One organisation which works to improve the state for sanitation in the country is Sulabh, founded by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak in 1970. Sulabh is the largest internationally recognized pan-Indian social service outfit with over 35,000 volunteers. It began through Pathak’s desire to help scavengers-men and women who carry and dispose of human excreta. He developed a two-pit pour flush toilet (known as the Sulabh shauchalaya) which did not require scavenging to clean. Subsequently, Sulabh also started pay-and-use public toilets, popularly known as Sulabh Complexes, with bath, laundry and toilet facilities. These are used by about ten million people every day. Sulabh has also pioneered the production of biogas and bio-fertilizer from excreta-based plants.

Dr A. P. J. Abdul KalamEx President of India

Technology from Sulabh can help alleviate the water and sanitation problems in a big way if replicated in other countries. We can achieve the MDGs within the prescribed period with the help of a social organization like Sulabh.

Margaret Catley-CarlsonGlobal Water Partnership

Now that the world is shrinking, leaders of the world unite to initiate a global approach to the problems of sanitation and water supply which have also become a tool for social change. In this field, the role of Sulabh International Social Service Organization is crucial. Sulabh is a known name not only in India but also in other countries. I have read about Sulabh and now I know how Sulabh makes things happen.

Dr Jan P. PronkChairman, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council

The Sulabh technology is revolutionary. The efficacy of the system lies in its cost effectiveness and hence can be accepted globally. We are definitely going to mention Sulabh technologies and initiatives in our report.

Roberto LentonChairman of the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Task Force on Water and Sanitation

International experience in the management of public services shows that delivery of services can be vastly improved if a distinction is made between the ownership of these services (by the government) and the delivery of such services (by private and local enterprises). Thus, a compilation of twenty-four case studies from twelve countries all over the world has concluded that in every case where the management of a public service was contracted out to private groups or enterprises, the distribution and quality of the service improved and the net cost to the public was reduced. In India also, there are successful examples of ‘micro-privatization’ (Such as Sulabh Sauchalayas and Public Call Offices). These initiatives need to be replicated in respect of other services.

Bimal JalanFormer Governor of the Reserve Bank of India

Pathak founded the organization Sulabh International in 1970. It is now India’s largest charity, with 50,000 on its staff. Millions of Indians have installed the Sulabh Shauchalaya latrine. Of more interest to non-Indians will be the half a million* public toilets that Sulabh had built all over India. Every day, ten million Indians–and plenty of relieved foreign travellers–use a Sulabh toilet, because they are in railway stations, airports, on the main streets of India’s cities. Pathak’s toilet blocks are so common, Indians now say “I’m going to the Sulabh,” and the word toilet can be left silent.

Rose GeorgeA noted writer in DOING GOOD WELL

Sulabh created a low-cost toilet technology that not only helped maintain sanitation but also restored the dignity of millions of “scavengers”, the cleaners of human excreta who are traditionally untouchables. The West’s toilet technology, composed of sewage and septic tanks, was unaffordable for India’s teeming millions. Pathak’s technology relies on two simple pits and sealed covers. While one pit is in use, the other is left to decompose, forming a fertilizer that can be used in agricultural fields. Equally important, human waste no longer requires manual cleansing.

Tarun KhannaJorge Paulo Lehmann Professor, Harvard Business School in BILLIONS OF ENTREPRENEURS

In India we have already witnessed the dramatic impact that ordinary citizens can have. Bindeshwar Pathak’s invention of the dry toilet – the Sulabh shauchalya, built to function with little water and a selfcleaning pit – has done more than any bans on discrimination in helping put an end to the sordid work of manual scavenging that the Dalit Bhangi caste had been forced into for centuries.

Nandan NilekaniCo-chairman, Infosys Technologies Ltd. in IMAGINING INDIA