USAID, Bill & Milinda Gates Foundation to Assist in Swachh Bharat Mission in Urban Areas


IndiaCSR News Network

NEW DELHI: In a boost to implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have agreed to provide assistance in the critical areas of capacity building of implementing agencies including urban local bodies, technology transfer, technical support, sharing of best sanitation practices and implementation and monitoring. To this effect, USAID on January 13, 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Urban Development while BGMF signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. These Memoranda were signed by Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary (Urban Development) and John Beed, Country Director of USAID and Girindre Beehary, Country Director, BMGF.

Minister of Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma were present on the occasion. These Memoranda were signed in pursuance of the agreements reached during the Summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barak Obama in September last year.

As per the MoU, USAID will assist in:

1.    Knowledge exchange and identification and sharing of best practices for water and sanitation services:

This is aimed at effective knowledge transfer enabling more rapid delivery of services. State and City level implementation staff will be provided with necessary skills and incentives to deliver results under Swachh Bharat Mission and National Urban Development Mission for 500 cities and towns.

2.    Provision of targeted, demand driven technical assistance:

Under this, performance indicators and city ranking systems will be introduced for incentivizing participation in Swachh Bharat Mission and triggering competition between cities. USAID will provide a broad spectrum technical support to demonstrate a fully functional sanitation system encompassing containment, collection, transport, treatment, reuse and safe disposal of fecal waste in Visakhapatnam.

3.    Promoting Public-Private Partnerships:

Under this, USAID will assist in creating a profile consumer behavior and identify behavior changes relating to purchase of toilets and related services besides developing targeted and creative messaging for behavior changes to increase demand for toilets and supply of sanitation products and services. USAID will assist state governments in creating supporting regulatory environment for service providers for operation and maintenance of community and public toilets.

USAID is likely to spend about US $ 2 million per year on these activities.

Under the Memorandum of Cooperation, Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation will:

1.    Provide technical and management support and assistance in the implementation of the Mission;

2.    Fund National Level Program Management Unit for coordination of decentralized and non-sewered sanitation solutions;

3.    Award grants to organisations selected by the Ministry for delivering sanitation services;

4.    Release grant funds to grantees like NGOs, public or private organsiations annually, based on satisfactory performance in respect of milestones specified;

5.    Assist in capacity building for planning, project preparation, implementation and management through training and skill development focusing on towns with population of one to five lakhs located along the Ganga river at a cost of US $ 2.50 million per year;

6.    Support IEC and Behavior change Communications; and

7.    Extend Technology and Innovation support for Central Public Health Environmental Engineering Office (CPHEEO) of the Ministry.

Speaking on the occasion, Venkaiah Naidu said ‘More than funds, changing mindsets of the people towards safe sanitation practices and capacity building of implementing agencies are the key issues to ensure a Clean India. The Government is committed to Walk the Talk to realise the goals set under cleanliness mission in the next five years. US cooperation will go a long way in this regard.’

US Ambassador Richard Verma said that ‘India-US cooperation has exciting prospects. On the eleventh day of being in India, I am delighted to be associated with this partnership initiative in the area of sanitation which has significant linkages with economic development.’

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