Shelter Associates were among 10 finalists who presented to a panel of judges on the 31st October 2013 as part of the Google Global Impact Awards 2013. Shelter Associates proposed a project for the targeted installation of individual toilets, informed by digital slum mapping, in Sangli & Miraj with the intention of making the peri-urban area India’s first open defecation free city. The proposed project and project methodology is largely the same as the one proposed to the Dasra Giving Circle in February earlier this year but has one important difference – the individual toilets would be connected to bio-digester tanks which turn the vast majority of human excrement into water. The addition of this sanitation technology is required as Sangli & Miraj, and many other areas of India (urban, peri-urban and rural) are not served be sewage systems.
Shelter Associates were not selected as 1 of the 4 winners but were awarded 1.5 crores, along with the other 6 finalists, as the competition was very close and judges felt that each project should receive some funding.
Shelter Associates appreciate the runner-up award and will put the 1.5 crores to the best possible use, in accordance with the goal of facilitating India’s first open defecation free city. Shelter Associates aim is that this project (in an peri-urban area with no municipal sewage system) and the Pune city-wide slum sanitation project (in a large urban area) will illustrate the feasibility of individual toilets as a sanitation option and, hopefully, will impact the National Urban Sanitation Policy and move city administrators away from community toilets which are associated with high capital costs and high maintenance costs and commonly fail to provide a long-lasting impact.