Water & Sanitation

Increasing Dalits Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Services

According to the Census of 2011 only 43.5 percent of households in the country have access to tap water and only 32 percent have water from treated sources while 11.6 percent continue to draw from untreated sources. Whereas in case of SC households in rural areas, only 19 percent have access to tap water from a treated source and about 13 percent households continue to draw tap water from untreated sources. As far as sanitation in rural SC households is concerned the situation is no better. More than 200 million of Scheduled Castes in India access to water is subjected to discrimination, humiliation and atrocities as the sources of water are controlled de facto by the so-called upper caste population of the society. Regarding sanitation, 23.7 percent of Scheduled Caste households have access to toilet facility as compared to 42.3 percent for general households. Only 17 percent of the tribal households have access to toilet which is well below the figure for general households (43.2 percent).
Around 57 % (626 million) of the 1.1 billion people in the world who practice open defecation are found in India. According to the 2011 census, the national sanitation coverage is 46.9 % whereas rural sanitation coverage is just 30.7%. For the marginalized like the rural Dalits (23 %) and rural Adivasi (16%), the figures are much lower. The government data shows that only 24.90 % of SC and 17.64 %of Tribal households in rural areas have the access to toilet facility which may be much less in reality. Poor quality of drinking water and lack of awareness is also a major issue among the Scheduled Castes. Access to toilet has an important social dimension such as dignity and it is more so when its accessibility to marginalised community like the Scheduled Castes is concerned. They are the ones who are discriminated, humiliated, the modesty of their women folk is often outraged, and atrocities inflicted upon them when they go for open defecation.

Our Initiatives

In this context, NACDAOR works to increase the access of SC/ST and other marginalized communities to Water, Sanitation and hygiene services in Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. It sensitizes rights holders and duty bearers through organization of village awareness meetings, training of PRI leaders and interface with duty bearers. NACDAOR has initiated an advocacy process with multiple stakeholders’ i.e. Women Rights Networks, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and activists to sensitize them on Dalit Women’s’ Rights to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). It encourages Dalit leaders, even among women for participation in local government and community level institutions; promoting hygiene and education through Self Help Groups (SHGs), Dalit women’s groups, schools and health clinics; designing and implementation of capacity building to consider the needs of Dalit women and men in the design of water, sanitation and hygiene education programmes.