Why is it important

Behavioural change requires awareness. The Swachh Bharat Mission and The National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP) acknowledges that a better understanding on planning, operation and use of public toilet facilities benefits public health and the city’s environment and is key to lasting improvements in the sanitation sector. To do this, the Government of India is undertaking a country-wide Information, Education and Communication (IEC) strategy and guarantees technical assistance and funding support to cities and states for awareness generation and capacity building.

 

How to go about it

In order to increase awareness among decision makers, operators and the public, cities are advised to set up communication and decision-making structures as well as an awareness building and marketing strategy. The main tools and steps are:

1. Develop a strategic framework to increase awareness on public toilets

A strategic framework is necessary to guide concerned stakeholders (e.g. policy makers, city managers, consultants, NGOs) in identifying communication challenges and awareness building issues vis-à-vis public toilets and addressing the same in a systematic manner. The framework is useful for putting issues in perspective and addressing the same through appropriate communication interventions. The main steps are:

a) Formation of the City Sanitation Task Force to spearhead awareness generation efforts amongst citizens and other stakeholders.

b) City wide PT strategy recommends for city-wide awareness creation and behaviour change at specific time frames, while specific toilet projects incorporate the contextualised ideas while implementing toilet projects.

c) Translate the CSP awareness objectives in a City Wide Public Toilet Advocacy and Communication Strategy Framework by identifying:

  • target audiences (including caretakers and cleaners),
  • communication objective,
  • activities under each category,
  • main communication approaches to achieve the communication objectives

Public Toilet Advocacy and Communication Strategy Framework

2. Marketing efforts to facilitate bidding

For any project to be successful, it is important to have good operators in place. To ensure participation of the “right” operators, the municipality needs to create interest and anticipation. This could include cold calls, newspaper advertisements, informal and formal information sharing, direct calls, emails, etc. Marketing efforts undertaken during the course of this project is summarized in the chart.

Application On Ground

Shimla:

The development of the City Communication Action Plan for Sanitation (SCCAPS) has helped to identify broad issues of public toilets management requiring communication interventions. Consultation of different government departments, ward visits and community interactions (residents, councilor of a slum colony) led to a first communication pilot. The project tries to reinforce what is working well and address issues not working through a clear communication strategy (box) and respective actions: (1) Create awareness on the impact on health, hygiene and living (particularly the need to protect vulnerable groups like women and children) and promote specific behavior. (2) Appeal to residents to take pride in a clean and hygienic Shimla as a city to live in and a popular tourist destination and support MCS initiatives through their own actions. (3) Educate and impart information about citizens’ duties and penalties arising from non-compliance and recognize good behavior and best practices. The demonstration of tangible results and information campaigns are key to overcome old habits and resistance to change by facilitating better understanding and as such a change of perception and behavior. This needs to be supported by adequate public toilet infrastructure.

Tirupati:

Various options for monitoring have been evaluated to address the risks considering the institutional strengths of MCT. The integration of clear service provision indicators for different engagement/business models in the contract/tender templates will enable TMC to effectively monitor and enforce the contracts. The online inventory tool is used to monitor the PT toilet management (track status, plan and take corrective actions).