The challenge to make Devanahalli open defecation-free (ODF), a next natural step for the town, is what we have taken up along with Oracle. In this endeavour, Oracle has provided us with a CSR grant to close the current toilet gap in Devanahalli. Between SBM applications and this grant, the last couple of hundred toilets that the town lacks will be built.
Once these toilets are built, Devanahalli will not only be ODF, but ODF+, thanks to the FSTP that is already functioning, enabling safe treatment and disposal of faecal sludge in the entire town. The town would hence serve as a great example of the local government and community working together to establish safe sanitation practices and infrastructure where the traditional option of constructing and connecting toilets to a sewerage network was not feasible.
While Devanahalli like situations may not hold for other towns, what the success of this model would provide to others is an insight into how the ULB proactively went about mobilizing councillors and community to bring them onboard; that it is possible to have options other than sewage networks and sewage treatment when you don’t have enough water; that maximising on the already existing infrastructure septic tanks and pits can help us move up the sanitation ladder faster; and that even in big cities, FSTPs can be a solution for uncovered areas.
The toilet building activity is currently on, in full swing. Watch this space for more updates.