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Hi Jessica - upfront congratulations having been selected for the award. Awesome. We too as Shanti Life India Foundation - had applied and reached the final round but then the bestrew selected. 

Shanti Life India Foundation primarily aims at ensuring the poor women have access to micro credit to build their toilets and bathrooms. Currently, we have invested in 200 loans. I would be interested to come study your model. Could you please let me know how can I connect - with / where? Thank you and congratulations!!!


Sanjay commented on Microfinance support for Sanitation

Thank you for your encouraging words. 

A community facility would be an ideal one - but we have a saying here "that which is public is not owned by anyone" There have been attempts to build community facilities be they toilets, washing areas or the water distribution systems. The operation and maintenance becomes a major challenge and finally the system or the facility ends up defunct. In urban areas, because of the space crunch, pay and use toilets are common and effective. Because there is "someone" maintaining the facilities.

Individual facilities are built, owned and used effectively. Hence the purpose of stopping open defecation is key.  These observations are based on my experiences of working at the field level. Thank you once again for your encouragement. 


Sanjay commented on Microfinance support for Sanitation

Thank you for your comment. Micro finance for business - which generates money - from which she would build a toilet. I wish this route was applied in the households. However, the social constraints on women is the main cause - no decision making power, no pushing family priorities - finally a man decides what is to be done with the money. The hidden part if that women learn to control their bowel movements and hence end up with head aches, stomach aches, back aches. They also tend to eat lesser and lesser - even if there is food available in the house. The monthly doctor fees climb up to Rs.400 to 500. This plus the agony and shame can be spared with a toilet.

Our model primarily (a bridge loan) is making all efforts to see that the money is in the hands of the women, that it helps them secure the material for building the toilet (no credit facilities for the materials) plus financial, hygiene and building - training and support that we provide is critical. Once she is safe, secure and healthy, will she be able to demand a new loan for business...

As well, the transaction is through the bank helping her to eventually graduate to the banks for her future loans. I will certainly look at the bore - recharging idea. Thank you once again.