Around the world, 2.6 billion people do not have access to clean and safe sanitation. In India, over 80% of the rural population and more than 50% of urban households have no access to basic sanitation facilities. Responding to these alarming figures, the United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation.
Biocon Foundation’s sanitation initiative began in 2007 with an aim to offering poor rural communities access to safe and sustainable sanitation facilities. Through our programs, we endeavour to improve the health status of underprivileged village communities, decrease the environmental impact of inadequate sanitation practices and ultimately, generate economic benefits by increasing the number of workdays.
Huskur Pilot Program:
Huskur Gram Panchayat is situated about 20 kms from Bangalore City. It comprises of seven villages, and has a total population of 5033 people. Huskur is home to the famous and ancient Maddurama Temple. People come from near and far to pray at this temple. In addition to holy Friday that attracts thousands of faithfuls, the annual holy Jatra brings over 40,000 pilgrims and vendors over a period of one week to these villages.
Poor and non-existent sanitary and hygiene conditions within households as well as a complete lack of sanitary facilities for visiting pilgrims have resulted in high incidence of hygiene and sanitation related illnesses in the villages.
With technical help from the Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, the Bangalore Urban Zilla Panchayat, the Huskur Gram Panchayat and building contractors chosen from the community itself, Biocon Foundation is implementing a comphrensive sanitation and hygiene program in Huskur. The aim is to ensure every household in the villages has its own private toilet and to encourage the use of household toilets by making community members understand the link between illness and unsanitary behaviour. Biocon Foundation and the Embassy of Ireland, New Delhi will bear the cost of construction however, to create a sense of ownership of the project and the program, each beneficiary household is to contribute Rs. 1000 towards the construction and also be responsible for digging the pit. We believe this pilot project will make Huskur Gram Panchayat a model of household and environmental cleanliness thus motivating other Gram Panchayats in Anekal to emulate it.
Community Toilet Block:
To relieve villages surrounding the temple, Biocon Foundation has built a community toilet block with help from the Bangalore Urban Zilla Panchayat and the Huskur Gram Panchayat.
Individual Household Sanitation:
Besides providing a community toilet block, Biocon Foundation resolved to build individual household toilets for the Huskur community. A survey undertaken with the help of the Gram Panchayat committee revealed that out of a total of 1123 households, only 249 (22%) had toilets at home. To date, we have built 924 toilets.