1 - INDIA
Government commitment in India to end open defecation
The Indian government has committed to ending open defecation by 2019, which will be the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. In October 2014, it launched a fully funded national hygiene, sanitation and waste management campaign called Swachh Bharat Mission. The campaign aims to transform rural India through community and people-centered strategies that emphasize holistic sanitation approaches.
Sikkim and Kerala are mostly free of open defecation and Himachal Pradesh is making progress through innovative community mobilization.
The campaign has started showing results: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, large States with high levels of open defecation have recently seen an acceleration in the rate of reduction in open defecation.
2 - PAKISTAN
Pakistan’s approach to total sanitation
Pakistan achieved its MDG target for sanitation in 2015, five years after Pakistan’s Approach to Total Sanitation (PATS) was launched, following massive floods that hit the country in 2010. Since then, more than 10 million people have eliminated open defecation in their communities, including 6.5 million as a direct result of UNICEF support. In 2015 alone, UNICEF support ensured that more than 1.3 million people were certified to be residing in open defecation free environments and 1.7 million people received hygiene-related information to prevent child illness, especially diarrhea. In Pakistan, 64 percent of the population is now using improved sanitation facilities. The use of PATS has created demand for toilets, facilitating supply side options and enabling duty bearers to take more responsibility. PATS is used by all sanitation sector stakeholders in Pakistan and has spurred government to commit to ending open defecation by 2025. In February 2015, the second Pakistan Conference on Sanitation, inaugurated by the President of Pakistan, resulted in greater ownership for reducing open defecation by the provincial governments. The recent MICS5 survey showed that in rural Punjab, open defecation fell from 32 percent in 2011 to 25 percent in 2014. The Government of Punjab has decided to free the province of open defecation by 2018. Pakistan is preparing to take on challenges of the new ambitious Sustainable Development Goals targets for sanitation. PATS programmes are increasingly focusing on equity, the creation of a sustainable social norm for ‘no open defecation’ and universal use of hygienic toilets. Pakistan has now reached a tipping point, and the use of toilet is fast becoming the new norm.
3 - NEPAL
A social movement in Nepal
In Nepal, open defecation in rural areas has fallen from 93 percent in 1990 to 37 percentin 2015: a remarkable improvement! In 2011, Kaski became the first district in Nepal to be declared open defecation free (ODF). In the four years since, one zone (Dhaulagiri), 34 (of 75) districts, 2,087 Village Development Committees (of 3,157 VDCs) and 85 (of 217) municipalities have achieved ODF status. Five more districts are slated to declare their ODF status before mid-2016. This success is due to a change in approach, earlier based on subsidies for toilet construction, now changed to an approach of ‘reward and recognition’ as envisioned in Nepal’s national sanitation and hygiene master plan of 2011. There is engagement of a wide range of stakeholders, at all levels: including local bodies, government officials, political parties, civil society, mothers groups, forest user groups, child clubs, users committees, and others mobilize and collaborate for reducing open defecation in their communities. As a result, the elimination of open defecation has become a social movement, rather than a programme or a project. Most remarkably, while in the past open defecation was considered to be most common among the poorest, the recent Nepal MICS 2014 showed little difference in sanitation coverage among the poorest and richest quintiles of the population – evidence of an effective social movement!
National averages mask inequities within countries. For example, 2008 figures show that open defecation reduction trends are not consistent across household wealth. In India and Nepal, progress in open defecation levels disproportionately benefit the wealthy. Bangladesh has experienced progress at comparable rates irrespective of wealth although people living in the
poorest households are still much more likely to practise open defecation.
Data Source: Special Joint Monitoring Progamme tabulation based on Indian National Family Health Surveys 1996, 2001 and 2006
Data Source: Special Joint Monitoring Progamme tabulation based on Demographic and Health Surveys 1996, 2001 and 2006
Data Source: Special Joint Monitoring Progamme tabulation based on Bangladesh Demographic Health Surveys 1994, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2007
The SDG target 6.2 ‘By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations’ specifically aims to end the practice of open defecation. As the national governments of all countries in South Asia have adopted the SDGs, it is expected that the reduction of open defecation practices will accelerate in the coming years – as is required to meet the ‘headline result’ of reducing the number of open defecators in South Asia to 500 million by 2017.