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New project helps local government make their cities open defecation free.
The city commissioners of Faridabad, Mysore and Udaipur have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collectively work on innovative urban water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions in their cities. The signing was the kickoff event for the new Innovation Hub for Urban WASH solutions (IHUWASH) project in India.
With support from USAID, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is leading the project in partnership with IRC, Taru Leading Edge and Ennovent. IRC is responsible for conducting rapid water and sanitation assessments in the 3 cities and capacity strengthening of city and state officials.
The signing of the MoU took place at the WASH Garage workshop, organised in New Delhi on 19 May 2017. The city representation included Mr. Siddharth Sihag (Commission – Udaipur), Mr. Parth Gupta (Additional Commissioner – Faridabad) and Dr. Nagaraju (Health Officer – Mysore City Corporation). Experts came together at the workshop to “tinker to solve complex problems” in the WASH space in the three cities.
The officials from the three cities shared some of the challenges they face to become Open Defecation Free by October 2019. How can they address the needs of temporary residents like day visitors and tourists? How can they keep public toilets clean and maintained?
The Innovation Hub will work closely with the cities of Faridabad, Mysore and Udaipur to identify city-level WASH issues and address them by contextualising, testing and scaling sustainable solutions. These solutions need to be responsive to local realities, local needs and demand, and be affordable and cost effective.
The IHUWASH project will leverage opportunities created by existing programmes such as the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, ‘Smart Cities Mission’ and ‘AMRUT’ (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation).
Besides the city officials, other key WASH sector stakeholders attended the WASH Garage, including colleagues from USAID and NGOs working on urban sanitation, academic institutions, corporations and investors. Members of the Vihara Innovation Network acted as facilitators.
Common problems experienced by all three cities were:
- Maintenance of public/community toilets (these are essentially for the last mile) - possible models, procurement challenges and monitoring
- Addressing needs of floating populations (tourists in case of Mysore and Udaipur, labourers in Faridabad)
Other issues discussed included:
- Service levels for public/community toilets
- Planning for adequate toilets
- Inclusive toilet designs, keeping in mind gender issues and the needs of children, the elderly and the disabled
The good thing about the WASH Garage was that it brought in the perspective of the city officials. Further meetups are planned involving these officials that look into other policy, financial, institutional and service delivery issues.
For more information on IHUWASH see the brochure added as a download below or contact Ruchika Shiva, ruchika[at]ircwash.org. A dedicated IHUWASH project website will be launched soon.
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