FINISH Society & UNOPS/WSSCC join forces to improve the sanitation sector in India

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on behalf of the Water Supply Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and FINISH Society (India) has entered into a collaborative partnership with the aim to create synergy and maximize the impact of mutual resources being deployed in the Indian sanitation sector.

UNOPS, on behalf of WSSCC, is recognized to possess a comparative advantage and expertise in working with government sector partners, civil society organizations (CSOs) and academic institutions on policy, capacity building, rapid action learning and societal engagement, to improve the lives of poor people. Furthermore, WSSCC India is providing support to the Swachh Bharat Mission (‘Clean India’ Campaign, SBM), largely for capacity building on its open defecation free (ODF)-plus, menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) and rapid action learning (RAL) initiatives.

FINISH Society is a recognized strategic partner and key player in the WASH sector in India, supporting awareness raising on the need for safe and durable toilets and managing microfinance schemes so people can afford, build and manage sanitation safely. Human waste is not only safely contained, but steps are also taken to ensure that the valuable parts (nutrients, carbon) can be safely reused. This can be achieved when key actors in the four Diamond domains (communities, governments, financiers and businesses) work towards the development of local sanitation markets for the poor and inclusive scaling up of these markets.

In India, FINISH Society is creating a truly unique ecosystem for sanitation financing, capacity building and models in sanitation and solid and liquid waste management (SLWM), school wash including menstrual hygiene management and faecal sludge management (FSM) including developing business models.

The partnership aims to improve the Indian sanitation sector with a joint strategic plan of action. The collaboration focuses on supporting masons and sanitation workers and contributes to Government of India objectives under SBM to reach the most vulnerable and those most often left behind. This strategic partnership will target two major categories: capacity building and policy support.

Key Activities

Capacity Building:

  1. Engage FINISH Society trainers for different capacity building programmes (including but not limited to ODF-plus, MHH, RAL, etc.) organised by Government of India with WSSCC support under the Key Resource Centre (KRC) modality.
  2. FINISH Society trainers to participate in WSSCC-supported training on ODF-plus modules. FINISH Society trainers can subsequently use the ODF-plus module for their trainings in their target states. FINISH Society will organise training on ODF-plus with support of WSSCC under the KRC modality.
  3. WSSCC and FINISH Society could jointly approach state governments for carrying out capacity building programmes by leveraging government funds for human resource development.

Policy Support:

  1. WSSCC and FINISH Society may partner to develop a SLWM manual including vocational training for masons and pilot testing in selected states at the village level. Development of training packages for masons and preparation of the manual on SLWM will be done according to demand from the state/federal governments and in collaboration with governments.
  2. Target states will be decided by India Support Unit (ISU) of WSSCC and FINISH Society upon mutual agreement.
  3. Other related policy interventions under SBM will be worked upon as per the demand of the government.

Roles and Responsibilities

Both organisations will undertake this collaboration under their respective organisational structures and agreed annual workplans.

You can find the MoU here.

Some Definitions:

  1. ODF-plus: The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), Government of India, defines ODF-plus as an area where along with regular availability and usage of toilets, management of solid and liquid waste, cleanliness of water resources, maintenance of public and household toilets and awareness on personal hygiene are at their highest.
  2. ODF-sustainability: MDWS progresses to ODF-sustainability, where the ODF status is maintained by ensuring everybody uses toilets all the time and assets created under SBM remain functional through proper upkeep.
  3. Rapid Action Learning (RAL): Workshops offer a platform to all those engaged with SBM (Gramin/Rural), at district and block level to mutually exchange ideas and learn from each other. The main objectives of the RAL workshop are to: (i) understand the bottlenecks and challenges faced at different levels presented by the blocks/districts, (ii) to brainstorm and share solutions, (iii) to share innovations and best new practices to learn from each other, and (iv) to prepare action plans for future.