Santosh Nargund

Sanitation Changemaker

Pioneering Pathways: Flight Plan for Civic Advocacy

Santosh Nargund, a seasoned aerospace engineer turned civic advocate, embodies a multifaceted journey. His trajectory, rife with technical prowess and civic fervor, converges in his involvement with the NFSSM Alliance and his current role at the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy. 

Beginning his career as an Aerospace Scientist, Santosh led groundbreaking projects on iconic aircraft models for both government and private sectors. He led global teams on several pioneer projects on aircrafts such as the Tejas (Indian Light Combat Aircraft), Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Airbus A350XWB and the A320 neo. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B), and armed with a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering and a Master's in Technology in Structural Engineering, his industry tenure ignited his dedication to community development. This new-found passion led him to transition from industry, diving into grassroots initiatives spanning climate action, sanitation, and societal reforms.

Santosh does not view cities as economic hubs only but sees them as crucial habitats for sustainable living for an aspirational population. His pivot towards systemic interventions aimed to transform cities into safe, prosperous environments for all residents, including the most marginalized. 

Santosh expounds on the vital role of sanitation in human life and its historical significance, dating back to civilizations like the Indus Valley. He illuminates the inherent inequalities in sanitation access, advocating for addressing these disparities. Reflecting on his experiences, Santosh recounted a poignant anecdote from his early days. Working in an urban poor community in Bangalore, he spearheaded efforts to secure sanitation facilities, catalyzing community mobilization that led to governmental attention and some initial improvements. Stressing the significance of inclusive sanitation as a fundamental human right, he champions equitable access and community involvement for sustainable practices.

Santosh believes that his involvement with the NFSSM Alliance emerged as a privilege. It serves as a collaborative nucleus where like-minded individuals converge, singularly dedicated to elevating sanitation practices nationwide. Engaging with diverse partners within the Alliance heightened Santosh's awareness of gender-specific sanitation needs, influencing his commitment to inclusive sanitation and gender-sensitive urban development. 

Santosh recognizes the critical role of stakeholder appetite and collaboration in expediting reforms for effective urban governance. His affiliation with Janaagraha, an organization at the forefront of systemic change in urban governance, dovetails perfectly with the Alliance's mission. By leveraging Janaagraha's systemic approach, Santosh underscores the need for a comprehensive view of sanitation, one that addresses not just the immediate challenges but also embraces cross-learning from various sectors to drive impactful change.  

Santosh's story echoes the collaborative spirit and relentless pursuit of equitable urban development and inclusive sanitation within the NFSSM Alliance, painting a vivid picture of dedication and systemic change in the pursuit of a more sanitary and equitable society.