Shelter Associates promotes the vision of “one house, one toilet” as a solution to the problem of urban sanitation in India. It takes a methodical, community-based, technology-led approach to this vision. They work to design well informed, customized solutions to the problem using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing technology like Google Earth. Shelter works closely with local ward officers and the community to facilitate their entry into new slum areas.
The program intervention is done in a few steps. The first step in a new area is data collection. A rapid appraisal involves mapping the slum boundaries, understanding existing infrastructure, numbering of houses, identifying open defecation fields, etc. A survey of around 300 households is carried out over 5-7 days with a team of 3-4 field workers. This data is then incorporated onto the GIS Platform which is used to create detailed reports for each slum, which helps stakeholders understand the present infrastructure and sanitation situation, and then design solutions. Shelter has recently added a step known as ‘Master listing’ which includes a quick household level survey with a short questionnaire and mapping of every house which is ultimately integrated on the GIS platform. This allows for spatial querying across tenements in a given settlement and accurately pinpoints households that lack sanitation or other services.
The next step is community mobilization, workshops and toilet construction. Once the reports are generated, the findings of the household level survey are presented to the administrative ward, councilors and community. The reports are then used to identify the gaps in services and develop resource optimization strategies. Simultaneously, Shelter runs workshops for women and children on sanitation and solid waste management and begins identifying local contractors for building toilets. The materials for construction are provided on site to prevent misuse.
The last step is solid waste management and advocacy. After the toilets are built, a door-to-door garbage collection program commences. The program is run in collaboration with rag-pickers, which helps improve community hygiene. Shelter also drives similar projects in other areas by conducting workshops for senior bureaucrats and media.
Within the Pune context, in the recent months Shelter has worked out a partnership model with the Pune Municipal Council (PMC) which helped them utilize their funds that had been earmarked for individual sanitation. It has been so successful that they are planning to scale this model to reach at least 30000 households in the next two years. The Shelter model is also being replicated in 4 cities of Maharashtra: Pimpri, Chinchwad, Sangli and Kolhapur.
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Partners: Local municipal corporations within program areas.