Survey of recent sanitation achievement in Himachal Pradesh - A study by Institute of Development Studies

A 'Sanitation revolution' is attributed to Himachal Pradesh. The Institute of Development studies examines this phenomenon

Himachal PradeshThis report of a study commissioned by the Institute of Development Studies on the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) site presents the findings of the survey that was conducted in Himachal Pradesh to assess the progress made by the state in rural sanitation, in the context of the sanitation revolution, which is said to have occurred in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the last few years. 

Himachal Pradesh has a population of about 6.9 million and is over 90% rural. It has a relatively good record on human development indicators and access to public services. However, it showed a dismal awareness on the sanitation front till a few years ago.For example, in 2004, household toilet coverage in rural areas of Himachal Pradesh was estimated at about 28%. In early 2005, the Government of Himachal Pradesh adopted a new strategy to secure better rural sanitation results, which included:

  • Introduction of a holistic concept of sanitation
  • A demand oriented, outcome based approach
  • To generate awareness of a ‘need’ for sanitation amongst people individually and as a community
  • Involvement and ownership of the community
  • Shift from individual subsidies to community incentives
  • Local bodies undertake responsibility for sustainable delivery of services
  • Identify appropriate institutional arrangements for delivery of services and relevant capacity support including partnership with NGOs/ CBOs and address interdepartmental co-ordination
  • Emphasize monitoring and evaluation to determine success and outcomes

The new strategy was very different from the earlier approach in that it stopped disbursing subsidies for toilet construction by below poverty line families and treated this as a local community responsibility. Communities were given rewards for becoming open defecation free by undertaking collective action that included taking care of the needs of the poor and marginalised members of the community.

Regular trainings and follow up in techniques used in community led total sanitation (CLTS) were organised by the state government. By September, 2010, the state reported that over 90% of rural households had their own toilet. By September 2010, 520 GPs had won the award and another 2272 claimed to be ODF.

However, these achievements had not been evaluated independently. This study presents the results of a survey conducted to assess the outcomes of these initiatives in rural sanitation in the past few years. The survey aimed at finding/exploring:

  • The extent of toilet coverage (for households, migrant labour, schools, anganwadi centres and public places) in each category
  • The extent of behaviour change with respect to the practice of open defecation
  • The status of solid waste and liquid waste management

The survey revealed that toilet coverage among rural households in the state was 87%, which represented a 46% increase as compared to five years ago. In the case of schools, the coverage was 98% with the five year increase placed at 36%. The results for anganwadis were 75% coverage with a 29% increase over five years and for toilets in public places was 85% with the increase over five years pegged at 26%.

Community perception of the extent to which open defecation was practiced by rural households was about 12%, compared to a figure of 58% five years ago. Among NGP winners, the perception of the extent to which open defecation continued was 2% from 45%. Among ODF GPs, this figure was 9% against 60% five years ago and amongst the other GPs the figures were 37% now and 70% five years ago. However, solid and liquid waste management practices did not reflect the significant change seen with respect to reduction of open defecation and toilet usage.

The survey revealed that behaviour change did not yet fully encompass the concept of creating an open defecation free environment. Both with regard to migrant labour and sanitation facilities in public places, much remained to be done. In the case of environmental sanitation such as solid and liquid waste management, there was a need to focus on behavioural change among people.

A snapshot of the study findings can be accessed from this link

 

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