Tirunelveli fosters sustainable sanitation


The district Administration of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu had encouraged all village panchayats in its 19 Blocks to participate in the Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) Competition.  Under the initiative, village communities were required to construct community sanitary complexes and maintain and beautify existing ones.

Organised by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, SSSS is a people’s campaign that supported the construction, painting, and maintenance of community toilets.  The purpose was to ensure that toilets are made available in public areas of rural India, particularly for the floating population and migrant labourers.

Having outlined a detailed plan and strategy ahead of the campaign, a one-day orientation was conducted for all District, Block and GP level officials as well as sanitation motivators, under the leadership of District Collector, Ms. Shilpa Prabhakar Satish.


The district-wide campaign focussed on the following key areas:

  • Effective triggering and follow up of all the Gram panchayats by motivators
  • Construction, renovation, beautifying of community toilets, Integrated Women’s Sanitary Complex (IWSC) and, Integrated Men’s Sanitary Complex (IMSC)
  • Ensuring proper usage of toilets
  • Taking corrective action for dysfunctional Individual and community toilets
  • Community-based monitoring of toilet usage and other services such as bathing and washing facilities available in the sanitary complexes.
  • Conducting Gram Sabha meetings to ensure the usage of community toilets
  • Segregate of household waste into degradable and non‐biodegradable at source using two separate bins
  • Ensuring 100% involvement of village community including students and SHG members to achieve clean village ODF status
  • Allocation of two months for completion of construction, renovation and beautifying of toilets
  • Every department officer was assigned to a GP to take care of promotional activities pertaining to the SSSS campaign.
  • Awareness generation through cultural activities
  • Special funds were allotted to GPs, and utilization of the same could be in the form of a developmental scheme
  • BDOs were to handhold and converge with other departments for successful completion of the process

Monitoring:  A dedicated team comprising of District Coordinator, Block coordinators, block development officer, nodal officers, motivators were assigned to oversee the process.  Additionally, dedicated field visits were made for regular follow up.   During monitoring, considerable focus was given to ODF Plus activities.


Mobilising CSR Funds:  The District Collector also wrote to private companies for CSR funds and faith-based organizations to participate in the campaign.  Efforts were taken to reach the unreached through IEC, IPC and SBCC activities to promote usage of CSCs.

Capacity building:  To ensure focus on pride, dignity, and respect, both for women and men, intensive training and capacity building was undertaken for all stakeholders on ODF Plus.   Further, swachhagrahis, SHG members, PRI, and VPRC members were engaged to carry out promotional activities to promote community toilets.

IEC campaign:  The district administration ensured that due recognition was given to ODF Blocks, GPs, schoolteachers, students, doctors, village health nurses, SHG members, masons, private organizations that provided support.  Individuals and institutions were recognized and rewarded.  The press was informed of progress made; even as social media and IEC materials such as wall paintings, posters, stickers, and handouts were extensively used to publicise their achievements.

Gunaramanallur nominated for SSSS award:  Situated in Keelapavoor Block, the Gram Panchayat of Gunaramanallur comprises of 15 habitations and a population of 13,400.  During the SSSS competition, the people of Gunaramanallur with the support of the Block and District administration were motivated to renovate, paint and maintain their integrated community sanitary complex.

The complex has proper ventilation and lighting.  It has a child-friendly toilet with a smaller toilet pan and space that offers privacy for girls and women to change sanitary napkins and dispose used ones.  To cater to people with disability and the elderly, it has a ramp with a handle and a western toilet with supporting handles on the walls.  It has areas for bathing and washing clothes.  The water storage tank is of the appropriate height so anyone can access the water.  Within the premises is a motor room with power connectivity and a washbasin with soap.


Uninterrupted water and power supply are the biggest advantages of the unit.  The used water from the facility is channelled to a storage pond and used for watering the surrounding garden that has banana trees, coconut trees, and other vegetation. Around 35 families are currently using this sanitary complex which is regularly maintained by SHG members and user families.

All 2337 habitations of Tirunelveli participated in the SSSS competition.  This has gone a long way to promote usages and ownership of the facilities.

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