Are all states using the model checklist provided by the Government of India for ODF verification? Are there any outliers?

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  • Elisabeth
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  • I'm passionate about SuSanA's role in the WASH sector since about 2005. I'm a freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
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Re: Are all states using the model checklist provided by the Government of India for ODF verification? Are there any outliers?

Dear all,

I am a great believer in the importance of definitions so it's good to put the Indian government's definition of open defecation free (ODF) to the test here in this discussion.

For the benefit of those who are new to this forum and just to make some linkages, I wanted to point out that we've had a similar discussion here on the forum in the past:

Definition of ODF – Open Defecation Free (Indian government publication)
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/71-beh...vernment-publication

and also here (not India specific):
ODF and Slippage - Introduction and questions for discussion
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/211-th...tions-for-discussion

I also tried to ensure there is a good definition of ODF on Wikipedia, you can find it here on the page about CLTS:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community-led_tota...nitation#Definitions

(linked to from the page on open defecation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_defecation#Use_of_the_term )

I think a related important definition is the definition of manual scavenging. That's because building toilets is one thing. But what happens when the pits are full? Then they have to be emptied safely (=fecal sludge management) rather than unsafely (=manual scavenging).

We had an interesting discussion about the Indian definition of manual scavenging here on the forum, with 13 replies: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/142-go...of-manual-scavenging

I would like to invite all the Indian experts and practitioners of this thematic discussion to take a look at that thread as well and to make their contributions (needless to say, I've also worked on the Wikipedia page on manual scavenging, see the current version here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manual_scavenging )

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Ulm, Germany
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Twitter: @EvMuench
Founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • Pradeep Mohapatra
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  • Am a Development Catalyst close to three-decades with an emotional relationship with grassroot communities. demonstrated work to minimizing poverty , distress migration , vulnerabilities & Maximizing benefit from cross sector programs connecting culture-water-nature-life & lifestyle . I have been working with various constituents in eco-development
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Re: Health Sanitation and environmental concerns

Sanitation – What & How: but possible to make ODF
It must be appreciated that some veteran development workers initiated a modest but passionate engagement way back in the 1980s to promote sanitation on a large scale that has today reached the current scale, thanks to the Government’s ambitious Mission, the Swachha Bharat Abhiyan. While, pledging our full support to this encouraging development, we in our own humble way have the following few things to say:
• We understand sanitation as primarily two components; (a) a condition that affects health with regard to garbage and infection; and (b) a mechanism (hygiene) that is designed to kill germs and infection.
• Consequently, sanitation is beyond toilets which is only the hardware part of a the mechanism which of course is important. But there are other equally important components too that should not be lost sight of.
• Hence sanitation should be promoted as an integrated programme and not in isolation.It should be very easy to link sanitation (that goes hand-in-hand with drinking water) with health, hygiene, nutrition, education, environment and livelihood that hopefully will eventually lead to poverty alleviation. As a matter of fact all the nuances of the new SDGs (especially those related to environment) can be integrated together and linked to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
• To go a step further, in order to make sure that people use the services for which Government has paid for, the PR system can play a very significant role in making people realise and act (as opposed to ‘aware’) that they are responsible for the tax payer’s money and that all the rights have accompanying responsibilities.
• The last mentioned is the real challenge – but a positive one. One simple way of doing it is to initiate a Participatory Resilience Programme – of, by and for the PRsystem, where the community can be an active member and take its own locally-relevant decision including finding ways of dealing with those who violate sanitation norms including non-use and at the same time rewarding those who make proper use of the services and set examples for others to emulate.
• Needless to say, this needs a meticulously planned and executed capacity development programme and that will be the real task ahead.
Doing few IHLs are good , it may be an entrepreneurial deeds but it wont satisfy the larger goal of ODF, one can get good income but not equally village sanitized, rather aggravates diseases thus who ever does , try to make it entire village and no one left behind

Does it soundsimple? But the challenge lies in making things simple.
Does it sound small? But small is actually big.

PradeepMohapatra
Udyama
(Where Small Is Big)
Bhubaneswar

Am a Development Catalyst close to three-decades with an emotional relationship with grassroot communities. There are evidences to minimizing poverty , distress migration , vulnerabilities & Maximizing benefit from cross sector programs connecting culture-water-nature- life & lifestyle . I have been working with various constituents in eco-development & community-resilience . Am deeply advocating localize the SDGs and pursuing for local action & global networking towards risk informed resilient development with micro-macro linkages.
I have been trying to capitalize mainstream resources impact to livelihoods & climate-justice with focused activities on landscape advancement, wise water use,WASH Governance, & Nutrition and ecosystem based initiatives, local biodiversity conservation, green energy drive. These have well accepted along with life skill building integration, innovations & inclusion towards a broad based livelihoods in cultivating solutions for people & planet
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  • Sanchita
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Re: Are all states using the model checklist provided by the Government of India for ODF verification? Are there any outliers?

Dear All,

We have had a few thought provoking responses to the ODF discussion. From the comments, I have culled the following to summarize the discussion.

ODF is the mantra under this sanitation campaign. This is a welcome change from merely making toilets towards behaviour change. Last year the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation issued guidelines for declaring communities ODF that are comprehensive and realistic. The issue is who verifies, since methods existed earlier. Is the model checklist followed? The implementer and verification agency need to be different since otherwise there is a tendency to report inaccurately.
Panchayats should be made responsible and trained for reporting but not implementation as a way forward. The construction of toilets by panchayats known as the contractor model is already discouraged in many states. A better and robust system for reporting is needed now to make it stronger and less prone to data fudging such as using GPS for marking coordinates.
In several state, panchayats declare themselves ODF but the block and district authorities wait a few months before conducting a verification visit. This allows them time to check if toilets are indeed being used continuously or the panchayat has ‘slipped back’. Typically, encouraging use over a few months make the habit permanent. This is another welcome, subtle step in ensuring ODF sticks.

ODF itself is a means to an end, and should not become the end itself. While an important milestone, it is just that - a milestone towards improving the quality of life. The danger in making it an end means it will become another target that should be avoided. Perhaps the end could be tangible such as a clean and green village where open defecation, drinking water and solid-liquid waste have been properly handled. The India Sanitation Coalition can provide a platform towards taking this concept further.
It has been found that only 100% ODF communities can look forward significant reduction in diarrhoea. While standards exist for provision of water for ablution, the actual consumption could differ (a low-flush would consume lesser water compared to regular flush toilet, for instance). So, water usage may not be the correct indicator.

There is difference between indoor sanitation, ODF (defined in the guidelines as toilets + safe disposal) and the advanced stages of completing the sanitation chain (viz., treatment and waste recovery).

A question regarding ODF definition in the guidelines: ODF is defined to include safe technology option which means "no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition)". If the technology option should not contaminate ground or surface water, will toilets connected to sewer systems that do not have a treatment plant (and hence pollute rivers) be considered unsafe technology? In which case, all these toilets would not get counted for ODF measurement purposes? If the Village Survey Questionnaire does not count "Toilet is connected to a closed drain which empties into open area, pond, nallahs, river etc. without treatment", how is it acceptable if a sewerage plant empties wastewater into a river?

I hope you will continue to provide your comments and inputs on the upcoming discussions here.

Warm regards,
Sanchita
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