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  • Dhanashree Gurav
    Dhanashree Gurav

    Dhanashree Gurav has completed her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, and currently works as Director (WASH) at the NGO Shelter Associates. Dhanashree has extensively worked in the development sector with various organizations like Swach and Jeeva projects. With her rich experience in Academics, Research, Health, and Data Analysis she leads the NGO’s Sanitation interventions across cities. With a soul of an environmentalist, she has introduced and expanded an eco-friendly menstrual hygiene project for urban slum dwellers. Dhanashree particularly believes in the power of deep community engagement and the deployment of holistic interventions to empower the underprivileged.

  • Dr Babasaheb Rajale
    Dr Babasaheb Rajale

    Dr. Babasaheb Rajale is the Deputy Commissioner, SBM, Navi Mumbai. The city is a great success story when it comes to innovation in sanitation and it is consistently ranked as one of the top 5 cleanest cities in India Dr. Rajale has been a very proactive officer and he is also the nodal officer for many missions dealing with environmentally critical issues. Under his leadership, Navi Mumbai has become the only five-star city of Maharashtra and the only water-plus city of Maharashtra.

  • Smita Kale
    Smita Kale

    Smita Kale is a Director with the NGO Shelter Associates designs and implements interventions in Sanitation and Social housing. Smita who has completed her M.SC. in Statistics from the University of Pune leads the NGO’s Data and program teams. She has expertise in diverse fields including Advance Analytics, Health and WASH. She also possesses rich experience in the development of statistical software and plays a pivotal role in deploying Plus codes innovatively to solve accessibility issues in slums. Having worked in the corporate and academic sectors for 15 years, she happily crossed over to the social development sector 10 years back.

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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Sep 18 2023
  • Time: 8:00 am - 9:30 am

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Sep 18 2023


5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

A Holistic Sanitation Solution: Towards an Equitable Future

The need for building resilient and equitable cities has become even more crucial with 50% of India’s population projected to reside in urban areas by 2050. With the rapid growth of cities, the distribution of resources including basic necessities such as safe sanitation facilities has been inequitable. The impact of these differences is felt mainly by the underprivileged in society. They are deprived of safe sanitation facilities leading to adverse effects on their health and hygiene. 

Governments are tirelessly working towards bridging the existing inequalities however, the lack of actionable data makes it difficult for policies to translate into effective on-ground solutions. Data is crucial for policymakers to get clarity on the resources, existing infrastructure and living conditions. Moreover, high-quality visual data can help in making the invisible visible by enabling policymakers to accurately identify the gaps in the delivery of services and schemes, as well as gauge the required level of intervention. Interactions between policymakers and communities are also crucial for fulfilling the aspirations of creating resilient cities. Cities should make data the foundation for all interventions and encourage it to be co-created with communities.

Striving towards building resilience is impossible without prioritising the welfare of the most underprivileged communities. The urban poor are deprived of safe sanitation facilities, solid waste management systems, drainage facilities and even proper water connections, leading to adverse effects on their lives. Most communities are dependent on the dirty and poor-quality community toilet blocks which leads to issues such as eve-teasing, physical abuse, inconvenience during pregnancy or menstruation and contracting diseases such as Urinary Tract Infection(UTI) and diarrhoea. In such cases, data plays a predominant role in enabling governments to accurately identify the gaps and deliver services through targeted and inclusive interventions.

The availability of accurate, relevant and actionable data will enable policymakers to devise the most effective and appropriate solutions. The data enables policymakers to adopt a city-wide approach and ease the decision-making process. In addition to this, encouraging community participation will ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the interventions. Moreover, data arms people with information about their own communities, empowering them to make decisions and making them partners in the development process. 

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