Rampir No Tekro

Ramapir No Tekro is a slum neighborhood located in central Ahmedabad on the edge of the Sabarmati river flood plain. 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 pucca construction homes located on narrow, unpaved roads. The government has provided water and electricity. The climate 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.

Varied Sanitation Development

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.

Social Factors Leading to Sanitation Problems

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.

-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.

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

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, plans to design and build a stucture 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 highliy active NGO in Ramapir No Tekro. The organization operates a community center which we think could be used as a location for a composting facility. We contacted Manav Sadhna and were refered to a smaller NGO associated with Manav Sadhna called the Environmental Sanitation Institute, which provides sanitation education. The diagram below shows how our access guides the projects which we may undertake.

Possibility Map