Aditi Dwivedi

Sanitation Changemaker

Shifting Perspectives: Aditi’s Quest for Equitable Sanitation Access

"As privileged urban Indians, we often take water for granted, assuming it to be a readily available commodity. We don’t even travel somewhere if the toilet isn’t 'nice'.

Aditi holds a Master's in Infrastructure Planning from CEPT University and a Bachelor's in Physical Planning from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. She joined the Centre for Water and Sanitation in 2015, leading communication activities and supporting projects related to digital technologies for improving WASH services. With experience in various areas including faecal sludge management, water security, and capacity building, she provides support to different city and state programs.

Aditi recalls that her perspective towards water and sanitation was first challenged, during her time at CEPT University in Gujarat, when she was introduced to WSH during a studio. Her early experiences in WSH during her degree made her question the assumptions she had always had throughout her life. It was due to this exposure that Aditi came to appreciate the unimaginable effort that goes behind making WSH services accessible.

Aditi firmly believes that the need to access sanitation is universal. Using a toilet is a common experience, shared by all, it is an essential part of being human. A core tenet of her work has remained that everyone should receive at least basic sanitation services, human health and dignity must never be compromised. She finds it especially distressing when she witnesses girls being forced to drop out of school due to the lack of hygienic toilets or when families are unable to construct household toilets simply because they face challenges in obtaining the necessary permits. She is persistent to uphold that these challenges should never become a hindrance to someone’s personal development.

As part of her work with the Centre for Water and Sanitation, Aditi has worked on demonstrating how cities have the potential to deliver and sustain high quality sanitation services by employing low-cost solutions. They demonstrated this through models they researched and implemented in Wai and Sinnar. The Wai-Sinnar model pioneered the implementation of citywide scheduled emptying of septic tank service. The success of the models was instrumental in developing state-wide guidelines in Maharashtra. Further, through their involvement with the NFSSM Alliance, they were able to take these guidelines to the national level as well. Being part of a like-minded group has provided greater credibility when advocating for ideas. Aditi finds that being part of a diverse group of practitioners and hearing from people from different states like Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh who have faced unique challenges and maneuvered them differently enriches her understanding of the problem at hand.