Price considerations (most toilet designs come for minimum INR 20,000 which is beyond the reach of rural consumers), lack of quality toilet options and the cost of obtaining a Government-subsidized toilet make it infeasible for people to convert their wish for better sanitation into building a toilet for their households.
The Gramalaya-GUARDIAN alliance for better sanitation
Water supply and sanitation infrastructure in India is financed largely by the public sector, and current investment levels are insufficient to achieve universal access. Water credits, by meeting basic needs, help families generate additional income by spending time for productive purposes that was previously spent fetching water or waiting at public toilets. Sanitation presents not only a business opportunity for MFIs—potentially INR 30,000-45,000 crore—but also helps them have significant social impact by delivering essential services.
The alliance between Gramalaya, a 20-year old sanitation and health-focused non-profit, and GUARDIAN MFI, a Gramalaya spin-off, is one that amalgamates the strong trusted local presence and community building of a non-profit with a market-led, highly scalable MFI social business arm. Built on strong learnings gathered from Gramalaya’s work on the ground over a period of almost 2 decades, the partnership follows a 3-pronged approach to total sanitation in the community – access to information that can educate people about the importance of health and change their sanitation behaviour in a strongly entrenched culture where it is given lower priority, access to technology that can help build and maintain toilets that are socially, culturally and environmentally appropriate, and access to consumer financethat can push from demand to conversion.