Improving access to sustainable sanitation and hygiene continues to be one of the most pressing development challenges for India today. In response to this challenge, the Indian Government launched the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, or Clean India Mission, to create an open defecation free India by 2019. Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014, India’s sanitation coverage has doubled to 74 percent.
In 2015, in response to the Government of India’s flagship programme, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) launched the Comprehensive Sanitation Initiative. The initiative is a five-year programme aimed at facilitating access to improved sanitation and hygiene for over 700,000 people in six states. A key component of the initiative is generating demand for improved hygiene practices, thereby tackling age-old norms and transforming long-standing behaviour change that improves the quality of life.
AKDN’s work also supports the sanitation target of the Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for safely managed sanitation facilities for all by 2030 and the elimination of open defecation.