Monitoring Systems Strengthen Rural Sanitation Award Programs in India

Under the Government of India’s Total Sanitation Campaign, local governments and rural communities are working with the national government to end the practice of open defecation and improve access to basic sanitation. Government-led incentive programs at national and local levels have been implemented to motivate behavior change and reward communities to achieve and sustain improved sanitation.

To win an award, a community must demonstrate that it has achieved total open defecation free status—including the management of solid and liquid waste—and that all members of the community have access to safe sanitation facilities.  Thus, a robust verification system is a prerequisite for an effective incentive program.

A new WSP Guidance Note, Monitoring Systems for Incentive Programs: Learning from Large-scale Rural Sanitation Initiatives in India by C. Ajith Kumar, Upneet Singh, and Manu Prakash, examines two monitoring systems implemented at both levels, outlining the steps followed during pre-verification, verification, and post-verification stages, key actors and their responsibilities, results, and key lessons.

Overall, there has been an exponential increase in the number of applicants for the NGP award—the number of applicants jumped from 500 in the first year to nearly 10,000 in year three—and a similar scaling up of applicants for state sanitation reward programs, indicating an increasing interest in and awareness of the importance of clean sanitation practices.  At the same time, the increased number of applicants poses a challenge for those conducting the verification processes. “Going forward, a key challenge is to balance scaling up the achievement of total sanitation outcomes while maintaining the quality and rigor of the verification process,” according to the authors.

Among other recommendations, the authors suggest a need to plan for scale; the importance of comprehensive training for verification teams covering both technical parameters and the behavior and attitude of the verification team during the verification; the need to decentralize management of monitoring and verification as an awards program scales up; and the need for both a multilevel verification process and a multi-stakeholder verification team to curb bias and facilitate objectivity.

Global Scaling Up Sanitation is a WSP project focused on learning how to combine the promising approaches of Community-Led Total Sanitation and Sanitation Marketing to generate sanitation demand and strengthen the supply of sanitation products and services at scale, leading to improved health for people in rural areas. It is a large-scale effort to meet the basic sanitation needs of the rural poor who do not currently have access to safe and hygienic sanitation. The project is being implemented by local and national governments with technical support from WSP. Global Scaling Up Rural Sanitation is currently being tested in Tanzania, India, and Indonesia.

For more information about this guidance note please contact C. Ajith Kumar at  wspsa@worldbank.org. For additional information about Global Scaling Up Rural Sanitation and related publications, visit www.wsp.org/scalingupsanitation or contact Eduardo A. Perez, wsp@worldbank.org.