Strengthening Community Participation in Ownership and Maintenance of Community Toilets


On August 18, 2018, A Stakeholder Consultation on Rejuvenation of Community Toilets was held at Jain University. This was a public discussion being held by Radio Active CR 90.4 MHzHasirudalaCentre for Advocacy & Research – CFAR, and Sahaya Single Window.  Below is the report that was released. 


The challenge of rapid and unplanned urbanization that India is facing and will continue
to face over the coming decades needs no introduction. Of the 93 million slum residents
in India, 81% have inadequate access to sanitation. 1In India slums are categorized into
declared and undeclared slums with those declared having legal entitlements to the basic services including civic amenities and government provisions.

According to the National Health and Family Survey (NHFS), about half of Indian households
(48%) use improved toilet facilities, which are non-shared facilities that prevent people
from coming into contact with human waste and can reduce the transmission of cholera,
typhoid, and other diseases. Shared toilet facilities of an otherwise acceptable type are
also common, especially in urban areas; 15% of urban households use a shared facility
While 39% of households do not use any toilet facility, meaning that they practice open

Swachh Bharat Launched on 2 October 2014

The Swachh Bharat Mission was launched with the objective of constructing individual,
cluster and community toilets eliminate or reduce open defecation. Open defecation is
one of the main causes of deaths of thousands of children each year.

Constructing latrines and working towards establishing an accountable mechanism of
monitoring latrine use, create public awareness about the drawbacks of open defecation
and promotion of the use of latrine use, recruiting dedicated ground staff to bring about behavioural change and, changing people’s mindset towards proper sanitation use were
some other objectives of the Mission. Keeping villages clean and ensuring solid and liquid waste management were some other objectives of the Mission launched on October 2, 2014.

This project is expected to cost over Rs. 2 lakh crore. Fund sharing between the Central
and State Governments and Urban Local Bodies is allocated in the ratio of 75:25. It has
been officially stated that for the North Eastern and special category states, the allocation
of funds is in the ratio of 90:10.

1*National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) – Conditions of Urban Slums in India 2008-09

Construction of 31.83 lakh toilets till January 2015

According to the government data, in January 2015, as many as 7.1 lakh individual household toilets have been built under this dream project. This number is considered the highest for any month since its launch in October 2014. A total of 31.83 lakh individual toilets have been built until January 2015. So far, Karnataka is the best performer by achieving 61% of the target while Punjab is the worst performer by achieving 5% of the target.

Bengaluru Scenario

Bengaluru is a typical example of urban agglomeration subject to the problems of rapid
urbanization and unplanned growth. The rapid urbanization has thrown up serious
challenges in urban planning and management in terms of providing infrastructure and
other civic amenities like housing, electricity, water and sanitation. The population of
Bangalore city has been growing rapidly and the 2011 census indicates that around 84,
49,944 people live in the city. In 2011, Bangalore was named as 18th most populous city
in the world and the fastest-growing Indian metropolis behind New Delhi . Today the
population is estimated to about 1.2 crores.



Urban Poor and Sanitation in Bengaluru

There are data discrepancies on the total number of slums. BBMP data indicates that
totally there are 587 slums in Bengaluru, out which 230 are notified and 357 are non-notified. But the data collected from the Karnataka Slum Development Board indicates that the number of slums in Bengaluru city is 597, of which 388 are notified and 209 non-notified (Annual Report 2013-14, Karnataka Slum Development Board).

The data from KSDB indicates that there are 3, 21, 296 slum households in Bengaluru with a population of 13, 86,583 (Annual Report, 2013-14, KSDB). In many slums, twenty to twenty-five families live together. These slums are not recognized and lack sanitation and other basic amenities completely. However, the problem of sanitation, irrespective of the number of slums, remains an issue in a majority of the slums.

As per Census data, Bengaluru city has shown substantial progress in improving access to toilets, from 90.78 per cent in 2001 to 96.76 per cent in 2011. An official report in 1994 (Ravindra, 1997) says around 113,000 houses were without toilets while 17,500 had dry toilets. Sanbergen and Loes- Schenk (1996), in their study, have highlighted that of the 22 slums, nine (with a total population of 35,400) had no toilet facilities while in the remaining ten slums, there were 19 public toilets for 16,850 households or 102,000 inhabitants.

The present situation of Bangalore Urban

Radio Active 90.4 MHz, Sahaya Single Window and Hasiru Dala visited few of the settlements and interacted with the community members and documented the issues and concerns of community toilet in the settlements

Name of the settlement: Ambedkar Nagar (Okalpura Ward Number (98)


Name of the settlement: Benniganahalli (Ward Number 50)

• There is no community toilet in the settlement and people defecate in the open which
is unhygienic. There is a perpetual shortage of water supply.
• During menstruation, young girls find open defecation very difficult. The community
is ready and looking forward to building individual toilets.
• Young girls and women have major problems with open defecation as the young boys
peep through the bushes sees them when defecating. Sexual harassment was also re
ported in this settlement.
• As there is no community toilet in this locality, the community has complained several
times but no action is taken to address the issue

Name of the settlement: JC II Road cement (Ward Number 118)

• The community toilet is unclean; they pay Rs.3 to use the toilet. The children often fall
sick after using the community toilet
• There is a long queue near the toilet in the morning as most of them are daily wage
labourers and they have to leave the houses early morning
• The girl children often fall sick and get urinary tract infection using the community
toilets. There is no proper supply of water. The designated person does not clean the
toilet properly
• The community toilets are open for a limited time from morning 5 to 7.30 pm in the
evening and in time of urgency people defecate in the open
• The community toilet is very dirty. It is difficult for the asthma patients to use it.
• The water in the toilet is very unclean. There are small worms in the water and it is
not at all good for the use which causes a lot of health problems including urine infection

Name of the settlement: Kalasipaya, Vinobha Nagar, Kalasipalya, JC Road (Ward Number 119-Dharmarayaswamy Temple)


Name of the settlement: Dodmavalli (Ward number 154)

• The community toilet is not maintained properly.
• Men also use women’s toilet and smoke and throw the cigarette butts in the toilet and
women feel uncomfortable to use the toilet
• The community pay Rs 5 to use the toilet each time
• There is a person who cleans the toilet once a day. When children use it they make it
• During menstruation, women put a tent next to their house and they use it as bath
room. During rainy season all the community find it difficult to use the toilet.
• They have built toilets for themselves but the community is not maintaining it properly.
• There is no tap inside the toilets because the community wastes water, hence, there
is a place outside the toilet where the water is stored
• Whenever the community uses the toilet they carry water from outside

Name of the settlement: Tannery Road (Ward 92)

• Unhygienic toilets, no water facilities and a lot of health issues
• There is no water facility in the community toilet. Not at all clean, no one is cleaning the
• The children face health problems such as dysentery, and malaria. The number of to
lets seats are inadequate to the population

Name of the settlement: Baiyappanahalli (Ward 59)

• From the time of their forefathers, they have lived in the settlement but there is no
community toilet
• Sometimes they use drainage water to clean. . No one helps them to build the toilet.

Name of the settlement: Cart Road, Jolly Mohalla (Ward Number 30)


Name of the settlement: Kadirappa Road

• The community has to pay Rs.2 to use the community toilet. Monthly twice the BBMP
worker comes to clean it
• Poor maintenance and unhygienic
• There are no taps and no doors inside the toilet.
• There is timing (5 am to 12 noon) and (6 pm – 11pm) to use the community toilet
which is a major disadvantage; in case of emergency, they are unable to use community toilet.
• Sanitary pads are discarded outside the toilet
• In an emergency, they use the fields and there is no place to build an individual toilet

Name of the settlement: Nagvara (Ward Number 23)

• The community toilet is built far away from their houses. Only some people, who can
walk that distance, use it
• Small children defecate in the open spaces outside their houses.
• During menstruation, women cannot go to public toilets as it is very far from their
• There is no place for them to have bath. They have built a small, temporary bath
• The people have been staying here for the past 10 years but no one had come forward to help them in build toilet.

Name of the settlement: Sumanahalli

• There are separate toilets for men and women. There is a sump outside the men’s
toilet from where people fetch water from the tank and take inside the toilet to us.
• The toilets are in very bad conditions.
• During menstruation, women throw the used sanitary napkins outside in the open
as there is no dustbin
• The children do not use the toilets and they defecate in the open and make the place
• The water they drink is filled with mud. They do not boil the water.
• Many people were contracted urinary tract infections, diarrhoea by using the toilet.

Name of the settlement: Anjanappa Garden,(Ward number 138)

• The sanitary pads are thrown around in the open. The community toilet is not maintained properly. Community face many health issues like amoebiasis, Diarrhea, etc
• It is difficult for the community to use the public toilet during her menstrual cycle as
the youngsters peep outside from the washroom
• The community toilet is very far away from the locality
• Young girls get an infection during her menstrual cycle after using the community toilet. ( Note no scientific study has been done, these are residents testimony)
• BBMP constructed toilet for the community but they are not maintaining properly
• There is no light inside the bathroom, there are no taps and the community has to
carry water from their homes.
• The children do not use the toilets and they defecate in the open and make the place
• The water they drink is filled with mud. They do not boil the water.
• Many people were contracted urinary tract infections, diarrhoea by using the toilet.

Summary of problems at the community toilets

There are some challenges that can be overcome by little intervention, through the use of
behaviour change which most of the issue are related infrastructure that needs to addressed on a war footing

Infrastructural issues:

• Inadequate seats of the toilet when compared to the number of residents
• No water or light facilities
• No dustbins
• The common health issue is urinary tract infection
• Not available through the day and night

Behavioural change intervention required:

• Use of dustbins to discard contaminated sanitary pad
• Creating awareness about sexual harassment near the toilet or open defecation place by
young boys
• Appropriate use of toilet

Few Case Studies



The building was constructed 6 years back with individual toilet but there is no proper
water facility. She says that there is a place where three pipes are connected. Earlier, they used to get sufficient water but now there is no supply. Three months ago during election, one tap was provided for every 12 households.

When there is no water supply she has to pay Rs.30 to collect the water and she says they
require 3 drums per day and they spend Rs. 90 everyday. Small children carry 2 pots at
a time and they have to climb to the second or third floor. . The water pipe is connected
in such a dirty place which is unhygienic. Her mother while carrying water slipped and
fractured her leg. Children and women do not go to school or work regularly because
they have to collect water for their daily use.

Chamudi Nagar

There is no proper toilet facility. The house gets flooded during monsoon with waster
from drainage and that’s creating health problems for children. For the past 25 years, Lakshmamma has been staying here and the biggest problem is there is no proper toilet facility. Earlier, they use to defecate in the open but recently they built a toilet. However, there is no proper facility for drainage and most of the time the toilet gets blocked. They have to spend own money to clean the toilet. So they want the government to help them.

Neela and her family stay near the gutter because of which they the incidence of ill health due to infection is common The toilet facility is not good because most of the time all the toilet get blocked so the community face difficult and many get infection especially the children

They are using the very small toilet which has no proper door and, hence, not safe. They have complained to the authorities many times but have received no help so far.
The community did not have a toilet earlier and used to defecate in the open, they had
sought help from the government in building one no one came forward to help.

Eventually, they build a toilet from their own money but the problem now is that the pipe is very small and remains mostly blocked. It will be good if the government build a community toilet.

The Survey carried out by Single Window at the settlements

In 2017, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) requested Single Window to
carry out the survey at the settlements to identify the beneficiaries for individual and
community toilets. The Single Window has carried out a survey for 600 households in
Ambedkar Nagar, KP Agrahara, Anjanappa Garden and BBMP assured that they would
release the fund for construction of individual toilets under Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. But
even after two years the BBMP has not been sanctioned the fund

Field Visits Acknowledgments

From the three organisations CFAR, Hasiru Dala and Radio Active

Chaitra, Manjula, Meenakshi, Mohan, Nagarjun, Natraj, Nevina, Padma Priya,
Radha K, Radha, Rajamma, Radha, Shivrajamma, Vasanthi


Kavya, Priyanka, Kasutri, Preetha, Vaishanavi, Shivali, Lakshmi, Suganya from St. Anns College, Bangalore, Manjunath from Acharya College, Bangalore

Community Recommendations

• Repair and upgrade the public toilet that has infrastructural damage.
• Individual toilets are preferred over community toilets, BBMP and Karnataka government should come forward to help  build individual toilets where possible
• Proper supply of water in the community toilet should be ensured to prevent health
problem like urinary tract infection
• Build community toilets wherever necessary and proper maintenance of community
toilets should be ensured.
• Form a group with a community representative to monitor the community toilets. 
• There is a need for coordination among Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board,
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, Karnataka Slum Development Board, National
Urban Health Mission, Urban Development and Department of Women and Child Development
• Initiate community involvement programmes at the settlement level to strengthen the
community engagement in the programme
• BBMP must coordinate with the Department of Health and Family Welfare and National
Urban Health Mission to educate the community about the importance of health and
• Develop IEC materials with the support of the Department of Health and Family Welfare
and National Urban Health Mission
• Involve the community in the critical scheme of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan right from
planning till the implementation
• Karnataka Slum development Board Action plan for 2018-19 has budgeted formation of SHG group, Health Camp and IEC material, all these budget should be integrated
and a Campaign on proper usage of community toilet and or individual toilets. Create a
a sense of ownership of toilets to the community that uses community toilets.
• Lastly, slums identified to be grouped together for a converged immediate action plan

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