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The sociocultural and scientific drivers of water and sanitation

Durba Biswas

Fellow, Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

Chet Trivedy

Founder - Tulsi Foundation. Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Brighton and Sussex University Hospital, NHS Trust; Senior Lecturer in Emergency and Resuscitation Care, Blizard Institute, QMUL; Lead Crowd Doctor Kia Oval; Founder, Boundaries For Life; Tulsi Foundation

Tanya Seshadri

Director - Community Health, Tribal Health Resource Centre, VGKK; Vivekananda Girijana Kalyana Kendra (VGKK)

Rashmi Pimpale

Director - Life Sciences; Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad, Govt. of Telangana

Priyanka Jamwal

Fellow, Centre for Environment and Development; Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

Jyothy Karat

Filmmaker, Photographer, and Community Member; Initiative for Climate Action (ICA)

Jyotsna Jyoti Krishnakumar

Director - Community Well Being Programme (WASH); Keystone Foundation

Prashanth N Srinivas

Assistant Director Research; Institute of Public Health (IPH), Bengaluru

Abhayraj Naik

Co-Founder; Initiative for Climate Action (ICA)

Parigya Sharma

Program Manager - Disability & Mental Health; Raintree Foundation


Poor water quality, sanitation, lack of infrastructure, health inequities and social determinants of health have led to poor physical and mental health and well-being and inequalities across the Indian population. To address these issues, we need to understand the socio-cultural determinants that influence the interaction between access to water, water quality and sanitation, and their impact on physical and mental health outcomes in vulnerable communities.
Therefore, we propose to:
1. Understand the barriers that underpin the relation between physical and mental health and water quality and sanitation.
2. Identify opportunities (existing govt schemes and funds).
3. Identify and develop strategies and technologies to target the barriers.


1. Collate data from a wide variety of governmental, academic, private, and public sources regarding the relation between physical and mental health and water quality and sanitation.
2. Map indicators, variables, and entry points for the intersection of water, sanitation and health including identifying missing information.
3. Develop a comprehensive and adaptable framework on integrating socio-cultural drivers of water and sanitation into district planning and action that leverages resources of academia, district administrators, community leaders, and policy makers.


1. Data compilation will provide a single source for information on health, water quality, and sanitation and identify gaps in information.
2. Suggested interventions can provide specific mechanisms to influence community health, equity and governance, and wellbeing.
3. Reported interactions, visualizations, and the database can inform policy decisions and identify areas of urgent concern regarding existing programs such as Swachh Bharat, conservation efforts, and other health and environmental programs in both rural and urban areas.
4. Cross-landscape and community inputs will provide holistic viewpoints for developing interventions across environments and communities.
5. The resultant reports and databases will provide a tool to understand the various roles played by stakeholders and the mapped components.

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