Ramapir No Tekro

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Ramapir No Tekro Image from: http://not-so-wordy.blogspot.com/2011/03/ramapir.html

Community Of Interest

Ramapir No Tekro is a slum neighborhood located in central Ahmedabad on the edge of the Sabarmati river flood plain (See map below). The residents are primarily families of ragpickers, rickshaw drivers, or daily wage laborers of the Scheduled Caste. Many have moved to the slum from villages around Gujarat or Rajasthan. The architecture is mainly puccaconstruction homes located on narrow, unpaved roads as can be seen in the photo above. The government has provided water and electricity. The is typical of India, summers are hot (81-104 F), the monsoon season from June to October is wet, and the winter is mild and windy.

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Ramapir No Tekro (Highligh) In Ahmedabad

Sanitation In Rampir No Tekro

A report by the Potty Project indicated that some homes have individual toilets, connected to a sewer system that drains in an open field. However, many residents are using public toilets or practicing open defecation. To use a public toilet, residents must pay a small fee,a common practice in Indian slums. Public toilets in many places are often dirty and long lines are common during peak hours. Researchers observed children defecating on a trash pile and report that many people will defecate outside when toilets are occupied. Several NGOs are active in Ramapir No Tekro. Manav Sadhna, a local community center, promotes hygiene and sanitation awareness through education and it’s Toilet Garden, a display of different types of toilets.

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Manav SadhnaToilet Garden

Social Factors Leading to Sanitation Problems

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Open defecation is often a social activity. Here men are holding buckets of water for washing.

The Potty Project is a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and enacted by Quicksand, an Indian Design Firm. They ?
project uses documentary research methods including case studies, interviews, photography and video to understand the complex interactions between India’s poor, the architecture of the spaces they live in, the services and their communities and the effect of these interactions on sanitation. The Potty Project did not implement design solutions, but provides their findings as a resource to designers. See the complete findings of the Potty Project Here
We used the findings of the Potty Project to guide our design process. The factors we identify as the most relevant to the sanitation problems in Ramapir No Tekro are:

  • Habits brought from rural villages: In rural villages, open defecation in designated fields or areas near the ocean is common. Many slum dwellers are recent immigrants from rural areas who bring practices with them. People interviewed said that they prefer open defecation because they feel that the ocean air or the walk to the open field is pleasant, and what they have always done. In addition, open defecation can be a social activity. Groups of people will walk to and from the designated area together.

  • Understanding of Cleanliness and Responsibility: There is often limited understanding of vector borne illness and pathogens in India. Potty project researchers report that Cleanliness is very important culturally, but the focus is to remove dirt instead of to sterilize. In one instance, public toilet cleaners were found to clean the toilet bowl first with acid and water, then use the same brush to clean the floor and walls. Manav Sadhna is currently working to provide sanitation education to the Ramapir No Tekro community. The Potty Project also feels that the cleanliness of toilets is better maintained by users when they are used by only a few families who know each other, leading to a feeling of responsibility.

  • Specific Needs: Children do not use toilets because they are too small. It is culturally acceptable for young children to defecate openly.

Development Environment


The following is a stakeholders analysis we created in order to tailor our design and implementation approach. We followed a method commonly used in the DLab program at MIT. For a full description of the method and other design framework for urban development, see the MIT Urban Upgrading Website here. Using the finding of the Potty Project, research of Indian news media and interviews with our local contacts (see Access below) we identified the following stakeholder groups and interests.

Stakeholder Groups Interests at stake in relation to the project Effect of project on Interests (+0-)
Slum Residents (SR) Health, safety, sanitation habits, cost, farming/food supply, value, employment, cultural norms Depends on Project Design (+ for health/safety; – for adjusting cultural norms)
Men (M) Health, employment, economics Depends on Project Design (+ for health/safety; – for adjusting cultural norms)
Women (W) Safety, health, privacy, convenience, economics Depends on Project Design (+ for health/safety; – for adjusting cultural norms)
Children (Ch) Safety, health, ergonomics, operation of facilities, hygiene education Depends on Project Design (+ for health/safety; – for adjusting cultural norms)
Manav Sadhna (NGO) Health and safety of slum dwellers, equality (economic + well-being), nutrition, education +
Ahmedebad Government (GOV) Health and safety, economics, cleanliness of city, public perception, water quality, cultural divisions 0
Other Ahmededbad Residents (OR) Public perception of their city, cleanliness, health (disease) 0
Merchants (MRCH) Employment, selling/manufacturing buckets or pots, compost, or bucket toilet infrastructure +

The following table sorts our stakeholder groups by there importance to the success of the project and their influence. The government (GOV) for example, is not critical for the project, we do not require their funding or endorsement. However, the government has great influence through the legislation and enforcement of sanitation codes.

Stakeholder Influence Importance of Stakeholder for Success of Project
Unknown None 1 2 3 4 Great 5
None 1 OR
Great 5 NGO SR, M, W

Our Access

We have several connections to individuals and organizations currently working on development projects in Ramapir No Tekro. Kaylyn Berry, A Cal Poly Architecture student (visit her Blog here), plans to design and build a structure in Ramapir No Tekro as her senior thesis project. She has expressed interest in including a composting toilet facility in the design. The Anganwadi Project builds schools in Ramapir No Tekro. We are discussing the possibility of building composting toilet facilities at their schools and developing the methods to do so. Manav Sadhna is a highly active NGO in Ramapir No Tekro. The organization operates a community center which we think could balled the Environmental Sanitation Institute, which provides sanitation education. The diagram below shows how our access guides the projects which we may undertake.

Possibility Map

Kaylyn Berry: kaylynaberry@gmail.com
Anganwadi Project: Jane Rosthchild, jane@anganwadiproject.com
Jodie Fried, jodief@anganwadiproject.com
Manav Sadhna: info@manavsadhna.org
ESI: Devendra Parekh, esi.sughad@gmail.com

Our Approach

See our plans on the home page.