Tapping Local Innovation :
Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis
           | Voting begins: Apr 25, 2008 | Voting ends: May 11, 2008 | Winners Announced: May 12, 2008

Small Steps, Big Leaps:

Community led women centered approach to water and sanitation

SSP mobilizes and empowers communities to demand for, implement and maintain water and sanitation related projects, and utilizes existing government resources to maximize their impact. The innovation is in the approach which SSP takes to achieve the goal of ensuring safe and reliable access to water and safe sanitation standards for all.

The approach is innovative because:
1) SSP mobilizes and builds the capacity of community members, especially women’s collectives (or self help groups), to engage key stakeholders to create demand for total sanitation in partnership with the village leadership

2) SSP works closely with the local levels of political leadership and government to make their programs more accountable and demand-driven (bottom-up). SSP also works with women's groups to articulate and address women's gender issues in water & sanitation programming. These community and local government partnerships can be effectively replicated to address sanitation concerns and strengthen grassroots democracy.

This Total Sanitation strategy headed by women's groups in partnership with their local governments is the model directly operating in 200 villages in Maharashtra and 67 villages in Gujarat. It has directly reached approximately 40 000 households in these 267 villages and has indirectly reached well over 200 000 households in 1000 villages. In addition, SSP has trained and built the capacity of 11 200 community members and government officials through its water and sanitation work.

Model communities have already been mobilized and have been successful in transforming their villages into total sanitation areas. SSP will support these communities to lead the awareness campaign and transfer the lessons and strategies to new communities who wish to transform themselves. In this way, SSP will expand this grassroots participatory model to all of the 1,064 villages of the three states (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu) in which it currently operates its other programs.

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