“The Teams taught us about Plumbing, how to make strong walls properly, and how to make proper pipelines. They taught us how to treat dirty water and make it safe. They also taught us the importance of cleanliness, and how to keep us and our facilities clean.”
Arbhaj Hussein (14 years old); Harstal Sanjay Jadav (12 years old); Pavan Yogesh Dondi (14 years old); Milind Takaran Ingoli (12 years old) – Maha Nagar Palika School No. 125, Muktidham, Nashik – November, 2015.
Community Plumbing Challenge 2015 was hosted at Maha Nagar Palika School No. 125 in the Muktidham neighbourhood of Nashik, Maharashtra, between 2–5 November, 2015. This was the first ever delivery of the project: in India, and in the world.
Nashik was originally selected by the Community Plumbing Challenge organizing team (representing IAPMO, WorldSkills Foundation and Indian Plumbing Association) in January 2015, as host location of the next Indian Plumbing Conference in September 2015. We decided that in order to achieve genuine impact the project MUST be hosted in a local community setting rather than as a showcase at the conference, and so the existing Nashik IPA School Sanitation programme was identified as a suitable platform to connect with. Our organizing team visited ten Municipal Schools across Nashik in May 2015, and subsequently School 125 was selected as the most suitable location to host the very first, pilot project.
School 125 is home to 400 students, between 7–15 years old, and 12 staff. The organizing team observed that the current washroom facilities were inadequate for the number of students that needed to use them, there were no handwashing facilities in the toilet areas, and – as water supply to the building was not frequent – it was hard to flush the urinals. As these sanitation issues are common to many Municipal Schools (not only in Nashik but in many other parts of the country) the pilot Community Plumbing Challenge project was designed with the aim to create practical and educational outcomes that could be used and replicated in many other locations.
Our participating teams were issued with design briefs and background detail two months in advance of the event, all of which can be found here.
Our '#CommPlumbing' hashtag illustrates a unique opportunity to link Swachh Bharat with Digital India and the Indian Smart Cities initiative: facilitating health and hygiene-focussed practical actions for a given host community site, but also developing further digital communications, resources and tools with meaningful and creative application for second-level, further education, and continuous professional development (CPD) users. #CommPlumbing has helped us knit together the 'story' of our project across multiple social media platforms, and allowed all participants to share their own behind-the-scenes perspectives within the project, linking everything to the bigger picture:community collaboration and education to improve public health. In Feb 2016, US and Australian Plumbers from the 2015 Indian CPC travelled to join the Healthabitat Sanitation Studio in Nepal: they were inspired to use #CommPlumbing to tag social media posts during their time there. In July 2016, we will launch a second CPC initiative in South Africa: again, #CommPlumbing will be used to tag that project and broaden the international horizons of the programme/concept further still.
In Nashik, we witnessed the pilot CPC programme connect a variety of social, educational and professional 'markets' into a positive, tight-knit collaboration working towards a common goal. We are eager to develop the programme with further input from Open IDEO community as part of the 2016 Water and Sanitation Challenge, to help us grow and learn to drive further human-centred design in the CPC programme.