How does India’s new large-scale sanitation monitoring effort compare with similar initiatives in Bangladesh and Indonesia?
Image: Government of India (GoI)
According to some media the Indian government has unleashed “toilet police” or “toilet gestapo” into the country . In fact, the central government has instructed local officials to take photographs of new toilets to prove that they have not only been constructed but are also being used. If states don’t upload photos by February 2015, the water and sanitation ministry has threatened to withhold funding from a new national sanitation programme .
Everywhere in the world, even the poorest families try to beautify their houses. Then why are low-cost latrines often so ugly, ask IRC’s Christine Sijbesma and Erick Baetings.
Outside gay paints, inside
grey slab in Bangladesh
Christine: Ever since I have been working in the lower cost end of toilet designs I have wondered why most of them are so ugly. I have worked in rural sanitation in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and in urban sanitation in South East Asia since the 1970s. Everywhere I have seen how the poorest families also strive to beautify their living environment. In East Africa families paint decorative bands on huts and rake their yards, in India women make beautiful patterns in the sand in front of their katcha houses with coloured powder, and in Indonesian city kampung families tile their front stoops in gay colours and keep potted plants in tins.