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Community Sanitation

Addressing the needs of sanitation in India

Clean water and sanitation, one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, remains a pressing global challenge. Despite progress, billions of people, mainly in rural areas, still lack access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. Over 673 million people practice open defecation, posing significant health risks.

Recognizing the scale of this issue, Amrita University initiated the Women’s Empowerment: Rural Toilet Builder and Community Sanitation Program (WE Sanitation). This unique program began in 2014 with a focus on empowering rural women through vocational and life skills education. The women were trained to build their own toilets, thereby addressing the urgent need for sanitation infrastructure in rural communities.

We expanded the program to 21 states, emphasizing scalability, wider impact, and the establishment of best practices. Community engagement through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and connections to government initiatives have been central to this phase. The initiative empowers women to build and maintain toilets professionally and by teaching others, fosters scalability.

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