Dear Ashley Coates , Thank you for your interest in our work. With our experience in Rural India, we found that more than 50% of the constructed toilets are not being used due to different socio-cultural issues so our focus is on not only on construction but on the usage of toilets. We realized that engaging community is critical for achieving the dream of 'Swachh Bharat' by 2019. Our team comprises of individuals from institutes like Institute of Rural Management-Anand (IRMA), Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM)-Bhopal & National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD)-Hyderabad. The team has experience of working with community, government and CSR organization in different geographies like Odissa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh etc. We believe that stakeholders involvement at all levels is critical for successful implementation of any program and thus the community involvement is too high on each step in our processes.
Hi Lara! You are right on the point that mobilizing funds from government department is not that easy but currently there is a strong impetus around WASH and SBM guidelines also consider supporting innovative NGOs for helping India achieving its dream of open defecation free by 2019. With my limited experience I have observed that motivated bureaucrats are eager to extend help to the organizations/young individuals who wants to develop solutions that support households for improving access to hygienic sanitation in India.
Coming to your second point about quality of toilets with bathrooms in Rs. 12000/-. We at Paul believe in pumping maximum investment (toilet construction cost) in the local economy. We are training local masons, local brick & ring manufacturer etc for improving the financial ecosystem within the village. This strategy is also helping us in maintaining supply for the demand coming from the community. Community is also contributing in terms of cash and kind. Each household is contributing Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000 & labor for digging pits and basement for toilets. We are also exploring various technological options and are trying to bring down cost of raw material by bulk procurement.
In Odisha, 90% of the households lives under the income category of Rs. 5000 per month (SECC data) and as you rightly said that government subsidy comes after construction of toilets, it is difficult for these households to construct toilets and claim the reimbursement from the government. We are trying to provide them different financial products for constructing the toilets. District and community are supporting us realizing the real intentions behind the initiatives and we are looking for funding agencies fro scaling up this idea.
Hi Ron, Thank you for showing interest in our work. I agree with your idea of targeting the education system for solving the issue of open defecation and majorly the behavior change part. We, at Paul firmly believe that children can play critical role as agents of change for promoting improved water, sanitation and hygiene behaviors.
Sanitation should have been private good but in current atmosphere it is a public good and community led and community saturation approaches are the one of the best ways for solving this mammoth issue of open defecation in India. Paul is focusing on targeting all the existing institutions in a village ecosystem like SHGs, anganwadi centers, schools, panchayats for achieving the dream of "Swachh Bharat" by 2019.
Thank you for giving the idea of E-toilets. We are exploring the opportunities to partner with organizations who can provide low cost innovative designs for improving WASH status in rural India and will be happy to partner with such organizations.