Water and sanitation are two critical areas which are given no importance when it comes to the needs of the urban poor. Bad sanitation facilities are responsible for many of the health problems suffered by people living in slums. Parinaam, in partnership with Friends of Women's World Banking, India, (FWWB), is engaged in working out a program that could provide toilet facilities to Ujjivan Financial Services customers who own their homes. The project, in 2 phases, covers the investigation of the sanitation issues faced by the urban and semi urban poor and the construction of toilet facilities. It hopes to provide Ujjivan customers with individual toilets attached to their homes, in Bangalore and its suburban areas. The project will be for 5 years with an initial pilot for 500 toilets.
The program will provide Ujjivan with low cost funds from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), who in turn will give their customers loans at preferential rates of interest to help build the toilets. Parinaam will also give customers health education on basic hygiene, sanitation and how to use and maintain the toilets.
Phase I of the program is complete. Over 1000 customer surveys and a technical survey to ensure that basic water facilities and sewage lines are available in the working areas have been completed.
Phase II will begin once an experienced technical/building contractor is identified who will ensure that Parinaam and Ujjivan quality standards for the toilets are maintained during construction. A construction guarantee of the toilet for a minimum period of 12 months will be an essential aspect. Where sewage lines are not available, an environmentally friendly methodology for the soak pit must be used. It is estimated that Phase II could start by January 2010.