India accounts for around 50% of the world’s open defecation, and under a World Bank initiative, a rural district was selected to be the first open defecation free (ODF) district in Punjab. Considering this, the current study aims to evaluate the application and impact of a smartphone-based instant messaging app (IMA) on the process of making Fatehgarh Sahib an ODF district.
The District Administration involved the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Non-government Organisations, and volunteers to promote the process of a community-led total sanitation. Proper training was provided to the volunteers to spread awareness about the triggering events, health impacts of open defecation, and monetary benefits of building new individual household latrine (IHHL). IMA was used as an aid to speed up monitoring and for the evaluation of a sanitation program.
All the volunteers were connected to an IMA. This helped in providing a transparent and evidence-based field report on triggering events, follow-up activities, validation of existing IHHL, and monitoring of construction of new IHHL. IMA is a cost-effective tool as it is already being used by the volunteers and requires no additional cost (on the user or on the project) but requires a training on ethical uses of mobile and data safety.