The World Toilet Day is an annual global event which aims at promoting sanitation and raising awareness on the importance of hygiene. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has contributed in bringing positive change in the area of sanitation, celebrated the World Toilet Day on November 19, 2019. The flagship program of Swachh Bharat Mission started 5 years ago in 2014, which is when India accounted for 60% of the people in the world defecating in the open. Since then there have been a lot of steps taken to improve the situation and a total of 110 million toilets have been constructed for 600 million people. Although the numbers speaking of the success of the missions, there still remains the room for improvement that needs to be addressed in order to make the program reach wider and deeper in the villages.
Improvement in sanitation is one of the high priority areas of intervention for JICA. For over the past 30 years, JICA has been consistently supporting India's water and sanitation sector through ODA loans, technical cooperation and grants. Nearly 30 million people receive water from water supply projects, while 15 million people are expected to be benefited from sewerage projects.
Speaking on the occasion of World Toilet Day, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India Office said, "We are committed to support the Government’s Swachh Bharat Mission. JICA is deploying its considerable experience and expertise for the betterment of India's sanitation sector by supporting the construction and maintenance of toilets and sewerage facilities across the country. We realize that the keys to bring about sanitation in India is ensuring the safety of toilets, providing water connections in toilets, and ensuring their regular maintenance. It is also critical to raise public awareness on sanitation to help us achieve the goal of sustaining India’s ODF status.”
In this context, JICA conducted the ‘Data Collection Survey on Toilet 2015' where in the major frightening finding was that people prefer to "defecate open". To make change in behavior of people lays the foundation of change in society. Which is why the awareness program plays an important role and plays an integral part of many of the JICA supported sewerage projects.
JICA has supported the construction and upkeep of community toilets as part of ODA loan projects. Over 1,500 toilets have been constructed under Yamuna Action Plan, Ganga Action Plan and Odisha Integrated Sanitation Improvement Project. Some of the community toilets are equipped with showers/sinks, have dedicated children's toilets, incinerators for sanitary pads and even feature bio-degradable odorless treatment of fecal matter.
Additionally, in the broader area of sanitation, JICA supports Japanese private companies to implement pilot projects that employ innovative technology from all over the world. Under a proposal-based funding program with Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs), a Japanese firm, Taisei Kougyou Co. Ltd., is addressing Swachh Bharat Mission by introducing decentralized sewage treatment facilities having advantages in little to no discharge and electricity use, high treatment capacity, and low cost and easy maintenance that being demonstrated in Varanasi for community toilet (use frequency: 200 times/day) and Muzaffarnagar for school toilet (use frequency: 400 times/day). This resourcefulness would be brought by the soil infiltration processing material “Tafgard” made of special polyester fibers. Taisei Kougyou is looking at not only setting up the systems but also working on awareness of women and helping community to achieve behavior change leading to sanitation improvement closely with local government and NGOs.
Established, by a specific law, as an incorporated administrative institution under the Government of Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation, as a sole Japanese governmental agency in charge of ODA implementation. JICA is the world's largest bilateral donor agency. JICA works as a bridge between Japan and emerging countries, and provides assistance in forms of loan, grant and technical cooperation so that the emerging countries can strengthen their capabilities.
JICA India Office Web: http://www.jica.go.jp/india/english/
|Image Caption : The community toilets constructed in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha||click for high-res image|