We have started ‘NT-DNT Toilet Audit’ with the objective of gathering data for advocacy about the dire situation of NT-DNT communities’ sanitation. As per founder & NT-DNT activist Deepa Pawar’s 2021 study on NT-DNT Women’s Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, all public services are anyway not planned or built keeping in mind nomadic populations. The needs of nomadic populations are very different from the mainstream ‘settled’ communities because of very specific and unique characteristics – being on the move, their homes are usually hand-made tents so there is no possibility of having a toilet inside, they settle on any available piece of land to which they have no claim whatsoever. The local administration as well as settled residents of any place view them with suspicion and are loath to share any resources with them, even though they are citizens of this country who need more support and help due to their history of unjust criminalization by British rulers. Instead, they continue to face high stigma and discrimination, which is much more severe and unlike anything faced by other marginalized groups.

In this context, the topic of toilets – anyway surrounded with shame, and deeply connected to one’s dignity – remains inaccessible for NT-DNTs. The situation that women, girls, trans persons, pregnant, children, persons with disability, and other more vulnerable among them is nothing but a severe and daily violation of their human rights.

Anubhuti took up this issue last year, organizing a media campaign with women living in the tent settlement at Ambernath Circus Ground in Thane District. Taking it ahead, we have designed a Toilet Audit research, from perspective of NT-DNT communities and intersections within them. An entirely youth-led team has been trained and is carrying out the surveys on a daily basis. The communities are energetically responding as the researchers are from similar communities as themselves.

The data will be used to build a campaign for the fundmental right of #NT-DNTSanitation. Simultaneous capacity building of NT-DNT members to lead the campaign is ongoing.