Some facts and figures about sanitation in India

  • According to the 2011 World Health Organization (WHO) survey, over 600 million people, roughly 53 percent of Indian households do not have access to toilet facilities. It is the women and children of India who are paying the highest price in terms of health and safety. WHO an UNICEF report the number of people practicing defecation in the year 2021 was twice as high in 2000, at 764 million.
  • Every year diarrhea and pneumonia kill 126,000 children due to diarrheal diseases: The connection between diarrhea and malnutrition is well established. Diarrhea is often caused by a lack of clean water for proper hand-washing. A lack of toilet facilities further exacerbates the problem as feces on the ground contribute to contaminated drinking water and water resources.
  • Apart from the threat of assault and harassment, not being to access toilets has a serious implication on their health as it elevates chances of urinary tract and kidney infections.
  • 61 percent of rural India and 10 percent of Urban India defecates in the open. Poor hygiene practices, like not washing hands after defecating, are common in poor and rural communities, making these areas especially susceptile to diseases.
  • Hundreds of millions of people in the country end up defecating outside, which can spread many diseases including COVID-19.

Ending open defecation is not just about access to toilets, it’s about normalizing toilet-usage, generating demand for toilets, and coaxing people to use them every single day. Open defecation is an age-old practice that is seen as “normal” in many communities.

For women and girls, access to sanitation is crucial for the maintenance of health, safety, and dignity. For women and girls, toilets provide a space to manage menstrual hygiene and are an important measure in mitigating the risk of harassment whilst defecating in the open around dusk and dawn.

In 2015, Sewa started the "#Yes! I can go to School" program in the slums and government schools of Bengaluru, Karnataka. We expanded our project to the state of Uttar Pradesh, and other parts of the state of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in 2016 and 2017. Since 2015, our sanitation projects have benefited 7,803 families and 29,379 school children from various sections of Indian communities.

Currently, Sewa International is working with these three sections of society:

1. Government-guaranteed permanent land dwelling slums: 81 toilets in Karnataka, benefiting 3833 families.

2. Rural India: 101 toilets in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh benefiting 3970 families.

3. Government schools: 178 toilets in Rural areas, benefiting 18,370 school children and 118 toilets in Urban areas, benefiting 11,009 school children.