Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) Immersive Research

Praxis, Institute of Development Studies and WaterAid undertook an immersive research to learn from the experiences of districts that had been declared open defecation free. The researchers lived for a few days with families in selected villages, learning open-endedly from lived experience, observation and conversations. The main report sums up the key findings and suggests ways to strengthen the Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin; the policy and practice note presents actionable recommendations; and the methodology note describes the activities, challenges, lessons learnt and guidance for use of the methodology by others.

Main Report

Developed by the Immersion Research Team from Institute of Development Studies, Praxis and WaterAid

Introduction

Launched by the Prime Minister in August 2014, the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) has been progressing at a rapid pace. Individual household latrine (IHHL) construction has accelerated, with estimates projecting 75-85 per cent coverage by October 20191. As a result, lakhs of villages and hundreds of districts have been declared open defecation free (ODF) across the country. However, reports2 state that despite an increased policy focus on toilet usage and strong promotion of communityled total sanitation (CLTS) methods, in many parts of the country, the SBM is implemented in a construction-focused and target-driven mode, which often leads to perverse incentives.

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Methodology Note

Developed by the Immersion Research Team from Institute of Development Studies, Praxis and WaterAid

Introduction

The IRA that we adopted was inspired by past experience with immersions1 and also by the Reality Check Approach2 (RCA) which has now been used for policy and poverty related research in over seven countries. In our immersive research, as in the RCA, immersions are undertaken in a few purposively selected communities. Researchers live with families, typically for 3-5 days and nights, and then meet together and compare findings. In their communities, they learn open-endedly from lived experience, observation for the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G).

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Policy and Practice Note

Developed by the Immersion Research Team from Institute of Development Studies, Praxis and WaterAid

Introduction

The Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) immersive research was carried out by the senior researchers from Praxis along with WaterAid and the Institute of Development Studies. In April, the researchers spent three nights and up to four days in each of a total of eight villages in Madhya Pradesh (3), Uttar Pradesh (2) and Rajasthan (3), in districts which had been declared open defecation free (ODF). The aim was to gain in-depth qualitative insights relevant for SBM-G, starting with an agenda of questions and issues and then exploring new topics that emerged as significant throughout the research.

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