EHP Library Hygiene Bulletin


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NGO In Tamil Nadu Develops Child Friendly Toilet

Children in slum areas of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India, are learning the good habits of a lifetime at child friendly toilets built by an NGO and supported by the local community.

These first child friendly toilets in India are one of the innovations in sanitation pioneered with WaterAid assistance by Gramalaya NGO, which was established in 1987 by a group of committed youths in the field of rural development.

About 235 children up to the age of six use the CFT every morning and evening, enjoying the colourful drawings on the walls and the sense of cleanliness. At first, mothers went with their children and taught them the basic ideas of toilet use and hygiene including washing hands with soap. Children also learn about hygiene by observing each other and now happily use the child friendly toilets and wash their hands.

Until now children in the slums had to defecate in open drains in front of their houses or walk in search of places for open defecation amidst existing faeces. Afterwards the children had to return home without cleaning their bodies or hands because there was no water available. Pigs, mosquitoes, flies and other insects added to their difficulties.

The idea of separate latrines for the children came out of a long discussion with self-help groups of women in the slums. The Child Friendly Toilets (CFT) were constructed under the WaterAid Urban Slums Health and Sanitation Improvement Programme in Tiruchirapalli. As the CFTs are constructed adjacent to the community toilets, maintenance is easy.

A water tub with soap is provided at the corner of the CFT, where the caretaker of the community toilet teaches hand-washing and its importance to the children and also keeps an eye on the hygienic behaviour of the children after defecation. The community does not charge the children a fee, but pays for soap and other cleaning materials from the income their raise from pay and use toilets managed by the women groups.

SHE-Teams (Sanitation and Hygiene Education) formed by women in self-help group look after the upkeep and maintenance of community toilets constructed under Water Aid-Gramalaya projects in their slums. Users buy 50 paise tokens which allow them to use the toilet. Women from the self-help groups collect the money from users and keep accounts, detailing the number of users and the money collected. The money is banked each week. On average 300-600 people use the community toilets in a 24-hour period and from the money raised, the SHE-Team pays a watchman Rs. 1,200 a month to look after the toilets and issue tokens at night.

At the end of every month, the SHE- Team and Women Self-Help Group convene a meeting and to tell members the income and expenditure for each particular community toilet. The balance – after meeting various expenses such as salaries and cleaning material like bleaching powder, soaps and phenol etc. is kept in the bank. The surplus is put into a common fund towards health and sanitation related activities in the slum, providing such things as street taps, domestic drains, garbage bins and street lights.

The NGO has established a website to spread its experiences and to attract funders, see

Contact: GRAMALAYA, Executive Director, 31-A/29, Nesavalar Colony, Salai Road, Woraiur P.O., Tiruchirappalli 620 003, Tamilnadu, India, Fax: 91-431-761263, [email protected]

In the News 
(click on title to view complete article)

Slaking Planet’s Thirst Will Not Be Easy – Reuters – 28 Aug 2002
 in danger of drying up with catastrophic consequences for their impoverished populations. Water was the focus of the Earth Summit on Wednesday, with developing 

Mandela brings poverty summit back down to Earth – Environmental News Network – Aug 29
 president said of his native Qunu. “It is the absence of clean water that strikes me most starkly,” added Mandela, whose selfless struggle against apartheid

Delegates to Earth Summit Struggle Over Issues – Voice of America – Aug 29
Conference participants failed to reach agreement Wednesday on access to
clean water and proper sanitation, despite an appeal from former South African 

Effort Launched to Increase Use of Soap in Africa – Voice of America – 24 Aug 
 partnership, which was brokered by the World Bank, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UNICEF, and others, organizers hope to slash diarrhea 

African Sanitation and Hygiene Conference

The African Sanitation and Hygiene Conference was held in Johannesburg between 29 July – 1 August 2002. African Ministers, senior experts and activists from national and international organizations, NGOs and the private sector, gathered during the conference to discuss practical ways of accelerating the progress of sanitation and hygiene work in Africa as a step towards fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals and those of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

AFRICASAN was an event jointly organized by the WSSCC, Water and Sanitation Program (Africa region) and the Department for Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa.

About AfricaSan
AfricaSan Outcomes
The AfricaSan Process

Update to the Online Hygiene Library   

Dirty Water: Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases. 2000-2020. PH Gleick. Pacific Institute, August 2002.

Links to Other Online Documents

Cholera in 2001 – Weekly Epidemiological Record, Aug 2, 2002, vol 77 31(257-268) –

 EHP Hygiene improvement framework 

 IFH –

Guidelines for prevention of infection and cross infection in the domestic environment – focus on home hygiene in developing countries (April 2002)

 Recommendations for selection of suitable hygiene procedures for use in the domestic environment (January 2002)

 Hygiene Procedures in the home and their effectiveness: a review of the scientific evidence base (Draft, April 2002)

 UNICEF Hygiene promotion manual

WELL: Environmental health promotion capacity building: a training guide based on CARE’s Hygiene Promotion Manual –

WHO/IWA: Water quality guidelines:standards and health, 2001.

Reader Contributions

Chanyallew Tadese of Ethiopia contributed an interesting report entitled: “Facts and Sanitation Status in Developing Countries.” Below are excerpts from the conclusion. Please contact him at [email protected] if you have questions or would like a copy of his report.

The main objective and primary motivation for investing in sanitation and hygiene education or even water supply is to cut transmission routes of communicable diseases that are related to the subject.

The literature review above and sample surveys made for the purpose of project design indicated that sanitation has still being neglected (30). Concerning latrine coverage, Ethiopia remains by far lowest in the world. The situation can be described as “out right alarm…” and in the case of the urban sanitation, “serious cause of concern in all regions”.

Among available sanitary facilities in the country, almost 85% of them are at poor condition and do not fulfill public health criteria (25, 27). This was also reported by WHO as “All installations are assumed to be operational and serving the intended population and therefore does not take account of the facts that sanitation systems operate erratically, that services are sometimes suspended and none operational.”(30).

In conclusion, I want to stress on the following points, which might solidify what I have already said in the previous statements with intention to stimulate imitative in those responsive categories.  

Sanitation is still lack focus by all segments of the society.
 Sanitation coverage in Ethiopia is very far below than expected.
 Almost 85% of available latrines do not fulfill public health criteria.

 Behaviours aggravating sanitation related problems
 Open field defecation (excretion)
 Using improperly sited latrines.
Using unhygienic toilets.
Using poor quality and scares water.
Poor washing habits.
 Improper disposal of solid and liquid wastes.
 Poor handling of food and water containers.
 Using unprotected water sources.
 Improper disposal of child faeces.
 Poor compound cleanliness.

+ Sources

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