ODF+, ODF++ and sustainability of sanitation

  • nityajacob
  • nityajacob's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • Water Policy Analyst and Author; Moderator of the ISC-SuSanA India Chapter
  • Posts: 157
  • Karma: 5
  • Likes received: 64

ODF+, ODF++ and sustainability of sanitation (India)

The clock is counting down to 2nd October 2019, the Government of India’s date to eradicate open defecation. It is quickly becoming clear the Government is looking at how to consolidate gains made in the past few years on sanitation and not being undone by slippages. As the mission has progressed, the sanitation coverage of rural India has increased to 90.73% which constituting 19 states and UTS, 432 districts and 4,22650 villages have been declared as free from open defecation. Still there is need to construct as many 148 million toilets in one year (SBM MIS, 2018). However, as pluses and Ss are added to ODF (MoHUA and MDWS, 2018) marking progression in thought, notions of what should happen after India achieves ODF appear to diverge, reflecting ground realities.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) guidelines says a city or ward can be declared as ODF+ if at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, AND all community and public toilets are functional and well maintained (italicised part is for ODF+). For ODF++, the condition of safe management of faecal sludge/septage and sewage is added.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) considers ODF+ to be a state where there are no faeces in the environment and everybody is using safe technology option for disposing faeces, AND solid and liquid resources are managed along with menstrual hygiene (italicised part is for ODF+). MDWS progresses to ODF-Sustainability, where the ODF status is maintained by ensuring everybody uses toilets all the time and assets created under SBM remain functional through proper upkeep.

But there is convergence in thinking as well. MoHUA relies on self-certification and an independent six-monthly verification. Usage and upkeep norms are explicitly mentioned in declaration formats and the guidelines. MDWS’s guidelines are also explicit about the process of declaration and verification process for ODF and the need to ensure usage and upkeep. Significantly, they include funding to support ODF-S activities.

Thus, both Ministries emphasise self-declaration of ODF backed by external verification. But evidence from the field shows both the urban and rural components of SBM are focused on infrastructural provisions. As per the 2012 Baseline survey, rural India will be declared ODF. However, challenges persist. Urban India has progressed slowly, several million rural toilets are unusable because of faulty construction, lack of water, poor behaviour change, notions of purity and disposal of faeces, etc.

To move towards ODF+ and beyond therefore, resources and collection and handling methods for faecal matter need to be developed. Achieving ODF is just the beginning of the journey to attain improved and sustained sanitation. It opens up a new goal – from ODF to sustainability and from there to ODF +, ODF++; from toilet construction to achieve overall health and wellbeing. While 140 districts still have to become ODF, the rest have to prepare post-ODF plans.

The purpose of this discussion is to unpack certain aspects of the post-ODF situation that are common to rural and urban areas. This is to develop a common understanding of these concepts. Some issues to be considered are how to deal with defunct toilets, linking WASH with health and education, sustaining behaviour change in villages and strengthening systems.

We would like you to share your experiences about how ODF, ODF-S, ODF+ and ODF++ are being sustained and implemented in rural and urban areas. Two specific areas of inquiry are:
  1. What aspects of behaviour change communications are required to sustain sanitation’s gains after construction. This is led by Sujoy Mojumdar, UNICEF (This topic will be open for comments till 6 September)
  2. What are the emerging issues of sanitation workers and manual scavengers. This is led by Ankit Tulsyan, Quality Council of India
We hope this will contribute to making sanitation missions sustainable while safeguarding health and water quality. (This topic will be open for comments from 6-16 September)
The following user(s) like this post: vyasad, alishaw99
You need to login to reply
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 0.687 seconds