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Flush N Pride

Towards a cleaner and healthier society

In census 2011 of India revelation that 7 out of 10 people lack access to toilet (for urban it is 2 out of 10), Flush and Pride a campaign aimed at developing the nationwide worsening scenario of sanitation drastically and to counter other issues linked with it such as public health and maintaining the dignity of women through construction of 8 world class public toilets was launched by Abhinav. The campaign seeks support of public in the form community participation to turn it into a successful sanitation movement.

The story of Flush and Pride starts with Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. The district is rightly called sugar bowl of India due to sugar industry. But as far as infrastructure pertaining to proper sanitation is concerned, the district lags behind. It was observed that there is no facility of toilets in the urban area. The toilets if present at urban area were in ramshackle status. This situation had adverse effect on women as there were few or no options available in the area, not even Railway station of the city. This had severe implications on the society and was a major cause of open defecation. Open defecation was one of the serious issues in rural as well as urban area. To tackle this issue and to eradicate the tradition of employing manual scavengers, the District Authorities have taken several initiatives, but the problem was a conundrum for District Authority.

Contemplating the issues evolved out of above situations, Abhinav made an effort to provide high quality facilities related to basic amenities public toilets equipped with innovation and world class facilities in different areas of Muzaffarnagar district. The construction of these public toilet was funded by Muzaffarnagar Development Authority (MDA) was taken up by the NGO “Abhinav”. The organization took an initiative for constructing 8 world class public complexes which is running on the pay and use basis. Hundreds of peoples are using these toilets on daily basis and such facility is first of its kind in the entire city.

Modern technologies have been used in the construction of these world class public toilets and keeping the local condition in mind, the proper arrangement for natural light and ventilation have been made to provide facility to women. A total of 4 toilets out of which 2 are of western style and rest two are of Indian style. In gents toilets, 3 for urinal with highly innovative sensor have been installed while in ladies toilets, 3 baby urinals have been installed. Proper arrangements for physically handicapped people have also been made in ladies as well as gents toilets. Water cooler with aqua guard water purifier has been installed in the promises to provide clean drinking water. The toilet flaunts over 800 mt land and is providing world class facilities and is available to the public on pay and use basis.

The toilets have made attraction by facing on the inner and outer walls of the toilets to prevent wastage of water push-baps have been installed on the washbasin. Proper arrangements and efforts have been made to economize on water usage. For recharging water coming out toilets and septic tanks, Abhinav has constructed around 25 low cost recharge pits and used this technology for recharging the pits. The conduction and maintenance of toilets is being carried out under Abhinav's flush and pride campaign. For this, one male and one female sanitation worker has been appointed for keeping the toilet clean and maintained. They got full training support for maintaining the modern style toilet. Besides this, Transport Nagar and Shukratal, a place of mythological relevance has got 2 and 3 toilets respectively. The objective behind Transport Nagar project was to provide toilet facilities for truckers who have no other option than to go for open defecation.

Under this campaign, the organization provides clean drinking water in rural and urban areas as well as drinking water and sanitation committee has been formed. The objective of this committee was to facilitate availability of clean drinking water, to help in the construction of toilets, and infrastructural development of village and city by undertaking various useful actions. The organization carried out complete cleanliness campaign in the rural areas where rural peoples were encouraged to cooperate in constructing toilets so as to keep their surrounding clean. An effort made by the organization was to build toilets in the homes of families who comes in the below poverty line (BPL) and have not sufficient income to do so. As part of this initiative, Abhinav has constructed 147 toilets in the last year, and this year, 4 toilets at Sahawali Block Sadar, 6 toilets for BPL families at Muzaffarnagar, and build toilet complex for shelter-less women in old age ashram at Shukratal where two toilets and two bathrooms of Indian style has been created and new sanitary tools have been used. Thus, a total of 158 toilets were constructed and hence provided individual toilet facilities to 12000 poor families. The selection of the sites were based upon the observation made through a survey that around 15 - 20 thousand people pass by the area making the place an ideal site for such an initiative. The people lives in Muzaffarnager are using these toilets. It is especially helpful for ladies who will, no more have to feel ashamed of going for toilet in open and this ensures their privacy, dignity and security. The toilets have been given grand appearance by land-scarping the land lying spare outside the toilet premises.

Abhinav has been a spearhead in not only construction of low cost sanitation units through sanitary two pit pour flush latrines with superstructures and appropriate variations to suit local conditions in EWS household but also promote the concept of doing away with the practice of defecating in the open in urban areas. The organization has promoted the facilities from dry toilets to water flow toilets in districts of Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, J.P. Nagar, Badaun, Raebareli, and Allahabad and the counting is still on. The organization built a total of 10,000 toilets which are being used by the beneficiaries. These toilets are frequently used by the BPL families but they cannot afford the cleaning and maintenance of toilets due to their limited source of income. For the maintenance and proper use of these toilets, the organization has conducted several trainings, workshops and seminars for the beneficiaries in the district of Muzaffarnagar at Purkaji, Budana, Meerapur, Jansath, J.P. Nagar, and Allahabad. Although the activity of scavengers have been controlled. The organization has identified such families and distributed over 2000 health and hygiene/sanitation kit to them on quarterly basis. The families get a kit of 3 months which includes 4 soaps, 2 harpics, 1 toilet cleaning brush, and 1 phenyl. This year, the organization has given toilet cleaning kit to total 200 families and provided sanitation facilities to 12000 poor families.

The initiative turned campaign now, has the objective of availing every citizen of India access to toilet to develop the sanitation scenario in the country. Abhinav believes that eradicating sanitation will help in lowering expenses in health issues and develop the standard of living people.

Pay and Use Concept

1. Quality service delivery
The technologies developed by Abhinav have attracted various agencies towards management of human waste. These have been fully or partially supported by different departments of the Government of India. The pay and use concept in public toilets is saving local bodies considerable expenditure annually in the maintenance the complexes. Now, it is only a one-time investment towards construction. The maintenance of the toilets is paid for from the users’ contribution. Since Abhinav takes maintenance guarantee of the system, there is a continuous public participation with the projects.

2. Financial viability
As human excreta are generally considered repugnant in society, it was difficult for people with this mind-set to even consider financial investment in projects relating to the disposal of human waste. Abhinav, however has made it financially viable. The cost of construction of the toilet complex is met by the local body. The maintenance of toilets and day to day expenses met from the user’s payments. Abhinav does not depend on external agencies for financing as it is generated through internal resources. All the toilet complexes in the slums and less developed areas are not self-sustaining. The maintenance of such toilets is cross subsidised from the income generated from the busier toilet complexes in the urban and developed areas.

3. Elimination of social stigma and psychological taboo
Earlier there was a social stigma and psychological taboo human excreta and only people of the lowest economic strata were associated with these programmes. Through the efforts of Abhinav, by making the projects financially viable, people of higher social status are also competing to join in this venture without undue psychological inhibitions.

4. Employment opportunity
Altogether there are Associate Members/Voluntary Associate Members working with the Abhinav organization which include technocrats, professional managers, scientists, engineers, social scientists, doctors, architects and planners along with other support staff. Since, Abhinav takes a 30 years’ maintenance guarantee for the toilet complexes it has constructed, all workers associated with Abhinav, get almost regular employment. Besides, workers associated with construction jobs are engaged on new sites throughout the year.
It is now accepted that improving sanitation has a direct impact on health and in turn, also on overall productivity and the quality of life of the common people. In India improvement in sanitation is directly related to social up gradation of scavengers. The onsite treatment of human waste and wastewater treatment is the best suited option available to tackle the problem effectively. Any economically viable technology have the least operational maintenance costs is more applicable in India.

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