What we do

Everything we do is about getting safe water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone, everywhere. We make change happen.
WaterAid/ Adam Ferguson

Sanitation

Around 560 million people, which is 44 per cent of the total population in India still defecate in the open.

sanitation-yellow

WaterAid India focuses on universal access to sanitation. Our approach recognises stopping open defecation (including disposal of child faeces in the open) as an immediate and urgent community-wide action. We also realise that universal toilet use (at household, school, institutions, and public places), and hygiene behaviour change are essential to make a substantial and sustainable impact on public health.

The sheer scale and severity of the sanitation crisis in India calls for urgent action. We work in collaboration with district administrations to achieve open defecation free (ODF) districts and progressively “Swachh Districts”, clean in all aspects. We are working closely with the government on Swachh Bharat Mission.

Key aspects of our work on sanitation include:

  • Trigger mass demand – unlocking demand for sanitation through community-led processes;
  • Support local governments and other institutions to stimulate a collective commitment from people to stop open defecation and develop plans for total sanitation (gram sabha resolutions plans);
  • Strengthen the availability of supporting resource skills (masons), materials, (slabs, rings, and cement blocks), and services (pit emptying, repairs and maintenance);
  • Promote technical options (EcoSan, pit toilets, toilets with bathing spaces) and ensure that these options include designs suitable for people with different needs;
  • Leadership development to promote champions who steer the movement from within;
  • Develop and capacitate village institutions (local government, water and sanitation committees, and frontline workers) to lead, own and manage the processes and change;
  • Promote the safe management of all wastes (wastewater, solid wastes) and use of excreta and solid waste as a resource;
  • Enable and empower communities in urban poor settlements to develop slum level WASH micro plans, and demand the urban local governments to ensure these plans are incorporated into larger city development plans and secure resources for implementation; and
  • Advocate for adequate focus (strategies and resource allocation) on behaviour change communication and monitoring systems for access, usage and outcomes.

Toilets needed to achieve universal access under the Swacch Bharat Mission

Sl. No. Toilet Type Total Required
1. Individual Toilets 11.11 crore
2. School toilets 56,928
3. Aanganwadi Toilets 107,695
4. Community Complexes 114,315

(Source: Swachh Bharat Mission, Draft Note Distributed among States for Discussion, 25th August 2014, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation)

Our work in India

We work with government institutions at the district, state and national-levels to inform them of the ground realities

Sanitation fact

We excrete close to 65,000 tonnes of faeces into the environment each day.

India is home to the world’s largest population of people who defecate in the open.