In 2018, Non-Water Sanitation India, in cooperation with the Sociology Department of Savitribai Phule Pune University, conducts the largest and most comprehensive survey to date on the behavioral challenges that obstruct the eradication of Open Defecation in India. To come to definite conclusions and being able to make substantiated policy recommendations, we aim at surveying a total of up to 1.500 households across rural Maharashtra, ensuring a big enough, statistically relevant dataset.
The survey itself is being accompanied by and followed up with rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis of the information gathered.
What will happen with the research results?
Once the data is analyzed and different trends are derived, Non-Water Sanitation with guidance from Sociology Department of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) will work to implement the outcome in following places:
Developing a very comprehensive training module to counter the highlighted behavioral problems which impact the issue of Open Defecation in India. This comprehensive training module will be developed by academic experts and behavioral experts. Non-Water Sanitation will also invest in developing creative and scientific ways to effectively impart the training as quiet a number people in rural India are illiterate. Also, another significant step would be to involve college graduates from rural India to become trainers with us to train rural people. We, at Non-Water Sanitation, plan to conduct one of a kind train the trainer program for college graduates from rural India. We believe this process will not only generate employment opportunities for unemployed college graduates from rural India but also make them change makers in area of water and sanitation.
The findings of the research will also enable us to draft significant policy recommendations to the Indian government. The policy document will be drafted under supervision of Sociology department of SPPU. These policy recommendations will have detailed suggestions on how a different approach to tackle the problem of open defecation is detrimental to solve the problem. The policy recommendations will be backed by the quantitative and qualitative data from the survey. The policy recommendations as well as the findings of the survey will be openly shared with various local and international organizations working in the field of water and sanitation.
Non-Water Sanitation will also enhance the designs of the toilets it constructs. The findings of the survey will help the designers working with Non-Water Sanitation to make the dry-composting toilets more users friendly as they would be able to understand specific behavioral challenges of rural people.
Any question left?
Here we answer frequently asked questions for the proposed survey on behavioral study of cultural and social obstacles to eradicate Open Defecation in India:
1. Why such an extensive survey?
The problem of Open Defecation has prevailed in India for generations. Lots of government agencies and social organizations have been working to build toilets for people in India, especially the rural Indians (as 70% of Indians still live in rural regions). After decades of commendable work by various government and other aid agencies the menace of Open Defecation still persists in Indian society. We think it is crucial to study the behavioral challenges that obstruct eradication of Open Defecation thoroughly and on a wide enough data set, so that the conclusions can be definite.
2. Why is the problem a complex behavioral issue?
India is one of the oldest countries with over a billion people living in it. People follow various religious, cultural and social beliefs. Some of these age old beliefs are very medieval and archaic and obstruct a scientific and logical approach to some social issues. Open Defecation is one such issue that prevails in some of the Indian communities, especially rural communities. There are other intricate factors of belief and odd thinking which have turned into a belief system of rural India. These factors need to be identified and studied in detail to counter them.
3. Why is the study being jointly conducted with Savitribai Phule Pune University and not with a professional data collection company?
We always aim to make our work inclusive. We think that by working with one of the top universities of India we will be able make the survey much more inclusive. Instead of hiring a professional data research agency, we will be partnering with students from SPPU’s sociology department to conduct the survey in rural regions. The majority of the students come from rural India and we think involving them in the study will also help them understand the problem and become Changemakers for the problem of Open Defecation.
4. What will you do with the outcome of the survey?
Our team of experts will analyze the data extensively and prepare trends to be presented statistically. These statistics will then also be shared with the Government of India . We will also prepare a detailed policy recommendation to the governments and international agencies working in the area of water and sanitation about how to eradicate the problem of Open Defecation. Our team will also implement all the learning in our future projects of toilet construction, in which training on behavioral challenges will be given priority. This study will also help us to raise appropriate funds for developing exclusive and in-depth training material to train rural India about the menace of Open Defecation.
5. Will you share your learning with other agencies?
Yes, we plan to share the research outcome with everyone who is interested to learn about the survey. Our research outcome will be shared free of cost with everyone and will be especially shared with universities in India so that they can sensitize and educate. This is important to us as we think that the students are the next generation that will make the necessary impact. We will also be sharing the survey with some universities in Germany.
6. Why did you choose Maharashtra to conduct the survey?
We have been working in the state of Maharashtra since the year 2012. We have planned massive projects of providing rural communities in the state with access to environmentally sustainable toilets. So we think our detailed survey in the state will be of great aid to make our future projects successful. Also, our team has build a very strong network of people in this state which will help us in the smooth execution of the survey. We would also like to conduct similar surveys in other states of India in the future.
7. Is the survey scientific?
The survey is being mentored by some of India’s top social scientists. We think their thorough knowledge and in-depth awareness of the current social fault lines in the Indian society will make the research study very relevant and scientific.
We are also documenting the Project in a web series. Have a look on the most recent video:
Do you want to support us? Contact us for more information.
World Bank India office is collaborating and advising on the survey