Tracing Pathways to Clean Villages: Uncovering the Nature of “Swachh”
Gujarat Institute of Development Research (GIDR), Ahmedabad, India, 15 November 2016
The objective of this conference is to present the results of two major but related projects on rural pathways to improve sanitation coverage and its impact on health to a multi-stakeholder forum and get feedback for validation and refinement of the main findings. Both projects are being coordinated by Professor Shyama V. Ramani, of the United Nations University at Maastricht, Netherlands (UNU-MERIT). The first project on “Incentivizing the provision of rural sanitation through sustainability audits” funded by the National Council for Science & Technology Communication, (NCSTC) of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (2015-2016) sought to identify the governance patterns at village level to bring about improvements in access to WAter, efficient WAste management, Sanitation and Hygiene behaviour or WASH for SWACHH or Cleanliness. The second and larger project entitled MNEmerge is a three-year (2014-2016) international research project funded under the European Union‟s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 612889. Its objective is to examine the system under which WASH status in a country improves – taking India as the case study. A core component is to identify the impact of WASH status on health through a survey of 2000 rural households. Under the two projects six Indian states were covered: Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Sikkim.
On November 15th, 2016, we will present our preliminary results to the scientific community, Panchayats (village councils), policy makers and as well as citizens concerned about extensions of our approaches to urban India. The novelty of this conference is the presentation of results to the communities on whom the research was conducted as well as to societal stakeholders in order to get their feedback and discuss future steps. Usually, academic research is only presented to the scientific community, policy makers or at most to the sponsors of the research project. However, as part of the action-research credo of Professor Ramani, fully supported by UNU-MERIT and also followed in Friend In Need India (non-profit founded by her), all project results are validated by those who have been the object of the study as well as other interested societal stakeholders. The conference will comprise two parts. The first will address the Panchayat heads or village councils of the villages studied, as well as students and academicians. This will be in Hindi and Gujarati. There will also be someone for English translation in case of need. The second will be directed towards a wider audience including state level policy makers, corporate representatives, academics, NGOs and civil society and it will be in English.
We hope to see you there!