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Corporate Platform for WASH in Maharashtra

The ‘Corporate Platform for WASH in Maharashtra’ strengthens the drive to achieve an open defecation-free society through access to water along with safe and sustainable sanitation and hygiene practices; a goal emphasised by the central and state (Maharashtra) governments.

A joint initiative by the India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) and Samhita Social Ventures, the platform is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Government of Maharashtra. CEPT University lends knowledge support to the initiative.

Though corporate involvement in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) have significantly risen since 2014’s kick-off of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the size and persistence of the sanitation challenge is still huge and corporate funding is essential to plug key gaps in the value chain.

The platform supports companies with comprehensive services that enable them to make better decisions in the WASH cause area and implement solutions in critical areas like behaviour change and faecal sludge management.

Going Beyond Building Toilets 

The WASH platform offers strategic advisory services, technical assistance and/or project management services to companies and other private players for customized projects.

The platform aims to go beyond building toilets to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Corporate Engagement
  2. CSR Funding for High Impact Interventions
  3. Facilitate Collaborations
  4. Create a Marketplace of High-Impact Interventions
  5. Build Advocacy Around Critical Areas

A Multilateral and Holistic Approach 

The Platform focuses on interventions that holistically touch all aspects of the value chain in WASH, ensuring effective and sustainable outcomes.

  1. Behaviour Change
  2. Facility Creation
  3. Operation and Maintenance
  4. Community Participation and Ownership
  5. Faecal Sludge Management, Waste Management
  6. Supply Chain Management
  7. Financial Model

The Swachh Maharashtra Grand Challenge  

The Swachh Maharashtra Grand Challenge is the flagship initiative of the WASH platform, supported by UNICEF and Viacom18.

Samhita recently signed an MoU with the Maharashtra Government in the presence of the Hon. Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis to implement the Grand Challenge in the district of Chandrapur. This is a tripartite agreement with Sahabhag, the CMO’s Social Responsibility Cell and the Water Supply and Support Organisation (WSSO).

The Grand Challenge will identify, pilot and scale innovations across the sanitation value chain: behaviour change, sanitation entrepreneurship, school sanitation and faecal sludge management.  The first phase will pilot the innovations in the district of Chandrapur post which these will be scaled and replicated to other districts of Maharashtra.

A state-level committee will be formed with members from Samhita, Sahabhag and WSSO to identify the process by which innovations from the Grand Challenge could be replicated within and beyond Chandrapur as well as to resolve any operational issues. A direct Officer on Special Duty to the Chief Minister, Ms. Priya Khan will be a member of this committee on behalf of Sahabhag.

Each corporate partner of the Grand Challenge will fund a particular theme within the sanitation value chain which is aligned closely to their core competency. In addition to the grant, winning organisations will be provided mentoring, as well as implementation, administrative and scale-up support.

The Grand Challenge is being advised by a council including the likes of Luis Miranda, Piyush Pandey, Arun Maira and others with several years of experience in the government, private and social sector.

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