 71 low-income settlements.
The overall operation and maintenance (O&M)responsibility of community toilets were handed to an externalvendor.
With the involvement of the vendor, the toiletsfacedoperation and maintenance issues and eventually, the number of users were reducing.There was a lack of ownership within the community and thus it was needed for PCMC to come up with a sustainable and inclusive solution.
Navi Disha–Towards a New Horizon
To address these challenges and provide an inclusive and sustainable solution, PCMC came up with the “Navi Disha - Community Toilet Model” which was envisaged to inculcate ownership among the community and improve the quality of community toilets with the involvement of women.
The Navi Disha was envisaged by undertaking consultive meeting with the women of various SHGs residing in the slum and chawl areas.Inclusion of women in these decision-making processesto ensure gender mainstreaming was the vision with which Navi Disha was conceptualized. Under the umbrella of Navi Disha, women groups were given livelihood opportunities and further their capacities were built depending upon the livelihood activity they were involved.
Navi Disha was conceptualized with an intention to reach the community, spread awareness, and improve the status of SHG women.
Objectives of Navi Disha- Community Toilet
a) Providing clean sanitation facilities to the residents of low-income settlements in a sustainable manner where community participation will be a focal point.
b) Evolve a sustainable operation and maintenance system of toilets for residential and floating population.
c) Establish a mechanism of demand driven approach in service delivery system in sanitation system.
d) Assist PCMC in promoting participatory mechanisms in improving health and sanitation conditions of the town.
e) Promoting ownership among the residents in the community initiatives
A total of 40 women groups, are involved in operating and maintaining of community toilet in 25 low-income settlements of Pimpri Chinchwad under Navi Disha: Community Toiler Model. The total number of beneficiaries who are provided quality sanitation facilities is over 30,000, who use these facilities daily. The future of PCMC is to increase the outreach in all its 72 slums in a phase manner.
The vision of Navi Disha- Community Toilet Model in a longer perspective was to develop the sense of ownership of the community toilet among the women group, as well as community.
Presently, 40 community toilets are being operated by the women groups in 25 low-income settlements of Pimpri Chinchwad. With as many as 71 notified low-income settlements in Pimpri Chinchwad, the Navi Disha concept is planned to be replicated.
Community toilet operated by the women groups are from their own community, as a reason the important behavior changes towards using the toilet and adopting to safe sanitation practice has been observed in the community. The community mobilization activities are undertaken by the women groups in their own community, resulting a positive behavior change.
For promoting the concept of Navi Disha- Community Toilet Model there is an annual revision in remuneration along with adopting an incentive model to boost the confidence of existing women groups and encourage more women to take up this initiative.
- 90- 100 SHG from 8 zone consisting of 800-900 participated in Pre IEC for identification of groups
- 17 social development coordinators were trained to replicate the model.
- Around 85 Zonal, IEC agencies, AHO and Sanitary inspector were trained on monitoring the toilets.
Navi Disha- Community Toilet Model is an initiative for engaging and empowering the women from weaker sections of the society. This gives an opportunity for the women to be equally engaged in the community and the process of improving their ability, dignity, and social value. With the women involved in taking key discussion for their community, a sense of pride is reflected from their confidence.
b) Community engagement & strengthening
Community engagement is the key aspect for implementing and adopting safe sanitation practices. The women groups involved in operating and maintaining the community toilet are from the same community, which makes it possible for the community to participate in the decision-making process leading to a collective decision.
The complete concept of Navi Disha- Community Toilet Model is developed with the prime focus on generating awareness on safe sanitation practice and use the community toilet. The women belonging from the same community understands the community better in comparison to any external vendor, thus mobilizing and generating greater awareness leading to behavior change.
d) Sense of ownership
Each slum or community area have their designated toilet, and now their community women group operating and maintaining the toilets, involving the community in the processes and decision making. Sense of ownership is thus developed by the women groups as well as the community.
Navi Disha provides a platform to the women from the weaker sections to get involved in the processes and activities which involve community participation. The women are consulted for the type of activity under Navi Disha which they want to be part of. With various trainings pertaining to their respective activity, (in this case- operating and managing the community toilet), their capacities are built. The women are provided with monthly remuneration by the PCMC. The community toilet model under Navi Disha is provide the women groups with income of INR 900 per seat every month by the PCMC.
With the adoption of safe and hygienic sanitation practices in the community, the rate of many viral spread diseases like Gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis etc., bacterial diseases like Campylobacteriosis, Leptospirosis, Salmonellosis, Shigellosis, Escherichia coli (E. Coli) and spread of Covid- 19 like diseases is reduced. In addition to this, the community toilet operated by the women groups ensured clean and hygienic surrounding near the toilets, ensuring environment protection.