MHT Katihar Sanitation Project: Baseline Report
Mahila Housing Trust (MHT), with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, implemented an urban sanitation project over the 2011-2013, in the town of Katihar, in north-eastern part of the State of Bihar. The vision of the project is to ‘develop, test and refine business models and best practices’, for urban sanitation, that can then be scaled up to extend to other parts of Bihar. The project’s aim was to extend ‘sensitive sanitation solutions’ to at least 1,200 households, and create a local resource pool by training and generating employment for 250 people, predominantly women. The project also seeked to organise women into CBOs to ensure maintenance of the sanitation infrastructure.
MHT commenced work in Katihar in 2010, piloting a small water and sanitation programme. The programme was aimed at the un-served/underserved population. The main component of the project was extending loans for hand-pumps and for toilet construction to individual households. The rationale for the project was two-fold. One, previous experience in Gujarat State had demonstrated that there was demand for household toilets in preference to community toilets that were not successful. Second, given such a large deficit in sanitation
arrangements in urban Bihar, it was unlikely that the government would be able to provide subsidies for toilet construction and hence, making available loan-financing appeared the only way forward.