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Integrated sanitation promotion programme, Tamil Nadu
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Subject Area="Urban Health." Objective="Intersectoral coordination."
Details for Reform Option "Integrated sanitation promotion programme, Tamil Nadu"

Background: It is estimated that in the slums and squatter settlements of urban India, only 15% of the households have toilets and 21% have access to community toilets. Attempts by municipalities to provide these facilities prove futile as the community is often not consulted and so do not cooperate. Action: The Tiruchirapalli Corporation and District Administration came up with a plan to construct community latrines in 41 slums. It approached WaterAid, an international NGO with an office in Tiruchirapalli, for financial support. WaterAid proposed collaboration with their partner NGOs in selected areas, leaving the Corporation to replicate the work in the remaining areas. The Corporation on its part forwarded the plan to the state government. On approval, WaterAid worked out detailed plans for 25 slums and a baseline survey was undertaken in each. Community latrines were established with adequate water supply, lighting and disposal systems. They were maintained on a pay and use system. Child-Friendly Toilets (CFTs) were also built. The women were organised into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to maintain, manage and collect charges for these new facilities. A programme of hygiene education was also undertaken which led to changes in behaviour, particularly that of children and women. Results: The results show a reduction in disease burden in the slums two years after the start of the project. A significant reduction in diarrhoea from 73% to 10% (children) and 13% to 2% (adults). Hygiene behaviour changes like hand-washing were now practised by 94% of the people.

Cost Estimated cost: There were 25 slums covered under the project directly by three NGOs - GRAMALAYA, SCOPE and SEVAI - at an approximate cost of INR 1.80 crore for three years which include software and hardware components. Apart from the 25 slums, another 75 slums were covered by the Tiruchi City Corporation under a self-help scheme. The hardware components such as constructing community latrines are directly undertaken by the City Corporation at a cost of INR 3 crore (€535,930) while WaterAid has extended financial support for IEC activities and software components.
Place About 100 slums in the city of Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu since 1999.
Time Frame Approximately two years for initialisation and implementation of the project.

Disease prevalence reduced: Especially diarrhoea. Empowerment: Of the slum-dwellers, especially women. Self-sustainable: Income generation and mobilisation of resources, leading to self sustainability of the SHGs.


Possible opposition: From private water vendors, political groups who exploit the prevailing situation and use the slum communities as vote banks and ‘power groups’ within the slums opposed to the changes.


Approval of state government. Consensus building with the community. Identification and selection of NGOs with appropriate skills and resources. Good rapport with the communities and existing groups, if any, in the locality. Understanding of the city sewerage and water supply system.

Who needs to be consulted

Local population. Municipal corporation, elected members. District and state governments. NGOs. Body imparting technical assistance (in this case WaterAid).



Elements supporting sustainability : Total management of the facilities and the system by the community groups and their federations. The establishing of a solid fund base generated, held and managed by the community groups. Aptitude to scale up is demonstrated by the actual output. Healthy relationship with the local authorities. Community members’ entry into the decision-making arena.

Chances of Replication

On successful implementation of the 25 slums taken up by WaterAid, the Corporation has decided to replicate in 75 other slums simultaneously. The Community-based Organisations (CBOs) in the slums help in initiating community management systems and structures.


One slum took the project a step further. With the help of WaterAid’s partner NGO - Gramalaya, they excavated several tonnes of excrement and planted a herb garden. They opened up a shower block as well, charging the labourers working in the neighbourhood INR 3 to have a shower. Once the block was up and running, the women started other entrepreneurial schemes. The enormous quantities of biodegradable waste generated from the wholesale banana market nearby provided the opportunity for the slum dwellers to initiate a vermi-compost scheme (production of compost with use of worms). The SHG members attended training in Kerala, bought some worms and after a pilot study started full-scale production. The harvested compost was sold at the rate of INR 5 (€0.09) per kg and they make a profit of INR 2,500 (€45) for each cycle (one cycle takes 45 days) of vermi-composting


Submitted By

Dr Richard Brough, Team Leader, European Commission Technical Assistance, New Delhi. October 2003.

Status Active
Reference Files
Kalmandhai - hoarding.jpg
Community toilet constructed by Gramalaya with WaterAid grants2.jpg
Vermi Culture Unit.jpg
Kalmandhai slum.jpg
Children of Kalmandhai using Child Friendly Toilet.jpg
Members of women SHGs.jpg
Newspaper Report - Express.jpg
TN Resolution (Tamil Version).doc
TN Resolution (English Version).doc
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