Sanitation and skill development

There is a demand to skill up people in the sanitation sector. As a sector that is in the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, sanitation requires a range of skills from civil and water engineers, masions, planners and communication specialists and grass roots workers. Sulabh as a major sanitation implementing agency, has trained thousands of workers in each district in India and overseas in skills related to sanitation and thus played a pivotal role in the skilling process of workers engaged in the sanitation sector in the last 50 years. Sulabh also puts thrust in procuring locally resourced materials and employs local masons and engineers. It trains them in the process of implementing its projects. The organisation has built more than 1.5 million household toilets and over 9500 public toilets. Sulabh is increasingly looking at strengthening skills across sanitation verticals like construction, plumbing , advocacy workers, menstrual hygiene workers

Certified vocational training

Sulabh International has been providing technical and vocational education and training – which lasts anywhere from six months to three years – that gives young people, especially women, the skills to compete for the better paying jobs.

Sulabh runs its vocation programmes under its sister organisation Sulabh International Centre for Action Sociology (SICAS). Women and men of various age groups are trained across skills like beauty care, IT, stenography, sewing technology, electrical apprenticeship, cutting and tailoring and
fashion designing.

In addition, two specialities: stenography and sewing technology are run and certified by the Government of India’s Industrial Training Institute programme. Sulabh skill development initiative have trained 7118 men and women and most of them are in employability.

Based on the above model another skill development has been set up in Ukhral in Jammu where over 700 students have been trained since 2014.

Training on menstrual hygiene

Rural women are the main focus of such programs as they are not aware of menstrual hygiene. To bring menstrual hygiene awareness among them, a team goes to door to door and speaks to the women of the household. A timely session with a doctor is also organized who gives relevant information to women on menstrual cycle and menstrual hygiene.  Emphasis on use of sanitary napkins is also part of this program. Importance of hygiene during these days and how they can take care is also discussed.

Skill development of beneficiaries


Sulabh Mahila Avom Bal Kalyan Santhan has been designed to impart livelihood skills to women living in the slums.  Slum women – mostly housewives – are encouraged to sign up for developing skills in specialities like tailoring and beauty care. The idea is to inculcate a  sense of economic empowerment and encourage savings.  The programme involves a door to door campaign and the training is conducted in the slum. Over 3000 women have been trained and many have opened their own business in their
own communities.


Sanitation offers a vital entry point into communities, and Sulabh has made skill development – especially those that contribute to women’s economic empowerment programmes – an integrated part of its intervention.

In the context of rural sanitation, Sulabh has adopted a community-based behaviour change approach by creating awareness and demand for sanitation and hygiene. In line with UNICEF guidelines, Sulabh has worked with women – mainly mothers – to achieve total sanitation by making them the agents of change. Sulabh’s intervention has had a remarkable outcome in reducing diarrheal disease, mortality and morbidity among children. Sulabh officials have focussed on promoting health education in the following areas:

  • Identify and avoid behaviours and environmental conditions that are likely to cause water- and sanitation-related diseases (e.g., problem solving, decision making).
  • Communicate messages about diseases and infection to families, peers and members of the community (e.g., communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills).
  • Encourage others (e.g., peers, siblings and family members) to change their unhealthy habits (e.g., critical thinking, communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills) – UNICEF.

Additionally,  Sulabh has always stressed on adopting a gender-inclusive approach in its intervention programmes with a specific focus on girl students. It has set up Sulabh Sanitation Club, which is a child-centred and girls-led global movement of children and young people engaged in bringing about positive social transformation in schools by empowering girls. So far 64 clubs in 12 states of India, 6 in Nepal and Bhutan and 1 in South Africa have been set up. About 6,500 school children in more than 200 schools have been trained in school sanitation and hygiene education and menstrual health.

Sulabh’s beneficiary village skill development programme is targeted with the adolescent girls.
They are trained on:


Training on cutting and tailoring was imparted adolescences of Hirmathala village. 20-20 women group were divided in two batches, total 40 women in a day were provided training on cutting and tailoring course. The duration of this course was six months, and later some of them joined the training centre as teachers. The course has attracted pupils even from neighbouring village. Many of them are now self-employed.


Donna pattal and plates are hygienic, easily disposable and economical to make. Training on Donna patal and candle making were provided to women of Hirmathala village in two batches of fifteen each. Candidates who completed the course successfully were given certificates by Syndicate bank.


Beauty trade training provided in 20-20 groups in two batches to women and adolescents of Hirmathala and nearby villages. The course has been completed and now students come to the centre to practice their skills.