Project Lead(s): Swapnil Chaturvedi
India is greatly affected by a lack of adequate sanitation: of the 1.1B people worldwide who defecate in the open, India accounts for over 600M of these people. In India, 60% of the population (625M people) lacks access to sanitation. The problem is acute in the informal settlements in urban areas, where population density is high and the availability of toilets is extremely low.
Unkempt and unhygienic bathroom facilities lead to the spread of viruses, bacteria and parasites that cause sickness, such as diarrhea, and even death. It is estimated that the Indian economy loses close to $54 billion (6% of GDP) annually in productivity that stems from illness directly correlated with poor sanitation.
Through the Project, Samagra Waste Management Private Limited will directly address these challenges through renovation and scaling of community toilet blocks in slums across Pune.
Samagra is a two-year-old, for-profit Indian social enterprise that is dedicated to providing access to clean, safe and reliable community toilet facilities for the urban slum-dwelling poor. The company works with municipal agencies to obtain the ability to renovate and manage existing public infrastructure, with a user-centred design front of mind.
Samagra also bundles other key, value-added services with its toilet blocks: a rewards program for users, access to mobile phone recharging and TV subscription services, and financial services, including savings accounts, in order to increase and retain membership rates and drive revenue levels.
Through the Project, Samagra will scale their operations design up to 33 toilet blocks with the permits they recently obtained from the Municipality of Pune. Samagra will renovate existing facilities to make them physically appealing, while the municipal council of Pune has agreed to continue providing water and electricity to all these toilet blocks, free of charge. The toilets are also linked to the municipal sewer system, so there is no risk of fecal sludge accumulating