“Necessary” – “Ambitious”
These would be the two words I would use to describe Project Sammaan.
Through Swachh Bharat, many households in urban slums have been able to construct their own individual household latrines. Still, there are households who may be left out of this scheme – either because they do not have the lands and/or funds to contribute to construction, or they do not want to build their own toilets. Project Sammaan, and other community toilet-related interventions, are still necessary for these households. Also, despite the proliferation of various sanitation schemes, there is still a dearth of knowledge surrounding the particular challenges of community sanitation facilities and how to overcome these issues. The learnings that are being compiled and disseminated by the Project Sammaan team, through both the impact and process evaluations, will help to fill this gap.
Almost every aspect of Project Sammaan seeks to push the boundaries. In the realm of sanitation through innovative infrastructure design, formalized systems for branding through signage and uniforms, and a structured community management system supported by collection of user fees.
Beyond sanitation, our mobile application-based system for recording facility usage has allowed for real-time collection of user traffic data and for linking of this data to user characteristics. Considering that the typical record keeping at community toilet facilities consists of the caretaker recording each usage in a plain notebook using paper and pen, the Project Sammaan usage tracking system was honestly quite a crazy idea which somehow managed to work despite many implementation hurdles.
The application is just one example of how ambitious this project is. It wouldn’t take long to identify more facets that demonstrate the project’s ambition – the number of stakeholders involved project implementation, and sheer diversity in research being conducted on through the project being two examples.
Author: Rashmi Bhat
Project Manager- Project Sammaan