Toilets are a taboo in India; it is often regarded as the worst place. This mind set needs to be changed. Government over the last 2 years have set up 2 Cr toilets but still 60% of Indian population defecates in open. The reason being it is not well taken care of. They are stingy, dirty and unhygienic.
Swapnil Chaturvedi or well known as the “Poop Guy” brings a revolution in creating new sustainable public toilets and also revolutionizing the mindset of people in using these toilets and not defecates in open. We all have often seen and even used community toilets which has a use and pay system. Even if the amount is meager Rs 2 for short toilet and Rs 5 for long toilet, still it’s a lot for a slum dweller to use it twice a day for a month. Women most of the time curbs on their food and water intake to just avoid going to defecate in open during the day in absence of clean and free toilets. They not only lose health but also their dignity as men harass them.
After analyzing all these issues Swapnil recognized that simply constructing toilets will not change deep behavior patterns. How about making a public toilet into an aspirational brand? In 2013 along with his wife Tania, Swapnil Chaturvedi started Samagra Sanitation (www.samagra.co), a hybrid social enterprise entity that has both a for-profit (Samagra Waste Management Pvt. Ltd) and a non-profit (Samagra Empowerment Foundation) arm working at the intersection of design, technology and behavioural science, to tackle the issue of open defecation. What Swapnil propagates is the idea of social entrepreneurship, which involves creating a sustainable business cycle to solve a social problem. As mentioned earlier people are not ready to pay even Rs 2 and use toilets and improve the sanitation level of India. Chaturvedi recognized this and structured Samagra as an agent of behavioural change with user-friendly toilet design and a unique “LooRewards” loyalty programme. The LooRewards platform uses community toilets as channels of user engagement to promote hygienic behaviour. It does this by rewarding the slum residents for using toilets regularly, on-time payment and performing tasks like washing of hands. For example one of the rewards is a 15% discount on low-cost sanitary napkins. To take forward this positive rub-off, Samagra has tied up with the State Bank of India to provide banking services at toilets, where users can open accounts.
There is lot more, just watch the video!
Courtesy: Josh Talks, Live Mint, Samagra
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