Learning from existing commercial product services (Operating toilet blocks in India with a reward system)

2011 - 2016 • Samagra Off-Grid Utilities, Sanitation and electricity though local enterprise, old name was Samagra Off-Grid Utilities


Samagra Sanitation is the first for-profit social enterprise in India that is dedicated to providing access to clean, safe, and reliable community toilet facilities for the urban slum-dwelling poor


Samagra Sanitation is the first for-profit social enterprise in India that is dedicated to providing access to clean, safe, and reliable community toilet facilities for the urban slum-dwelling poor. What makes the model innovative is the seamless bundling of other value-added services along with the toilet block:
- Financial services (including savings accounts)
- Access to digital goods (mobile phone re-charge, TV subscription services, Bill Payment Services)
- Access to life improving Products and Services (Assisted Ecommerce)

Samagra effectively partners with municipal agencies and leverages existing community toilet infrastructure to create a community center and a “one stop shop” for slum residents. The model has proven its ability to attract and retain users to the toilet facility, promote hygienic behavior, and still achieve profitability.

As it worked to build a proof of concept, Samagra has been supported by grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Samagra’s Founder and CEO, Swapnil Chaturvedi, was named an Ashoka Fellow in March 2014 and Acumen Fellow in November 2014, for his creativity, determination, and commitment to alleviating India’s most pressing sanitation challenges.

By providing access to community toilet facilities that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – that also double as a center of commerce and other activity – Samagra has proven it can reduce rates of open defecation and effect improved health and security for its members.

Samagra has successfully re-designed and operates 11 community toilet blocks (320 Toilet Seats) in the city of Pune, Maharashtra and currently has over 10,000+ users that are regularly using the facilities. The team now aspires to replicate this model and scale up to total of 50 toilet blocks serving over 50,000 daily users by the mid of 2016.


Detailed location of main activity  Countries of activity

Filter tags

Asia & Pacific Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Cities Community sanitation Community, rural and schools (with gender aspects) (WG7) Market development Operation, maintenance and sustainable services Private sector, including social enterprises Public awareness, advocacy and civil society engagement Specific to one or several countries Toilets or urinals (user interface) Urban informal settlements (slums)


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