Problem Addressed

Water, sanitation and hygiene issues in India remain unaddressed, and the primary reason for which is a lack of availability of qualified professionals in this sector. A number of organizations involved in addressing WASH issues in South Asia are very limited as compared to any other development sector.

In 2008, Plan India and WASH Institute conducted a nation-wide study called “Evaluation of Existing Capacities in WATSAN Sector.” The main objective was to review the capacity building efforts taken up in the country with respect to Water and Sanitation, the quality of trained manpower available, and the additional capacity building needs and factors attributing to the lack of enough human resources in the sector. The study analzyed both the demand and supply, which revealed that major chunk of manpower working in the sector is technical in nature especially civil, environmental, water resource management engineers and non technical social engineering. The study revealed that there is no formal mechanisms or channels through which Government departments, NGOs and donors can procure manpower. The study also revealed the mismatch between the recruitment process followed and actual skill set required for performing the particular job.

Regular training to sector workers at all levels, in order to keep them updated on the current trends in the sector including scientific advancements and government policies, was found to be lacking. A separate training insitute with an exclusive focus on meeting the capacity building needs and address the prevailing gap of qualified professionals to work in the sector was much needed. WASH Insitute was hence formed to bridge the gap in providing sustainable community-based solution with respect to WASH sector in the country.

Innovative Approach

WASHi combines research, training, and action. Their research assists key stakeholders in identifying needs and best practices when addressing sanitation issues. Their training is not limited to government officials but also engages those at the grassroots involved in construction, such as masons, in their educational initiatives. Their capacity building initiatives are based on technical education and reach all strata of stakeholders.

Program Solution

Under this program WASH Institute is engaged in strengthening the capacity, skills and knowledge among the stakeholders involved in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector across India by providing practical solutions to wide range of issues in the sector. The Institute’s mandate is to train and groom professionals and other functionaries engaged in the sector.

The Institute was recognized as the National Key Resource Center of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, which facilitated its reach across India. WASH Institute trains around 1,500 personnel through trainings-of-trainers (ToTs) and indirectly 75,000 stakeholders every year. Besides this WASH Institute runs a formal course, Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Sanitation Science in affiliation with Madurai Kamaraj University, Government of Tamil Nadu, India, supporting around 40 experts every year. WASHi plans to include few more formal courses, including short term online courses in the coming years.