Mobile-based sanitation monitoring

OneWorld Foundation India, in collaboration with Water and Sanitation Program, has developed a mobile innovation to capture sanitation data directly from the rural areas.

Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) is a comprehensive programme to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas with access to toilets to all by 2012. The main objective is to eradicate the practice of open defecation, and bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas. Since 1999, government made several attempts to improve the sanitation monitoring policy however it still lacks effective implementation of sanitation campaign in most rural areas and requires attention.
Presently, the emphasis is to capture the nature of sanitation behavior rather than just counting the number of toilets constructed in households. The number of toilets provides information on toilet accessibility however it does not tell us the actual usage of toilets as most households continue to openly defecate irrespective of having toilets or not. Secondly, the process of collecting data on toilet construction and sanitation behaviour is cumbersome because development practitioners collect data manually at the village level and as a result; the data collected is inaccurate and not verified.

To address these two main challenges, Water Sanitation Program of World Bank approached OneWorld Foundation to design an IT enabled sanitation monitoring strategy to strengthen TSC by conducting a pilot project in two blocks- Rajir in Bihar and Kandaghat in Himachal Pradesh. The strategy involved training 11 surveyors in each block to collect data from every household via mobile phones with GPS coordinates of location based on a survey questionnaire and the data was sent to the server on real time basis. All sent data were uploaded on the MIS directly in the form of reports. At the completion of data collection, total of 12,842 and 5,664 households were surveyed in Rajgir and Kandaghat, respectively. Despite few challenges, this pilot project was completed in six months and was successful in capturing information based on sanitation behaviour and toilet usage. Owing to its success, it is now ready to be scaled up in other states as well.

This case study was published in January 2012.

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