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Samagra (समग्र)

Awesome Sanitation Services For The Urban Poor (आओ संडास , सर्विस पाओ बिंदास)

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy
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Samagra's Mission:

To "enable the Urban Poor lead dignified, productive and empowered lives"

Sanitation Issues in India:

Unfortunately, India accounts for 600 million of the nearly 1.1 billion people worldwide who regularly defecate in the open due to lack of proper sanitation facilities. The problem is especially acute in India's dense urban environments. Women and children bear a disproportionate burden of the negative effects stemming from poor sanitation.

In urban India, while the percentage of households without toilets decreased to 18.6% in 2011 from 26.3% in 2001, the number of households without toilets increased slightly to 20 million households or roughly 100 million people. Of these individuals, roughly 25 million use public toilets that are dilapidated at best and often unhygienic while an estimated 75 million people in urban India defecate in the open everyday.

Despite the great need that exists and the transformative effect that community toilet facilities can have on the poor, few organizations have been able to address this issue effectively. Existing solutions take a “top-down” approach, attempting to bring certain technologies or methodologies to the base of the pyramid. Most sanitation programs fail or have limited impact because they fail to realize that solving these issues is not just about technology or infrastructure, it is also about user engagement and behavior change.

Seeking to deeply understand the wants and the needs of our end users we have performed intense ethnographic research across slums in various cities in India.
We have found that the Critical factors responsible for failure of sanitation efforts are:
1. Lack of appropriate Toilets (design issues)
2. Lack of User Engagement (behavior issues)
3. Lack of Operational Models (maintenance/operational issues)

Samagra's Approach:

We have found that in order to create sustainable social impact with respect to sanitation issues we have to do 3 things:
1. Change The Environment i.e. build better toilets
2. Change The Behavior i.e. engage user emotionally and rationally
3. Build a financially sustainable Ops Model

Samagra’s holistic model incorporates the “change framework” into its DNA.

Samagra is the first for-profit sanitation social enterprise in India that is dedicated solely to providing access to clean, safe, and reliable community toilet facilities for the urban slum-dwelling poor.

What makes the model innovative is the seamless bundling of other value-added services along with the toilet block:
- Financial services (including savings accounts)
- Access to digital goods (mobile phone re-charge, TV subscription services, Bill Payment Services)
- Access to life improving Products and Services (like Health Services, Ecommerce etc)

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Samagra effectively partners with municipal agencies and businesses and leverages existing community toilet infrastructure to create a community center and a “one stop shop” for slum residents.

The model has proven its ability to attract and retain users to the toilet facility, promote hygienic behavior, and still achieve profitability.

As it worked to build a proof of concept, Samagra has been supported by grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Millennium Alliance (USAID, UKAID, Technology Development Board, FICCI)Ashoka Fellowship and  Acumen India Fellowship and several awards for implementing an innovative business model for sanitation.

By providing access to community toilet facilities that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – that also double as a center of commerce and other activity – Samagra has proven it can reduce rates of open defecation and effect improved health and security for its members.

Samagra has successfully re-designed and operates 12 community toilet blocks (320 Toilet Seats) in the city of Pune, Maharashtra and currently has over 10,000+ daily users that are regularly using the facilities.

The team now aspires to replicate this model and scale up to total of 60 toilet blocks serving over 60,000 daily users by the Dec 2016

Why did I start Samagra?

There is only one reason why I started Samagra - "For Women's Dignity". 

Samagra's LooRewards Model

Samagra's LooRewards Business Model is based on "Monetization of The User Engagement"

The model at its core focuses on good design and effective management of community toilet blocks. Samagra combines knowledge and expertise from a variety of discipline – human-centered design, toilet block management, personnel training and marketing - to create community facilities that offer both sanitation services and access to critical value added services for local slum-dwelling populations.

Samagra operates in India, where those who handle human waste are considered "untouchables" by society and as such people willing to work on handling the toilet waste are NOT readily available. There are also government laws that prohibit human handling of waste from dry toilets, thus rendering "canister or cartridge" model of toilet-emptying illegal.

Samagra started with a business model of converting toilet waste into biogas and thus generating revenue from the waste, but we soon realized that even discussing about toilet waste is considered taboo, let alone usage of the biogas or fertilizer produced from toilet waste. Also there is a HUGE Capital Cost related biogas generation technologies and these also require a lot of space that is NOT available in urban slums.

Due to social, financial and spatial issues associated with "Monetizing The Shit" business model we realized early on that this will be very difficult to scale in slums of India. Although all the waste from our toilet blocks gets treated, we do not monetize the by-products produced from waste, except for the treated water that is used for flushing and cleaning the toilets.

How Does Samagra Model Work?

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1. Design:Samagra designs and renovates community toilet blocks in partnership with the Municipality which pays for all the renovation and utilities (water and electricity). 

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2. Operate: Samagra then starts operating these blocks. Each Block is run by a local women who acts as the Kiosk Manager or Operator (a.k.a "Loo-Preneur") and is regularly cleaned by Samagra's Cleaning Force also known as Clean Warriors

Samagra's Kiosk Managers a.k.a LooPreneurs
Samagra's Cleaning Force a.k.a Clean Warriors

3. Engage: All slum dwellers can use the toilets for free.

But only those who pay for usage get access to LooRewards or Value Added Services like (Mobile Tops Ups, Bill Payments, Banking, Health Services and E-Commerce)

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2-Levels of Behavior Change through LooRewards:

Most Slum dwellers in India consider community toilets to be a free social utility. As it is said "Thing that belongs to everyone, does not belong to anyone". As such users are unwilling to pay for community toilets and would rather defecate in open. Free community toilets suffer from ownership issues (that lead to misuse and vandalism).

While fee payment is critical to create ownership, most often the toilets relying on User Fee for revenues often fail to sustain operations because they fail to change the behavior as many people DO NOT want to pay for toilets

As such 2-levels of behavior change are required in order to promote sanitation in urban slum communities while making O&M of community toilets self-sustainable.

1. Converting Non-Users into Users (Reduction in Open Defecation)
2. Converting Non-Payers into Payers (Creating a New Social Norm of Paying for Utilities)

Samagra's LooRewards Platform accomplishes this in the following manner:
All the slum dwellers in the service area are free to use Samagra operated community toilet blocks. But ONLY those who pay get access to Samagra's LooRewards programs that provides Value Added Services as digital goods, bill payments, banking, health and e-commerce services etc.

As such:
1. By converting filthy community toilets into well-designed & clean facilities, Samagra motivates non-users to start using the toilets. And,

2. By tying REWARDS with GOOD BEHAVIORS of paying for toilet usage, Samagra is able to change social norm into "Community Toilets as a Paid Utility".

As such Open Defecation is reduced and toilet becomes self-sustainable within few Months of Operations.

Components of Samagra Model:

- LooRewards & LooKiosks:LooRewards essentially a rewards program to incentivize paid usage of toilets by offering only paying toilet users access to services at the LooKiosk. LooKiosks act as access points manned by local women who acts as the Kiosk Manager or Operator (a.k.a "Loo-Preneur") a.k.a LooPreneurs, who use Samagra's ICT enabled technology to administer the services offered through the kiosk. 

- LooSavings: The model is also supplemented by LooSavings, which provides a savings accounts for members. This enables paying toilet users to avail banking services. Thus sanitation and Financial Inclusion go hand in hand. Savings programs also reduces cost of operations and makes Samagra Model highly scalable and replicable

- Kiosk Operators/LooPreneurs: As Samagra scaled its operations, it has also been successful in motivating local women to take the role of managing kiosks. All of Samagra’s LooKiosks are being operated by women who are playing an important part in sustainability of Samagra’s Operations by delivering all the Value Added Services to our paying users

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Results & Impact:

- 12 Community Toilet Blocks (320 Seats)
- 10,000+ Daily Users
- 30-50% Increase in Toilet Usage
- 600% Increase in Users Paying for toilets
- Toilets Start Breaking Even within few Months of Operations

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Samagra's Vision:

As it expands in 2016 alone, Samagra has the opportunity to put Pune, Maharashtra on the map as a model city for India that has perfected the community toilet block for its citizens, and also to create a “demonstration effect” in other large cities across India. 

Samagra's Goal is to scale up to 300 Toilet Blocks serving over 300,000 daily toilet users by end of 2018.

Scale Through Franchisee Model:

The larger vision is to amplify Samagra's Impact by partnering with other sanitation providers and equip them with our "Toilet Management Processes & Technology" and "user engagement LooRewards Platform" that will enable these partners make their own operations sustainable.

Meanwhile we will keep bringing more and more life improving products and services through our LooRewards Platform, thus "Empowering Transformations" in urban slum communities.

We believe that Sanitation is a Wicked Problem.
Sanitation practices we know have evolved over years.

The behavior is a consequence of multiple environmental factors such as infrastructure, education, lifestyles, social norms. The history associated with the problem also leads to multiple beliefs. 

As such solution to sanitation lies in the use of Psychology, Technology and Business Models

Few Articles/Videos About Samagra:

How would you describe the stage of development of your idea?

  • Scaling phase

How big or scalable is the potential of your idea?

The City of Pune alone has over 564 slum pockets with 1.2 Million Residents (40% of total population) requiring over 24000 Community Toilet seats (~1000 Toilets) to be managed properly. Samagra has surveyed various Tier I and Tier II cities (like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad etc) with requirements of thousands of well-manged community toilets. As per our research about 1 Million Community Toilet seats need to managed across urban slums of top 10 most populated cities of India.

Explain the sustainability aspect of your idea

Samagra's Model has been designed with Social, Cultural and Financial sustainability in mind. Our toilet designs and the LooRewards Value added services have been designed after thorough experimentation and research on user behaviors, needs and wants, so that we are NOT required to make any drastic changes in our operational model as we scale. The MoU with local Municipality ensures that CapEx and costs of utilities is taken care of. As we have become better in user engagement, we have been able to accomplish unit-level break-even withing 4-8 months of operations. This ensures block level sustainability while bringing small amounts of revenue towards the company. We are estimating that by the end of 2016 we will be able to achieve unit level break-even with 3 months of operations. And we are putting significant amount of efforts in: - Robust processes for Recruiting and Training the Toilet Operators/Loo-Preneurs - Streamlining Logistics for Cleaning Operations - Increased coordination with the Municipality for Toilet Construction - Developing Leadership team that can manage scale of operations - Implementation of robust financial and operational protocols

What types of financing would be required for your idea to be successful?

Samagra's Model has a Chicken and Egg issue. Samagra is currently making revenue at unit level and our facilities break even after only few months of operations. While at unit level our model is becoming robust, every unit contributes only a small amounts of revenue towards the company. While we are working on unlocking revenue channels that would bring more revenue into the company, we estimate breaking even at the company level once we have 175-200 toilet blocks under operation. Therefore we are looking for following type of funding: - Grant Funding - to fund cash flow shortfall as we scale up, make our model more robust and unlock more sources of revenues. - Equity Funding - to fund growth as we reach scale of 100-150 toilet blocks.

If you are proposing to partner with other organizations, please explain their role and reason for partnership.

Samagra’s SMART Partnership Philosophy: We believe that SMART partnerships should accelerate cash flow, increase revenue, reduce costs and should result in mutual social/financial benefits. Partnerships built on solid business and social benefits like these have a much greater likelihood of succeeding in the long term and forging such effective partnerships can speed entry into a new geographic area or market segment, open additional channels of distribution, accelerate new product development, and reduce costs. We focus on creating partners across 3 major categories: 1. Government Partners like ULBs, Political Leaders - Samagra cannot scale without their support 2. Funding Partners - To provide strategic advice and funding required for scale 3. Business and Technology Partners - that can enable Samagra to: - Reduce cost of operations - Unlock new revenues - Create deeper engagement - Make Samagra model more profitable and scalable

In-country experience

  • Yes, for two or more years

If you have been operating in India, what has been your focus?

Samagra is only focused on providing sanitation services in Urban Slums. After failed pilots that involved "monetization of shit" in Raipur and Bhubaneswar, we have only been operating in the city of Pune in Maharashtra for the last 3 years. However we have performed research in 4 mega cities and 3 big cities across India to understand the market size and customer behaviors across slums.

Is your organization currently legally registered in India?

  • Yes

What states or districts will you target/are you targeting within India?

Samagra currently only operates in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. We have performed research in 4 mega cities and 3 big cities across India to understand the market size and customer behaviors across slums. After making our technology and business model more robust by mid of 2017, we plan to scale to 2 cities in 2017 and 3 more cities in 2018.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am passionate about Sanitation in Urban slums because of the impact it can have on the lives of Urban Poor. Can you imagine living a single day without toilets? This is a very difficult question for over 100 Million Indians living in urban slums - That is equivalent to 1/3rd of the US population. Imagine the plight of women and girls in slums who lose dignity every day while trying to find a place to relieve themselves. Being a father of a young daughter I have made pledge to her and to myself that I will not stop until every mother, sister & daughter had access to dignified Sanitation. Samagra’s team comprises of engineers, MBAs, designers, social scientists and leaders who have deep seated entrepreneurial spirit and passion for designing appropriate solutions for intractable problems. We have combined experience of over 15 years in designing physical spaces and over 20 years of experience in Branding, Marketing, Product Promotion, Content Creation and Getting Shit Done !

Is this a new or recent idea for your organization? How does it differ from what you are already doing?

In 2011, Samagra started as an organization trying to generate revenue by converting Human Waste in Power (Biogas and electricity). While this model worked at a small scale in a slum of Bhubaneswar, we soon realized that not only does the "Monetization of Waste" model has huge CapEx implications, the model is NOT scalable and replicable to other slums. Our toilet users in Bhubaneswar were NOT ready to cook with biogas made from human waste and the local farmers were NOT ready to pay for fertilizer made from human waste. On top of all this, City Sanitation Policies and land availability in urban areas, make installation of Waste Treatment facilities, that require large space, very difficult. The Unit Economic of "Poop-to-Power" model fell apart as we scaled and were unable to create viable revenue channels. LooRewards model (in development since 2013), on the other hand, is scalable, viable and replicable to all slums areas because it monetizes the "wants and needs" of Urban poor.

What are the two or three biggest risks for your idea and how will you manage the risks?

Risk 1: Operator Risks -Fraud & misappropriation by operator can hamper operations. Mitigants -Use of Technology to move to a complete cashless system and effectively monitor/detect fraud Risk - A sub-par Operator can create serious challenges for Samagra. Mitigants - Strengthen recruiting process of Operators followed by a well-designed Training process. Move a complete entrepreneur model so that incentives are properly aligned 2. Reliance on ULB Threats: Dependence on ULBs for permissions/other provisions from the ULB's (Which can reduce scale-up pace). Opportunities - Scale aggressively & deploy strong outreach efforts to unleash the "demo effect" 3. Water dependency Risk- Dependence on water. Mitigants: Use recycled water for cleaning & flushing Risk4. Dependence on Cleaning Execs Risks- Samagra depends on humans for cleaning that can pose challenges at scale. Mitigants- Develop a self-cleaning & self flushing technology. ( funds will be used for this)

How would you propose to track or record the households or customers reached?

Before Samagra starts intervening in a community, we collect extensive toilet traffic/usage and baseline data from all the households in the community. And as soon as Samagra launches its operations in a community, every new user who becomes Samagra's paying user is enrolled through LooRewards digital platform. Number of daily users is tracked using traffic monitoring system. These ICT technologies enable us calculate Loorewards penetration and usage, and track users and non users in real-time

If you had two years and $250,000 USD in funding, how many households or customers would you reach?

Samagra Toilet Units break even within 4-8 months of operation. However, as mentioned earlier, Samagra will break even at company level once we reach ~175 Units under our operations. Also there are a lot of revenue models that will only unfold at scale. As such Samagra will scale aggressively in the Next 2 Years adding 5-7 Community Toilet Units (100-140 toilet seats) every month OR 1000-1400 families every month. Combined with other funding of USD 450,000 that we have already raised, USD 250,000 funding will enable us to reach minimum of 100 Toilets OR 20000 Families OR 100,000 Daily toilet users. As such Water.Org's USD 250,000 Funding will be of extremely strategic value for Samagra because it will enable us to increase revenue coming from every single unit towards company and as such making Samagra ready for impact investment. We believe that Water.Org funding will enable Samagra become first equity invested slum sanitation company in India

How would you propose to invest $250,000 USD if you received philanthropic/grant funding support from

Samagra Core Toilet Activities are as follows: 1. Community Data Collection 2. Community Engagement 3. Toilet Management: - Recruiting and Training the Toilet Operators/Loo-Preneurs - Recruiting and Training the Cleaning Executives - Partnerships with Local, National Business - Partnerships with ULBs - Toilet Management Technology 4. Processes - Increased coordination with the ULB - Developing Leadership team that can manage scale of operations - Implementation of robust Technology, financial and operational protocols Our Toilet Units break even within 4-8 months of operation (All unit level expenses Operator Income, Cleaning Executive Income get covered). However revenues coming from Units towards Company are not enough to fund the cost total of operations and tech development. As such there will be a cash shortfall until we reach ~175 toilets when total revenues from units will start covering cost of operations and technology. USD 250k will cover for this shortfall

What type of support beyond grant funding are you most interested in?

Business Strategy Support - How can Samagra scale without screwing up by using Franchisee model and SMART partnerships? Linkages to Financial Institutions - so that Samagra can offer diverse range of financial productslike micro-loans, insurance etc as LooRewards Technology guidance - Economically viable waste treatment tech, Use of ICT in Ops, monitoring and evaluation Government Engagement - In locations where Samagra is NOT present but water.Org and it's grantees/partners are

Does your organization have Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) approval?

Samagra works with one of the best minds in impact investing space. We have absorbed USD 700k in grant funding so far without need for FCRA. Samagra will work with Water.Org to make sure the funding is disbursed with proper legalities and compliances

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Aayushi

Hi Swapnil,

Absolutely loved the idea and the way it has been narrated! Its a good social cause I would say in order to provide sanitation facility to the people living in India. Was wondering if this organisation can collaborate with NGO's or NPO's by providing them basic education to understand the importance of "good sanitation" to the illiterate people in the rural India such that it will help in increasing the usage of the sanitation facility provided by Samagra!


Photo of Marco Gabriel

Hi! Poop-Guy Swapnil! congratulation for your Innovative and promising project. But Can I get your official email address for more information because I have a lot of personal concern about your idea and I need personal advise as far as your idea is concerned.

Photo of Bahenda Joseph

Great idea and clearly articulated

Photo of Zoe Austin-Crowe

I love this idea and think it could translate well to other areas where we are trying to effect behaviour change. I was thinking of the current IDEO Challenge - How might we re-imagine the end of life? Using the incentive model to link activities that are necessary, but uncomfortable, with positive activities that are a drawcard is  something worth considering.

I loved reading through your idea and I'm so glad you've got the opportunity to scale-up your great concept.

Photo of Sikandar Meeranayak

Congratulations for your selection as one of the leading teams and projects in the water challenge.  If there is any way in which our bore well recharge systems can assist in your work by supplying water to your toilets please let us know .. we would be very happy to collaborate with your. 

Photo of Jules C

Loved reading through your thought process. Has arming "clean warriors" with professional tools and a new title changed the perception of these folks as "untouchables?" Have they now become glorified untouchables? If not, why do you think this changed people's perception?

Photo of Maryalice

Like many of these other commenters, your idea stood out to me because it focuses on the psychological issues around sanitary toilets, not just the infrastructure. I also like the concept of incentivizing people to use the loo with a reward system that involves financial rewards. Instead of only paying back those who invest in the system with money, have you considered offering rewards to users who volunteer to keep the spaces clean? I agree that things that everyone owns are actually owned by nobody; could you come up with a system that keeps track of teams who do things such as wash the floors, clean out the stalls, etc., overseen by your loo leader? That way, you could incentivize people to carry out they very behaviors you are trying to ingrain into habits, without the added risk of fraud associated with financial exchanges.

Photo of Tim Golland

You've offered some fantastic insights here into a significant problem. Beyond attempts to provide solutions with money, better technology and environmentally sustainable endeavours, what strikes a chord with me is the focus on behavioural change. Incentivising such a basic human need seems so simple, and could offer many partnering opportunities to add value to your "customer experience". Does your business model allow for competition between facilities, or performance incentives for operators?

Photo of Christopher

I really like the idea, and how it is going to build community. Have you thought about - in the long run - expanding the idea to make people come together for schools, hospitals, or certain events?

Photo of Langston Hamer-nagle

Great Idea. I love how instead of trying to bring the toilets to individual, people you are instead bringing individual people to the toilet. I just have one question. Are only women allowed to work at the facilities? I know that this models supports women who want to get involved, but is the work force just restricted to women?

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Thank you for your comments and queries. 

Samagra's model has fields Ops in form of cleaning Ops and business Ops.  Business Ops or kiosk management is taken care only local women because the women are not only engaged deeply with work that we do, but hiring women also enables families increase their income which in turn has massive impact on theirs and kids living standards
Field Ops mostly involves highly trained cleaning warriors who are mostly men

Photo of Langston Hamer-nagle

That makes sense. I also have some other questions. Do you find your operation employing both the husband and the wife at your facilities?  And do you hope to incorporate bathing facilities in the compounds when the become more financially stable? Another idea that could help attendance of the compounds would be to host community events there. Maybe like a potluck or other events where the community can participate and see what the facility has to offer. I do not know if this is financially feasible or not, but if it is I think that this would increase exposure and in turn attendance of the compound!  

Photo of David Hauwert

Poop-Guy Swapnil Great idea! I think it is important to bring human waste away from the public in order to help keep people healthier and prevent serious illnesses. I also like the idea of incorporating a business environment with this idea to help empower the local populations to make money especially for women as you have them running these kiosks and enterprises.  Help break the cultural mold and introduce innovative ideas! Keep it up. I think you could also incorporate some educational mediums into your proposal.  Knowledge is power after all.

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Great suggestions 
We are already testing next level of rewards in forms of discounts on education services (tutors,  vocational training, supplies etc). 

We will roll out these and other highly impact full rewards in all of our locations by the end of this year. 

Thank you 
With Gratitude 

Photo of Rupert Whiting

You are already having a fantastic impact. Well done!  
We are working with the exact same philosophy and have developed a unit that can capture the waste from the toilet blocks (we can even supply a bank of 10 toilets in a 40ft shipping container if one does not exist) and we clean up the waste on-site in a matter of hours.  The water that is regenerated from the waste can be used to clean the facility and wash hands, creating a closed loop for that water.  

Depending on the community, we can reuse the excess water that is generated for community cleaning water or even showers.  For some communities, it may be more appropriate to use it for growing vegetables.  

The system can also be used for recycling harvested rainwater, stopping that from going stagnant and becoming a harbour for mosquitos etc.
I would love to talk some more with you about the business cases behind these units as they can be provided at a fraction of the cost per head of a conventional sewage treatment plant and I have some very conservative business models that make a great deal of sense.  Based on that they also offer great business opportunities for the locals.   More than that, most of the unit manufacture would be done in India so it not only meets teh Clean India agenda but also Make in India.

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Good suggestions. 
Samagra's loorewards model is agnostic to toilet technology as long as designs are as meet our standards. 

Let's chat further so that I can have more idea about Capex and Opex requirements. Please feel free to email me at

With Gratitude 

Photo of Sikandar Meeranayak

Hello, we realise you are working in the slum areas, but perhaps you may be interested in a model that we have arrived at through the examination of many of the submissions here on this challenge. If you think there may be some application of this model as a collaborative initiative also in the urban area, we invite you to take a look at this video and please, we are more than open to suggestions from you as to the feasibility of our idea as well as refinements. If this inspires you please consider developing this together.

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Looked at the video. 
We will have to have a discussion to discuss the concept so that I can understand context

Please email me at 

Photo of Rebecca Perez

This seems to be a unique solution to a very complicated problem, and I find alot of value in the multi-layered approach. I wonder if toilet waste is no longer "taboo" when you add on all these other services. Are people willing to use the other services if they are so connected to the toilet? Or does the value of the services override the "taboo" subject?

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Good Morning 
That's a very interesting observation.  
What we have found is that with our interventions toilet waste related taboos do not get mitigated so much,  but there are still changes in people's perspectives towards the toilet space itself. What we have learned is that how people see or use a space depends upon how they perceive the space.  For example,  people misuse a toilet but rarely miause a bank where they deposit money. 
As such our intentions are deliberately designed to create a shift in the perspective towards the toilet space rather  than the toilet waste. 
The positive consequence is also that people do shift their attitude towards the cleaning warriors (who are usually looked down upon because of the dirty work that they do). 

Photo of OpenIDEO

Welcome to the Refinement phase! We've added new questions to your idea submission form. To answer the new questions, hit the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post. Scroll down to the entry fields of the new Refinement questions. Hit Save when you are done editing.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Hi Team, we have a few days left before the conclusion of the Refinement phase. It'd be fantastic if you might answer the new questions we added to your idea submission form. To update your post, please follow the tips in the previous comment from OpenIDEO. Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Done submitting all the questions 
Thank you for your encouragement 

With Gratitude 

Photo of Sean Kearney

Hi Swapnil – really enjoyed your personal testimony, and explanations of the Samagra model.

What you have achieved is fantastic and is an inspiring example for our #CommPlumbing initiative: the kind of design impact we would like to shape our programme to deliver, and aspire to. If we can support what you are doing, or work together to help you, just let us know!

Best wishes,

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Good Evening 
Thank you for your words of encouragement.  
We would definitely love to talk to you.  As I have mentioned above,  we are engaged in all sorts of design innovations and would love to explore how to work together to create water saving smart plumbing systems for our toilets. 
Please feel free to write to me at 

With Gratitude 

Photo of Joslin Thambi Chellaiah

It is interesting to see the unique linking of essential value added services to users. Have you conducted any pilots in rural areas. It will be helpful to know your experience.

Wish you the best in all your efforts.

Photo of Sikandar Meeranayak

We are also interested to know if you have done any work or any studies on possible extension of your intiative to the rural village areas.  Great idea to provide rewards for loo use.. in our work with water harvesting the rewards come - but are long term and require patience!.  Access to facilities as a reward is a very interestig concept. 

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Joslin Thambi Chellaiah Sikandar Meeranayak Thank you for reaching out. Samagra Model has been uniquely designed to work in urban slums where the density of the population is very high and space inside/around individual homes is too less for in-home toilets. Samagra has taken advantage of these factors to build a highly scalable for-profit model. DENSITY + LACK OF SPACE = HIGHLY SCALABLE MODEL 

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Joslin Thambi Chellaiah  Sikandar Meeranayak - Having said that, we did pilots in villages and this is what we found: Community toilets should NEVER be built in villages if there is space available for in-home toilets because: 1). In-home toilets are 4 to 6 times cheaper to build and maintain than community toilets on a per seat basis. 2). Building in-home toilets (through demand generation) leads to automatic ownership and usage. 3). Village populations are quite different than urban populations. There are caste issues etc which can lead to low usage and other unintended consequences. Samagra DOES NOT practice or propose building COMMUNITY TOILETS even if CapEx funding is available not only because Unit economics is NOT sustainable but also community toilets NOT CULTURALLY & SOCIALLY viable

Photo of Swapnil Poop-Guy

Joslin Thambi Chellaiah Sikandar Meeranayak However the Behavior Change strategies being used by Samagra can definitely be applied to create Demand for Water. I believe is that "Selling Water" is very similar to "Selling Toilets" because although people "need" these, they don't "want" these. At its core, Samagra's rewards model works on converting "needs" into "wants". we have already tested our LooRewards model to encourage people to segregate waste, save money and buy healthy food.

Photo of Sikandar Meeranayak

Thank you.  The rewards model is effective in very many areas including crowd funding!  Let's use what works. 

Photo of vijay sampath

Dear Swapnil,
Your ideas and business model is brilliant and "Monitizing Shit" is definitely a good idea. I could suggest a few ways on this and we should also explore collaboration in this area. 
Firstly you need to recycle and reuse water and use that for drains and other tertiary usage. We have something quite unique on that kind of treatment and clearly it will help you save water and costs.
Secondly, your justification on not building community toilets in villages is definitely right. But how would you extend your business model in that case ? Lets say you build individual toilets like you mentioned before, how can the household get the benefits of other value added services that you wish to introduce.
I think it is a very good idea of providing value added service to increase adoption - one possible idea is to provide a "Loo-card" to families who have built "Loo" in their houses and with this card they can get better discounted / value added services in your main centre. Just a thought. But i think your concept is great. Lets connect.

Photo of Farakh Abbas

This is one hell of a revoLOOtion that is very much needed in the urban space context of India. I have been following Samagra's work from quite some time and it is commendable. An insanely amazing and amazingly insane idea at work.