The India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) has emerged as a major force in India’s march towards sustainable sanitation. Established in June 2015 by Naina Lal Kidwai and her late husband, Rashid Kidwai, the ISC responded to the call for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), a visionary initiative aimed at bridging the gap between the government and the private sector in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector.
Over the years, the ISC has made noticeable progress in advancing WASH initiatives across India. The ISC has been engaged in various aspects of the WASH value chain, which encompass building, using, maintaining and treating essential facilities. Through its dedication and efforts, the ISC has left an indelible mark in several key domains.
One of the primary impact areas is project management, where the ISC collaborates closely with corporate partners to support the SBM agenda. This collaboration extends to both urban and rural regions, with a central focus on enhancing sanitation infrastructure to achieve the goals of SBM.
Another notable contribution of the ISC is in the realm of recognition of excellence. This is exemplified by the ISC FICCI Sanitation Awards, a platform that acknowledges and celebrates outstanding efforts within the WASH sector. These awards spotlight those individuals and organisations that lead the way in promoting better sanitation and hygiene practices.
Research and publications represent another cornerstone of the ISC’s work. The organisation conducts thorough and comprehensive research on the challenges and issues related to WASH. It then actively publishes the findings to raise awareness and inspire actionable steps to drive positive change in the sector.
Advocacy is an essential element of the ISC’s mission. It is a fervent advocate for disseminating best WASH practices, utilising print and media communications to promote the significance of sustainable sanitation. By actively spreading this message, the ISC encourages a broader adoption of improved WASH practices across the country. Some of the notable ISC projects:
Lighthouse Initiative (2021): In partnership with the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBMG) and the Jal Jeevan Mission, this initiative focuses on solid and liquid waste management infrastructure in the villages, fostering successful public-private partnerships (PPP). Phase 1 covers 75 gram panchayats, with Phase 2 scheduled for January 2024.
Plastic Waste Management (2023): ISC’s “Plastic Circular Cities” project, in collaboration with Godrej Industries, addresses the challenge of plastic waste in six major cities in Maharashtra. It aims to find innovative solutions for plastic waste management.
Climate-Resilient Cities (2023): ISC is working to create Climate-Resilient Cities to meet the growing urban population’s demands while reducing carbon footprint, aligning with the Smart City Mission.
In 2017, the WASH Platform Maharashtra was launched, paving the way for corporate contributions to Sustainable Sanitation.
The Credit Finance In programme was initiated in 2018, empowering factory workers to promote clean habits in nearby villages, with the support of Hindustan Unilever. This initiative expanded its impact on corporate WASH agendas through collaboration with ISC.
In 2022, the Hand Hygiene Hakathon, in partnership with UNICEF, addressed the issue of hand hygiene by organising a national competition to design innovative, cost-effective handwashing stations. These projects collectively contribute to India’s journey toward sustainable sanitation by enhancing financial accessibility, fostering grassroots behaviour change and promoting improved hand hygiene practices.
Awards and Publications
The ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards have recognised over 50 private sector entities since 2017, celebrating their contributions to sanitation and hygiene. The awards symbolise excellence in the sector and promote collaboration between various organisations, including government agencies.
ISC’s flagship publication Accolades showcases award recipients’ stories, serving as a testament to their remarkable contributions in the WASH sector.
The Business of Change series highlights success stories in sanitation, offering insights and strategies for various stakeholders involved in the sector, from policymakers to implementers.
ISC has been an avid researcher, producing research papers and case studies on topics relevant to India’s sanitation journey, serving as a valuable source of knowledge.
The ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards are considered prestigious accolades in the sanitation sector, promoting excellence and investment in the field.
The Rashid Kidwai Innovation in Sanitation Award, a unique category within these awards, encourages private sector sponsors to collaborate with innovators to make technological and process innovations accessible to all.
The India Sanitation Coalition’s efforts and commitment to a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable future are evident through its diverse range of projects, awards, and publications. It has played a pivotal role in driving India towards a brighter tomorrow.
Natasha Patel is CEO, India Sanitation Coalition, FICCI.