Bhubaneswar is the capital of the Indian state of Odisha.  It is the largest city in Odisha and is a centre of economic and religious importance in Eastern India.  Bhubaneswar is often referred to as a "Temple City of India".
But ..... there are 338 unauthorised slums in Bhubaneswar  - many households do not have toilets and a few who have sanitary toilets have no drainage, water and maintenance facilities!!
In May last year, now Past President Anna wanted to assist women in remote parts of India with better access to toilets, providing them with dignity and safety.  That enquiry has led to a global Rotary project (GG1757749) to provide safe, clean and local Bio toilets for women:
The Project aims in providing safe and clean toilets for women.  20 Urban slum areas have been identified for the said project.  Each slum would be provided with 2 bio toilets each.  The beneficiaries would be the women residing in these slums and are devoid of a safe and hygienic environment to attend to nature's call.


Providing safe, clean and local Bio toilets for women in Bhubaneswar, India

The project aims to help deal with the chronic, acute shame, embarrassment and fear that Indian women and girls must deal with at least once a day, every day.
Hari Menon, Deputy Director of Indian programmes for the Gates Foundation says "Among women, toilets figure in the top three needs for their own security and health“.
"There will be a huge change in our lives.  Now men would not follow us, men will not wait for us to sit in the field and watch.  Once we have these toilets we don't need to step out, and we will feel better.  Our dignity which is an ornament for us - is now safe.“

Why Bio Toilets?

Individual pour and flush toilets are needed but this is not a feasible option due to the unavailability of required space.  Most importantly, a water facility for the toilets is also necessary.  Since a  bio-toilet is an innovative technology for disposal of solid human waste in an eco-friendly, economical and hygienic manner, this type of toilet is preferred over other types of toilets considering the local context particularly in urban slums.
A 'Biological Toilet' is a next generation eco-friendly waste management solution, which digests and converts solid human waste into neutral water and traces amount of gas, with the help of special bacterial inoculums.
The Bio-Toilet provides a better, hygienic sanitation alternative for the people of the society:
  • The Bio Digester tank is a multi-chambered tank
  • The wastes are transferred from the toilet pan to the Bio digester tank by a P- Trap which requires very less water.
  • The wastes flow from one chamber to another by a special patented process.  The multi-strain bacteria convert human waste to water through biological process.
  • The Bio digester tank contains multi strain aerobic bacteria that starts the digestion of the wastes in 3 hours and completes the digestion totally within 24 hours.
  • The Biological toilet converts the human wastes into water and traces of carbon dioxide.
  • It prevents spread of diseases and epidemics caused by harmful E coli spread by dumping of unprocessed human wastes.
When the evening light fades, She balances little one on one hip and with her older daughters head single-file towards the fields.
To the chirrup of bullfrogs and crickets and the occasional cry of a peacock, they march past the last dwelling in the slum to a fallow field.
Shrouded in darkness, the girls spread out, pulling down their saris or shalwars.  They're frightened, uncomfortable and trying to hurry up as a tractors shudders past about 20 metres away, driven by men.
As they wash and walk back to the village, other girls and women appear in pairs and small groups from the gloom.  Since1990, the Indian government has introduced nationwide campaigns to improve sanitation facilities across the country—first under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), and most recently under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).  However, the lack of improved sanitation remains a major public health concern
In 1990, the Indian government introduced nationwide campaigns to improve sanitation facilities across the country - first under the Total Sanitation Campaign, and most recently under the Swachh Bharat Mission.  However, the lack of improved sanitation remains a major public health concern.
  • Open defecation has been reduced by 31 percent since 90’s.
  • About 300 million women and girls in India still have no other choice.
  • Try to squat in a sari, while holding a cup of water to cleanse yourself and keeping an eye out for rapists.
  • No woman has said she liked squatting in darkness knowing that men are watching her

The Status of the Project

The anticipated cost of the project to provide 40 Bio Toilets is USD31,500 funded as follows:
  • Rotary Clubs - a total of USD14,333 from:
    • Bhubaneswar New Horizon USD5,000
    • Caloundra USD5,000
    • E-Club of District 3262 USD3,333
    • The Hills-Kellyville USD1,000
  • Rotary District 3262 - USD7,500
  • Rotary District 9685 - USD750
  • The Rotary Foundation World Fund - Global Grant USD15,417*
* The Global Grant was approved on 24 April 2018.
The Host Club (Bhubaneswar New Horizon) is responsible for identifying the slum areas, supervising construction, education, and ongoing maintenance.  Interestingly, the club's membership is 100% female.
The International Club facilitating the project is the Rotary Club of Chatswood Sunrise.
The project is partnered with the Lutheran World Service India Trust (LWSIT) which will help measure success.  Local community groups Mahila Samity and SHG are promoted by LWSIT and are very active in taking initiatives to improve the conditions of their local communities.
Rotary International President Elect, Mark Maloney handed over the first of the 10 slums to receive the bio-toilets on 20 February 2019.  The project will be completed by the end of March with all 10 slums being provided with safe, clean bio-toilets.
The project team is working on how to proceed with the other slums that have now been excluded.