India has made tremendous gain in eliminating open defecation in the last five years under its national sanitation programme, Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission). Access to a toilet facility has increased manifold, especially in rural areas, and prompted the question of how to manage faecal waste beyond the toilet.
In response, the government recently announced a second phase of the programme which will focus faecal sludge management (FSM) and solid liquid waste management (SLWM)in rural areas.
The State of Odisha in India has been one of the first states to pilot FSM systems in cities and small towns.
Building on its progress as a pioneer in urban FSM, the state is now piloting a district-wide approach to sanitation planning through a Pilot Project on ‘Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) in Rural Areas of Dhenkanal District’. The Project partners include the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department, Government of Odisha, UNICEF, and the Centre for Policy Research under its initiative, Scaling City Institutions for India: Water and Sanitation (SCI-FI).
The project will demonstrate two approaches to FSM and SLWM service delivery for rural areas in the district that hold lessons for the state- and nation-wide scaling up of these services. The first will leverage urban-rural convergence for Faecal Sludge Management by formally ‘plugging in’ Gram Panchayats (GPs), or rural local bodies, located within a 10km radius from the city of Dhenkanal to the urban Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant (FSTP). The second, focusing on rural areas outside of the plugging-in zone, will create clusters of GPs for SLWM planning and service delivery, as well as, demonstrate a Greenfield SLWM system in one of the identified clusters. Furthermore, the Project will develop a novel District Sanitation Plan, covering all aspects for successfulSLWM interventions, including IEC, capacity building, O&M plan, among others.
The District Administration of Dhenkanal in collaboration with the UNICEF and SCI-FI formally launched the initiative on urban-rural convergence for FSM on September 29, 2020, via videoconferencing. The District Administration expressed wholehearted support for the project and is currently gearing up to sign an agreement with the Dhenkanal city to formalise the urban-rural FSM convergence for service delivery in rural areas.