USAID MOUD swachh bharat urban WSUP

Technical Support to USAID - Government of India Knowledge Partnership
Capacity Building for Swachh Bharat Mission - Urban

Work Area

WSUP Advisory India (WAI) is assisting USAID and the Government of India to fulfill a national commitment to improve sanitation for all through its ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission Urban(SBM-U), which aims to eliminate open defecation by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. WAI is working with Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), with an estimated population of two million, to enable it to become Open Defecation Free (ODF). The pilot city of Visakhapatnam has demonstrated elements of model city-wide approach to sanitation that serve the need of SBM (U) in the country.

The range of activities implemented so far have been encapsulated in what has come to be known as “ULB led Community Sanitation Approach”also referred to as the “Ward by Ward Approach”. This approach covers important building blocks that have yielded accelerated SBM results within the overall context of a systems approach by bringing the strength of the local structures such as Zones and Wards to bear on sustainability and achieving a fully functional sanitation systems. The city of Vizag was certified as ODF through a process of MoUD commissioned third party external evaluation in the month of December 2016. This certification is valid until June 2017 when it will be scrutinized again to determine if ODF has been sustained.

The nine elements of model city wide approach to sanitation that has evolved over the project duration:

  • Sanitation mapping tools graduating into a dashboard on SBM (U)
  • Ward by Ward approach leads up to development of the OD database for concurrent monitoring
  • Ward and Zonal Sanitation Committees are reinforced and expand their role into the full sanitation value chain including the strengthening of the City Sanitation Task Force (CSTF)
  • The Universal Sanitation Accelerator android app is further popularized for use and updating that feeds into improved understanding of barriers and bottlenecks in the delivery of accelerated results for SBM
  • Ward ODF plans are updated with FSSM elements and contribute to the finalisation of City Sanitation Plans
  • The Microplanning Work Book (MPWB) is further popularised and applied to community level monitoring of sanitation and hygiene related services and behaviours OD hotspot surveillance is continued to ensure that erstwhile OD sites remain free from defecation behaviours and neighbourhoods remains free from development of new OD sites
  • Retrofitting of community toilets with gender sensitive elements are completed for all facilities and continues to be well-maintained for use by the families that do not have space to construct an IHHT within their premises
  • Ward-level Swachh Certification protocol on ODF will be further strengthened to create rankings and incentives

By Public Toilets, it is implied that these are to be provided for the floating population / general public in places such as markets, train stations, tourist places, near office complexes, or other public areas where there are considerable number of people passing by.

Under SBM (U), States and ULBs will ensure that a sufficient number of public toilets are constructed in each city. All prominent places within the city attracting floating population should be covered.

Achievement on Public Toilets

Under SBMU, one of the important components is provision of public sanitation facilities in the form of public toilets and community toilets. Under the Mission, approximately 115,786 seats classified as public toilets and community toilets have been constructed and an additional 125,036 seats are under construction in this category.

WAI's Work in Visakhapatnam

In the city of Visakhapatnam with an estimated population of two million, public toilets are a major issue. WAI under the Ward-by-Ward approach, has completed the Sanitation Mapping exercise to understand existing scenario of available Public Toilets in Visakhapatnam.

From the available information through Sanitation Mapping on Public Toilets in the city, one of the findings was to measure the capacity of GVMC in provision of Public Toilets, but the quality is another aspect which is missing if we are talking about public sanitation. In Visakhapatnam, there is absence of information on quality of Public Toilets, the existing terms of services, and institutional framework on maintenance. The two major aspects for Public Toilets in Visakhapatnam which needs to be measured are the service levels & the adequacy of number of Public Toilets. The performance measurement of the Public Toilet services should align with the objectives provided in National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP) and State Sanitation Strategy (Andhra Pradesh) for provision of Public Toilets. Based on the capacity of the public toilets, an appropriate business plan will be developed for implementing a sustainable public toilets services in GVMC.

The overall objective is to improve service levels and access to Public Toilets in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). More specifically, the objective will support GVMC in the preparation of a business plan for private sector management of Public Toilets to ensure at a minimum that Standards set by Ministry of Urban Development and Andhra Pradesh State Municipal Administration & Urban Development are achieved and even exceeded.

As per recent survey conducted by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under SBM (U), it is estimated that about 8.9% of the urban households in cities, who are currently practicing open defecation are likely to use Community Toilets as a solution due to land and space constraints in constructing Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) within their premises.

For this component, beneficiaries shall be groups of households (“beneficiary household group”) in urban areas whose members practice open defecation and who do not have access to household toilet, and for whom the construction of individual household toilets is not feasible. Beneficiary household groups under this component of SBM (U) shall be identified by the procedure as designed by the ULB.

WAI’s Work in Visakhapatnam

While the retrofitting of Community Toilets is not at first sight integral to SBM (U), sustained quality and functionality of these toilets will be necessary to ensure continuous coverage and accessibility for all. Community Toilets are important aspect in toilet delivery to fill gaps regarding IHHL construction limitations. Improving the state of toilets is an essential criterion to attract people to the Community Toilets and ensure ODF.

A programme was developed for upgradation of Community Toilets as gender sensitive in the city of Visakhapatnam to cater the needs of women’s and further including the requirements of pregnant women, old people, toddlers and specially challenged. The program focusses on the provision of basic toilet infrastructure to ensure maximum utility and continuous coverage. Gap assessment of facility provisions to cover the requirements of all type of user was done with support from ULB. To carry out the activities, capacity building and training program were conducted to apprise the implementers on the requirements of specification, which also comprised of adequacy of water supply, electricity and drainage infrastructure gap.

With approval from the Commissioner, a large-scale PT and CT retro-fitting program was launched by GVMC in Dec 2016, which added to the improvement in the ranking of Visakhapatnam city in the Swachh Sarvekshan 2017. It is decided by the Commissioner to retrofit all the Community Toilets by the end of 2017. The city now is having good quality Community Toilets with improved O&M practices.  

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U), the flagship programme of the Government of India (GoI) being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), the social and behaviour change can only take place if it is internalised by the people. Behaviour change is not limited to not defecating in open but has other aspects attached to it. It cannot be a hardware driven programme. Construction of toilets in every household does not lead to toilet usage. It refers to the social and cultural habit of the people.

Behaviour change is a major challenge and tremendous effort is required to bring about transformation. It requires bringing them out of their deep-rooted practice of defecating in open. There is a direct relationship between sanitation, health and human well-being. Improper disposal of human excreta, lack of personal and food hygiene and lack of scientific solid and liquid waste management have been some of the major causes of many diseases which have significant direct and indirect cost to the society and nation.

WAI’s work in Visakhapatnam

In order to reach out to the citizens in Visakhapatnam a Calendar and Diary was developed. Through this calendar, we reached out to the masses and addressed the issues pertaining to sanitation on a day today basis.

Micro Planning Work Book

WAI has developed a micro-planning workbook as a practical tool in helping ODFCCs target individual households and OD hotspots. The workbook consists of five pages, the first three pages are for completion by Women SHGs and the final two for completion by the ODFCCs.

OD Hotspot Surveillance

OD hotspots in Vizag are monitored as part of the Ward-by-Ward approach by a surveillance squad comprising two-wheelers and drivers. The vehicles are accessorized with a loud speaker and horn. The loud speaker announces automatically recorded voice warning people not to defecate in the open.

Thus, each time a squad member spots a person defecating in the open, he will blow the loud horn as an alarm or warning for people habituated to defecating in the open. The visibility of the surveillance squad simultaneously raises the profile of the ODF campaign in the ward and aims to shame those practicing OD into changing their behaviour. The work is conducted by an outsourced agency under contract with GVMC.

Each of the OD sites have been knocked down and made free from defecation in gradual steps with continuous surveillance by these squads. Each zone has one such squad and the GVMC nodal person prepares a weekly plan for the site visits.

Facility of onsite sanitation system is being practised by a sizable percentage of the population in developing countries including India. It is important that, the faecal matter generated after years long storage in the septic tank is disposed off in most efficient and scientific manner. Often it is found that, in developing countries the faecal matter is disposed off to the environment without any prior treatment, thereby contaminating the natural water bodies and ground water. It is with this vision, the recent years have been highlighted the challenges faced by people practicing onsite sanitation system and have come up with various policies and guidelines for effective treatment of faecal sludge and septage management particularly in developing countries.

WAI’s work on FSSM in Visakhapatnam

Consumer engagement

It is planned that the GVMC App will be upgraded to include a module on FSSM that will allow for Vacuum Truck Operators (VTO) service requisitioning and also registration of complaints and redress in a timely manner.


An assessment of the adequacy of the existing on-site sanitation (OSS) facilities will be undertaken and the results will be incorporated in to the FSSM plans. The inadequacies of the current household sanitation arrangements will be addressed primarily through Municipal Building Bye Laws and their enforcement through sensitization of the Town Planning Department Officials who approve the Building Plan and issue Occupancy Certificates.

Emptying and conveyance

The city of Vizag is being serviced by 58 vacuum trucks for emptying septic tanks. Based on concept development, an assessment of the septage emptying market including the measurement of quality in service levels, emptying and conveyance business plans and the licensing regime will be established in collaboration with VTOs and GVMC respectively. The GVMC App will be further utilised to monitor the effectiveness of the licensing plan.

Disposal, treatment and reuse

An assessment of the existing sewerage system to identify potential disposal sites in Vizag through a consultative process with GVMC engineering staff is already well advanced. WAI will further extend support to GVMC in planning, designing and refurbishment of the existing sewerage infrastructure to receive faecal sludge by VTOs. All necessary construction work for the required modification will be funded by the GVMC.

City and ward FSSM plans

WAI has already equipped Ward Committees with Faecal Flow Diagrams (FFDs). These will be further used for the development of ward and city level FSSM plans that will meet the requirements of the National FSSM Policy.

The training activities are fundamental part of the overall capacity building and hence being approached as an overarching and integral element of the Programme design and activities. It is therefore important to note that several interventions in the Project also contribute to the building of capacities at various levels. Since the spectrum of training-related interventions are quite broad and general in the capacity building plan developed, WSUP would like to bring about more specificity in the focus by concentrating on SBM (U) related training activities. This will help the Project to overcome the challenge of adopting products to match the needs of diverse context across the country.

WAI’s work in Visakhapatnam

Universal Sanitation Accelerator

Building on the field level work on toilet delivery analysis in the city of Visakhapatnam, concluding a considerable time (anywhere between 45 to 180 days) taken to deliver a complete IHHL to a family, a set of barriers (at the user end) and bottlenecks (at the systems end) were identified. Both these set of barriers and bottlenecks contribute to delay in achieving physical progress of the SBM (U) targets on IHHL.

At the national level, as on end of September 2016, SBM (U) has progressed to achieve its 23 percent of the total IHHL target. Universal Sanitation Accelerator (USA) App will assist in self-assessment of the barriers and bottlenecks by the Municipal bodies. USA App provides for a range of solutions and associated leading practices for each of the barriers and bottlenecks and thereby enabling Municipal bodies to address them to accelerating the progress on IHHL construction.

The Universal Sanitation Accelerator as a mobile app tool developed by WSUP will be now rolled out for use by the officials in municipal bodies across India to self-assess their implementation progress under Swachh Bharat Mission (U). This will help Municipal functionaries working for SBM (U) to identify constraints, possible solutions and get an instant plan of action which is in turn sent via email to accelerate SBM (U) implementation.

Formation of ODF Coordination Committees (ODF CCs)

A critical step in attaining ODF status at the ward level is the formation of ODF Co-ordination Committee (ODFCC). The importance of a ward-level coordinating mechanism was confirmed in Vizag by the issue of a Circular by GVMC requiring its formation in every ward.

Each committee is convened by the Sanitary Inspector and has 16 members representing community stakeholders. The function of the ODFCC includes oversight of work done by women SHG and Sadhimpu Committee.

It requires interaction with community members to establish sanitation needs – including micro surveys. It establishes need for Individual Household Toilets, Community Toilets and Public Toilets. 

Private sector engagement in Water and Sanitation is not new to the developed world; however acceptance to such services in the developing country is has being observed in the recent past. Suitable business model on PPP has resulted effective service delivery with optimum use of resources and thereby minimizing the risk of the public authorities. Private sectors with its operational efficiency, innovations and robust financial capability are able to address the challenges that are being faced by the public enterprises. It is important that the interest of private sector organizations are balanced with the requirement of the end user and further their intellectual property rights are adhered, so that there is a continued faith amongst the stakeholders involved in the business process.

WAI’s work in Visakhapatnam

Desludging services

Desludging services are one of the areas where private sector participation can bring live to its operation. Currently, FSM services are not regulated in Vizag. WAI will undertake a review of the existing operating procedures of vacuum tank operators. WAI will review the functioning of the FSM chain from provision of emptying services to transfer to disposal and treatment. WAI will provide recommendations and a framework for providing licensing to private sector septic tank operators, who are currently functioning without a formal agreement and are unregulated. The framework will support GVMC in setting up a monitoring system on emptying of septic tanks by households and the services provided by the private sector.

Toilet cleaning and maintenance services

Visakhapatnam, the largest city in Andhra Pradesh has a population of more than 2 million and 0.43 million households. The city has a slum population of nearly 44%, constituting about 0.18 million households. As part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (U), GVMC has provided 13,000 toilets to households, earlier without access to individual toilets. These consumers from these households depended on Community Toilets or were involved in open defecation. GVMC has also provided around 5000 seats in both Public & Community Toilets blocks. These facilities are used by HH’s without IHHT’s and for the consumers in commercial and public crowded areas i.e markets, bus stations, railways stations and others. Toilet cleaning and maintenance of IHHT’s in GVMC is unorganized, Self-cleaning by low income group (LIG) households is done on very low frequency due to the affordability of toilet cleaning materials and behavior issues.

Non-cleaning, poor maintenance and break down in IHHT’s will lead to high risk of families returning to Open Defecation. WAI will be capturing this oopportunity to develop and introduce range of services for toilet cleaning and maintenance service with private sector involvement by providing packaging options to GVMC to cover CT, PT and LIG Households on a nominal monthly and quarterly tariff options. Payment of charges for services to LIG’s by GVMC for initial seeding period based on User Satisfaction.

WAI will also identify large-scale manufacturing companies and other private sector companies operating in and around the city and to identify their current CSR portfolio.  WAI will assess the current use of CSR funding for sanitation in the city of Vizag. WAI will prepare a portfolio of sanitation projects and interventions where CSR funds can be used. The GVMC and Companies will be encouraged for use of CSR funds to adopt a community or public toilet along with the surrounding area.  CSR funding could also be used to support the operation and maintenance of toilets. 

Successful implementation of any development project is significantly depends on the continuous monitoring at each and every step of the project life cycle and documentation of best practices as an essential requirement of knowledge management. WAI is committed for such activities so that it is disseminated to the bottom of the pyramid in the society. Our earnest effort has been keep eye on monitoring each activity, starting right from the planning stage up to the end of implementation of project so that the bottlenecks are addressed at appropriate level resulting achievement of effective and target oriented outcomes.   

WAI’s work in Visakhapatnam  

Sanitation Mapping

  • The broadly step in achieving ODF status for Vizag is to map current patterns of OD in the city and the current sanitation situation. It includes the identification of OD ‘hotspots’ that need to be targeted to eliminate the practice.
  • The ward level assessment needs to be supplemented by a method-based approach to identify OD hot spots with local assistance of SIs.
  • The sanitation mapping exercise aimed to gather extensive qualitative information on the reason behind open defecation at every OD hotspot in Vizag. The information was used to set sanitation priorities and behaviour change strategies as the Ward-by-Ward approach for achieving ODF status
  • The other aim of sanitation mapping exercise was to gather information on the prevalence, location and functionality of community and public toilets in Vizag.

Ward level Swachh certification

The SBM circular sets out the following indicators to declare a ward as ODF:

  • All households that have space to construct toilet have constructed one
  • All occupants of those households that do not have space to construct toilet have access to a Community Toilet within 500 meters
  • All commercial areas have Public Toilets within a distance of one kilometre
  • City has a mechanism in place through which they impose fines on persons who defecate in open (Vizag has already introduced such a mechanism)

Stages Leading to ODF

  1. Preparations of ODF application 
  • The in-charge ward will prepare a detailed report as mandated and submit to the Zonal Commissioner.
  • The Zonal Commissioner, after the necessary compliance shall submit the application to the Commissioner. 
  1. Verification of ODF status at the ward level
  • Based on the application filled by the ward on their ODF status, Zonal Commissioner prepares a schedule of inter-ward verification of ODF status at the Ward level
  • The schedule must have date, names of verification team leaders maintaining officers and a vehicle plan including any other logistics
  • The criteria and prior development formats for inter-ward verification is duly browsed by the verifying team
  1. Validation by external municipality 
  • The Commissioner of Municipal body may mandate an official along with the WSUP team to undertake validation through a third party (as proposed in section E of the document)
  • Preliminary results may be put up in public domain to receive comments and feedback from the citizens and relevant stakeholders  
  • Gaps listed may be looked into and addressed by sharing the same with the respective Zonal offices
  • Compliance certificate to be submitted by each ward 
  1. ODF Certification – City level (Ward by ward)
  • Once the validation process is completed by the external agency appointed by the Municipal body, wards may be certified and ranked according to their ODF status
  • The complete set of applications may then be submitted to State Nodal Department for SBM 
  1. ODF Declaration - City level (Ward by ward)
  • City level declaration - Once ward level certification is complete, ward may be declared as ODF by the Municipal body. 





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