Meet Swapnil Chaturvedi – the IT guy turned into SHIT guy. In 2007, the US returned software engineer decided to leave his American dream behind and help bring a reform to India’s sanitation issues.
Nicknamed the ‘Poop Guy’, Chaturvedi launched Samagra Sanitation, a program based in Pune that redesigns community loos to create a community centre and a one-stop shop for city slum dwellers. What makes this a genius innovation is the LooRewards model. The platform rewards slum residents for using toilets regularly and performing tasks, such as washing of hands. For example, one of the rewards is a 15% discount on low-cost sanitary pads! Watch the video below to find out how Chaturvedi is bringing a toilet revolution to urban slums.
In the video, the innovator explains that he spent a considerable time in different slums in Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Gurgaon and Raipur to get a firsthand experience about the approach of slum dwellers towards community toilets. During these slum surveys, he realised that building toilets alone was not going to be enough. In order to attract people to the space, Samagra developed a design philosophy that makes space attractive.
They focused on ventilation, lighting, user experience and also made the latrines accessible to the elderly and persons with disability. The long-term goal of the program is increasing the user base without compromising on the user experience. After all, as Chaturvedi says, “It may be poop to you, but it is my bread and butter.”
What encouraged him to come up with Samagra is so commonplace, it will blow your minds. “My daughter’s complaint of lack of clean and accessible toilets compelled me to start this project.” So there you have it people. Inspiration exists just about everywhere, and Chaturvedi’s life is proof that inspiration is a matter of perspective.