BLESS - An Empowering Organisation

Water, Sanitation and Livelihood

BLESS has implemented multiple water sanitation projects in Cuddalore District since 1996. BLESS is also currently conducting impact studies and providing technical support to other NGOs that are working towards eliminating open defecation and improving access to clean water. BLESS has recently collaborated with WTN to promote ecological sanitation, build a water purification plant, and provide educational programmes improve hygiene and community health.


300 Toilets for Dalits and tribal communities:

Brief analysis of the situation:

According to UNICEF and WHO estimates, about 15% of the world’s population still openly defecates without access to any toilet or latrine. 60% of this population lives in India; 626 million Indians defecate in the open. India is the number one country in the world in rates of open defecation.

Open defecation leads to pollution of drinking water, which in turn leads to contamination of crops and food and transmission of disease. Bacteria and diseases transmitted by fecal contamination include E. coli, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, norovirus, hepatitis A, and intestinal parasites. The global impact of poor sanitation on human health and infant and child mortality is profound. Diarrhoeal diseases—transmitted by poor sanitation and contaminated water—are a leading cause of illness, malnutrition, and death in children under 5 years old in India.

The 300 Toilets programme is being implemented in Cuddalore district, where 96.72% of the population are Dalit and tribal families who practice open defecation due to lack of access to toilets.


Brief description of the project:

To help eliminate the practice of open defecation, BLESS will build 300 toilets in multilple poor villages in Cuddalore District. The toilets will be pour-flush toilets, and the content of the septic tanks will be processed and eventually re-used as fertilizer.

In order to ensure that the new toilets are used by all communities, BLESS organized an extensive awareness and outreach program with focus groups and technical support to educate villagers in Cuddalore District on the use and benefits of the new toilets.

Brief explanation of the costs of the project :

This project, which follows the Millennium Development Goals, requires significant funds to be completed. Each toilet costs a total of Rs. 16.600 (200€/$262.) The Indian government provides a Rs. 10,200 subsidy for each toilet. Each beneficiary contributes Rs. 900 in cash or labor. Therefore, construction of each toilet requires additional funding of Rs. 4,900 from individual or group donations and BLESS project funds.

If you are interested in the 300 Toilets project, please read the document listed on our “Publications” page, which contains additional information.