The Habitat and Environment Committee (HEC) has been formed by the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) to deal with the interface between housing and environmental issues at both the neighbourhood and city levels. The Habitat and Environment Working Programme concerns itself with involvement in the development of ideas and practices of sustainable development, both at global and local levels. One of the HEC’s goals is to help guide development policies and strategies towards human settlement issues by reframing government-municipal-community partnership in a framework that will utilise local resources to the largest extent possible. The idea is to encourage the practical integration of such new approaches on habitat and environment into programmes already in progress [governmental and intergovernmental, private, local authorities, researchers and NGOs (Non governmental organisations)], also those still in the planning stages. To this end, 4 case studies dealing broadly with the management of solid and liquid domestic waste were funded in the South Asian region.
As mandated by the HEC, the case studies addressed at least one or more of the following:
1) Innovative ways of creating employment by private and local entrepreuners, NGOs, CBOs (Community Based Organisations), governments and local authorities (both rural and urban).
2) Methods of reducing disparities within cities with regard to health and sanitation services.
For example – systems of domestic waste disposal/treatment (both solid and liquid)
3) Systems of authority delegation/local governance: increasing of the poor’s negotiating capacity by providing greater access to public goods and services.
4) Disparities in access to water, especially drinking water and sanitation for the poor.
A summary of each case study is presented first, followed by a cross sectional analysis. For the case studies that did not successfully involve the local community in solving their problems, we have attempted to make firm proposals for future action.
Case Study (1) Partnerships and Community Sanitation – Malvani, Mumbai
By: Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA)
Malvani is a resettlement slum in the western suburbs of Mumbai. The Old Collectors Compound in Malvani comprises 80 “plots” with 133 houses per plot. Each family (on average 5 persons) has been provided with a pitch of size 10″ x 15″. YUVA, along with Manak Mukti Morcha (MMM) [part of YUVA’s Mumbai City Project] carried out a survey in July 1996 to evaluate the socio-economic status of the community. They concluded that sanitation facilities were nearly absent in Malvani. Most of the community toilets were not in working order, and due to the non-availability of dustbins, waste was disposed of in a drain or on the ground. There were no hospital facilities, nor open ground. A large number of malaria and typhoid cases were reported. Untreated sewage (water & waste from the toilets) flowed through open storm drains and ditches to a nearby creek. On the basis of their abysmal state of sanitation, Plots No. 23 and 31 were chosen by YUVA for an interventionist operation of community sanitation.
Actors involved in the project were:
A. Representative groups of residents from Plots 23 & 31 who were instrumental gaining the right to basic amenities by collective action.
B. NGO – YUVA and Apnalaya acted as facilitators by training the communities to build partnerships with the authorities to achieve sanitation solutions in a sustainable manner.
C. MMM – The People’s Organisation who animated the project in the community where MMM members were resident.
D. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) contributed technical & financial inputs
E. Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) served as a consultant and provided the costs of training technical assistance resource persons.
F. Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA), the State Government who was responsible for providing necessary infrastructure.
Toilets, garbage disposal and water supply were the priority problems. The aim of the project “Partnerships and Community Sanitation (PACS)” was to mobilise the resident communities into playing an active role in negotiating provision of basic amenities from the State. Community education and capacity building were strategies brought into play by the facilitators & coordinators to enable collective action by the residents. Additional problems were the unevenly distributed weight of the priority problems — women were affected more than men were by the lack of proper toilet facilities. In addition, the community was divided along religious lines.
The priority problem of the lack of toilets and water supply was successfully solved. The disadvantaged and factionalised community mobilised themselves and through collective action convinced the BMC to construct a community owned, managed and operated toilet. Through the same procedure they also convinced the State to provide water and electricity connections. A Toilet Committee that has functioned efficiently and harmoniously in the face of numerous setbacks continues to operate. Safety and privacy were considered higher priority than religious segregation, so the toilets were built separately for men and women, instead of for Hindus and Muslims.
The priority problem of garbage disposal was not solved, but reasonable recommendations were made for future solutions. The waste management component of PACS attempted to involve children in vermi-composting at the household level. The experiment failed because basic inputs were inadequate, vermi-composting proved impossible to monitor and the project omitted basic cultural factors related to waste disposal. Waste, according to tradition should not be kept in the house. Therefore the plants were kept in the open; rains waterlogged the soil and the worms that were supposed to consume the organic waste and produce manure died.
However, the high level of community involvement among the women and the youth of showed that alternative experiments in the future would be viable.
Since the need for a working toilet with electricity and water was the most pressing at the beginning of the PACS initiative, in general, the case study was successful.
By: NGO Forum for Drinking Water Supply & Sanitation – Dhaka Bangladesh
To curb the high incidence of infections and parasitic diseases, and to reduce infant mortality, a comprehensive sanitation plan needed to be developed in rural Bangladesh. In 1992, the government of Bangladesh, along with UNICEF and NGO Forum Organisation launched SOCMOB to help to increase rural awareness of sanitation and hygienic health practices. The aim of the project was to involve people from various social strata, mobilize local resources and indigenous knowledge, and thereby utilize the dynamism of social mobilization to promote sanitation coverage. The 20 thanas were selected on the basis of diarrhoeal and dysentery status as well as condition of water and sanitation. The overall objective of the project was to improve excreta disposal, personal hygienic practices and the use of safe water in order to reduce diarrhoeal diseases and improve the quality of life in the areas covered by the project.
Actors involved in the project were:
A: The Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) of the government of Bangladesh, the National Government
B: UNICEF provided the financial assistance necessary
C: NGO Forum and partner NGO’s who implemented SOCMOB and jointly determined operational strategies
D: For each of 20 thanas, NGO Forum appointed 1 Thana Coordinator, 3 Field Supervisors and 20 Field Extension Workers. All of the Field Extension Workers were members of the local community, and many were women.
Priority problems were identified through the initial baseline survey conducted by NGO Forum in the thanas. These were the lack of sanitary latrines, the omission of hand washing after defecation by both the heads and other members of the household and the utilization of river/canal/pond or ringwell water instead of tubewell water. The baseline survey, which consisted of a structured questionnaire on sanitation, personal hygiene and socio-economic and demographic indicators, addressed 10% of the households in each thana.
The Field Extension Workers successfully gained the comfort and trust of the target families, enabling the rest of the activities to be carried out. These members of the local community visited each house and spoke to mainly the female members about sanitation. During each visit to households where latrines were unhygienic, the idea of construction and use of hygienic latrines for defecation by all the members of the family was instilled. The inexpensively constructable pit latrine with cover was recommended to the target group as an example of a usable hygienic latrine. The DPHE and NGO Forum assisted motivated household members to build ring slab water seal latrines. By the end of the programme, 93% of the target group had constructed hygienic latrines. The Field Extension workers also successfully increased the number of users of the latrines. After one year’s intervention, the number of users rose to 90% from 59% of the target population. Through the rigorous motivational efforts of the Field Extension Workers, a behavioural change in the number of people washing their hands after defecation increased from 62% to 92% within the same time period. The importance of cleaning and maintaining latrines was also successfully stressed by the Field Extension workers, and an increase in households found cleaning their latrines in a hygienic manner was observed – from 10.7% to 52% after one year of project duration.
One key weakness in the project was that little training was given on how to wash hands correctly. Also the figures for latrine usage did not include children under 5, and it was found that around 61% of babies’ faeces are disposed of in open places. Apart from this, in terms of improving methods of excreta disposal and personal hygienic practices SOCMOB was successful.
In keeping with the project’s key objective of increasing the use of safe water, the people were educated to use tubewell water for drinking and domestic purposes. Although the Field Extension Workers did achieve an increase from 82.3% to 97% in the number of households using tubewell water for drinking purposes, and an increase from 19.2% to 46% in the number of households using tubewell water for domestic purposes, final results show that a great number of people still use contaminated water for cooking, washing, bathing and other domestic purposes. Increased awareness of water and excreta borne diseases was also shown among the target population.
A key feature of this project was the collaboration between different groups. This was a massive social mobilization, and as such included community participation, institutional participation, joint alliances with cultural and religious elite, and NGO orientation and agreement. Involvement and interaction took place in several effective ways; village Level Discussion Forums, Village Sanitation Development Committees, Union Level Discussion Forums, one-day Thana level workshops, coordination meetings with Government Departments and NGOs. Other interesting ways of promoting interaction between the different actors included meetings with school teachers at the union level; school based discussion forums and discussion forums with religious leaders. A training workshop was also organised for the Imams, and a meeting with Ansar-VDP the state law and enforcement authority. Miking activities, rallies, documentary film shows, postering, and street meetings were held to propagate messages regarding latrines among the population. Ring-slab latrine production centres were set up by the target population, and monthly meetings for project staff, family planning workers, health workers, including a women’s rally were successfully arranged.
An external evaluation by UNICEF assessed the impact of the intensive sanitation and hygiene promotion programme. They concluded that SOCMOB was planned and implemented according to overall objectives. These objectives were successfully achieved with a high degree of local community participation.
Case Study (3) Environmental Improvement through Solid Waste and Public Health Management – A Study of Post Plague Initiatives of Surat Municipal Corporation
By: Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
In 1994, pneumonic plague broke out in the city of Surat, in the state of Gujarat. The occurrence of the supposedly eradicated disease was attributed to the failure of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to ensure environmental cleanliness. In May 1995, the SMC launched a waste management intervention to clean up the city. Surat was considered one of the filthiest cities in India. The project goal was to improve sanitation, health status and the quality of living environment. This case study reviews the performance of the actors in the project during the post plague period – May 1995 to March 1998.
Actors involved in the project were:
A: Primary Actor — The Surat Municipal Corporation – local government body
B: Secondary Actors — The residents of the city of Surat
Local slum community
The business community of Surat
Industrial and business communities
Although the SMC was the primary catalyst for achieving the project goal, little could have been achieved without the passive or active participation of the secondary actors — different segments of the population of Surat. The SMC launched multi-pronged strategies to achieve the programme goals. The outbreak of the plague epidemic was blamed on the culmination of grave neglect by the SMC; hence chief among these strategies was the streamlining of functional, administrative, financial and technological aspects within the SMC itself. Capacity building of the weaker sectors of the municipal staff and city population, privatization of garbage management, and the introduction of an efficient garbage removal and disposal schedule were also adopted during the intervention period.
The primary cause of the plague in Surat was constant rains and floods, which caused large scale water logging in low-lying areas due to the faulty and clogged drainage system. Hundreds of cattle and other animals died due to the flooding, but the SMC failed to remove the carcasses promptly. Community members initiated a cleaning operation on their own after the waters had receded, but rodents from the infected carcasses had already infiltrated the go-downs that stored food grains. The SMC had provided no sewerage system to the residents of northern Surat – consequently, this area was the worst hit.
The SMC launched a short-term action plan to restore normalcy, involving the private sector. Priority was given to garbage disposal, removal of carcasses, anti rodent operations and spraying of DDT on pools of stagnant water. However, longer-term strategies were needed, and in May 1995, under the guidance of a new commissioner, the SMC launched the intervention to clean up Surat on a permanent basis. Environmental cleanliness became the paramount concern of the civic body. By mid-1996, the SMC had increased the cleaning of accumulated garbage from 50% (at time of plague) to about 94% of the amount generated. The SMC achieved this by strict monitoring, regulations and streamlining of garbage collection and disposal. The city has been divided into 52 sanitary wards, and meticulous ward planning has been done for garbage collection and disposal. Households, industries and eateries were given individual cleanliness instruction, and field employees issue regular instructions and information to householders on how to sort, pack and dispose of garbage. Regular workshops were conducted in the slums of Surat to disseminate knowledge on cleanliness and hygiene. At present garbage is collected at least once in 24 hours and all refuse is disposed of in well-maintained landfills. Private contractors at present, handle almost 40% of the solid waste management generated daily in Surat. Spot “administrative charges” punish those who dispose of garbage in violation of the municipal by-laws. This punitive measure automatically increases social vigilance at the community level, thereby increasing the level of civic consciousness. Insecticide use has been reduced, and sweeping and cleaning of roads has also improved.
The SMC also strengthened the health infrastructure, revived work ethics among health workers, and introduced a meticulous disease monitoring system. This provides an early warning system to alert Surat of a potential outbreak of an epidemic. This has impacted Surat’s health indicators considerably. Surat’s birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rates have all improved during the intervention period. Slum areas are now compulsorily tested for standards of drinking water, and where necessary, chlorine tablets are distributed. On a priority basis, community pay and use toilets, water hydrants and streetlights have been provided to the majority of slums in Surat. Civic consciousness has been enhanced in the slum areas, with the slum dwellers themselves taking charge of cleanliness of inner lanes. Community response has been very positive due to constant interaction of field workers and periodic interaction with senior officials. Regular public meetings are held for health education through poster campaigns, audio and video mediums.
The SMC post plague intervention has been a success. Decentralisation of administrative and financial authority sped up decision making and problem solving processes. It is felt that the intervention is sustainable. There has been a perceptible impact on the quality of living environment and significant decline in mortality of the poorer sections of society. The relationship between the SMC and the community has been one of provider-user rather than that of a partnership, but community involvement is growing steadily. With micro planning and a relatively small additional per capita investment of about 47 rupees, the areas covered by sanitation and cleaning of solid waste have increased to 95% and 97% respectively. The project goal of improving sanitation, health status and quality of living environment has been achieved, but without a high degree of community participation.
Case Study (4) Depleting Groundwater Levels and Increasing Fluoride Concentration in Villages of Mehsana District, Gujarat, India: Cost to Economy and Health
By: Water Resources Research Foundation (WRRF)
A high intake of flouride (>1.5 mg/l) in drinking water over a prolonged period is known to cause damage to the enamel of the teeth, and eventually result in skeletal complications that result in fluorosis. Mehsana district is largely dependent on groundwater both for irrigation and drinking water requirements. Flourides and other dissolved salts in drinking water have shown a progressively increasing trend and have exceeded the safe limit in the past two decades. This means that a progressively increasing proportion of the population is affected by fluorosis. The chemical quality of the groundwater is also showing an adverse impact on soil fertility and crop growth, and since the groundwater table is progressively declining, more electric power is required to lift the same quantity of water.
This case study consists of a comprehensive review of this multifaceted problem.
Actors Involved in the Project will be:
A: The WRRF – technical and financial consultant
B: Voluntary Agencies: Utthan Trust or Dudh-Sagar Dairy who will act as the link between WRRF and the villagers
C: The Village Panchayat – representatives of the local community
In Mehsana district, of a total population of 22 lakhs, 39.8% consume water highly concentrated in flouride. This has neurological, allergic and urinary tract manifestations. Flouride poisoning also has severe effects on the gastro-intestinal mucosa. Remedial measures suggested to solve the high flouride problem in drinking water can be divided into two categories:
1) Deflouridation of drinking water
2) Long term hydrological schemes involving effective hydro management to distribute water from existing surface reservoirs. Also extensive recharging of groundwater through innovative methods to dilute high fluoride concentration in subsurface water reservoirs.
The deflouridation of drinking water can be economically undertaken using methods such as the Nalgonda Technique. Such techniques can provide limited water for drinking, but the people require water for a variety of uses including agriculture and industry. Hence, a long-term hydrological scheme solution is recommended. The Mehsana area has a sizeable groundwater basin capable of storing enormous quantities of water in reserve. Most of this reserve has been drained and needs to be refilled through fresh groundwater recharge. Natural conditions of the area are unsuitable for large surface storage reservoirs by dam construction. Available surface reservoirs can be utilised to provide drinking water . Provision for agricultural domestic and industrial requirements must come from innovative groundwater recharge schemes. In brief, efficiency of application must be increased.
Almost all the villages in the area have more than one sufficiently large size pond for constructing storage tank supported recharge wells. These will be supplied by rainwater and feeder canal networks. A foothills zone is the identified natural recharge area for the deeper confined/semi confined aquifers of Mehsana area. Measures must be undertaken to recharge shallow aquifers in this zone. The case study presents a pilot project proposal for tackling the flouride problem in Mehsana district based on groundwater recharge. The location for intervention will be Balisana, a typical village in the district where there are very high levels of flouride in the groundwater. This will involve community participation to a limited extent. The village Panchyat proposes to increase the storage capacity of the village tank by deepening it to an average depth of approximately 3 metres. 15 percolation wells would also be constructed. The WRRF will serve as the technical and financial consultant to the project. Also, either the Utthan trust or Dudh-Sagar Dairy, both voluntary agencies operating in the project area will facilitate linkages with the village Panchayat and provide the civil construction work.
This project is expected to increase the water availability by 500%. The cost of deepening the village tank (which would be contributed by the villagers) is 1.8 million rupees and the cost of constructing 15 percolation wells (contributed by WRRF) is 3 million rupees. The villagers contribution of 1.8 million would also include laying of a 1.5 km pipeline from the tank to the village, and construction of stand-posts and the distribution system.
The only other solution to that provided by WRRF is that of long distance transportation of potable water from a surface irrigation reservoir through a pipeline. Such an approach would require the beneficiary village to become part of a regional water supply scheme where villagers have no role to play. This solution could also be potentially vulnerable, in that it requires the local community to become reliant on external sources for their supply of water. In theory, the pilot project sounds viable and sustainable. However, it is unclear how the residents of Balisana village would raise this sum of money. Also, will community participation be reduced to fund raising or will the community be a working part of the project. If WRRF continues to only fund 2/3rds of the pilot project, will the other villages in Mehsana area be able to afford to adopt this solution? These, among others are questions left unanswered by the WRRF case study.
The case studies are analysed on the basis of:
a) Inter-relationship of the actors deployed in the water and sanitation sectors
b) Increase in involvement of women and youth in the management of solid and/or liquid domestic waste
c) Influence of public policies
d) Planning of urban environmental services
e) Development of identification tools and methods of measurement in the above mentioned areas
The importance of the inter-relationship of the actors in housing and environmental issues at any level cannot be overemphasized. It is crucial to the success of the project. This inter-relationship is high in the first three case studies. Particularly in Partnerships and Community Sanitation, the Malvani project, the resident communities were mobilised into playing an active role in negotiating with the State to obtain the basic amenities which were their right. The project facilitators successfully trained the community to build a partnership with the authorities to achieve a sustainable sanitation solution. The SOCMOB project in Bangladesh also involved high interaction of the actors. The facilitator, NGO Forum ensured collaboration between the different groups. The key feature of SOCMOB was the massive social mobilization that it promoted. School teachers, religious leaders and law enforcement authorities were all targeted, and UNICEF’s external evaluation of SOCMOB confirmed that the objectives of the intensive sanitation and hygiene promotion programme were achieved with a high degree of interaction between the actors in the project. The study of the Post Plague Initiatives of Surat Municipal Corporation
also involved interaction between the actors. The SMC has launched the concept of “Surat First”, where the various actors are encouraged to work together to develop Surat as the best city in India. However, the case study reveals that limited initiatives have been undertaken to promote involvement of the community in planning and management of programmes at the local level. In spite of this, the chief actor, the Surat Municipal Corporation has triggered off community involvement, and it is steadily growing. In comparison, Depleting Groundwater Levels and Increasing Concentration in Villages of Mehsana district seems to involve villagers only at the level of fund contribution. It does not involve much interaction between the actors.
Involving women and youth in the intervention process is essential for the success of sanitation projects. The extent of this involvement will determine the future success and sustainability of the progress made during the project. The Partnerships and Community Sanitation project actively encouraged the participation of women and youth. The women were introduced to solid waste management and sanitation concepts at community development camps. The project facilitators attempted to build leadership skills among them, and as a result of increased confidence and self-esteem, the women were able to successfully negotiate at very high levels, for the new toilet blocks. This led to further confidence that their collective action could actually change things. During the construction of the toilet blocks, the women monitored the work by maintaining a register to record the attendance of the masons on the site. Now that the women of this community are mobilised, they are thinking of ways to deal with garbage disposal. Since the task of disposing of the kitchen waste fell on the youth of the community, the project involved them in the waste management component of the project. Although the vermi-culture project was not a success for certain technical and cultural reasons, it did trigger off further mobilisation. The youth now want to create a vermi-plot where the community can feed its waste, thus freeing their cricket field from the garbage dump it has turned into. SOCMOB in Bangladesh involved primarily women in its drive to improve excreta disposal, personal hygienic practices and the use of safe water in order to reduce diarrhoeal diseases. The project deliberately hired as many female field extension workers as possible, so that they could communicate better with the primary target group, the mothers and housewives of the households. NGO Forum also arranged 24 women’s rallies and 33 monthly meetings with women health workers during the three years covered by the project. The Surat Municipal Corporation organises an awareness programme on health, which is mostly attended by women. However, since no institutional mechanism has been developed to formalise women’s participation at the grassroots level, the women’s direct role in the neighbourhood is limited to only keeping the surroundings of their own houses clean. The SMC has a provision of reserving 33% of the elected seats in the urban local bodies for women. So far, the role of women councillors at the ward level is very positive. The Mehsana village project in Gujarat State suggest community involvement only at the fund raising level. It is unclear how the villagers will raise the money, but for cultural reasons, it will most likely be men, rather than women who are involved in this process.
Did any of the case studies influence public policy? There is a good chance that the Partnerships and Community Sanitation project will influence policy recommendations made by the Maharashtra State Government in the future. The problem was originally caused by the government’s misdirected policy directive to resettle slum dwellers from the heart of the business district of Mumbai to the periphery of the city. In addition to the loss of livelihoods caused, a serious breakdown of discussions between the local community and the government occurred, as the community had been given to understand that it was a “temporary transit site”. The government did not fulfil its civic responsibility to provide basic amenities of potable water, toilets, garbage, sewage systems or paved roads to the residents. This led to feelings of bitterness and resentment among the community. The Partnerships and Community Sanitation project successfully mobilised residents into collective action that will serve as a reminder to the government of its civic responsibilities. It is conceivable that the government will engage in more dialogue, and try to achieve productive interaction with the residents of the state that need to be relocated in the future. SOCMOB was launched by the Bangladeshi government, and its success will probably encourage the government to set more money aside for such projects. Surat Municipal Corporation’s post plague initiatives radically changed the policy of this local government body. A sustainable system of environmental management is now in place and because of its resounding success, SMC is influencing public policy in other cities. Upon the advice of a study team from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, the Mumbai Municipal Commissioner recently adopted several initiatives similar to those adopted in Surat. If the groundwater recharge proposed to tackle the flouride problem in Mehsana district proves to be economically viable for the local community, it is conceivable that this may prove to be a model for other similarly affected areas.
In terms of planning urban environmental services, the Mehsana and SOCMOB projects are not relevant. As mentioned above, Surat Municipal Corporation has set up a sustainable system of environmental management to ensure the early detection of disease in the city. Partnerships and Community Sanitation is attempting to plan urban environmental services with the vermi-composting and vermi-plot projects that are in progress. All of the case studies had well-developed identification tools and methods of measurement to indicate how successful they had been, or, in the case of Mehsana, would be. SOCMOB had an external evaluation by UNICEF monitoring their project, while Partnerships and Community Sanitation now have a community owned, managed and operated toilet standing on Plot 31. After its post plague initiative towards improving the environment through solid waste and public health management Surat Municipal Corporation, despite the absence of social auditing to check corruption in the newly decentralised structure, has successfully turned Surat’s environment around.
What was the involvement of the civil society in the management of the communities’ solid and/or liquid waste? The civil society consists of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the private sector. The civil society was very involved in the work of Partnerships and Community Sanitation, also SOCMOB, and to an extent, Surat Municipal Corporation’s project, in terms of the management of the respective communities’ waste. Consultation and community work is definitely taking place in these communities in order to solve the problem of waste disposal. This is the common factor among these three case studies. The three communities that have been selected for intervention differ in terms of size and content, but solutions to the problem of waste disposal in both the town and the suburbs are based around the involvement of the civil society.
Recommendations for the actors:
Partnerships and Community Sanitation:
As stated earlier, there has already been very high inter-relationship between the actors involved in this project. Plot 31 has successfully obtained a community owned, managed and operated toilet. Now the needs of Plot 23 need to be addressed. Perhaps community members from Plot 31 could be asked to interact with those from Plot 23 and train them in how to successfully negotiate with high-level authorities for what they need. In this manner, other plots within the resettlement area will also gain the confidence to begin negotiations. The involvement of the PACS workers should continue to be gradually phased out, and the community must begin to stand on its own feet. The vermi-composting project should be carried out, but on a large scale, in a suitable part of the slum area. YUVA and Apnalaya, the facilitators, should monitor the success of the project, and compile a short report in approximately one year’s time. Ideally, by then, there should be more toilet blocks constructed in the community, increasingly high community participation and either a vermi-composting or other viable solution to the problem of garbage disposal.
Despite the overall success of SOCMOB’s comprehensive sanitation plan, little training was given on how to wash hands correctly. Since school teachers have already been involved in the intervention program, perhaps the field extension workers can collaborate with local schools to teach hand washing at this level. As part of a monitoring process, perhaps another intervention could take place, this time for a shorter duration, using these results now obtained as the new baseline study. In the future, field extension workers should be paid a remuneration or rewarded by other means such as food stuffs.
Surat Municipal Corporation:
The project seems to be highly dependent on one senior bureaucrat. This threatens the sustainability of the project, and should be averted by having the top management of the SMC train those working directly under them. Although the commercial nature of Surat means that very few service organisations choose to locate there, the Municipal Corporation can offer incentives for such organisations to relocate to Surat. Preferential locations and lower rents are examples of such incentives. Some form of external surveillance is necessary to check levels of corruption. If it is unavailable in Surat, perhaps the SMC could structure an exchange agreement with another municipal board, whereby chief inspectors of each would audit the other during a financial year. Since it is one of the richest municipalities in India, the SMC could also earmark funds to organise workshops and rallies to formalise the participation of women at the grassroots level.
Mehsana District Groundwater:
The project facilitator, the Water Resources Research Foundation needs to give as much attention to community participation as it has given to analysing the different techniques available to deflouridate the water. The feasibility of the villagers of Mehsana district to provide 1.8 million rupees towards to project must be carefully analysed. The facilitators should make sure that the community becomes a working part of the project by involving the 2 voluntary agencies mentioned in the pilot project. They should also consider compensating the participating voluntary agency adequately for their work, as otherwise this might lead to dissension and a negative atmosphere in the village. If the village community will be involved at the level of fund raising, the actors must ensure that women are given a participatory role, and not excluded due to the highly technical nature of the deflouridation work. Local schools should be involved in the project so that they can explain the process that the village wells are undergoing to the children of the community, and involve them in the communal fundraising. The villagers need to be made aware of the necessity and sustainability of the deflouridation process. Since a relatively large sum of money is involved it is important that their complete understanding and cooperation is obtained at a very early stage in the process.