Participatory Research on the Barriers to Access Rural Sanitation in India
- Specific Topics
- Environmental Conservation
- Natural Resource Management
- Water Quality
- UA Clinton School of Public Service Students
- Scope of Influence
- Time Limited or Repeated?
- Repeated over time
- Spectrum of Public Participation
- Open to All or Limited to Some?
- Open to All With Special Effort to Recruit Some Groups
- Targeted Demographics
- Stakeholder Organizations
- Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
- Types of Interaction Among Participants
- Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
- Type of Organizer/Manager
- Regional Government
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Evidence of Impact
The Public Affairs Center (PAC), located in Bangalore, India, used Community Score Card and other techniques to investigate the communications of a program which provides toilets to rural homes The report was published in June, 2017 and the research project lasted 3 years.
Problems and Purpose
SBM is a public services program implemented by the Indian National Government to provide toilets to rural homes that otherwise would not have the resources to purchase and install them. The Public Affairs Center worked with “district administration, and CBO’s” in order to distribute pamphlets and utilized other effective communication strategies (Nanda & Nair, 25). PAC undertook a participatory research project was to identify the barriers to communication that are preventing peoples from participating in SBM in the Odisha State of India (Nanda & Nair, 25).
Background History and Context
The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched in 2016. (Swach Surbekshan, 3) The purpose of SBM is to, “accelerate rural sanitation coverage, reduce open defecation and improve management of liquid and solid waste” (Swach Surbekshan, 3) . The Public Affairs Centre (PAC) is a not for profit organization, established in 1994 that is dedicated to improving the quality of governance in India (Nair, 2).
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The research was organized by The Public Affairs Centre and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin, 2018).
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The districts of the Odisha state were chosen based on the success of past sanitation projects, feasibility, and geographic context(Nair, 28). Unfortunately no information was made available on how the specific participants were chosen. There were 2,680 households sampled in this report in the report that identified the communications problem that is being addressed in this research project(Nair, 29).
Methods and Tools Used
This project was initially prompted by PAC in a study that utilized CARE Community Score Cards (Nand & Nair, 25). The Community Score Card (CSC) process has four basic steps:
- Phase one: Planning and Preparation
- Conducting Community Score Card with the community
- Conducting the Score Card with Service Providers
- Interface Meeting and Action Plan
The Community Score Card (CSC) is, “a method of participatory governance developed by CARE, an international assistance and relief organization. The CSC method focuses on improving a local government service or process.(Gullo, Galavotti, & Altman, 2016)” PAC used the CSC in order to identify the needs of the potential participants in SBM, and came to the conclusion that people in the odisha state lacked knowledge on the functioning of toilets and forms to enrol SBM programm (Nanda & Nair, 25)
The Public Affairs Centre utilized four steps in the research method they coined “Advanced Media Mix”(Nanda & Nair 29). This method was utilized as an innovative demand driven information and education initiative (Nanda & Nair 29).
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
During this project PAC interacted with the public and stakeholders using their four step “Advanced Mixed Media” (AMM) approach which was inspired by a Community Score Card exercise implemented at a “village level meeting”(Nanda & Nair, 25). The CSC event demonstrated that people in the Odisha state lacked knowledge on the functioning of toilets and forms to enrol SBM programme. Thus, PAC undertook the participatory Advanced Mixed Media Approach in an attempt to involve all affected parties. AMM contained four steps, summarized as follows:
1. Communication Needs Assessment: This process involved collecting data on things such as information needs, preferred tools, and place of display using a driven demand scanning process of communication needs (Nanda & Nair, 26). Below is an example of the CNA Format provided by in the report.
2. Material Design & Implementation: The next step was to analyze the data collected during this process and created pamphlets and wall painting templates by gathering stakeholder input (Nanda & Nair, 26). This was an iterative process that involved collecting information that citizens need, creating designs that present this information in a palatable form, and allowing key stakeholders to have input on the design. This resulted unique “wall paints” and pamphlets. The wall paints are designed with consideration to the local language and where people are likely to consume the information. Pamphlets are distributed through local channels and through the communication demonstration phase.
3. Communication Demonstration: Demonstrations by facilitators are undertaken to ensure that all members of a community have seen and understand the information created (Nanda & Nair, 28). Trained peoples from NGO and district level government were deployed at or around wall paints to inform people of the information on the wall paints.
4. Consumption Evaluation: PAC distributed a questionnaire two weeks after the Communication Demonstration measuring if community members had understood the information and if their initial efforts were effective. (Nanda & Nair 28). This step effectively allowed PAC to insure that the information that was provided through the input section was valid and implemented completely. The evaluation was implemented by deploying PAC communications consultants to the areas where the Advanced Mixed Media Methods were implemented. The communications consultants collected data on citizens. They collected information using the same survey questions which allowed for a uniformed approach to the evaluation of the immediate outcomes of this project.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
It is difficult to determine the influence, outcomes, and effects of PAC's study because the last step in the “Advanced Mixed Media” approach: “Consumption Evaluation” is not publicly available (Nanda & Nair, 28). That being said the amount of outreach that was performed is very significant. Two rounds of the Community Score Card found that beneficiaries of the SBM have inadequate information about forms to enroll in the SBM programme and the functionality of toilets(Nanda & Nair, 25). The Public Affairs Centre assisted in overcoming these noted barriers by distributing “118 wall paints and 34000 leaflets across 6 districts of the Odisha state”(Nanda & Nair 29).
Analysis and Lessons Learned
It is difficult to judge the efficacy of this “Advanced Mixed Media” approach using the PAC report. It may be worth analyzing the data collected to determine how the model could be improved as well as the success of this project generally. Evaluation of the mixed media approaches was performed (Nanda & Nair 28) but the results were not presented in the report.
Gullo, S., Galavotti, C., & Altman, L. (2016). A review of CARE’s Community Score Card experience and evidence. Health Policy and Planning, 31(10), 1467–1478. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czw064
Nair, M. (2016). IMPROVING CONSUMER VOICES AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN SWACHH BHARAT MISSION – GRAMIN. Public Affairs Centre, 46. Retrieved from: http://pacindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Improving_consumer_voices_and_accountability_in-swacch_bharath_mission.pdf
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India. (2016). Swachh Bharat Mission - Gramin, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Retrieved from: http://swachhbharatmission.gov.in/SBMCMS/sbm-mis.htm
Nanda, S.; Nair, M. (2016). Innovative Communication Method for Village Sanitation: http://pacindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Media-mix-approach-in-SBM-G- in-Odi_Ha_paper.pdf [dead link]
How India is using innovative ways to communicate safe sanitation - BBC Media Action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_S759S3e-I
Standard Social Innovation Review - Rural Sanitation in India: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/rural_sanitation_in_india_the_poo_party
Lead Image: High Impact Campaigns and Information Education Communication (IEC) Activities https://bit.ly/2nw7HRk
The original submission of this case entry was written by Nathan V. Keltch, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The views expressed in the current version are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.