In September 2013 Shelter Associates transformed a slum known as Rajiv Gandhi Nagar into an Open Defecation Free area by facilitating the construction of 52 individual toilets as part of the Pune city-wide slum sanitation project; which is itself part of Shelter Associates’ ‘One Home, One Toilet’ vision for India. Each individual toilet took approximately 2-days to construct, meaning that this slum was made open defecation free within a 4-week period; which is significantly quicker than the implementation of community toilets, commonly promoted as the most suitable sanitation option but associated with: (1) the finding and acquiring of land (which is not always available), (2) lengthy tenders, (3) long construction phases, (4) high capital costs, (5) long queues, and (6) on-going maintenances costs/issues.
The community are now benefitting from having access to their own improved sanitation which is:
(1) safer – the women are much less likely to be harassed or abused, (2) more hygienic – the family are less likely to fall ill, (3) healthier – the children are less likely to contract diarrhoea and therefore, are more likely to have a healthy development, (4) enlightening – the children are less likely to miss school through illness, and (5) better for the families financial situation – the earning member of the family are less likely to be absent from work through illness and also less likely to require medical treatment.
Shelter Associates experience in the sanitation sector indicates that providing access to sanitation on an individual family basis (or shared amongst a few families) is the only cost-effective option that is both scalable and sustainable, and can address India slum sanitation problem in a permanent and meaningful way. One Home, One Toilet.