One sanitation programme, 42 slums, Millions of lives transformed.

It might surprise you to discover that not everyone has a toilet in their own home. 2.4 billion people in the world in fact, do not have somewhere safe to go to the toilet. That’s around one out of every three of us.

Without toilet facilities, people have no other option but to openly defecate. This becomes particularly problematic during the monsoon seasons as water sources are at more risk of becoming contaminated.

With poor sanitation being one of the world’s biggest killers, engineers have their work cut out to implement safe access to water and sanitation.

Over 60% of people living in India do not have access to a toilet. Many of those within this demographic are the rapidly increasing urban slum communities. The city of Maharashtra has one of India’s largest informal settlements with a staggering 11 million people.

The majority of the city is not served by any public sewers, despite the monsoon rains every year. Open gutters often overflow, causing rainwater to mix with toilet waste from people defecating in the open, allowing harmful bacteria and diseases to spread.

We, Engineers Without Borders UK with our local partner Shelter Associates, an NGO based in Pune are working in Maharashtra and Kolhapur in India to find solutions to these challenges. 

Two of our volunteers, Lucinda Hazell and Sakhi Shah, both civil engineers went to India to work with Shelter Associates to deliver their One Home, One Toilet project. Together they are able to carry out key local studies on waste water treatment to progress the project.

The project aims to make open defecation a thing of the past by providing individual toilets to individual homes in 42 slums across Maharashtra. This will significantly improve the lives of millions of people and reduce deaths from preventable diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.  

In 2015, Engineers Without Borders volunteers worked a staggering 32,054 hours on international projects, such as this one. With your help we are determined to help everyone everywhere have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.