हमारा सवाल, हमारा नेतृत्व!

In Mumbai, women are allotted fewer public toilets and pay more than men for the same usage, when it comes to urination. On top of this, public toilets have poor hygiene and are often unsafe. The system stakeholders responsible for urban sanitation are largely insensitive, even dismissive, in the face of these basic violations of equal rights to dignity, health, and access to public space.The Right To Pee (RTP) campaign was formed in 2011 to advocate for free, clean, safe public urinals for women in Mumbai. It began as a united front of 33 organisations and individuals brought together by the grassroots leadership development program facilitated by CORO India. Four major areas of gender equality are gauged in Right To Pee’s work, namely: addressing gender discrimination; inclusion and intersectionality; voice and representation; & creating an enabling environment.

In 2018 June, the dissemination process by the team began. In this process, the RTP team assessed 501 community and public toilets; surveyed 91 toilets. Have a glance at the entire procedure here

On 27th February, a round table conference for joint action planning. This conference was an attempt to put together all the findings of the collaborative research in M- East ward, conducted by CORO India, The Urban Project, UNICEF and the MCGM. We also invited various government authorities, community members and others to discuss their role and way forward of this program.

हमारा सवाल, हमारा नेतृत्व!

......is our core fundamental in every campaign. As we assessed and surveyed community toilets in past months, we realized it was important that people identify their issues related to toilets and step forward to get a sustainable solution for themselves. With this thought, we decided to form vigilance committees in the communities to monitor and take ownership of sanitation problem. Issues faced by the communities should be addressed bu the ones staying there! A formation of vigilance group is required. On the basis of our work of past six months, we planned to build 15 committees, one each in one ward. (ie. 15 wards). But the response was so overwhelming that not 15 but 22 committees got formed in the communities. We majorly discussed - how would the committee function, how could we structure these groups to further work with the MCGM, how would they take ownership of this sanitation problems of their areas, how would this groups bringing people together, how would they successfully tie-up with the CBOs and how will they monitor the process of sustainable toilets and its maintenance. We planned to consolidate all these 22 committees together. Thus, a workshop to facilitate this plan was organised on 27th April, for peer learning. The main focus of this workshop was to put forth the idea of committee formation. 86 people came for the workshop, out of which, 66 were women. This was two days prior to elections and yet the response was overwhelming. Every event by CORO India makes up for ventilation space for the community people. When we facilitate, people not just listen but also share their problems quite openly. In this workshop, this residents of M East ward not only suggested how to solve sanitation crisis but spoke at length about their roles and responsibilities.

So, what next?

We plan to collectively train the member of vigilance committee. In their workshop, we analysed how should a vigilance committee (that monitors toilet of the community) of a community function. This should be decided by the people themselves. How many people to be there,what are the responsibilities, what training and how can we reach their voices to ward level structurally to decision making. How to associate this voice formally with the MCGM. These guidelines won’t be formed by CORO India but the people who belong to the committees. We believe, this recommendation can later reflect as a guideline for other issues in the communities.To make them understand the seriousness of the committee, they will be made to pledge for taking ownership of their problems, specify do’s and don’ts of the group and this will be well documented. Now on, the committees will decide as to when and where the workshops or events in the communities will be held. This could either be toilet specific problem or even community-related other issues. From June onward, we will begin focus training of people. Structurally and formally associating these committees with MCGM is important. We will continue to monitor their activities and also address their queries. Each group will have atleast 25 members (each member representing their section - men, women, children, transgender and handicap).

We hope that this plan is well executed and we are able to address sanitation worries of the communities.

Evidence-based advocacy forms the core of the RTP campaign. By gathering data of the ground reality of communities’ sanitation conditions through mapping and surveys, they can leverage traditional and new media platforms to demonstrate to government and system stakeholders the need for improved sanitation and gender sensitivity.