Featured in The Times Of India

Trichy: Improving the living and working standards of sanitary workers and providing sanitation facilities to the urban poor will be the prime focus of the City Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) project the field work for which in under way in Trichy. The city is among four towns and cities across the nation selected under the project sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) for developing a sustainable sanitation model.

Having identified the settlements of sanitary workers, CWIS plans to sensitise them on the mandatory use of safety gears at workplace while their family members will be exposed to skill development workshops in various sectors to become entrepreneurs. The project is being implemented by a consortium of organisations headed by Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) and Trichy corporation. As part of the project, the CWIS team carried out a study here in which it identified 20 locations in the city populated by a large number of sanitary workers. To make the sanitation sector professional, CWIS has taken up a preliminary work to expose the family members of sanitary workers to self-employment opportunities. Training on cleaning agents production, tailoring, electrical work and beauty care have been planned for the families to increase their revenue.

Meanwhile, as the non-adherence to safety protocol such as wearing hand gloves and nasal masks among sanitary workers is becoming a worry, CWIS will undertake a study to ensure that safety gears are used. “Practical difficulties have been cited by the workers in wearing safety gears in sultry weather. A study will be done to check if there are any alternatives available to suit the environment and working condition,” Parameshwar Hegde, team leader, CWIS Trichy said.

With the city approximately having 3,500 sanitary workers, CWIS will conduct entrepreneurship development programme for about 200 family members of sanitary workers.

“We will also highlight the social welfare schemes available for the sanitary workers’ families such as education scholarships. This will help the family members utilise the available opportunities to develop their livelihood,” Parameshwar added. Events to valorize the activity of sanitary workers among the public will be held with the help of Trichy corporation. The project will go on till 2021.