We are delighted to announce that a grant window — in partnership with 3ie and the WASH team at the Gates Foundation — is now open for projects that can help us learn about how to promote the use of affordable pit latrines in rural India! The Indian government, in its Swacch Bharat Mission, has announced plans to build about 100 million latrines throughout rural India. This project is about finding ways to encourage people to use these latrines — strategies that build upon what is now known and being better understood about the social forces of caste, purity, pollution, and untouchability that prevent people from using and emptying normal latrine pits, and strategies that are affordable under the behavior change budget that is in principle allocated alongside the SBM latrine construction.
We are especially interested in interdisciplinary teams of social scientists, sanitation experts, and others all working together: perhaps an epidemiologist expert on sanitation, a sociologist familiar with the norms of caste in Indian villages, and an implementing organization with experience in making projects like this happen. Our goal is to fund several projects at the same time so that we can compare and contrast what different teams are learning in different places with different strategies. Importantly, we are including funding for qualitative fieldwork, both in the design of the particular interventions and in the final research.
Open defecation in rural India is a large and special human development challenge, so it is important that the opportunity presented by the latrine construction of the SBM be put to the best possible use. Exploring various suggestions about how to do this is what this grant window is all about. Please apply!