How to maintain the status of an "OD free" city


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  • TraceyKeatman
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  • Consultant working independently and also for 'Partnerships in Practice' on WASH and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Interested in sanitation and hygiene in urban areas, sanitation entrepreneurs and currently researching city sanitation planning.
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Re: How to maintain the status of an "OD free" city

Hi Siddarth,

Many thanks for this and for highlighting your experience of urban sanitation in India. This is something we shall be discussing in greater detail next week - how do we manage and maintain the status of ODF and how can we deal with slippage. Our colleagues from the Global Sanitation Fund / WSSCC will be leading the conversation.

Your post also reminds us of the importance of having a clear definition of what ODF can mean to different stakeholders. The construction of toilets alone does not meet the ODF definition in most contexts. If people are not motivated to use the toilets or their behaviours remain the same, what have we actually achieved? Behaviour change is also the theme of this week's discussion so we'll be hoping to share some further experiences on this and to shed more light on how we can shift behavioural and social norms more consistently and coherently - so that when toilets are built, people will use them.

Thanks again for sharing your experience and we hope to hear more from you with your perspective as an urban planner over the course of the discussion.

Kind regards, Tracey
Tracey Keatman
PiP – Senior Consultant
Partnerships in Practice Ltd.
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  • sidd5505
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How to maintain the status of an "OD free" city


I am Siddharth Shah, an urban infrastructure professional from India. Currently, I am working with non profit company which works extensively on improving urban sanitation in India. As a part of one of our projects, we are working with various small cities to help them achieve the status of an 'OD free' city.From the little experience I have had, I have learned that most of the government of India schemes on the urban sanitation are 'supply based' and these schemes mostly focuses on mere construction of toilet facilities; may it be individual toilets, community or public toilets. Not much focus has been given on other aspects of the sanitation value chain which are collection, conveyance and treatment of the fecal waste.

Once the target of construction of toilets has been achieved by a city, it is declared as an 'OD free' city. In cases; where on-site sanitation systems are of inadequate capacity, the toilets become dysfunctional after certain period and people again start defecating in open. In other cases; toilet facilities are not connected to any disposal system which stops people from using those toilets. For such reasons, people start practising open defecation.

It would be great to hear your views on the same and ideas on how to turn this situation around.

Siddharth Shah| Urban Planner
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