Category Archives: South Asia

Examining USAID Efforts to Strengthen India’s Urban Water and Sanitation Sector Governance and Finance

Examining USAID Efforts to Strengthen India’s Urban Water and Sanitation Sector Governance and Finance. Globalwaters.org, December 2018.

Over 17 years of mission programming, (1994–2011) USAID’s Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion–Debt and Infrastructure (FIRE-D) activity partnered with India’s central, state, and municipal governments to provide technical assistance to 16 Indian states.

The focus of this three-phased activity changed over time, but the goal remained the same: to expand sustainable water and sanitation access to the poor while improving the ability of city and state governments to mobilize resources and increase their revenues. FIRE-D-blog-india

Through implementer TCG International, FIRE-D piloted policy-related interventions to better plan, design, and finance urban infrastructure.

The most successful solutions were then expanded and incorporated into a Government of India (GoI) urban development scheme called the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

What We Did

This fourth in a series of independent ex-post evaluations of past USAID water and sanitation activities followed up on six states and cities seven years after FIRE-D ended to understand how urban water and sanitation services have changed and to what extent policies, practices, and financing mechanisms introduced through FIRE-D have been sustained.

Read more

 

Community-based approaches to tackle open defecation in rural India: Theory, evidence and policies

Community-based approaches to tackle open defecation in rural India: Theory, evidence and policies. Observer Research Foundation, December 2018.

Open defecation (OD), an age-old practice in India, impacts the health of individuals as well as their communities. To tackle the problem, the Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in 2014, aimed at making the country open-defecation free (ODF) by October 2019 by giving more attention to community-based approaches.

However, while such approaches have helped solve the sanitation riddle in many countries, curbing OD in India is much more complicated: the root of the problem is a combination of lack of sanitation infrastructure and deep-seated habits. So far, India’s sanitation policies have used the top-down approach, focusing on financial assistance for latrine construction.

While this is necessary, considering the social determinants at play, the emphasis must be on changing collective behaviour through participatory methods, a component that has been largely absent from past policies on sanitation.

Demand-driven approaches must be adopted, keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses and ensuring equity-focused actions through community-monitored, locally appropriate and culturally sensitive interventions.

Understanding the Problems of India’s Sanitation Workers

Understanding the Problems of India’s Sanitation Workers. The Wire, November 13, 2018.

Despite increasing focus by the government and programmes such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, unsafe sanitation work, loosely captured under the catch-all phrase manual scavenging, still exists in India. There are five million people employed in sanitation work of some sort in India with about two million of them working in ‘high risk’ conditions.

Here is the first article in a series which introduces the situation of sanitation workers in the country, their different personas, the challenges they face, and the solutions that are essential to improving this situation.

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Credit: Dalberg Advisors

The last few years have been the golden age for sanitation in India. What started out as the Total Sanitation Campaign in the 1990s morphed into the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan under the UPA Government and then transformed into the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with full gusto driven by the prime minister’s special attention.

This translated directly into increased budgets, a mission-mode implementation across the country and by official estimates, 80 million additional toilets getting constructed. Now, over 89% of the country’s population has access to a household toilet, compared to 40% in 2014.

Read the complete article.

Jack Sim – Making India open defecation free

Opinion | Making India open defecation free. by Jack Sim in Livemint, October 17, 2018.

Many people view toilets as impure and refrain from installing them within their household premises 

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The risks associated with open defecation in India are not just restricted to diseases. Rapes occur when women and young girls are on their way to fields to defecate at night. Photo: Mint

For most of us, going to the toilet is as simple and natural as breathing. However, for many it is a daily nightmare. About 2.3 billion people in the world do not have access to clean, safe and reliable toilets. They have to walk for miles every day to reach a safe spot where they can relieve themselves in the open. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280,000 deaths worldwide, annually.

In India, about 732 million people do not have access to proper toilets. As much as 90% of the river water is contaminated by faeces. People drink water from the same rivers, bathe and wash their clothes and utensils there, and even cook food with the contaminated water. Pathogens and worms from the faeces spread life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, schistosomiasis and trachoma.

Read the complete article.

SWaCH, the success story of waste pickers in Pune

Faecal sludge management – a critical pathway to safely managed sanitation

Faecal sludge management – a critical pathway to safely managed sanitation. WASHmatters, July 2018. fsm.jpg

Most people in South Asian towns and cities rely on toilets that are not connected to sewers. With the global urban population set to double by 2050, the need to ensure safe disposal of waste is growing ever more urgent. Jaison Thomas, WaterAid’s Regional Funding Manager for South Asia, reflects on the faecal sludge discourse in the region, taking reference to deliberations at the South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN) VII at Islamabad.

Eliminating open defecation is just the first step in ensuring everyone has safely managed sanitation services, as outlined in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. In South Asia, where most people use on-site toilets and sewerage coverage is limited, faecal sludge management (FSM, which involves everything from emptying pits of faecal matter and transporting the sludge to treatment and disposal) is central to ensuring safely managed services.

Read the complete article.

Webinar on the Sustainability of USAID/Indonesia’s Urban Water Utility Services Activities

Webinar on the Sustainability of USAID/Indonesia’s Urban Water Utility Services Activities

How sustainable are outcomes several years after water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects have closed? ESP-Indonesia-pdam-1024x512

In this webinar, Leslie Greene Hodel (Senior Advisor, Water CKM Project) presents findings from the second in a series of USAID Water Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) Project ex-post evaluations on the Indonesia Environmental Services Program (ESP), implemented by DAI between 2004 and 2010.

Seven years after the close of the project, the evaluation team used a mixed-methods design, including utility service level and performance data as well as qualitative interviews, to examine the enduring influence of selected ESP achievements in improving urban water utilities’ service levels as well as utilities’ management capacity and financial stability.

The evaluation also verified the present status of a microcredit program designed to improve access to the poor. Lessons from this evaluation are intended to inform improvements to ongoing USAID urban WASH activity design in Indonesia and beyond.

Link to the webinar and the evaluation.