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
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
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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