Community-Led Sangli Toilet Construction Activity



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Surveying Surveying, and the resulting data, is the most essential prerequisite for any project. It is important that the collected data is spatially organised and analysed, if appropriate strategies and proposals can be composed. It is also important that the surveying is carried out meticulously with appropriate questions asked in settings which are favourable to get accurate answers and allow for an accurate profile of the slum to be generated. Participation Participation is an essential component when implementing any change. Solutions imposed from outside a community, maybe technically appropriate, but without local support, cannot lead to any sustainable and long lasting change. While the community led sanitation project was being implemented it was found that people felt sufficiently empowered within the framework of the project to find their own, imaginative, solutions to suit their specific economic situation. To give an example of this one family found that they could not cover the cost of the roof so the father of the family, who was a rickshaw driver, used an old rickshaw roof to provide the required shelter for the toilet. To give another example, one family who found that they could not cover the cost of the door decided to install a curtain instead. Partnership This project could not have been implemented without the various partnerships that were present within the community led sanitation project. The partnership with Baanhdani (local NGO) was important to build support for the project within the communities and to defend it against interlopers; for e.g. in Kolhapur chawl, court proceedings against the project were initiated by a minority and were immediately dismissed by the judge due to the strong ownership of the project by the community. The partnership with the communities was essential in terms of building support for the project and proposing sanitation solutions that suited the specific needs, means, and aspirations of all families within the community. This partnership was also essential in relation to the actual implementation of the sanitation solutions as families accepted the responsibility of looking after construction materials in their area and curing the concrete elements after they were cast. The partnership with the SMKMC was essential to ensure support for the project, address issues (such as the required change in the long-standing practice of the municipality of providing community toilets in slums to provision of individual toilets to slum families), and to monitor the progress of the project. The partnership with the elected members of the SMKMC also helped to build support within the communities. Scaling-up All projects initiated by Shelter Associates in Sangli & Miraj began as models which were envisaged to be replicable, not only within the same city, but other cities in Maharashtra. Financial sustainability The financial sustainability of this project has been due to the funding received thorugh Cities Alliance and the Government of India (through MHADA). In this sense, without financial support from the public and/or the private sector the issue of sanitation in the slums cannot be addressed in the slums due to prohibitive cost of sanitation solutions. However, in the case of Kolhapur Chawl, once the initial capital cost of the community toilet was raised (40% Cities Alliance, 40% SMKMC & 20% beneficiaries) the cost of maintainance was affordable for the community.


The growth of slums in Indian cities has been a challenge. Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad (SMK), located in the State of Maharashtra, has almost 15 percent of its population living in slum settlements with inadequate basic infrastructure and civic amenities. According to a citywide slum survey in 2001, around 77 out of 99 slums in Sangli did not have access to toilet facilities. Based on a pilot community sanitation activity, Shelter Associates intends to scale up the experience. In partnership with the SMK Municipal Corporation and Shelter Associates, a Pune based NGO will implement the project through federation of slum dwellers and urban poor (Baandhani). This activity is expected to create the conditions in Sangli for citywide, community-driven slum upgrading through community mobilization, public-private cooperation, and expanded micro-credit savings plan.
The over-all objective of the project is to create the conditions in Sangli for community-driven, citywide slum upgrading through community mobilisation, public-private cooperation, and micro-credit savings. The specific objectives are: i) Build toilet facilities in slums of Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation; ii) Strengthen the capacity of slum residents to create positive changes in their communities, through community-managed maintenance of public toilets; iii) Strengthen an established Forum of local government, media, and civil society (NGO and CBO) to monitor all stages of the process and advocate for improved sanitation services in slums; iv) Facilitate security of tenure in the project settlements by improving community and municipal relations and facilitating discussions for settlement declaration.
1) Household surveys and data collection on infrastructure in the slums, conducted by members of a slum dwellers federation; 2) Technical assistance to targeted communities, to include training on micro-credit savings, enumeration, and public toilet maintenance. 3) Exchanges amongst slum dewllers to facilitate peer-to-peer learning; 4) Toilet construction with direct inputs from the communities.
Expected Impacts and Results
1) Public investment mobilized: Government of India provided funds to the project under ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’ scheme 2) Follow on Investment: The additional revenue generated by the ‘Friends of Shelter Associates’ (a United States based organization) allowed other projects to be implemented concurrently with the community led sanitation project: 40 families of sex-workers in Pandharpur Chawl and Uttam Nagar were provided individual toilets on a 100% subsidized basis 3) Public awareness: Increased public awareness of the creative partnership activities of slum dwellers through the media involvement in the Forum 4) Replication and Scaling up: This project is setting up a great example of how NGO/CBO/ Local Government partnerships can actually be replicated and scaled up in other areas of Sangli. • The study- ‘Analysing Inter-sectoral Collaboration for Service Delivery’ (done by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with University of Sussex, WEDC in the University of Loghborough and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)- features Sangli sanitation project. Given below is the link to the article: • Shelter Associates (SA) has also been invited for several workshops including the latest pre SACOSAN meeting in Delhi to share the sangli sanitation experiences. Earlier this year SA was invited to Philippines to make a presentation in the symposium ‘Women, Water and Waste’ and the Sangli model was a part of the presentation. This was hosted by the Philippines Women’s university. SA was sponsored by Eco-Asia to participate in this event. 5) The data collected under the community led sanitation project has also been used to develop other projects within the same context; the smokless chullah project and the Integrated Housing and Devleopment Program (IHSDP). 6) The installation of toilets has required various services to be provided to the slum; such as water and drainage to allow the toilets to function. In addition to water and drainage, electricity supplies have also been extended along with better roads/pathways.