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MainDBNew: Water Sanitation & Hygiene for Urban Slums [WASH-US]

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Water Sanitation & Hygiene for Urban Slums [WASH-US]







Scope of work
















Good practices and lessons learned

Good Practices:
1. Equity in accessibility has been ensured, the first criteria for water justice.
2. Time banking has been a boon for the community women. In a Focused Group Discussion (FGD) conducted with the women members of the JLGs, it has been noted that 57.2% women members are willing to plan for creating alternative livelihood opportunities since they have adequate time that can be used for capacity building exercises. However, a growing change in trend has been flagged in the FGD that the male members in the family are taking interest in water collection, measured usage and resource saving in the community. This is good practice saving time for the women folk.
3. The beneficiary community shows more attentiveness to their personal cleanliness, sanitation and inclination towards healthy habits.
4. The sense of security and safety for the women users have increased with the commencement of this project. 5. Community participation ensures ownership and project sustainability.
Lessons Learned:
1. Social stigma arising from poor socioeconomic condition and/or social transition is a big bottleneck for attitude change, especially in slum & rural community that leads to sustained use of unhygienic and substandard sanitation facilities and wastage of water resources in the name of hygiene. It has taken continuous capacity building programs and awareness workshops with the community to break through the prevalent social conditioning and stigma, deep rooted in their system. However, SAFE is still working to completely eradicate the social evils restricting a healthy living from the recipient populace.
2. Women from the peri-urban section are underprivileged and in some cases shy away from participating in the JLGs and decision making system, owing to the profoundly embedded gender roles and lack of confidence. A gradual development has been observed in this matter, achieved through a series of sensitization programs conducted in the area by SAFE and also by assuring water ATM card registration of each household in the name of the women members, ascertaining their active involvement.
3. Risk of political interest trapping commons as soft targets has been a common problem. Leadership and continuous counseling has been required to convince the people to come out from these entanglements towards a sustainable and healthy wellbeing.



Date of submission






Adaptation element

Adaptation planning and practices; Capacity building; Communication and outreach/awareness; Financial support; Impact assessment; Socio-economic data and information; Stakeholder involvement; Technology support; Vulnerability assessment

Adaptation sector/theme

Water resources; Health; Adaptation finance; Energy; Gender; Urban resilience; Services; Water

Climate hazard

Drought; Vector and water-borne diseases




Partner portal


WASH-US is using renewable energy to break the water-energy nexus because drinking water is an energy intensive commodity. This model a unique and community based holistic plenary on ‘water and sanitation’ concern of urban poor, inhabiting the slums of Kolkata metropolis and its adjoining areas in West Bengal. It propounds a sustainable revenue return model for unrestricted access to WHO recommended safe drinking water through micro-retail services for community and clean sanitation facility. The core objectives of this community partnership model are: 1. Develop awareness for wise use of water resources, importance of safe drinking water and water borne diseases, along with community water governance through participatory budgeting for water use, rainwater harvesting to rejuvenate both surface and underground water stock and water wastage minimization. 2. Round-the-clock equitable access to W.H.O standard safe drinking water for all through water ATM managed by women self help groups (WSHG’s) to run micro-retail distribution chain for supply of safe water in the locale. 3. Institutionalizing standard sanitation use in the community so as to downsize recurrence of health problems owing to unhygienic habits. 4. Ensure capacity building and social entrepreneurships through revenue generating utility added services as an alternate economic opportunity for the urban poor 5. Employ low carbon initiatives in downscaling climate impacts in high emission location with place based adaptive mitigation efforts in ‘water-sanitation’ usage by using renewable energy solutions. Each facility of WASH-US comprise of a • 8 KVA solar-powered, automated water treatment plant that provides potable 10,000 liters of drinking water every day • 16 community toilets connected to a bio-gas generator for a zero-effluent and low-emission system, with bio-fuel feeding a community kitchen in school• Water “ATMs” that each beneficiary household are empowered with rechargeable smart card for extracting 10 litres of water/ day from a automated dispensing unit ( ADU) • An integrated solid waste management facility • Organic Manure Unit: The rejected effluents leachate from the bio-digesters & slurry from the biogas plant used as organic manure. • Rain Water harvesting technology storing gallons of rain water to recharge the ground water level. • WASH ‘Joint Liability group’ with women representation formed through capacity building of the community to take over ownership of the unit. Actions taken: Intervention: Project Launching and Initiation a. Stakeholder Meetings: In the project area, launching the idea of WASH-US is formally done before the primary stakeholders at the policy level, like the urban administrative officials, local municipal councillor, bankers, experts and social workers etc in the presence of the implementing and sponsoring agencies. b. Awareness campaign and concept sharing with beneficiary community for developing community participation and decision support system. c. Selection of Project Site & installation of project monitoring centre for examining the progress of the project. Intervention: Baseline Activities for Grounding a. Baseline survey and mapping of project area. b. Preparing blueprints and layouts for implementation and installation of project facilities, designed in participation with the beneficiaries, which is then shared with the funding partners after being finalized. c. Procuring machineries, materials and support systems. Intervention: Infrastructural Set-up and Capacity Building a. Installation of Infrastructural set-up is done. b. Organizing Training and Awareness camps to continue the system of initiation and training in the community. Intervention: Installation of Participatory Community Governance a. Initiation of Joint Liability Groups to hold the responsibility of running and maintaining the community facility and enunciate the entrepreneurial efforts thereto. b. Formalizing financial inclusion for JLG members who are bank linked. c. Developing participatory management plans that define the processes of responsibility sharing, resource allocation and facility management. Intervention: System Proofing and Adaptive Management a. Setting Check-points for Quality Check. b. System Auditing and feedback inhibition for mitigation and risk coverage. Intervention: Value Addition and Societal Interventions a. Creating alternative economic opportunity for the socioeconomically challenged beneficiaries through selling of Organic Fertilizers, transforming nature services and micro-utility service delivery. b. Women empowerment and mainstreaming, ensuring social status and security and allowing direct participation in decision making. c. Fiscal security and Social assurance for all beneficiaries. Intervention: Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting through Attitude Scaling, Participatory Vulnerability Analysis (PVA), Feedback appraisals, Strategic Impact Assessments on Environment health and societal aspects, etc.

Expected outcome


Further information

Awards & Accolades: The WASH intervention has been a successful initiative at the community level and the consistent effort has brought SAFE in the prestigious ASHDEN long List.
This Model has also been awarded the esteemed:
1. UN Water for Life Award, 2015 for ‘Best Management Practice’.
2. WORLD BANK -Development Marketplace Award 2014.
Replication of the Model: Four phases of WASH US units are successfully running in Kalikapur, Bantala, Nonadanga and Rania, Garia of Kolkata. SAFE in partnership with World Bank has successfully replicated the this program, renamed as NEWS-UP (Non-Conventional Energy in Water sanitation for Urban Slums) in Guwahati, Assam and Shillong, Meghalaya, India to cater to the water and sanitation deprived local communities.



Indicators of achievement



Case study




South Asian Forum for Environment



Regional group


Target group

Academics and scientists; Communities






The outcome post commencement of the facility can be widely divided into two sections:
I. Environmental impact: The WASH-US facility not only runs on renewable energy, it generates too. The Water Treatment Plant and most of the lights in community sanitation units are entirely on solar power. This has a carbon offset equivalence of 28 Metric Tons per year. The 4.5 Cu Mt biogas plant generates of gas from human waste and municipal solid wastes and deserves carbon equivalence too as it saves landfill emission and fossil fuel emission. These are adaptive mitigations in the urban sector to downscale climate impacts. Further, reducing nearly 60% water footprints in a conservative method by utilizing the refusal water from water treatment plant in the sanitation units and harvesting 13420 thousand gallons of rainwater annually in a 3.8 hectare water system is yet another climate adaptive impact in WASH-US. (The calculations are based on UNFCCC guidelines and US-EPA mathematical models).
II. Socio-economic outcome: The impact assessment was designed around key parameters such as Water Quality, Distance, Time, Energy, Accessibility, Community Participation and Equity. The perception of change and development among the community members has also been explored:
1. Community Responses to water quality grades: Water quality and taste has a major impact on health and consumption trends. In the survey conducted to identify the trend, the reference of better taste was received from 91.3% users. 7% referred ‘bitter tastes and light feeling’ compared to previously collected tap water, which is actually due to low amount of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) while a large section (77%) showed their preference of TDS grade, which could be identified with the batch of delivery water based on dates.
2. Equity in Accessibility: Equitable access to water energy and sanitation to above 14,000 beneficiaries at the bottom of the economic pyramid and 24X7 supply of drinking water to nearly 2500 slum households in a year.
3. Time banking: Easy access to safe and tasty waters and assured delivery in time has promoted the women folk for better time management in their daily life, saving time and space for more productive work. 98.5% agreed to the fact that the facility has saved an average of 4 hrs of queue time per day.
4. Positive impact on health, especially children and women, owing to better sanitation and safe drinking water supply. Reduction in infections and water borne diseases by 87% in the communities is rendering a cost cut of 35% on average in medical expenses.
5. Changing habits and attitudes: Ensuing changes in sanitation habits towards healthy practices is marked from the community responses wherein 100% convergence has been endorsed by the community.
6. Responsible usage of facility: It is unique to observe that community has developed the acquaintance for self-cleaning of the sanitation facility by default and has been responsible in using the facility as their own one.



Type of knowledge resource


Scale of work





Given below are few hyperlinks of press coverage as reference to this Project: WASH-US media coverage 2014-15 hyperlinks attached:
1. - WASH-US coverage by Times of India-2014
2. WASH-US coverage by Daily hunt-2015
3. WASH-US coverage by Live mint-2014
WASH-US media coverage 2016-17 hyperlinks attached
1. Meghalaya’s First Water ATM Set To Be Installed At Pynthorbah, The Shillong Times,(April 19,2016)-
2. Water sanitation project launched, The Telegraph, Guwahati (April 21,2016)-
3. New Water ATM to provide 10 litres of drinking water for Rs 5,Meghalaya Times,(April 21,2016)-
4. Pynthorbah Gets State’s Maiden ‘Water ATM’, The Shillong Times,(April 21,2016)-

Implementing partners

The project has been funded by HSBC Water Program under aegis of HSBC. Our implementation partners have been an active participant in the step wise interventions carried out for this project, since inception. Under WASH-US project the HSBC Employee Volunteer Programs (EVP) have always been intensive allowing personnel to expand skills, build upon strengths and directly connect with the vulnerable communities. The series of TOT (Training of the Trainees) programs for the employees as conducted by SAFE at HSBC, enabled employees to execute in toughest situations at the slum community and they successfully accomplished the task with great confidence and sensitivity. Under HSBC, EVP employees carried out the sociometric survey for the beneficiary peri-urban communities and actively conducted the house to house awareness program on WASH-US facilities and use within the slums for each phase of the project around Kolkata.






Content Type: NWPSearchableItem
Version: 1.0
Created at 10/10/2018 14:30 by Serkant Samurkas
Last modified at 10/10/2018 14:30 by Serkant Samurkas