Gramalaya’s National Commitment to Making India Open Defecation (OD) Free!

Gramalaya plans to construct 10 million toilets in the next five years in line with the Swachch Bharath program of the Government of India. Your possible support could be for 1,000 toilets to 10,000 toilets for a single project. We have worked out a Project Framework and the strategies to suit projects according to the support available and the need. Our past experience and successful interventions are the basis for our strategies. This idea is backed by a team of dedicated experts in the sanitation sector.

Gramalaya has been working in this sector for more than 25 years and thus has vast experience in promoting accessible sanitation services to communities. The organization was instrumental in declaring Thandavampatti village in Tiruchirappalli District as India’s first Open defecation free village in 2003. In 2002, the Kalmandhai slum in Tiruchirappalli City Corporation limits was declared OD free by the City Corporation in association with Gramalaya (Source – WSP-South Asia publication) Gramalaya introduced the concept of Community Managed Pay and Use toilet systems for the first time in India which was replicated in other parts of India. The organization also designed the child friendly toilet (CFT) models for the use of slum children, school children in rural areas. Anganwadi toilet models were also introduced by Gramalaya. The latter also established for the first time in India, a Centre for Toilet Technology and Training at its field headquarters at Kolakkudipatti. It is currently associated with the National Institute of Water and Sanitation which is an approved Key Resource Centre by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India. Gramalaya was involved in the construction of cost effective toilet models with the support of Government of India’s sponsored CRSP, TSC and Nirmal Bharath Abhiyan programs for the past 25 years. It promoted more than 1,00,000 toilets with various donor organizations like WaterAid,, Unicef and Arghyam in Tamil Nadu. It also introduced the concept of Microfinance for sanitation for the first time in India and successfully scaled up microfinance for toilet constructions through the Guardian MFI (Micro financial institution).

Based on its 25 years of experience in sanitation programs, Gramalaya would like to contribute making India an open defecation free country. A dedicated team of experienced staff have chalked out a plan to reach the above target by partnering with like-minded organizations in India. The program aims to provide training and capacity building support to other NGOs/MFIs in reaching the 10 million toilets target by expanding Gramalaya’s operational area to more than 10 States covering 100 Districts supported by the Government of India’s Swachch Bharath Abhiyan, national and international donors and with Corporate CSR Initiatives. To achieve this huge target, Gramalaya needs 10,000 Souchalaya Volunteers in 100 Districts throughout India. The 10,000 Souchalaya Volunteers would be attached to 100 dedicated NGOs who would be capacitated by Gramalaya on various toilet models suitable for different terrain. The Toilet Type designs to be selected for this program would be appropriate, affordable and acceptable to users. Gramalaya would provide Technical, Financial and professional support to selected NGOs in accelerating the toilet construction in their respective operational areas. By enabling its partners as stakeholders through access to information, access to finance and access to technology, Gramalaya would ensure that this program achieves its goal. The NGOs to be selected would be provided with technological input, planning, executing and monitoring skills in sanitation promotion activities through training and capacity building, exposure visits and practical demonstrations. Different strategies are being worked out by Gramalaya wherein the NGOs would be attached to the Swachch Bharath program in their respective States and also to financial institutions including Microfinance Institutions to achieve sanitation targets.