Issues such as ground water depletion, water quality deterioration, poor sanitation coverage, poor focus on hygiene, mismanagement of solid and liquid waste, rapid urbanisation, and other emerging issues due to climate change, demand adequate human resources with necessary capacity.
During 2008, a sectoral evaluation study was conducted to assess the “Existing Capacities in water and sanitation sector”. The findings of this study necessitated the birth of WASH Institute. The study revealed that there was a need for focussed training institutes that also act as link between demand and supply side in water and sanitation sector. The study also brought out the situation that at present no single institute offers full-fledged course on aspects of water and environmental sanitation program implementation, as is offered in selected universities of the western countries. The need of the hour was therefore to take the first step in developing a cadre of trained water and sanitation professionals, who would be deployed at different levels to support a more professionally driven approach to implementation, which would aim at increasing the effectiveness of the programme delivery and coverage of water and sanitation services. It was in this context that during 2008, some handful of leading sector experts joined hands together and established Water Sanitation and Hygiene Institute at Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu to address the above mentioned issues. Recently, the organization has marked 13th year in the development space in enabling the communities with sustainable drinking water, sanitation facilities and improved hygiene practices. As of now, the institute operates from 15 locations across 8 states and one Union Territory.
Water Sanitation and Hygiene Institute (WASH Institute) was established in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India in the year 2008 and is dedicated towards providing practical solutions to a wide range of water, sanitation, hygiene and environmental issues.
WASH Institute is a registered non-profit organization that, provides technical, training, research and development services to a wide range of stakeholders - Governments, Industry, DFIs, philanthropic organizations, and other NGOs. The organization is a sector partner of National Jal Jeevan Mission and supports the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (rechristened Ministry of Jal Shakti) in implementing Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban and Gramin) and Jal Jeevan Mission.
Apart from the Technical Assistance support to the Government of India, the organization is dedicated towards providing and strengthening the capacity and skills of students and professionals involved in this sector across India through intensive trainings. WASH Institute is a key partner of USAID and has developed skill & capacities of government officials/engineers, private sector players, sanitation workers, NGO professionals and other stakeholders on Faecal Sludge & Septage Management. The organization also has an Academy called the WASH Academy (previously known as the Formal Course Centre) in Reddiarchatram, Taml Nadu that conducts various One year and Two-Year diploma courses. The courses enable students to further their careers in government and private sectors as Sanitary Inspectors, Health Inspectors, Wastewater experts, Researchers etc. .
WASH Institute is also engaged in action research to develop innovative products on the sanitation value chain such as the Mobile septage Treatment Unit (MTU). The organization also implements integrated WASH programs in underserved communities and schools across rural and urban areas of the country. Currently, the organization operates from nine states namely Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The organization is a part of various networks and advisory committees on WASH and housed the Secretariat of National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (NFSSM) Alliance.
WASH Institute has been conferred with a National Level Award organized by India Today for “Best Institute on Sanitation Skill”. The organization has also been honoured with a National Level Award by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India on “Technology Challenge for identifying and promoting solutions for cleaning and maintenance of septic tanks which eliminated the need for human entry”. WASH Institute has been awarded by FICCI under the Water Initiatives by NGO category. The organization has also won the “Best Practice Award on WASH” from the HCL Foundation consecutively for two years, in 2020 and 2021. The organization has also been honoured with three medals (one gold and two bronze) at the prestigious Brandon Hall of Excellence Awards for e-learning course on sanitation, in 2021.