Why work in India?

766 million people (60.4%) in India don’t have access to adequate sanitation²

Over 87,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation³

74.8 million people (5.9%) in India don’t have access to safe water²

India is a nation of over 1.2 billion people, and is the second largest country in the world in terms of population size. Growing numbers live without access to safe water and in particular, adequate sanitation, which has a huge impact on health; India is home to half of all of the world's malnourished and underweight children. Open defecation is widely practised due to inadequate sanitation, and 70% of India's surface water is now contaminated and not fit for consumption. 

About 750 million people live in rural areas and rely on a subsistence economy, with many living well below the Indian poverty line.  In these rural areas, where Just a Drop works, communities mostly belong to “scheduled” castes and tribes, in separate hamlets on the periphery of main villages. Rural water and sanitation coverage is provided primarily to main habitations while outlying hamlets are either not covered or poorly covered. 

Although the Indian government has invested in establishing better drinking water supplies and household sanitation, new latrines often remain unused and water systems break, due to lack of ownership, maintenance, and primarily, a lack of understanding about the need for hygiene and sanitation, or cultural beliefs which prevent these practices.  In rural areas, new facilities fall into disrepair where there are no resources for maintenance.

WASH solutions in India must complement and support what the government is doing, and introduce benchmark standards, new, appropriate technology, and an understanding of good hygiene and sanitation practices. 

2 WHO/UNICEF JMP report 2015 (based on estimates on the use of water sources and sanitation facilities)
3 Global Health Observatory, 2012 (http://apps.who.int/gho/data/view.main.INADEQUATEWSHv)

What We Do in India

We work with rural villages in the regions of Bundelkhand, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

In Bundelkhand and Tamil Nadu we support rural villages with water supply and distribution schemes. The projects usually involve the construction of a drilled well and piped water system, which brings water to individual houses, the local school and the Anganwadi (a rural mother and child centre providing basic healthcare). Existing pumps in the village are also refurbished, to provide water for animals. Water User Committees are trained to maintain the solutions. Primary school sanitation blocks are often also refurbished or constructed as part of the scheme, and provided with a water tank

India is aiming to become open defecation free by 2019, and the government provides funding for latrines. However, although funds are available, many people don't now how to access and use them. As part of our projects in Bundelkhand and Tamil Nadu, we provide individual latrines, water tanks, drinking water pots with a tap, soak-pits and compost pits for 6 families, together with family hygiene education. These 6 'model families' then act as benchmarks for the rest of the community, and support them to obtain government funding for their own household latrines. 

In the region of Bihar, we support construction of long term composting community latrines, washrooms, hand pumps, solar lights and hygiene education for women’s groups and children.


Background India

Capital: New Delhi

Population: 1.27 billion¹

Area: 3,287,263 km2 (13.5 x size of UK)

Other Main Cities: Kolkatta, Mumbai, Chennai

HDI Index: 130/188¹ (Medium Human Development)

Life expectancy at birth: 68 years¹

Under-five Mortality rate (per 1,000 live births): 52.7¹

Population living below income poverty line, PPP $1.25 a day (%): 23.6%¹