On consortium driven sanitation interventions to end open defecation: insights from an Indian village study

S.V. Ramani*

*Corresponding author for this work

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3 Citations (Web of Science)


Under the present global agenda of striving to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs), it is necessary to reinforce the diffusion and adoption of inclusive innovations like toilets. SDG6 has created business opportunities for private actors to contribute to sanitation coverage in novel consortia involving public agencies, private actors, international bodies and social enterprises. Can there be tension between the pursuit of public welfare and private interests in such consortia? If so, how can they be managed to eliminate open defecation? To contribute to answering these questions, we study the evolution of sanitation coverage in Kameshwaram village in India via interventions by two consortia and their impact in the short and medium terms. Our case study highlights five sources of challenges: disconnect with evaluation of innovation by beneficiary, partner risks, stakeholder risks, systemic risks and missing institutions. Private incentives can be aligned for social welfare, only if payoffs to consortium actors are based not only on the attainment of implementation targets, but also on the impact produced. Thus, incentive design must only reward toilet installations that are of quality construction, safe, functional, long-lasting and being used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-261
Number of pages17
JournalInnovation and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2020


  • Sustainable Development Goal 6
  • consortium
  • sanitation
  • rural India
  • risk
  • social enterprise

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