Immersive Research for Safer Sanitation in Bihar and Maharashtra, India

SLH Learning Papers 14
May 2023

In 2022, FINISH Mondial and the Sanitation Learning Hub conducted a participatory and immersive research study to understand ground realities and lived experiences of sanitation and hygiene access in Nandurbar district, Maharashtra and Darbhanga district, Bihar in India.

The main objectives for the immersion were:

  • to identify challenges and barriers towards access to and use of sanitation and hygiene services within challenging contexts,
  • to capture community voices
  • to find contextually rooted ways to identify enablers towards safe and equitable access to and use of sanitation and hygiene services in these areas; and
  • to inform FINISH programme design and support the development of human-centric strategies for improving access to sanitation hygiene services for marginalised and left-out communities, while strengthening gender equality and social inclusion (GESI).

Key lessons learnt from the study included:

  • universal access to and use of toilets has not yet been achieved, and people affected by poverty and marginalisation remain excluded;
  • existing toilets need retrofitting and maintenance to become usable;
  • we need to consider context specific adaptations for programming for tough physical conditions such as flooding and drought;
  • caste-based inequality is prevalent with major implications for access to sanitation and hygiene services;
  • and behaviour change programming remains relevant for these contexts.

Additional details

PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
RegionSouth Asia
ThemesChallenging contexts, Climbing the sanitation ladder, Gender, Hygiene, Leave no one behind, Lifestyles and livelihoods, Slippage, Social marginalisation, Support mechanisms, Sustainability and safely managed sanitation, Tough physical environments
ApproachesCommunity-led approaches, Context specific and adaptive approaches, Immersive approaches, Learning approaches, Sanitation approaches

Sneha, S. and Sen, S. (2023) ‘Immersive research for safer sanitation in Bihar and Maharashtra, India’, SLH Learning Paper 14, The Sanitation Learning Hub, Brighton: IDS


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