The Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in collaboration with the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) organised a daylong national conference to highlight various social innovations by civil society organisations (CSOs) derived from the local contexts to improve access to sanitation.
The sheer magnitude of the sanitation challenge in India is so enormous that it is holding back the global sanitation progress. In 2012, 597 million (60%) people who practiced open defecation across the world, resided in India. The situation is grimmer in urban habitations of the country. Growing population and inclusion of more towns in urban areas have serious implications for provision of basic services especially for the people living in poor and informal settlements. Consequently, prioritising sanitation in India is a global as well as a national necessity.
To address the situation, the Government of India (GoI) has launched the Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban (SBM-U) with a lot of vigour. Alongside governmental efforts for improving sanitation, various non-governmental development institutions have experimented with innovative ideas and efforts derived from regional milieu, and geared to meet the needs of the community and ensure access to safe sanitation. Cities are increasingly becoming centres of social innovation and change for developing new approaches to improve sanitation.
These social innovations range from providing low cost infrastructure solutions, demanding services from the service providers by mobilising citizens, generating awareness, building and strengthening community managed systems for ensuring sustainability of created assets, organising informal sanitary workers to demand dignity and justice, promoting and building collaboration and partnerships with various stakeholders including Government and private agencies to serve the unserved communities. Lessons from these social innovations in various contexts and regions are imperative to achieve the objectives laid out in SBM-U.
The conference aimed to highlight various social innovation by civil society organisations (CSOs) derived from the local context to improve access to sanitation. The idea is to discuss challenges and successes of each initiative, explore whether they can potentially be scaled-up to address the sanitation challenges in India. Besides highlighting the lessons learnt from these experiences, the conference explored prerequisites and role of various stakeholders in mainstreaming and scaling-up innovations within the current policy, programme and institutional governance framework in India’s urban sanitation context.
The conference was attended by representatives from ministries of national and state governments, policy making institutions, research institutions, academia, community networks, social movements, civil society organisations, and international development agencies.
The broad agenda can be accessed here.
- Social Innovation for Improving Urban Sanitation: Lessons for Scaling-up (by CPR-PRIA)
- Changing Practices of Local State wrt Sanitation (by Prof Amita Bhide)
- Urban WASH (by Plan India)
- Beyond Public Networks – Social Innovation Underlying Technical Solutions (by Shelter Associates)
- India Sanitation Program Overview (by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
- The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance