Nodepage

Building healthy communities (Swachh Samudai)

The problem

Poor sanitation in Choudwar, a city in Odisha state in India, causes frequent cases of diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and gastroenteritis in the population and also create issues of safety and security for women and girls. In the 17 slum areas of the city less than a quarter have individual household toilets. Open defecation is prevalent around road side drains and open spaces near the slums. 

We are working with the Odisha state government to supply clean water, safe sanitation and the safe disposal of faecal sludge in the city, where currently most toilet waste is dumped in local rivers, polluting the water sources.

What we’re doing to help

Objective: Improved health for people living in slums in Choudwar

Swachh Samudai (Healthy communities)

Location: Choudwar Municipality, Odisha, India
Number of beneficiaries: 42,000
Project date: July 2016 - June 2018
Partners: Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Odisha, Ruchika Social Service Organisation
Principal funders: H&M Foundation
Funding: £771,722

This project will enable slum communities in Choudwar to improve their health through better access to safe drinking water and sanitation services and safely managed faecal sludge. It also aims to show sustainable ways to deliver these services and increase the capacity of the municipality and others to deliver effective services in this area.

The key to the success of this project will be the new faecal sludge treatment plant, the first of its kind in the state. This will provide for the safe disposal of sludge collected from pit latrines in the city and will serve as a model for other communities and small towns in the state as well as in the country. 

Project activities include:

  • Constructing ten low-cost community toilets and five cluster toilets and a faecal sludge management system
  • Developing two community-managed decentralised water treatment systems with business plans for their replication.
  • Building two bio digesters for biogas production
  • Access to five community managed drinking water purification and distribution systems through local entrepreneurs
  • Five large-scale rainwater harvesting systems in institutions such as schools and government establishments.
  • Raising awareness and increasing understanding in the community of the importance of safe drinking water, improved sanitation and safe hygiene practices through local media, community groups and events
  • Building capacity in the community for sanitation planning

Mohini's story

Mohini is 15 and an only child.  She lives with her month and is a typical teenage girl, laughing and giggling with her close friends.  She loves music and is known as the best dancer in the neighbourhood. Mohini's father died from an unknown illness when she was a child and they still had a picture of him on the wall of her house.  Although she is only 15 she has already left school and like her mother works as a home help, as well as helping at home with the daily chores, collecting water, preparing food and cleaning.

Mohini described how when she was about nine she had gone to the toilet with a friend and a man had tried to grab her as she went to the bush. She struggled and her friend had helped her and they ran back to their homes. The men and women went to look for the man, but he had gone.

All the houses here are open at the top, so each family can hear absolutely everything.  For a teenage girl this lack of privacy is very difficult.  Every act, going to the toilet, washing and getting ready for a party is under the gaze of her neighbours.

Sunita's story

Sunita is a single mother in her late thirties, living with her two children. She has split from her husband, who was violent. She works as a home help and leaves home before six each morning, returning around 11 in the morning.

Men and women use different areas, primarily in the morning to go to the toilet in an open area.he open.  Sunita's life has got much harder since she split up with her husband, which is a real taboo in India. She told us that having proper, safe toilets would be one of the first things she would change about her current situation and this would make her life much easer.

Sunita is angry about her situation. She knows she shouldn’t have to live in conditions like this and is frustrated that she and her two kids had no choice or influence over their own lives.  But she is optimistic

“Toilets have become a question of dignity for us. More girls and communities in our slums are unsafe while defecating outside during early morning and late evening. We are hopeful with the Samudai Samudai project in our city bringing toilets to our community.” 

Find out more

Swachh Samudai (Health Communities)

Brochure about H&M Conscious Foundation funded water and sanitation project in Choudwar, Odisha

https://practicalaction.org/swachh-samudai-healthy-communities-odisha

Practical solution to faecal sludge management

Practical Action Bangladesh has been supporting the effort towards establishing a comprehensive city-wide Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) service to the urban population of Faridpur through an advanced and systemic approach by the municipal authority for ensuring an environmentally safe and financially sustainable private sector-led replicable model for developing country. 

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Practical Action Bangladesh has been supporting the effort towards establishing a comprehensive city-wide Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) service to the urban population of Faridpur through an advanced and systemic approach by the municipal authority for ensuring an environmentally safe and financially sustainable private sector-led replicable model for developing country. 

Studies and research

Practical Action India's works are mostly evolved from evidence-based research and need-based studies. We analyse and then implement to improve the lives of marginalised communities.

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Odisha State Sanitation Landscape

A study of nine Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Odisha with population over 100,000, producing a detailed report on the issues and concerns related to water and sanitation of those ULBs.

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