Viewing Behavior Change Through Another Lens

As is well known and well covered in the media, there is a sanitation crisis in India, with over half the population (roughly 600 million people) forced to open-defecate every day due to a lack of adequate facilities, infrastructure, and even a basic understanding of the importance of healthy sanitation habits. This makes India the world’s biggest culprit in terms of open-defecation, with more than double the amount of the next 11 countries combined.

Additionally, the country loses over US$50 billion dollars per year (roughly 6% of GDP) due to sanitation-related illnesses, one child under the age of 5 dies every 20-seconds from diarrhea stemming from water-borne illnesses, safety of women and girls remains one of the primary concerns in settings where they are forced into the (more…)

The Gradual Manifestation of a Distant Vision

My colleague Kevin has posted recent updates on the current status of nominating a construction agency for building the toilet facilities in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. As mentioned, we are waiting on final approvals from the government and are hopeful that we will soon have a contractor confirmed, following which we can start pre-construction activities at the sites. As such, we are hopeful that we will soon break ground and see the beginning of construction.

This has come after several months of tendering activity. The design team that has worked on the various sorts of toilet facilities, have long completed all the requisite work to begin construction. (more…)

Sammaan is looking for a Project Manager

We will soon be hiring a Project Management Company to overlook construction. We are thus looking for an experienced Project Manager to manage their efforts, to represent the project consortium to the government and to oversee the project overall. Please find below a detailed job description for the same, along with job requirements and eligibility criteria.

Project Sammaan_Project Manager_Job Description_4 June

Bridging the Gap

Project Sammaan is a highly innovative and demanding project, and one of the major concerns involves dealing with government policies and process. As one of the Interface Managers, my major responsibilities revolve around acting as a bridge between the Project Sammaan team and the government partners. I am also responsible for weighing in on decisions, both large and small, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimised for the project.

My day-to-day activities include risk assessment, representing the project’s interests, enhancing relationships between the government and non-government partners, and maintaining (more…)

An Engineer’s Retrospective

Approaching the one-year mark of my involvement with Project Sammaan, I’ve spent a good deal of time lately reflecting on not only this initiative but the sanitation situation in India as a whole as well.

Being a part of this project is in and of itself something I take a lot of pride from. As it’s my first professional venture and one that involves working on a just cause (i.e., to address the serious and severe shortfall of sanitation facilities for urban communities, which, till date, is most neglected in India), my one true hope is that I can do my bit and contribute in a positive manner. It’s been a wonderful experience in meeting amazing people from different domains (more…)

Designing an Appropriate Sewage System for Odisha

Odisha’s specific environmental considerations, as well as other factors, such as increasing population and large proportion of people living in slums without regular access to water and sanitation, necessitates the design of a sanitation solution that is customised to these constraints.

For Project Sammaan, particularly, it is vital that the sanitation infrastructure designed and deployed as part of the pilot project exemplifies the principles and design ideologies that best meet the needs of the people and the geography of the cities.


Sammaan on SuSanA!

A significant communications-related milestone has been reached by Project Sammaan: it’s being featured on the global sanitation forum SuSanA! This is obviously a very exciting development and one that will increase the project’s footprint exponentially. It also puts our project in very good company.

Ostensibly, The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is a network of organizations working in sustainable sanitation. Formed in 2007, its purpose is to act as a forum for those working in the sanitation to share their work while promoting awareness and, hopefully, fostering collaboration amongst members and other interested parties.



There have been a few posts in the past that have made reference to DEWATS systems in regards to the sewerage challenges the Project Sammaan team has faced. While some of these posts have shed a little light into what DEWATS is, we thought a more detailed presentation was in order.

A DEWATS system has 3 primary components:


Contextualizing Odisha’s Sewerage Problem

The sanitation crisis in Odisha is one of the worst in the country, with a vast majority of the population underserved by existing infrastructure (India Water Portal). The problem continues to escalate, with an influx of people moving in from nearby towns and villages adding to the populations density, particularly in slums, further exacerbating the problem of poor sanitation infrastructure.

An increasing population density means increased pressures on the existing infrastructure. As the number of people accessing the existing infrastructure grows, it becomes a litmus test for the quality of the sanitation services being provided by the local governments, bringing to light the primary stresses and failing points of current sanitation solutions.


To-Date Achievements

Project Sammaan has been going full-steam ahead for well over a year now. Several posts have been written over the last few months detailing the many challenges that have been faced thus far, so we thought it pertinent to review the achievements that the team is most proud of.

1. Facility design features were finalized.

After months of internal deliberations and community engagement exercises, the design features of the facilities were agreed upon, thereby allowing the individual facility designs to proceed. This is the first, most critical, component of the design process and one that seeks to shift the Potty Project findings from the conceptual phase and into practice.