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Sanitation program for Urban Poor

As per Census 2001, around 3540000 population of district Muzaffarnagar where literacy rate is 62% and sex ratio is 872 females per 1000 males is lagging behind in terms of social indicators. The indicators point towards the low awareness and prevalence level for issues like sanitation and hygiene among the people. Government is expanding use of low cost pour-flush latrines in urban areas which eliminate the need of scavengers to empty buckets. In different states, there are several funding methods to support latrine construction. In Kerela, beneficiaries pay for latrine construction. Local authorities pay for pans and water seals and provide loans to beneficiaries. In Tamil Nadu, costs are covered by property taxes. In Gujarat, beneficiaries pay for costs, which are subsidized. Bihar has partnerships between local governments and non-profit voluntary groups. A comprehensive design method for tropical conditions and communal usage is being encouraged by the Government under ILCS. Hence, it is necessary to find low-cost technologies that can be marketed without subsidy and meet demand.

In the district, the work has been assigned to Abhinav for 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 main components that made a satisfactory sanitary environment included sewage, latrines, waste disposal, drinking water systems and hygiene at household level. Certain strategies were adopted and beneficiaries were identified for converting dry latrines into two pit pour flush latrines in various districts of Uttar Pradesh. Abhinav exposed the program of constructing low cost latrines, wet toilets, and conducted workshops and surveys to get exact number of existing dry toilets. Afterwards, the results of survey were discussed with E.O. and Chairman of local urban body and community. Abhinav also conducted a ward-wise household biometric survey which was submitted to DUDA. Further, workshops and seminars were organized for active community participation.

Abhinav built a cadre of volunteers called as town task force team which includes members of Government, user group, elected members, community influencers, NGO staff, etc. The team members worked within the community as peer educators and counselors. The street sanitation committees were actively involved in motivating the community for construction of toilets in their households. This helps in eradicating the existence of dry latrines from the society and build water seal latrines to provide privacy and convenience for especially women, children, old, and sick. This further reduces the risk of suffering from diseases like diarrhea and others. With Abhinav innovative low cost solutions, small groups of homeowners to construct and maintain their own household latrines and lane sewers. This would later be connected to municipal sewers and treatment plants.  Abhinav has simplified designs and standardized the parts whose household costs is about 50 per cent lower than those in similar government-financed schemes. An attempt was made to frame low cost potions within the context of necessary considerations, primarily the need to ensure community acceptability, cost effectiveness, and sustainability.

Major key elements under ILCS model propagated by Abhinav in Meerapur (Uttar Pradesh), is component sharing i.e. user community responsible for financing, implementing and managing the internal components of the low-cost sanitation system (household latrines, lane sewers, and secondary sewer systems) while the local government is responsible for financing, implementing and managing the external components (trunk sewers, treatment and disposal works). The component sharing approach has a clear advantage over conventional cost sharing due to user communities develop a sense of ownership and empowerment by taking full responsibility for internal infrastructure; user communities implement and internal components without the bureaucratic interference and delays associated with government projects; and community contracting and supervision reduce infrastructure costs.
The Barefoot consultants are the natural leaders emerging from ILCS implementation process but go beyond and initiate many other collective local actions and reforms on public goods aspects on fee for service basis. If they get formal training on the development of business skills, they may become self employed or hired consultants to scale-up social mobilization on a fee for service basis. They were the ones who decide to stop open defecation first and initiate actions to transform communities through motivation, sensitizing and mobilizing communities. No doubt women were informed about the usefulness of pit pour latrines and make them aware of harmful effects of open defecation on health and environment.

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Abhinav Organization for Real Development