Book Discussion: Social innovations in Urban Sanitation in India: Meeting Unmet Needs

Date and Time

August 9, 2023

3:30 pm to 5:00 pm


PRIA, Tughlakabad Institutional Area

Ms Sheela Patel

Dr. Indira Khurana

Ms. Arkaja Singh

Mr. VR Raman

Moderator Dr. Rajesh Tandon

Founder-President, PRIA

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have played a pivotal role in promoting contextual and sustainable innovative models to improve urban sanitation in India for decades. These innovations range from mobilizing citizens, particularly from low-income communities, to generating awareness and demand for services from the service providers, building community-managed systems for ensuring the sustainability of created assets, providing low-cost infrastructure solutions, organizing informal sanitation workers to demand dignity and just, generating critical knowledge, and promoting collaboration and partnerships with various stakeholders including governments and private sector institutions to serve the unserved communities. The lessons from these social innovations, cultivated in various contexts and regions, are essential to achieve the universal sanitation goals as laid out in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the national priorities.

Against this backdrop, the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) engaged in a participatory research study in partnership with several Indian CSOs and social movements which have been pioneering myriad social innovations in urban sanitation. The book Social Innovations in Urban Sanitation in India: Meeting Unmet Needs is the outcome of this research study and numerous conversations with the leadership of these organizations along with several other policymakers, academicians, and practitioners. The book recognizes that social innovation is a continuous process as new unmet needs emerge with time. Such innovations can help mitigate some intractable problems; but new challenges emerge, thus promoting social innovations to grow and adapt to meet the unfulfilled needs of the people. Social innovations remain critical to addressing future challenges and need support to thrive. These need appropriate conditions to take root, such as strong leadership and vision by social innovators, partnerships and alliances, enhanced capacities of institutions to respond to intractable problems, empowerment of communities and the most marginalized to gain a voice to articulate their unmet needs and demand accountability from the institutions of governance. The book provides evidence of the crucial role that CSOs and the social innovations they championed have played in the past and continue to play in the current march towards safely managed sanitation alongside governments taking more responsibility and increasing support to the sector. We hope that this book will ignite a constructive discussion on how all stakeholders could contribute to creating a more robust ecosystem for social innovation and the critical role that CSOs need to continue to play in the sector.

Programme Agenda
03.00 pm to 03.30 pm: Meet and Greet with High Tea
03.30 pm to 03.35 pm: Welcome
03.35 pm to 04.00 pm: Introducing the Book
04.00 pm to 04.55 pm: Discussion About the Book with the Discussants

Comments from the Participants
Comments from the Chair and Moderator

04.55 pm to 05.00 pm: Vote of Thanks