Sanitation workers are risk averse and wary of self-employment opportunities due to low self-efficacy and access to markets.

Risk averse:

Generational ties to occupations restrict their thought processes, businesses are associated with unreliable income and they can’t afford to sustain dips.

  • Only ~10% of urban SC community members are successfully in self-employment opportunities.

Wary of customer facing businesses:

Workers are hesitant to pivot to businesses with high customer interaction (e.g. tea and food stalls, etc.) because they fear customers wouldn’t buy from them.

Access to finance and training:

Poor access to financial instruments, lack of business models and acumen

  • Loan-based schemes are failing because banks are unwilling to guarantee sizeable loans, and sanitation workers are unable to present viable business models, have a lack of training and experience .

Loans are not sufficient for successful self employment, need for comprehensive support packages.

This insight applies to all types of unsafe sanitation work:

What this entails: Unblocking and cleaning sewer and wastewater drains

Frequency: Complaint-based, seasonal (rainy season) and occasionally for preventive maintenance

Location: Urban areas

What this entails: Emptying, collection and transport of human waste from septic tanks on an on-demand basis

Frequency: De-sludging frequency varies greatly, ranging from 6 months to 10-15 years

LocationPrimarily urban, mostly unplanned localities

What this entails: Cleaning faecal matter from railway tracks and platforms,railway toilets and platform toilets

Frequency: several times a day

Location: Rail network and railway stations

What this entails: Emptying of dry/single-pit latrines primarily in rural areas; daily collection and transport/emptying of fecal matter

LocationPrimarily rural

What this entails: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis

LocationUrban, across the ~527 STPs/FSTPs in India

What this entails: Maintaining public/community toilets (often insanitary) on a daily basis

Location: Rural and urban CTCs, mostly in slums; public convenience shelters

What this entails: Operating and maintaining school toilets on a daily basis

LocationSchools – rural and urban

What this entails: Cleaning open drains and road sweeping, often encountering fecal matter due to open defecation and insanitary latrines connected to drains

LocationUrban – drains alongside roads

What this entails: Cleaning toilets in middle-high income households/institutions, encountering insanitary conditions at times

LocationUrban areas

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