Community Toilet Blocks in Mumbai

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Focus Areas: Water & Sanitation

The Community Toilet Blocks project, which began in 2010, aimed to increase access to hygienic sanitation facilities for slum dwellers across Mumbai. Sixty-eight (68) toilet blocks with a total of one thousand six hundred and five (1,605) toilets have been provided in fifteen (15) administrative wards in the city. The health of slum dwellers (especially women and children) has greatly improved with the increased access to sanitation as a result of this project. This is a precedent setting project in which initial funding was used to explore community-led and managed sanitation projects (in the construction of demonstration toilets).

Location: Mumbai, India

Deliverables:

The construction of toilets in Mumbai. To date, fifty-seven (57) of the toilet blocks that the Alliance was contracted to build have been completed. The toilet blocks have:

  • separate entrances for men and women,
  • children squatting area,
  • twenty-four (24)  hour  water and electricity supply,
  • a caretaker for the toilet block, and; 
  • a connection either to the main sewer line wherever possible else or a septic tank.

Community capacity:

Municipalities contracted the Alliance to construct the toilet blocks. The most important feature of the sanitation programmes both in Mumbai and in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is the role of community participation. It has become clear – particularly to the bureaucrats  that developmental programs such as sanitation provision are not sustainable without community participation.

Scale:

Through community participation and involvement, the Federation and Mahila Milan have set norms for allowing the urban poor to take part in the tendering, design and implementation process in constructing toilets under various government schemes. It is, consequently, easier for the project to be replicated in other settlements across the country, bearing in mind that it is also State funded. 

Impact:

The project shows how a community centered approach to sanitation is both feasible and replicable on a citywide scale. Consequently, these sanitation projects contribute to a policy environment that welcomes the role of community participation. The possibilities of corruption and rent-seeking decrease once communities are actively involved in service provision. 

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$100,000.00

Resources Leveraged:

Initial grant funding was used to explore community-led and managed sanitation projects (demonstration toilets). These precedent-setting projects  were instrumental in winning the contract to build community-managed toilet blocks in slums under World Bank funded Mumbai Sewerage Disposal Project (MSDP 1)  project. Success of MSDP 1 enabled the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) to leverage  Municipal Government funding to help improve the city's sanitation infrastructure in the second phase.

Engineers, architects and officials from the Municipality worked with the community during construction. Meetings were held twice a month to discuss progress with these stakeholders. 

State Subsidy:

As with many sanitation projects in India, due to the precarious financial situation of most urban local bodies (ULBs) there is reliance on State Governments. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date. 

Costs recovered from community:

Loans were given to the projects by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and communities do not have to repay them. The upfront payments collected from community members are utilised to cover the operation and maintenance costs. A Rs. 20 - 30/month charge per family has been implemented to help raise additional funds to help cover operation and maintenance costs of the toilet blocks.  

Sheela Patel sparc@sparcindia.org (+91) 22 238 650 53 View Website
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Project information updated: 23 March 2016

Project in depth

Detailed Information

The Mumbai Sewerage Disposal Project (MSDP) was launched in 1995 by the World Bank and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM).The project focused on improving sanitation infrastructure in the city. The Indian Alliance comprising of the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF), Mahila Milan, and Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) started working with the MSDP in 2001 under the slum sanitation project which was launched and based on Alliance experiences of working in sanitation. Only two hundred and thirteen (213) of the planned three hundred and twenty (320) toilet blocks were constructed under MSDP I due to various political issues. MSDP II is a continuation of MSDP I. The Community Toilet Blocks project falls under the MSDP II.

Deliverables:

The construction of one hundred and fifty (150) community toilet blocks. The blocks will, cumulatively, house seven thousand five hundred (7,500) seats. 

Community capacity:

Meetings are held twice a month with the MSDP Chief Engineer, contractors and municipal staff to discuss progress related issues (on-going work, to be started sites, staff complaints). Meetings with the commissioner as and when needed to discuss issues that cannot be solved at lower levels. Internal meetings are also held on a weekly basis. 

In the first and second phases of MSDP, the Alliance developed a strategy where communities form organized groups as part of NSDF and Mahila Milan. They are trained to do surveys, identify locations for toilet blocks, work with architects/engineers for appropriate designs, take on construction and save for maintenance. These strategies have demonstrated,  through practice, a community-led process of providing access to basic services, and these continue to be refined and scaled up through each project. 

Scale:

The intention is to replicate the project in settlements across the country. The strategies employed during the design and construction of each toilet block are refined in each project. 

Impact:

Changing the mindset of policy makers with regards to the funding of sanitation projects has however proved to be a challenge in India. Discussions with the Government of India are ongoing and the Alliance hopes to see access to water and sanitation increase across the country. 

Finance:

SDI Contributions:

SDI contributed US$100,000.00 towards capital expenses. 

Resources Leveraged:

In addition to State funds and technical support from various professionals, the Federation was also able to leverage the following resources:

  • SPARC/Nirman Bridge Funds - these were used primarily to initiate the projects, until a certain stage of construction had been completed and the Alliance was able to recover the funds from the relevant Municipal authority. These funds were also used in the event of delays in the processing of receipts and payments. 
  • Community-led Infrastructure Financing Facility (CLIFF) Bridge Funds - this is a revolving fund which receives grant funds from various donors. These funds are lent to certain projects, and once recovered, are then used to finance other projects.
  • Banks - which act as a resource in two ways. Firstly, the banks provide Nirman with loans, which are repaid with project not individual funds. Secondly, banks provide guarantees to the Municipality.
  • Land - althoughslum communities are often located on municipal land, the portion of the land acquired for the sanitation facilities is considered to be a community asset once it is released by  the Municipality. 

State Subsidy:

The State subsidy was monetary and in some instances in the form of technical assistance and/or land upon which the toilet blocks were constructed. 

Market Generated Returns:

None to date.

Costs recovered from community:

Costs recovered from the community are in the form of user fees (per family). These fees are used to cover the costs of maintaining the toilet blocks. The construction costs are to be recovered from the local authorities. Loans are given to the projects and not to individual members, therefore the community doesn’t have to repay them. The MSDP projects are funded and implemented by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), therefore the funds will be recovered from the MCGM. The Alliance estimates that seventy-five to ninety percent (75-90%) of the funds will be recovered. 

Burra, S. & Patel, S. (2002). Community Toilets in Pune and Other Indian Cities. [Online]. Available: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02004.pdf
 
Burra, S., Patel, S. & Kerr, T. (2003). Community-designed, Built and Managed Toilet Blocks in Indian Cities, Environment and Urbanisation, 15(2): 12 - 32. [Online]. Available: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G00517.pdf
 
Cities Alliance. (n.d.). The Community-led Infrastructure Financing Facility. [Online]. Available: http://www.citiesalliance.org/sites/citiesalliance.org/files/cliff-article%5B1%5D.pdf
 
Singh, L. (2015). Mumbai: Sewage Disposal Project to be Delayed. [Online]. Available: http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai/mumbai-sewage-disposal-project-to-be-delayed-further/story-aiwCOlX0OqkAAi7nrfufFL.html
 
SPARC. (2014). Sanitation. [Online]. Available: http://www.sparcindia.org/sanitation.php
 
SPARC-SSNS. Community Toilet Blocks: Projects in a Nutshell. [Online]. Available: http://sparcnirman.org/toiletblocks-msdp-mumbai.html

Funding Information

Raised:

$100,000.00

Funding type:

Grant funding

Fully funded

Implementing Partners

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC)


National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) and Mahila Milan