Author: Ben Mauro

The Moving Parts of Sanitation

Sanitation work is often hard to define. It is not clear whether you should specifically be working on providing access to a formal sewage system, building a municipal sewage system, building individual toilets, educating users, cleaning toilets, promoting use, or providing security. It is unclear how one activity should be prioritized over another or how important any single action can be. What seems to be a small piece of work turns out to have an unquantifiable number of moving parts, each with their own unique way of completely and utterly failing. While the activities being performed certainly depend on...

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What is a Toilet?

One of the greatest things about working in a tight knit community lies in the stories and friendships that you develop with the community members. Perhaps for me, an even greater part is having a colleague who speaks Hindi and can translate these stories while I am in rural India. We talked with the laborers when construction was ongoing, we talk with the community members who come and relax at the site in the afternoon, and we talk with our staff members as they count the users and maintain the facility. Naturally our conversations lead to sanitation, public health,...

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Fighting Outdoor Defecation in Rural Bihar

July 1st – 26. July 2nd – 19. July 3rd – 27. In India there are rarely small numbers. A lot of people, a lot of cell phones and, most importantly for us, there are a lot of people defecating outside. 650 million people defecating outside. Unfortunately, the numbers that I encounter every day are the numbers of human waste deposits on the road leading into Nimua village. They may seem small but collectively they represent a much bigger sanitation crisis in India. Human waste contaminates water and food for entire communities and is a lead cause of malnutrition...

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