Sanitation Health in Delhi

Delhi, India

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 88% of diarrheal disease around the world is attributable to poor access to water and sanitation and causes 2.2 million deaths annually. Young children, particularly those under age five and living in poverty, are most at risk. Not only are infections potentially fatal within this demographic, they also have dramatic effects on children’s health, cognitive development, performance in school, and therefore on their long-term income-earning potential.

Providing improved sanitation, which effectively keeps human excreta separate from human contact and water sources, drastically reduces the risk of contracting diarrheal and other water and sanitation-related diseases. According to the WHO, providing households with improved sanitation infrastructure – independent of water-access or hygiene improvements – can reduce diarrhea morbidity by nearly 38%. In addition to direct health benefits, expanding sanitation system coverage has consistently been shown to yield significant economic and social benefits such as fewer missed-days of school for children or work for adults, as well as reduced health expenditures at the household level.

In Aya Nagar, inadequate sanitation infrastructure and lack of proper drainage pose a serious health threat. In communities that dispose of in-home sanitation management systems, poor or improperly installed drainage systems at the neighborhood level lead to the accumulation of sewage water and its run-off into streets and throughout residences —a phenomenon particularly exacerbated during the monsoon season. In other communities, like Ishwar Colony and Harijan Basti, the lack of in-home sanitation dramatically intensifies the problem, increasing the burden of life-threatening water-borne and bacterial diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and parasitic infections that cause diarrhea, malnutrition, and micro-nutrient deficiencies.

Sanitation for Health in Delhi is a project aimed at improving health outcomes and standard of living among 55 vulnerable families living in Aya Nagar in Southwestern Delhi. Beyond improving quality of life through upgrades to household living environments, the purpose of this project is to target sanitation improvements that will directly contribute to lowering rates of infection and disease, improving human capital development, positively impacting school attendance, and in the long-term, enabling better economic opportunity for those entrenched in persistent cyclic poverty.

Sanitation for Health in Delhi is a project aimed at improving health outcomes and standard of living for 55 vulnerable families living in Aya Nagar in Southwestern Delhi. ARCHIVE Global, 3×3 and Greha will focus on constructing improved sanitation facilities in 55 houses in the socio-economically vulnerable communities of Aya Nagar’s G Block. The sanitation facilities provided will be attractive, functional, and low-cost, consisting of a biodegradation fixture and an enclosure designed with both aesthetics and functionality in mind. This combination of characteristics will allow for the creation of ongoing resident demand for additional sanitation improvements.

Selection Criteria
Families are selected using a selection matrix, approved by the community, to ensure that we focus on the most at risk and needy households. At a minimum implementing partners believe that beneficiaries must meet the following:

  • Reside in the selected communities
  • Be legal owners of home, or be able to produce proof of residence
  • Must be poor and destitute by government poverty standards and lack in home improved sanitation facilities as defined by WHO:
    • Sanitation facilities that do not ensure hygienic separation of waste from human contact;
      A pit or hanging latrine without a cover;
    • Shared sanitation facilities with another family
    • No/low access to services for excreta and sewage disposal
  • Have at least 1 member of the household participate in educational workshops and in all renovation activities
  • Selected households will form clusters of occupants, ensuring that our intervention reaches high-occupancy living environments where poor sanitation conditions pose the greatest threat.
  • All families have a child <18 years old

Community Participation
The success of Sanitation for Health in Delhi relies on the project’s ability to relate to its local context and strategically respond to local needs. For this reason, the project is designed to involve local residents and beneficiaries throughout the design and construction phases. To promote a bottom-up approach which ensures a responsive end-product, and community buy-in, the project will seek to:

  • Involve at least one member of each of the beneficiary household in the construction process, as a “sweat equity” contribution.
  • Engage at least one member of each beneficiary households in a “health and housing” training workshop, communicating (i) the essentials of health and hygiene in the home and (ii) an overview of the sanitation fixture including instructions for maintenance and upkeep.

Design and Innovation
The technical design of the improved sanitation facilities will be the result of a collaborative process between project partners and the beneficiary community in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Improved sanitation design should be cost-effective and possible to implement within the 6-month project timeline
  • The maximum construction budget per house, including materials, transportation of materials and labor, will not exceed $500.00 USD

The design process will also be informed by in-depth research, documentation and understanding of:

  • Existing sanitation facilities in beneficiary homes
  • Attitudes and behaviors of beneficiary households toward in-home sanitation facilities
  • Neighborhood and/or municipal challenges relating to sanitation and sewerage
  • Local or municipal infrastructure and services available to beneficiary homes
  • Technical knowledge and skill-set of Technical Partner
  • A range of innovative technologies and designs (such as composting pit latrines or bio-digestors) that present alternative and promising solutions to challenges documented at the household, community or municipal level.

These processes will help ensure that the sanitation facilities will be innovative and aesthetically pleasing to the community and homeowners level.

Overall Project Impact

  1. Improve health outcomes and standard of living to 55 vulnerable homes by constructing 11 shared sanitation systems
  2. Provide 2-day training for household members on the management of biodigestors and associated health practices

Intended Outcomes

  • Improve access and availability of adequate sanitation systems
  • Increase knowledge on health and housing
  • Transform attitude towards sanitation systems
  • Adoption of appropriate health and hygiene practices

Implementing Partner

3×3 Design is a New York and New Delhi-based social innovation consultancy that works at the intersection of urban planning, design, and technology. 3×3 creates smarter programs and services for more livable cities and uses practical knowledge of today’s complex urban systems, collaborative and tireless engagement, and insights gleaned from context-based research to help clients launch lean, resource-efficient projects that create social value. 3×3’s human-centered process helps organizations focus on their audiences’ needs to build successful and scalable solutions. The team has applied design research to improve urban planning programs, services and policies for organizations ranging from the World Bank, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, the City of Chicago, and the City of New York (www.3×

Greha is a New Delhi-based not-for-profit organization with a focus on growth of knowledge in the field of environmental development, habitat design and architecture, managed by environmental design and planning experts. Since its inception in 1974, Greha has concentrated on the growth of knowledge in the field of environmental development, habitat design and architecture. The thrust of Greha’s efforts have been towards addressing issues of the majority of the population; the focus was the marginalised people in rural and urban settlements; the vehicle was developing knowledge and methodologies concerning settlement systems more suited to our history and cultural context (


Partial project funding was granted by the SELAVIP Foundation ( to cover the cost of construction (including material, labor and construction management costs) for the installation of improved sanitation facilities in 55 homes. The total amount awarded by SELAVIP would allow for a maximum budget of $500.00 USD per home.

An additional $10,000 was raised by ARCHIVE Global using Johnson & Johnson’s CaringCrowd platform. A portion of these funds will provide 5 additional homes with sanitation systems and cover the expenses related to the community training.

archiveglobalDelhi, India