construction-operation-1Afghanistan, a nation ravaged by continuous wars in the past, and one of the world’s least developed countries, is now on the path of recovery and reconstruction. The world community has pledged support to the Afghans in their endeavor towards reconstruction and development.

Urban infrastructure facilities like water supply and sanitation, solid waste management, and storm water drainage are either non-existent at most places or are in urgent need of repair and augmentation wherever they exist. Access to adequate and safe water and sanitation facilities is limited.

Kabul, situated on the Kabul River is the capital of Afghanistan. It is the largest city with a population of more than 4.5 million people. Once a very beautiful city, it now bears the scars of continuous wars, which have almost, wrecked this great city. Infrastructures such as roads and traffic system, telephone, electricity, water, sanitation, offices and buildings are in a shambles and the need for reconstruction is urgent. Work is being done on war footing.

A lot of effort is being made to reconstruct the city in terms of buildings, government systems, transportation and public facilities. Water and sanitation services are the worst hit. The few old toilet complexes in the city are either inadequate or non-functional. The public places are in great need of toilet complexes and also baths, especially where the neighbourhood lacks individual sanitation facilities. The Kabul Municipality is committed to provide toilet facilities in the capital city.

In light of several visits of the officials of Kabul Municipality and representatives of Ministry of Urban Development and planning followed by visits of members of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation (SISSO) in the year 2003, a Seminar on Sanitation, Health and Hygiene was held on November 18-19, 2003 in collaboration with the Kabul Municipality. Different models of twin-pit pour-flush toilets were constructed in the campus of the Kabul Municipality for display. Locally available material was used for construction so that they could be replicated and adopted by people of Afghanistan as per their need. A WASH Campaign was also launched amongst school children of government schools in Kabul at this seminar in November 2003. Also on the advice of Municipality of Kabul a proposal for construction of 20 seated Toilet Complex in the city was prepared.

A team consisting of senior functionaries of Sulabh visited Kabul in October, 2005 for a meeting with the Hon’ble Mayor of Kabul, the concerned officials of Kabul Municipality and the Indian Ambassador at Kabul, H.E. Mr. Rakesh Sood. The Hon’ble Mayor expressed his desire to get Sulabh toilet complexes constructed in Kabul. Subsequently, Engineers of the Kabul Municipality and the technical team of Sulabh conducted a joint survey. Five sites were identified for constructing toilet complexes with biogas digesters.

On the request of Kabul Municipality and Government of India, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation has constructed five ‘Community Toilet Complexes’ in Kabul, Afghanistan, under aid from the Government of India to Afghanistan.

The five community toilet complexes were completed along with an intensive awareness campaign over nine working months at a cost of Rs 3.27 crore, by a dedicated Sulabh team under the guidance of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder, Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement.

Now operational, the five toilet complexes were inaugurated by the Hon’ble Mayor of Kabul and H.E. Ambassador of India in Kabul on September 23, 2007.


construction-operation-2Sulabh has already trained personnel from Kabul Municipality and local people to operate and maintain these complexes on a pay and use basis.  Users are charged two Afghans per use.  The cost of operation and maintenance (O&M) of the toilet complexes are met from the charges from the users.

The project is aimed at meeting the sanitation needs in five areas of Kabul on a self-sustaining basis and to enable the local people to replicate, operate and maintain this eco-friendly and hygienic sanitation technology from India.

Project Details

The following Community Toilet Complexes were constructed under this project:

These complexes have separate wings with entrances for men and women and provide facilities of W.Cs, baths, urinals, wash hand basins with mirrors, caretaker room, a room for nursing mothers, an entrance lobby, store room, dedicated water source and biogas digesters with activated carbon treatment system for purifying water.

In general, good quality fixtures with user friendly equipment have been used.  The complexes have been designed with architectural features to give them an aesthetic look.  The construction materials used in the toilet complexes include ceramic tiles, granite partitions in urinals, stainless steel washbasins, squatting and western water closets


Biogas digesters have been provided to enable the treatment of the human waste and to make the effluent suitable for discharging into appropriate outlets.  Keeping in mind the drop in the temperature during winter in Kabul, biogas digesters are constructed 3’ to 4’ below ground level. These digesters will be effective because the underground R.C.C. structure will not be effected much by the outside atmosphere (ambient) temperature.  During winter the temperature in the digester will be slightly lower than during the other seasons but it is expected that the temperature below the ground level will enable the bacteria to stay alive and there will be only slight variation in the efficiency of the digester.  However, when the outside temperature increases after severe winter, the bacteria will start growing and the activities of digestion of sewage will accelerate.

S.No. Name of the Site Details
1. Char Rahee Khote Sangi
20 Seated Toilet Complex with 2 Biogas Digesters
2. Sarai Shyamolie 20 Seated Toilet Complex with 2 (two) Biogas Digesters
3. Farosh Gah 19 Seated Toilet Complex with 1 (one) Biogas Digesters
4. Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) 20 Seated Toilet Complex with 2 (two) Biogas Digesters
5. Deh Afghanan 20 Seated Toilet Complex with 2 (two) Biogas Digesters

Training And Awareness Campaign

During the construction period itself, Sulabh imparted training to local people identified by the Kabul Municipality for operating and maintaining the toilet complexes. Afghan engineers were trained at the Sulabh facilities in the Indian capital in all the aspects of building, maintaining and running the complexes.

An intensive awareness campaign was launched by Sulabh in Kabul to sensitize the general public, school children, Government Officials and others about the benefits of hygiene and sanitation.

Awareness campaigns and health camps were organized in 15 schools and amid communities in the areas neighbouring the toilet complexes. Special groups like women, meat sellers, naan makers and shopkeepers were told about hygiene and sanitation as well as about importance of proper excreta disposal.

Medical camps were held in different locations with help from Kabul Municipality. Both Indian and Afghan doctors and paramedics from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health conducted health check ups. Free medicine was distributed as per prescription.

Painting competitions for school children to enhance their awareness were also held. Health kits were distributed among the children.