The success and sustainability of Satya Bharti Abhiyan largely lay on the sense of ownership of beneficiaries and stakeholders. The other sustainability-promoting elements being followed/used under the Abhiyan are as follows:
1. Toilet Design: The Twin-Pit Pour Flush design has the following advantages:
a. Long life: The design allows the use of the two pits alternately, thereby leading to a longer life
b. Low cost of operation and maintenance: The toilet provided is easy to maintain and requires local materials and local tradesmen to repair it. The operation and maintenance cost in terms of material and skills required is therefore, very low in cost.
2. Emphasis on good quality construction: Delivery of good quality toilets reduces the requirement of maintenance and thereby, the need of funds required to maintain them.
3. Do It Yourself (DIY) minimizes the funds required for maintenance: Through hand-holding as part of IEC, the beneficiary households are educated and empowered on the operation (process of usage and cleaning) and basic maintenance of the toilet (e.g. minor repair of cracks, painting, prevention from rust/seepage and navigation between pits). Instruction manuals and booklets which can be referred to in the future are provided to all households as part of the IEC. Toilet maintenance can also be done along with other household infrastructure maintenance by the beneficiary herself/himself, thereby reducing the cost further.
4. Handing over of toilets to beneficiaries and to schools: The individual toilets are handed over to beneficiaries and toilets for girls are handed over to the School Management Committees who own the toilets and will take care of maintenance costs from their respective budgets/funds.
5. Strengthening of local institutions: The beneficiaries, community and Gram Panchayats are engaged and empowered through involvement in the Abhiyan and through IEC to take care of the project mandate through the Abhiyan and also beyond its completion.
6. Bringing in ownership and leveraging the same to sustain the Abhiyan:
a. Ownership by beneficiaries: This is ensured by handing over of toilets to the individual beneficiaries who, in turn, accept the accountability to use, clean and maintain toilets.
b. Ownership by Panchayats: This is ensured by involving the Panchayats/Sarpanches in the processes of identifying the beneficiaries, providing toilets, monitoring and certifying the quality and number of toilets constructed and also in the process of release of payments.
c. Ownership by the community: By engaging the community in the program as primary stakeholders, educating them about the ill effects of open defecation and the advantages of using toilets through IEC etc., and also through the grievance redress system, the community members take ownership.
7. Behaviour Change: By involvement and engagement of community in the Abhiyan and through the behaviour change strategy, the Abhiyan works towards changing the mind-sets and behaviour of people. Ludhiana becoming the second Open Defecation Free (ODF) district of Punjab can be considered as an indicator of success of the behaviour change strategy.
8. Capacity-building of construction partners and local tradesmen: To effectively implement the project, structured capacity-building of the construction partners and the tradesmen was organized by the Foundation at regular intervals. These partners and tradesmen continue to work in the sanitation sector beyond the time and geographic boundary of the Abhiyan – thereby benefitting other communities and impacting sustainability.
9. Convergence with the Government:
a. The Abhiyan team, working in close coordination with DWSS, Swachh Bharat Mission officials and the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Ludhiana resulted in shared learning and leveraging of each other’s strengths and efforts. This kind of coordination leads to a force multiplier effect.
b. This also leads to inclusion of the toilets provided into the government’s database , thereby enabling these toilets to be considered for all future schemes – of monitoring, IEC or improvement launched by the Government in future.
c. The beneficiaries of the Abhiyan get the advantages of community groups formed under Swachh Bharat Mission for ensuring usage and maintenance of toilets. For example, Gram Panchayat Water and Sanitation Committee (GPWSC) and Nigrani Committees have been actively participating in the prevention of open defecation.
d. The strong convergence is evident from the fact that Ludhiana became the second ODF district of Punjab.
10. Sustaining ODF: Once the ODF status has been achieved, the same needs to also be maintained. The Punjab Government and the DWSS will be ensuring this in the case of Ludhiana.
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