A research by Anubhuti is being led by 28 Fellows of the “Anubhuti Guts Fellowship 2023”, alongwith 7 Dalit and NT-DNT women activists. The fellows are youth selected from these communities. They have been trained in Anubhuti’s Community-Led model of research. We have used this model of truly Community-led research in many projects successfully, and this is our 8th year of adopting this model where the focus this year is on State transport and sanitation. 

Toilet Audit

This is a mixed methods research that used tools like audit, participant observation, and in-depth interviews. The whole process including conceptualization, research design, training, data collection, data analysis and subsequent advocacy are being led by marginalized youth and women. Training in this Community-Led research model is led by Anubhuti’s Founder Deepa Pawar, who has led research and advocacy work for sanitation rights and toilets access since 2012 across Maharashtra state. She is herself from a nomadic tribe, and has lived experiences of their struggles. This training has a strong focus on research ethics, community agency and dignity in control over how and who collects and represents the data. 

The study has till date covered 18 Bus Depots across Thane, Mumbai and Panvel Districts. They have audited Toilets, taken interviews of 83 users that include passengers as well as toilet attendants. The findings shed light on the difficulties faced by different kinds of passengers – women, children, trans persons, persons with disability in using the toilets at ST Bus Depots. 

As one Dalit activist also a part of the research said, “We felt scared to enter one toilet in a bus depot in Thane District. Because it looked like ruins. When actually in that depot at least 2500 people travel daily. And there are no toilet facilities nearby. Reaching from one depot to the destination takes at least one, one and a half hours. These are all hardworking people who use these buses. And when they reach the next depot, the toilet condition is again the same or worse. This is a matter of concern.”

Anubhuti is working on the issue of Sanitation since 2016, through community-led initiatives, campaigns, advocacy for Community-Based Toilets and Public Toilets for Dalit, Nomadic communities. Last year, the first of its kind study was carried out by Anubhuti on access of toilets for Nomadic & Denotified Tribe (NT-DNT) families who live in open tents and migrate periodically. It was carried out by trained youth from similar communities. The findings were dismal and brought forth an extremely degrading situation of sanitation access for these families living in high poverty.

Link to published report “Toilet for Tents” based on last year’s research: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c3kRXRzhMLzJX7yRQZinFFbFYAykmh1Z/view

Last year’s Community-Led research, findings, recommendations covered by multiple news platforms: