ACCESSanitation final conference accelerates sustainable sanitation in Indian and Philippine cities


Representatives from project cities as well as other interested Urban Local Bodies, from the Ministry of Urban Development, the European Commission and technical institutions – they all came to the same conclusion: while local governments are crucial actors when it comes to sanitation provision, they need support from regional and national governments, in terms of policy guidance, financial support and institutional capacity, to be able to provide citizens with sustainable sanitation services. This was one of the key messages that emerged during “Towards Cleaner and Healthier Cities”, the final conference of the “ACCESSanitation - Accelerating City to City Exchange on Sustainable Sanitation” project that took place on 7-8 May 2013 in Delhi.

The event not only showcased the tangible progress made in participating project cities, including the developed sustainable sanitation action plans and implemented pilot projects, but also resulted in disseminating other community based sanitation planning concepts and implementation experiences.

Mr. Antonio Marquez Camacho himself (Head of Sector: Local Authorities, Decentralisation and Local Governance, EuropeAid, European Commission), highlighted the key role of local governments “We in the European Commission are very much keen in supporting local authorities; we believe that we really need to address the issue of development at the local level and we need to empower local authorities with a set of competencies that have been defined by the law”. He then continued highlighting the importance of involving other stakeholders “We believe that local authorities must have this convening role, you must work with all actors in the territory, civil society organizations, businesses, with other local authorities in the region and bring forward local strategies, like you are doing now with this project with the issue of sanitation.” The need to involve the community right from the planning stage was confirmed during the two days discussions: only in this way sanitation plans can be locally appropriate and culturally acceptable, thus leading to lasting impacts.

Generating an awareness and a sustained demand for sanitation, especially among the urban poor, is in many cases the deciding factor for the success or failure of any initiative; building new infrastructure does not ensure sanitation service provision and community adoption. Active and consistent efforts to generate awareness among urban poor, leading to behaviour change, are an integral and critical component of successful sanitation provision.

Such efforts must be combined with capacity building of the local administration itself, to enable them to appropriately plan for and manage sanitation infrastructure and to choose suitable and viable locally appropriate technologies. Financing sanitation was also discussed in depth: the financial sustainability of sanitation service implementation has to be ensured by integrating Operation & Maintenance costs and subsequently assessing the financial viability of different technologies. Income generated from reuse and recovery of by-products at different phases of the sanitation cycle is also an often neglected but potential source of finance for sanitation services.

Finally, the replication of best practices can and should be ensured through peer to peer exchange of ideas, strategies and actions between local governments.

More information about the project, together with the main outputs and case studies, can be found on

Local action plans on sanitation developed for five Indian cities

In line with India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy, ACCESSanitation (Accelerating City to City Exchange for Sustainable Sanitation) supported by the European Union, promotes sustainable sanitation and poverty alleviation in five Indian cities through better access to basic services. Local action plans for five cities - Hosakote, Rajahmundry, Vikarabad, Vasai Virar and Tiruppur - have been developed. Suitable pilot projects were designed specifically for each city, based on target community focus group discussions, baseline assessment analyses and recommendations by local authorities.

Broadly, pilot projects in Vikarabad, Rajahmundry, Hosakote and Vasai Virar focus on reducing the practice of open defecation through the provision of hygienic community toilet facilities with appropriate on-site decentralised waste water treatment systems.

The operation and maintenance of created facilities is ensured through community ownership and involvement. The community-based discussions and behavioural surveys held in target areas on aspects related to health and hygienic sanitation practices resulted in greater acceptance and ownership of these facilities and led to the strengthening of community participation.

Through this project, school sanitation facilities in a girls’ high school in the town of Tiruppur are being improved, and the overall capacity of local authorities to plan and implement sustainable sanitation initiatives is being strengthened.

Local communities spearhead sanitation plans

The ACCESSanitation project is moving into the implementation phase in 4 of the 5 project cities. Now entering its third year, the local action plans for focus areas in Hosakote, Rajahmundry, Vikarabad and Vasai Virar have been prepared. The local action plans were prepared based on focus group discussions in each of the pilot areas with an aim to identify specific sanitation needs and address them in a sustainable manner.

A household lever survey was conducted in each of the pilot areas in these cities and based on the findings, local action plans were strengthened. The implementation of the local action plans shall commence shortly, once the plans are reviewed by the project advisory board. Urban local bodies have spearheaded the process of involving the local community and it is envisaged that this partnership shall result in the success of the proposed facilities, and in changing old unsustainable, unhealthy sanitation practices taking local communities towards zero open defecation.

Bringing hygiene home

Now entering its third year, the ACCESSanitation project is in the midst of preparing local action plans for focus areas in Hosakote, Rajahmundry, Vikarabad, Tirippur, and Vasai Virar in southern India. Focus group discussions have been held in each city and specific sanitation needs have been identified.

A household lever survey has been conducted in these cities and based on the subsequent analysis of this information, local action plans were strengthened. Four of five pilot areas in the participating cities have indicated that the lack of accessible and hygienic toilets are the main cause for open defecation in these areas.

Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu is actively participating in the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan scheme for promoting elementary education. Under this scheme, an effort is being made to improve sanitation facilities for students of the Jaiva Bai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School. Given that the school has 7500 girl students, a need to further strengthen the provision of sanitation facilities has been identified by the school authorities and prioritized by the Municipal Corporation. Hence, the local action plan for Tiruppur will focus on developing a school sanitation action plan for the school.

Third ACCESSanitation National Cities Workshop in Philippines

India and the Philippines joined hands in organising the third National Cities Workshop (NCWS) in collaboration with Xavier University (Philippines), ICLEI- South Asia and Ecosan Services Foundation.

The five-day workshop (25 to 29 September) formed part of the ACCESSanitation project in the Philippines, consisting of a field trip in Manila followed by a four-day workshop in the nearby island of Puerto Princessa. The field trip included a visit to two sites which demonstrate advanced solutions in septage management and advanced wastewater treatment, reclamation and reuse: the South Septage Treatment Plant in Taguig City, Manila, which is the largest in Asia; and the Xavier School Wastewater Recycling Treatment Plant, which is designed to substitute at least 60% of its current raw water consumption with recycled waste water.

This event was the first opportunity for project participants in India and the Philippines to interact with each other and exchange firsthand knowledge on how the project works in different contexts. The workshop was attended by 31 officials from ten participating cities, including mainly municipal commissioners, city engineers, city planners and sanitary inspectors.

ACCESSanitation to ensure ‘total sanitation’ in Hosakote

Under the ACCESSanitation project, in Hosakote, a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was organized on September 12, 2011, to discuss the sanitation issues with the local people in Goutham Colony. This discussion would form a basis for formulating interventions at local level during pilot project implementation. In the presence of the councilor along with CSTF Members, project partner Ecosan Services Foundation and ICLEI South Asia deliberated on the concepts of sanitation and sustainable sanitation to the group.

It was an open ended discussion where people came up with their problems related to sanitation. Discussions were also held on the behavior change analysis and awareness generation activities. The focus group discussions and the walk around the area helped to figure few interventions that could be taken during pilot project implementation in Goutham Colony such as:

· Grey water Management
· Group Toilets
· Community Sanitation Complexes

CSTF meets to be conducted for CSPs in AP cities

The Department of Municipal Administration and Urban Development (DMA), Government of Andhra Pradesh, conducted a workshop on City Sanitation Plans (CSPs) & State Sanitation Strategy at Hyderabad on 19th May for the cities in Andhra Pradesh who are involved in preparation of CSPs along with their consultants.

ICLEI South Asia presented the status of the preparation of CSPs for the 2 cities - Vikarabad and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from ICLEI South Asia, representatives from ASCI and GIZ also presented the status of preparation of CSPs in their respective cities. A wide range of discussions were held on the technical, institutional, IEC and financial aspects of preparation of CSPs.

DMA has strongly suggested that the City Sanitation Task Force (CSTF) meetings should to be conducted in all the cities to ensure transparency and accountability in preparation of CSPs. It has set an initial timeline for the draft CSP to be ready by end of May, so that cities can discuss some of the interventions for funding from the 13th Finance Commission meetings which are scheduled in June.

ACCESSanitation Project CSTF meet held at Vasai Virar

ICLEI South Asia and ESF members participated in the first City Sanitation Task Force (CSTF) meeting at Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation on April 13th, 2011. The CSTF meeting was attended by the Mayor Mr. Rajivji Patil and fourteen members with department officials, councillors and ex councillors. Mr. D.G. Pawar, Deputy Commissioner, and Ms Pradnya Thakur introduced CSTF Members to the ACCESSanitation Project and City Sanitation Plan (CSP) team.

The baseline data for CSP was discussed and finally it was decided that the latest data available from Census, Service Level Benchmarking and City Development Plan will be used for further purposes. The awareness generation campaign strategy was also discussed where the members provided their suggestions to include information, education and communication as part of the campaign. 5 members were nominated to be part of the team in designing awareness campaign viz. Dr Hemant Patil, Mr Chaubal Prashant, Mr V Santosh, Mr Patil Vrindesh and Mr Bharat Gupta.

In the region, Malaria, diarrohea, gastroenteritis and other water borne diseases are very common due to unhygienic conditions near the dwellings. Awareness generation strategy has been planned by the Corporation like Anti Malarial awareness campaign. The Mayor and members of CSTF suggested Sant Jalaram Bapu Nagar (Vagaripada) as focus area group. The team members along other officials of Corporation visited Sant Jalaram Bapu Nagar on April 14th 2011. This slum was also one of the working area under the project ‘Nirmal’ by MMRDA but nothing concrete was done.

The proposal for funding the preparation of City Sanitation Plans has been submitted to the DMA’s office in Worli on April 15th, the proposal was forwarded by the Commissioner of Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation to the Commissioner and Director of DMA, Mr. Rajiv Jadhav for being forwarded to the Ministry OF Urban Development. The proposal has also been sent to the Ministry of Urban Development by the Corporation.

Field Visits to Project Cities

Vasai Virar: Ms. Rashmi Sinha of ICLEI SA and Ms. Pradnya Thakur of ESF visited the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation on the 1st and 2nd of March 2011 and discussed the issues of finalizing the CSTF and the selection of the focus area. After internal discussions with the Mayor and the Commissioner, the focus area will be selected by the core team. Time lines for submission of baseline data were discussed and the data from the completed household level survey was submitted to the ACCESSanitation team. Details of the self learning tool were explained, login details were provided and the team was interested in using the tool on a regular basis. The meetings were attended by the ACCESSanitation core team in the Municipal Corporation, in addition to several staff from the water supply and solid waste management departments.

Hosakote: Mr. Arun Kumar of ESF and Ms. Soumya from ICLEI - SA visited the town of Hosakote, between 9-11th March, 2011 and discussed the details of the proposed ity Sanitation Plan with the Chief Officer, Mr. S. Ram Prakash and sourced relevant information from the Junior Engineer of Hosakote. A site visit was undertaken to identify areas which require specific focus, site of the proposed wastewater treatment plant and other infrastructure details having a bearing on the CSP.

Along with Ms. Poornima, Junior Engineer of Hosakote Town Municipality, the team also visited the Karnataka Jal Board to discuss the underground sanitary sewerage proposal for Hosakote under the Satellite Town Programme of the Government of India. Given that the existing proposal which is pending clearance for funding in the Ministry of Urban Development, will have a direct impact on the preparation of the City Sanitation Plan, this exercise of interacting with the relevant department at the state level was of utmost relevance. Discussions were held with the Executive Engineer – Shri Keshava and with the Assistant Engineer – Ms. Gayatri

Vikarabad: A city visit has been made to the Vikarabad Municipal Corporation on the 17th March 2011 to discuss the selection of the focus area for the implementation of the pilot project and the behavioural survey. Mr. Arun Kumar from ESF and Ms. Soumya from ICLEI – SA held discussions with the Commissioner and Executive Engineer of the Municipal Corporation. A site visit was made to Alampalli – a slum area within the Corporation limits with approximately 1500 BPL houses. The entire area was surveyed and interactions were held with the local community. In discussion with the local community and senior staff of the Municipality, it was decided to select this area as the focus area for the ACCESSanitation project. Other growth areas around the town – corridors leading to Sangareddy, Hyderabad and Anantagiri were also surveyed. Location of the proposed sewage treatment plant and colonies where decentralized systems are being planned were also noted.

2nd NCWS, 3rd Partner Meeting and 2nd Advisory Board Meeting

ICLEI-SA along with its partners and supported by the Ministry of Urban Development, GOI, organized the “Second National Level Cities’ Workshop”, February 2-5 and the "3rd Partner Meeting & 2nd Advisory Board Meeting", 27 January-1 February.

The Third Partner Meeting on ACCESSanitation was held on 27-29 January 2011 and the Second Advisory Board Meeting was held on January 31 and February 1 2011 in New Delhi. The partners and advisory board met after a period of 6 months to assess the progress of the project.

The Partner Meeting was attended by representatives of all the partners of the project including ICLEI SA, ICLEI ES, ICLEI SEA, Xavier University, Ecosan Services Foundation. The meeting discussed the implementation status of the project in South and South East Asia and chalked out a time plan for the next year of the project.

ICLEI SA and ICLEI SEA reported on the status of implementation of the project in the project cities and discussed the problems and potential solutions regarding this. There were discussions and presentations on sustainable sanitation, behavior change surveys, awareness campaigns and stakeholder involvement in the cities which are an integral part of the project and will be focused on during this year’s work plan. An e learning course is being developed under this project for urban local bodies to implement sustainable sanitation. This was presented to all partners at the meeting to discuss possible ways of encouraging ULBs to take up sustainable sanitation with the help of this course.

During the Second Advisory Board Meeting, the partners presented the status of the implementation of the project to the advisory board. The board appreciated the progress of the project and gave suggestions to overcome the problems being faced by the project partners. The board discussed the concept of sustainable sanitation, stakeholder involvement and behavior survey and how it could be implemented in the South Asian and South East Asian cities.

The Second National Cities Workshop on ACCESSanitation was organized on 2-5 February 2011, in New Delhi immediately after the 3rd Partner Meeting and Second Advisory Board Meeting. The meeting was organized by ICLEI South Asia along with Ecosan Services Foundation, Pune. The meeting was inaugurated by Mr. A K Mehta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development. Representatives from all the partner cities were present during the meeting, along with some of the advisory board members.

The meeting took stock of the implementation of the project in the five project cities and specially focused on the preparation of the City Sanitation Plans. There was a day long site visit organized to the Okhla Timarpur Solid Waste Management Plant and the Rain Water Harvesting system of Centre for Science and Environment for the participating cities. Group discussions with the city representatives helped to chalk out the way forward in each city for the preparation of the city sanitation plan. Focus areas were shortlisted in each city for implementation of the pilot project on sustainable sanitation under the ACCESSanitation project.

Technical Field Visits to Project Cities

The first field visits to the project cities under ACCESSanitation are being conducted by ICLEI SA and ESF together. Representatives of both these organisations have visited the towns of Hosakote, Vikarabad, Vasai-Virar and Tirrupur in October 2010 to discuss the project activities to be undertaken by the town municipalities as well as to collect information regarding the sanitation and water supply status of the town for the preparation of the city sanitation plan.

The visits also included meetings with city officials for discussion about the project. The officials also discussed the formation of the City Sanitation Task Force as per the National Urban Sanitation Policy. This task force will be playing a key role in monitoring the progress of the ACCESSanitation project as well as the preparation of the City Sanitation Plan. The city of Hosakote has already formed their task force.

A site visit was made around each of the towns to look at the sanitation practices along with the municipal officials. Mutually acceptable timelines were set for the collection of information from the municipal officials.

City Visit to Hoskote September 2010

The purpose of the visit was to update the Town Municipal Council, Hoskote about ACCESSanitation Project and the key elements of the project. The visit was made to coincide with the 1st Council Meeting after the election of the new Chairman, Mr. Rajanna. The Meeting was attended by all the Councillors, Chief Officer, and other staff members of Hoskote Municipal Council.

A 10 min brief about the project was presented. The key points presented to the Council included an overview of the project and its goals, the need for a comprehensive approach to planning sanitation in the city through the preparation of a city sanitation plan, and the role of the city sanitation plan in equipping the city in handling short term and long term challenges in sanitation.

City Visit to Tirrupur September 2010

ICLEI SA visited the project city of Tirrupur at this initial stage to explain the ACCESSanitation project objectives and process to the local body representatives and other key corporation staff that would be primarily involved in the project. The meeting was held on the evening of 13th Sep. in the Mayor’s chambers. The meeting was attended by the Mayor, Commissioner, Deputy Mayor, all Council party leaders, Executive Engineer, Sanitary Inspector, and other staff of the Tiruppur Municipal Corporation. About 20 participants attended the meeting. A 15 minute discussion was carried out with all participants on the ACCESSanitation project. The main points discussed ranged from Tiruppur city’s involvement to initiate and promote sustainable sanitation to the formation of City Sanitation Task Force / stakeholder group. The city officials were also given an overview of the process involved in the key steps of the project, such as data collection, preparation of the city sanitation plan and setting up of pilot projects. The Tirrupur mayor highlighted the importance of knowledge exchange between the project cities as a tool in furthering the cities' progress towards sustainable sanitation.

First National Training Workshop: Pune August 2010

The First National Training Workshop was conducted in Pune between 23rd and 27th August 2010. The workshop was organized by the South Asian partners ICLEI – South Asia and Ecosan Services Foundation (ESF) along with SEECON International GmbH, and brought together for the first time the participating cities in the South Asian region, along with the partners from European and African offices of ICLEI. The purpose of this workshop was to provide basic information regarding the ACCESSanitation project to be carried out in South Asia to the cities as well as to provide basic training on sustainable sanitation concepts and participatory processes of decision making with reference to planning for sanitation within the city. The cities which have been selected for the implementation of the project are Vikarabad and Rajahmundry from Andhra Pradesh, Tiruppur from Tamil Nadu, Hosakote from Karnataka and Vasai Virar from Maharashtra.

The first day of the training programme was contained a national level meet which included partners of the project along with dignitaries from national and state level government agencies who are actively involved in the implementation of National Urban Sanitation Policy. Ms. E P Nivedita, Director (WS), Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Government of India was the Guest of Honour and Dr. S Dahasahastra, Member Secretary, Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran was the Chief Guest for the occasion. Ms. Sneha Palnitkar, All India Institute of Local Self Government was the keynote speaker in the meeting. After a presentation on the concept of ACCESSanitation made by ESF, Ms. Nivedita elaborated the concept of city ranking carried out by the MoUD. A case study was presented by the Water and Sanitation Programme on the preparation of City Sanitation Plans. There was also a discussion on the challenges and issues of Urban Sanitation facilitated by the ICLEI European Secretariat. The inaugural programme was well covered in the local press.

The actual training for the project took place over four days, including a half day site visit to a planned city in the region, Magarpatta and the Pune Sewage Treatment Plant for participants to get a feel of sustainable management of waste and waste water.

During the training, presentations were made on sustainable sanitation and water management, development of city sanitation plans in accordance with Government of India plans and policies, stakeholder analysis for sanitation issues in the city, SWOT analysis for the city councils or corporations, social marketing, awareness raising activities, and community participation in decision making. The participants were actively involved in all these sessions through group discussions and exercises. Bilateral discussions with the participants from each city were conducted to formulate city level work plans for the next six months of this 3-year project.

At the end of the workshop, a tentative work plan was formulated for the cities with tentative timelines to carry out different activities under the project.

Second Partner Meeting in Cape Town (May 2010)

The second partner meeting for the ACCESSanitation Project was conducted in Cape Town between 11 and 13 May 2010. All partners from the South Asia and South East Asia, Africa and Europe regions got together to discuss the project activities undertaken so far and to plan the training programme to be followed in the project cities.

During the meeting, the ICLEI South Asian and South East Asian partners presented the sanitation inventory for their respective regions giving details of the programmes on sanitation being undertaken in the regions. The South Asian and South East Asian partners also presented the city selection process to select the cities where the project will be taken up.

The technical partners Ecosan Services Foundation from India and Xavier Institute from Philippines presented the training programme to be used for the project cities to train them on sustainable sanitation.

On 14 and 15 May 2010 the first Advisory Board meeting was held for the project with representation from the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association,
International Water Management Institute, University of KwaZulu-Natal, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and Stockholm Environmental Institute. The advisory board was presented with the project activities, the city selection process and the training programme for their comments and suggestions.

During the meeting, the city of Cape Town also took the participants on a site visit to 3 areas within the city which uses sustainable sanitation practices to present actions taken by them on sustainable sanitation.

Calling for Expressions of Interest

ICLEI South Asia - Local Governments for Sustainability invites Expressions of Interest from its member cities and other interested cities in the Indian subcontinent to participate in the ACCESSanitation programme - Accelerating City to City Exchange for Sustainable Sanitation.

Project Kickoff Meeting, February 2010

The project kick off meeting, which was the first partners’ meeting, was held in Manila, Philippines, from 15 to 17 February, 2010. The meeting was attended by all project partners from all partner countries, including ICLEI officials from the South Asian Secretariat (India), South East Asian Secretariat (Philippines) and the African Secretariat (South Africa) and technical partners from India and the Philippines.

The timelines for detailed implementation of the project have been agreed upon and the next immediate steps include the selection of 5 participating cities each from India and Philippines.

The second partner meeting will be conducted in May, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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