Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

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  • pkjha
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

    Dear Elaine and All
        The blog on community sanitary Complexes (CSCs) is very informative. It is perfect and highlights several gaps in design, operation and maintenance of CSCs in rural  areas. Such gaps are mainly due to the fact that most of the state governments consider
 achieving physical targets of toilets/CSCs construction, rather than  providing sustainable design/operation and maintenance of the system.
       Single  leach pit toilet is not mentioned in the SBM guidelines of the DDWS. The reason  is well understood by most. After such single pit is filled, toilet remains non-functional  till it is emptied. Mechanical device to empty the pit is not available in most
of the GPs and manual labour can’t be employed under manual scavengers’ liberation  Act. Even such toilets are emptied, problem remains for disposal of septage.  There is, perhaps no any FSTP (Faecal sludge treatment plant) so far in rural areas.  However, guidelines mention financial support  for such plant in rural areas.              
    As per NSSO (2020) report,10.6% households toilets have twin leach pit and 21.7% single leach pit in rural  areas at national level. Single pit and double leach pits cover households   toilets in Rajasthan (48.2 and 0.5 %%) , Bihar (13.3 and 7%)  and Uttar Pradesh( 13.6 and 32.7%) respectively.   Such single pit toilets will remain non-functional, after filling the pit, till  they are retrofitted to double pits. Most of the GPs can’t afford the cost of  retrofitting and state governments may need to develop another “scheme” for such
retrofitting- a very difficult proposition. State governments need to follow  the guidelines of GOI for design/drawings, operation and maintenance of the  CSCs. 
     Operation and maintenanceof CSCs in GPs is a challenging task. Pay & use basis can’t be applied. GPs can’t afford the required cost from their own very limited resources. W hileworking as the STC with the World Bank/WSP, I wrote the complete   manuscript of the book- Establishment and Management of Sanitary Toilet Complexes in RuralAreas, released by the DDWS / WSP in July 2011, Link :   jalshakti-ddws.gov.in/sites/default/file...s_2Jun2011_PRESS.pdf .It is highlighted in the book that a small shop for kitchen and daily  household used items should be attached with the CSCs and managed by local person. Such shop will help female users of toilet to buy items easily.  Such shop should be provided by GP to such person on monthly rental basis. Income generation can be used for maintenance of CSC. Alternately, shop owner can take maintenance guarantee of the concerned CSC in lieu of monthly rent. There is no report of having shop with any CSC in  rural areas except in some villages in the Mizoram.
  
Itshould be noted that if any CSC becomes non functional due  to lack of maintenance/water or filling of single leach pit, such CSCs may
become a spot for unsocial elements and may pose a serious law & order  problems in GP.    
Best regards
Pawan
 
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  • ElaineMercer
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Dear colleagues, 

I'm posting this recent blog ' The value of Community Sanitary Complex assessments in India ' from the Sanitation Learning Hub website as it may reignite this discussion.

This blog presents findings from recent UNICEF assessments of Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs) across Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and reflects on the value of these assessments for sustainability, equity and inclusion. Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (Clean India Mission Rural) Phase 2, intends to enact the Leave No One Behind (LNOB) principle and to establish open defecation-free (ODF) status by ensuring that all public spaces have toilets, and particularly by providing CSCs i.e. public sanitation facilities in locations where household toilets are not available or possible.

Some of the key recommendations from these assessment disseminated by UNICEF to the state government include:
  • To address the issue of menstrual hygiene disposal and to make the CSCs gender sensitive, provision of dust bin in the women toilet units and the incinerator in the CSCs is recommended.
  • For rural areas, the suggested design of the toilet substructure consists of two leach pits. The assessment reported installation of single leach pit excreta containment, which is likely to cause rapid filling and overflowing. The recommendation for these states is retrofitting the single leach pit to twin pits as per standard design.
  • For CSCs with poor connectivity of piped water supply with overhead storage tank, the states are recommended to prioritise this issue and take it up with the state water supply program.
  • Similarly, in states which have reported irregular cleaning schedules, proper cleaning, operation and maintenance mechanisms must be prioritised, engaging village local authorities, women self-help groups and the trained private players. States should allocate specific budget to the village authority to be able to continue operation and maintenance in the CSCSs.
  • To meet the user load for toilet and urinals, the distribution of urinals to toilet seats needs to be further adjusted, with increased number of urinals in the CSCs to balance the load. This will need state to increase their budgetary allocation for building of new CSCs.
  • Finally, states should ensure a basic standard design as shared by GOI and focus on the gaps such as; security, privacy and safe MHM for women users; ramps, railing and raised (western) toilet with seat for differently abled; and proper ventilation and electricity connection for adequate air and light allowing 24×7 usage. If required states should increase the budgetary allocation for construction of the CSCs, to make them more inclusive.
Please read the blog and let us know what you think of the findings and recommendations. 

Best wishes
Elaine 
Elaine Mercer
Communications and Networking Officer
The Sanitation Learning Hub
The Institute of Development Studies
sanitationlearninghub.org/

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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Dear all,

We are happy to share the synthesis document for this discussion. Links to some of the presentations and documented are included in the document.

Regards,
Nitya
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Several government reports and coverage data have showcased that the SBM - Grameen Phase-I has been able to achieve significant strides over the past years since its implementation. However, sustainable sanitation services are still unavailable to many people in India specially the marginalised population.  As a policy priority construction of CSCs has been prioritised to improve sanitation access specially for a significant proportion of left-over population who do not have the resources to construct IHHL. To achieve ODF status provisions are also made to ensure availability of functional community sanitation facilities for migrant floating population in the villages. This is also aligned with the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation on 'Swachh Bharat Mission -Gramin in its 51st  Report on Rural Development in the year 2018where the need for CSCs were emphasised.  

However,at local level, it is observed that only construction are being prioritized rather than hygienic usage and community engagement to ensure maintenance of created facilities. This approach is visible from the fact that still many villages do not have a proper plan for O&M of Community Sanitation Complexes. In this backdrop it is critical to learn from the TSC and NBA experiences and to identify characteristics and competencies conducive to breaking the cycle of failure and to evolve sustainable systems for Community led O&M.

There is no silver bullet that will drastically improve the O&M Challenges associated with Community Sanitation Complexes (CSCs) but ensuring community participation and empowerment of governance structures at GP level may yield positive result. The actors seeking to improve the functionality of CSCs must understand the integrative nature of CSC planning, construction, and maintenance. This must be viewed in a value chain framework where focusing myopically on one part of the chain i.e. construction will significantly limit the potential for hygienic usage and sustained maintenance. Going forward we must look into the following aspects
  • The O&M strategy should be characterizedby their adaptation to the local context, community participation, built-in mechanisms that ensure financial viability, use of technologies that areculturally appropriate and emphasis on environmental sustainability.
  • Social and Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) approaches should be based on variability of location-specific issues and behaviour preferences- only construction spree will not translate into achieving the larger objective of promoting CSCs. Involvement of Swachhagrahis, and FLWs will help to promote appropriate behaviours
  • Along with evolving a proper O&M system at local level, sensitization of communities on hygiene and appropriate usage must be prioritised as experiences suggest that unhygienic conditions and practices are one of the major reasons for failureof Community sanitation Complexes.
  • Interdepartmentalcoordination will be critical to ensure availability of running water supply, electricity, and in faecal sludge management. Coordination with NRLM will help to engage SHGs in O&M of CSCs.
  • Provisionof Soap Bank, incinerator, dedicated space for hand washing will promote positive behaviours among community-   perhaps COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to promote CSCs as Hygiene Hub
  • Provisionof O&M fund at GP level using 15th Finance Commission resources mustbe prioritised to hire sanitation worker and to ensure regular availability of consumables.
  • In the big villages/near to town- outsourcing of professional agency could be a good option for regular O&M–  involvementof Local NGOs or development partners would be critical to ensure involvement of community, local panchayats & CBOs, in identification of appropriate locations for CSC Construction and in supportive supervision, onsite training of masons & swachhagrahis and feed back to concerned officials to ensure sustain function
  • And the most critical point is to understand the difference between a Public and Community  Toilet and accordingly develop the O&M appraoches for Community Sanitation COmplexes
Regards,
Asad Umar
Aga Khan Foundation
 
Asad Umar

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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Thankyou Nitya for your quick response.

Also thank you to Arunkumar, Shivangi and Tejas for bringing voices from the ground and posting emerging good examples. All of them are pertinent and can provide useful guidance to other GPs. It would be great if you could elaborate more and/or add links to documentation (if any). 

Arun, you make a couple of interesting points - not all villages need CSCs and the location of the facility is key. Completely agree that CSCs are needed only in villages where not all households have a toilet and which have floating population due to presence of market and/or administrative functions.  This links to the point made in my earlier post regarding clearly defining the users of the proposed CSC as it directly influences the way it can be operated. I am curious if the migrant workers are residents of Ichchapor village or are the industries located in the village. I ask because in either case, they should have already had access to toilets and it may be worth understanding why they didn't already have it.

Regards
paresh
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Hi Paresh,

You rightly point out the O&M needs of CTs and PTs are very different. The nature of the CSC needs to be fixed before we move ahead in addition to the other issues people have raised such as a needs assessment, provision of support infrastructure such as lighting, water and waste disposal, and making them safe for women and girls to use.

The second quote does assume there are many families that do not have a IHHL for various reasons. Therefore the need for CSCs.

However, the need to treat this like a job-creation activity instead of providing sanitation is puzzling. The two may be seen to be co-terminus but have different approaches and goals.
Regards,
Nitya

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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Dear Nitya
The SBM urban guidelines (available  here )  clearly identifies the difference between community and public toilets. The former are meant for a fixed set of users in residential areas and the latter for floating population in or around commercial areas. The SBM-G guidelines you quote above do not provide a similar clarity. Reproducing below  two quotes from your post that bring out the contradiction:   

ODF-plus villages must endeavour to have at least one CSC which may cater to the sanitation needs of floating population.

For the construction of CSC, priority shall be given to the locations with predominant SC / ST habitations, poorest of poor in the village and/or those visited by migrant labourers / floating population etc.

I understand that a hybrid version can serve both the purposes and even be necessary in rural areas. However, that needs to be clearly spelt out. I seek this clarity as models for O&M of community toilets are very different from those for public toilets as also pointed out by Sunetra. While the users can be handed over O&M of a community toilet, pay and use model has worked well for public toilets (Unfortunately public toilets still remain unclean and using them is still challenging as also pointed out by Arunkumar). Given that public toilets in villages may not have footfalls to make their O&M financially feasible, surrounding businesses can be pitched to contribute for operations of such facilities.
  
Further, does the 2nd quote above mean that the government is acknowledging that not everybody has a toilet and efforts to end open defecation need to continue? 

Regards
paresh
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Dear All,

This is an interesting discussion, I couldn't help but consider the discussion from the African context.

Generally, within Africa,  community sanitary complexes are equally constructed when there is a lack of space in the village for the construction of household toilets and the community owns up to the responsibility of their operation and maintenance and gives a specific demand for the same. Such complexes can be made at public places, markets, bus stands where a huge number of people convene. 

It is indeed important to take into consideration before implementing CSCs in certain places like rural areas that they are expensive to build. Additionally, maintenance of the facilities should be taken care of by an individual or institution, which involves other costs, like water, cleaning material, etc. How effective have community structures been at O&M from a financial point of view? This has often posed a challenge particularly for very crowded populations in Africa, who do not have  well-structured community systems. What has been the experience in India?

In Zambia, public toilets are booming and have become famous money-making ventures. They have created employment for both men and women. On the other hand, as much as they have created employment and empowered some people,  poor sanitation has been more so common in most public toilets and is posing a serious health hazard. Some of the women spoken to in Lusaka expressed displeasure on the poor management of these toilets, most lacking running water. Based on what you have shared Nitya, that might be one of the reasons why some populations would rather opt for open defecation.  www.daily-mail.co.zm/public-toilets-high-risk-area-women/

On the other hand, with respect to floating populations, the UNHCR with support from partners motivated refugee populations in Zambia to build latrines themselves, but vulnerable refugees had latrines built for them. Communal sanitary facilities and rubbish pits were built and maintained in transit and reception centres, markets, offices, distribution centres, schools and clinics. To complement these activities, education on hygiene was provided by sanitation information teams. www.unhcr.org/3e23eb757.pdf

Regards,
Chaiwe
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Hi all,

I've come across a few studies that indicate a marked aversion to the use of community/public toilets in rural areas. People without individual household latrines (IHHLs) do not use community sanitary complexes, preferring to defecate in the open instead. RICE's 2014 SQUAT survey underlined this in its findings from northern states (Bihar, MP, UP and Rajasthan). Only 5% rural households lacking a IHHL used a shared latrine.

This is similar to two other studies. One in rural Maharashtra and another from a village in Tamil Nadu bear out these findings. Although small, these studies are significant for any policy that seeks to build community sanitary complexes. All a
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re attached to this response.

A reasonable assumption is to start this programme with an assessment of needs and demand for CSCs, the social structures needed for their O&M and safe management of human excreta. While SBM-2 partly takes are of the latter aspect, there is little information on the first two areas.

Regards,
Nitya

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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Dear  SusanA Members,

Appreciating the notings,  given by Ispeak and Tejas Deshmukh on  CSCs , wish to add :

Carrying out the desired operation and maintenance of the infrastructure of CSCs, in Rural regions would be difficult and space of land may not be got easily and the facility of electric power for light, ventilation- fans and water supply, is difficult to source in most places.
In these Rural- spaces, it becomes difficult to proceed in making the CSCs  in desired mode with O&M also provided.  . 

As indicated by me in this Forum, for an another response, I had suggested to opt for  OD practices to be progressed till the arrangements can be got in order to make the CSCs at these locations .
This practice of  OD that would be done, will be termed as COD ie Controlled Open Defecation.

In this practice of COD, OD is done at two identical spaces, ie one in use and the other, is in clean up and maintenance, use of these spaces are alternated monthly. The spaces in cleanup is also used as a facility for a composting yard and the sewage- sludges are composted and utilised.  This suggested practice of COD, has been documented as carried out in CEPT, Journal and these  practices  were carried out during Maha- Kumbh time at Prayag, UP, in years 2017 and  and again 2018 with improvement . 
 
For the need of establishment of CSCs  in urban areas, they can be easily done on pay & use basis, with land managed on long- term basis at Govtt. spaces viz. Bus, Rail Terminals , Bazaar and clubbed with Commercial spaces and shops .
At both the Rural and Urban regions, Operation and Maintenance practices need to be ensured done well and in order with proper hygiene and safety features, keeping in view of the  pandemic times existent at present Etc.   
Safe and secure Sanitation practices  to communities is needed to be made, to maintain quality of life and achieve SDGs,  wherever possible. 
 
Well wishes,

Prof. Ajit Seshadri,
The Vigyan Vijay Foundation, New Delhi.
Prof. Ajit Seshadri, Faculty in Marine Engg. Deptt. Vels University, and
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  • Ispeak
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

The first step would be to identify whether there is an actual need for a CSC - it should be assessed both quantitatively (# of potential users) and qualitatively (perception of public toilets, women's access to them, etc).

With respect to O&M, it should ideally be the responsibility of the users - in the form of a collective. One successful model I know is of Gram Vikas related to water supply for private toilets in the village which has a Participatory Community-led Piped Water Supply under MPLADS.
The demand factors would certainly be favorable for the construction of toilets but there will be behavioral and/or discriminatory barriers for which one will have to make provision in the communication plan. Two elements I saw in the GV model to overcome those:
1. Ensure 100% participation - from all castes, religion, and gender in that village.
2. Make every aspect of it - from design to build to communication - participatory so that the users will feel ownership.

Sanitation has been a private issue, rather than a public issue. Although people talk about it after SBM, yet somehow this topic has failed to arouse awareness and interest. Even in the villages, where the average income per household has increased, they prefer individual toilets owing to the status issues. And the people who really need it, are either not able to extract or sustain the benefits for long owing to the poor maintenance. So our target population for community sanitation is not able to reap many benefits as needed and desired.
For O&M, it's prudent to give responsibility to a group of people, who are self-motivated rather than attaching it to MNREGA or making the local municipal/Panchayat systems accountable for the management of the community sanitation complex. And it less about design, it's still about the mental barrier for which they really have to understand the significance of using the community sanitation complex.

The targeted geography can be divided into different segments: villages that have completely adapted toilets, second - where there is still behavior change required, and last where they have no toilets. This categorization might help to get estimate demand. 
rs to be considered could be:
  • The demographic information of the village,
  • The number of households not having toilet facilities,
  • The societal divisions (if any).
The number of users of the CSC can be projected either by a direct door to door surveyor by analyzing existing CSC usage data of similar villages or nearby areas.

One of the major problems that a community sanitary complex faces are high O&M expenses. There should be an economic angle attached to a CSC wherein a Shop could also be constructed along with the toilet. For example, Garv Toilets have a self-sustaining and eco-friendly model in the name of smart sanitation hubs based on the kiosk attachment structure which shall not only have no unnecessary expenditure but also cover proper care being done by micro-entrepreneurs in the villages itself. GARV Smart Sanitation Centres is a hub of smart GARV Smart Toilets, Bath Facilities, Water ATMs, Laundry, and a Business Kiosk that offers health and hygiene products and services.
The person who runs the shop should be given the responsibility for maintaining the CSC as well. Also, there could be a budgetary allocation for the toilet maintenance which will be provided on a monthly basis to the individual running the shop. For taking the community in favor of O&M in long run, the following activities should be undertaken for ensuring its success:
  • A Focused Group Discussion with a particular community where CSC is planned.
  • Getting the person nominated among them for the running of CSC and the shop (micro-entrepreneur).
  • Getting a committee formed that will carry out periodic audits (Community-led Participation).
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  • tejasdeshmukh301
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Re: Thematic Discussion: O&M Opportunities in Community Sanitary Complexes

Dear All

Greetings. This is Tejas Deshmukh - WASH Consultant from UNICEF Gujarat. The topic of discussion is very relevant considering the roll-out of CSC component under SBM-G Phase II. Learnings from my field experiences have been shared below:

The affordability of a toilet technology option depends not only on the cost of that technology but also on the availability of funds from various sources. Since a community sanitary complex is public infrastructure, most of the capital costs are met through grants from ongoing schemes of the state and central governments or multilateral agencies and donors. Under SBM-G phase I, the capital costs of setting up Community Sanitary complexes in villages were allocated under Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin, Gujarat. The state government allocated INR 2 Lakhs to set up each CSC (Community sanitary complex) in villages. CSCs have been constructed to cater to the sanitation needs of the floating population. The CSCs not only provide for a proper sanitation arrangement but also affect the long-term health outcomes in the village. But these CSCs come with their own set of O&M challenges.
  1. O&M of community-level sanitation infrastructure could become a problem as these facilities are used by many, but not owned by the users. Because of a diffused sense of ownership, often no one is willing to take responsibility for maintenance nor can people be held accountable for ensuring hygienic O&M of the facility.
  2. Number of users might be low daily, due to which the cost of maintaining the facility may end up being high. Lack of adequate income/less tax collection of the Gram Panchayats makes it difficult to facilitate enough funds for maintenance. Also, in rural areas, there can be socio-cultural issues in the use of community toilets because of caste and class distinctions. Therefore, while providing community toilets, this aspect of rural life needs to be considered to ensure that, after construction, all intended users are using the facility and there are no conflicts.
Given the above issues in O&M of community and public toilets, it is necessary to ensure ways and means for O&M at the planning stage before the facilities are designed or constructed, which must be done in consultation with the community.

To combat the O&M challenges, a Gram Panchayat has passed a unique resolution. The following points highlight the key pointers of the resolution passed by GP towards proper O&M of CSCs.
  • The cleanliness of the CSC is being handed over to 12 people in the village for 12 months of the year. Each of the assigned people will be accountable and responsible for supervising the cleanliness of CSC for one month. The name, designation, and mobile number have been passed in the resolution.
  • Gram Panchayat will pay Rs. 500 per month to safai worker who will be responsible for cleaning the CSCs and report to the supervisor in-charge for the month.
  • When the pits get full, Sarpanch or Talati would be contacted for immediate action such that CSC does not become dysfunctional.
  • The overhead storage tank would be cleaned every three months which would be managed by Gram Panchayat itself.
  • Electricity bill for lighting inside CSC would be paid by Gram Panchayat for proper and sustainable usage of the provided infrastructure. 
Accessibility to sanitation facilities for every individual is not a necessity but a human right. But accessibility is only half the job done. Maintaining these sanitation facilities and taking corrective actions whenever required would ensure true sustainability of CSCs in villages.

Tejas Deshmukh
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